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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Khaliat Al Nahal / Khaliat Nahal

Folks who follow this blog might have noticed that I have been doing a cooking marathon this month with some of my fellow blogger friends, with a set theme for each week. This week has been 'Bloggers' Choice' week meaning a no preset theme and the participants were free to post whatever they chose. I am ending this run on a sweet note, literally in the form of khaliat nahal. I am going to post a recap of my marathon tomorrow and anyone interested can catchup this month's highlights there.

These images were taken last year, literally on a gloomy day in the middle of winter, indoors and so the quality of the images is not great. Now that thing is off my chest, let's move on to khaliat nahal. Khaliat nahal aka the honey comb bread is from the Arab world and is a part of Ramadan iftar, the meal after fasting. The word 'khaliat nahal' translates into bees' hive in Arabic, an allusion to the appearance of the bread. The buns are baked closer to each other in a round pan like the monkey bread or the cinnamon rolls resulting in a honeycomb like pattern. Usually a slightly sweetened dough is stuffed with cream cheese, baked and glazed with sugar syrup. However this Arabic bread can be made in both sweet and savory versions. Though cream cheese is the most common stuffing, one can come up with their own choice of fillings. I have used sweetened coconut flakes, raisins and nuts for my filling and I think one can use more filling than the original recipe mentions. If doing savory versions, the sugar glaze part is left out. The recipe is quite a simple and straight forward one and it's hard to mess up.

Source: Here
Ingredients for the buns:
1 cup warm milk
1&1/2 tsp. instant yeast / rapid rise yeast
1 tsp. sugar
2&1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sugar (Omit it if using a savory filling.)
Scant 3 tbsp melted and cooled butter
Ingredients for the sugar glaze:
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
Few saffron strands
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp lime / lemon juice
Ingredients for the filling:
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 tbsp. raisins
1 tbsp. chopped walnuts
1 tbsp. almond flakes

* Combine milk, yeast and 1 tsp. sugar in a small bowl and leave it aside for about five minutes or until it turns frothy.
* Add flour, salt, sugar and butter to the bowl of a food processor and run a couple of times to mix well. Add the yeast mixture next and knead into a smooth, elastic dough that is not sticky to touch. If it is sticky then add a little extra flour. (I did not have to add any.)
* Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well greased bowl, turning it to coat well with oil. Cover and let it rise in  a warm place for about an hour or until it doubles in volume.
* Prepare the sugar glaze in the mean while. Add water, sugar and saffron to a pan and bring it to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for a few minutes until it starts to thicken. Turn off the heat. Add honey and lemon juice to it and mix well to combine. Allow it to cool before using.
* Grease a round 9 inch cake tin.
* Prepare the stuffing that you are going to use. I just combined everything under the stuffing list.
* Transfer the dough onto the work surface and divide the dough into 18 portions. Roughly shape them into rounds.

* Take a round and gently flatten it out a little and place a tbsp. of filling at the center. (I think we can go with 3 to 4 tbsp. of stuffing that would be substantial when the buns are baked.) Pull up the sides and wrap the dough around the filling, pinching it closed at the top. Gently smoothen it out into a round ball between your palms.

* Place this stuffed ball in the prepared cake tin. Repeat the process with the remaining 17 dough pieces and arrange them in the cake tin, in concentric circles.
* Cover the cake tin with a towel and again leave it aside for about 30 - 40 minutes, for a second rise.
* Preheat the oven to 350 deg F / 180 deg C at the final stages of second rising. Bake the buns for about 25 minutes, until they are done and turned golden brown.

* Remove the cake pan from the oven and pour the prepared sugar syrup over the top of the buns. The bread should be hot and the syrup should be cold.

* Let it sit for a while to allow the syrup to set. Serve warm with coffee / tea.
* We enjoyed the soft, chewy buns with the coconut-nut stuffing and the sweet glaze. The only regret was that I should have added more stuffing into the buns. 
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 56


Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Initially I thought of doing a travelogue on Coorg for today's post. However when it was time for action, the lazy me decided that figuring out where the pictures were, sorting and compiling them out in an order and writing about the places took longer time than writing down a recipe. I thought that the vacation rant can wait for another time and chose to go instead with an interesting breakfast recipe from the region.
There are several rice based breakfast dishes from Kodagu / Coorg region. Kadambuttu, nuputtu, akki rotti (which is a different version than the one popular in Bangalore - Mysore regions) to name a few. Today's recipe paputtu falls under the same category. Interestingly, the three dishes other than rotti are all steamed and are guilt free options.
Paputtu / paalputtu are steamed rice cakes from the region and the process of paputtu making is on the lines of an instant idli version. The similarities end there and paputtu are enticing with a mild welcoming flavor of cardamom and the creamy sweetness of coconut. These are not sweet from any angle and can be served with any spicy curry or butter and honey. If planning a sweeter version, increase the sugar quantity in the recipe and eat them as it is.
1 cup akki tari / coarsely ground rice
1 cup milk
1 cup water (Substitute with milk if preferred)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup fresh shredded coconut
1 tsp. cardamom seeds, very coarsely ground

Utensils needed:
Idli Steamer / Pressure Cooker / Idli Cooker
Wide plates with raised rims like dhokla plate or plate idli set

Traditionally very coarsely ground rice is used for this recipe. Rice is washed, dried and ground such that each grain is divided into 3 to 4 bits. I don't grind rice at home and instead use the store bought rice rava when making paputtu. Since that rava is finer, I increase the quantity of rava in the recipe by more than 1/2 cup. It would be somewhere around 1&1/2 cups rava. Or one can decrease the liquid quantity in the recipe if using rice rava. Probably 3/4 cup each of water and milk should suffice.

* Wash and soak the tari in milk & water mixture along with the coconut for about 30 - 60 minutes.
* Next add the remaining ingredients and gently squeeze the coconut with hands until it releases milk.
* Prepare a steamer and bring water to boil. I used my pressure cooker without the whistle on.
* Grease the plate and pour the batter, filling only upto 3/4 ths.
* Place it in the steamer container, close the lid and cook on medium flame until done, about 20 - 25 minutes. The batter should look cooked and puttu should be firm to touch.
* Allow the puttu to slightly cool, cut into wedges and serve.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 56


Monday, September 28, 2015

Dahi Chura / Dahi Choora ~ A Bihari Breakfast

A few decades ago, a teenager was visiting his brother in Bangalore and was having a gala of summer vacation. The above mentioned brother's colleague happened to visit their home once and saw the kid. The colleague thought that the kid was probably bored sitting at home and invited him over to his house for a weekend breakfast. That colleague incidentally happened to be a Bihari and the kid got all excited for the invite. He was up and ready when Sunday dawned and tagged along his cousin too to the host's house which was near by, expecting a wonderful meal from another cuisine.

To their dismay, they were the ones to wake up the host and hostess. The kids were now in a fix and they did not know whether to stay or run back home with an excuse. However the sleepy eyed host opened the door and dragged them inside. After what appeared to be some agonizing moments, the 13 & 9 year old got a call from the hostess for the breakfast. Their embarrassment had turned into bewilderment seeing their breakfast platter. Bowls of uncooked poha served along with some yogurt and sugar on side. They somehow finished their breakfast with a smile plastered on their faces and ran back home.

Those two kids survived the ordeal, to share the story with mirth decades later and one of those kids also happened to live in Bihar for a while. My husband shared this experience with me when I asked for Bihari recipes while doing the Indian odyssey themed blogging marathon and BTW the older kid in the story was my husband. I did dalpuri at the time and this dahi choora remained back in my mind. And I meant no offense in any way while sharing the above anecdote.
And though I did not know it at the time, I happened to meet the said Bihari friend at Bangalore airport while I was flying to USA for the first time, with an infant in tow 17 years ago. When my husband was mentioning his name while narrating the incident, it clicked that he was the same person who helped me at the airport on my Brother-in-law's request. Phew, small world. :)

I am used to sweetened milk poha (I have to yet post the recipe) and dahi poha in a savory version and so the recipe did not come as a shocker to me but generally speaking, a breakfast based on uncooked poha is unheard of in most of the parts in southern India. Where as this dahi choora based on yogurt and flattened rice flakes happens to be a very common breakfast / snack served in Bihar. Dahi is yogurt in Hindi while the uncooked flattened rice flakes are called chura in Bihar and hence the name of  the recipe. Actually I found the recipe very cool and to me it sounded like an Indian version of cereal flakes. This is a quick, no cook recipe yielding a complete meal with no fuss and no mess, besides being very convenient in the morning rush hours. The addition of fruits is optional but makes the dish wholesome.

1/2 cup thin variety flattened rice / poha / chura
1 cup yogurt
Jaggery / Honey / Sugar to taste
1/2 cup chopped fruits of choice (Optional)

* Wash rice flakes thoroughly with water in a colander. Drain and leave aside until they soften. Fluff the flakes well with a fork.
(The poha variety I get softens in under five minutes. It must be possible to mash a flake with the gentle pressure between the thumb and the fore finger.)
* Whisk the yogurt well with the sweetener of your choice. Add chura and fruits if using to the yogurt and combine well.
* Serve immediately.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 56.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Baghrir / Beghrir

Baghrir / Beghrir is an ancient berber pancake originating in North Africa and are popular in Algeria and Morocco. 'Baghrir' means too soft in the Berber dialects, a reference to the soft and spongy texture of the pancakes. The traditional method of preparing baghrir is time consuming though the modern version is quick and easier with the use of a blender. Baghrir are eaten as a breakfast or snack dipped in a honey - butter sauce. While these are prepared all year round in Algeria, they are a popular part of a iftar during Ramadan in Morocco.
Baghrir, the pancake with a thousand holes is prepared using a yeast based fermented batter of semolina and flour. They are cooked only on one side without flipping on low flame and care is taken to keep them light colored. The number of holes on the pancake depend upon the consistency of the batter and they start to appear as soon as you pour the batter on the hot pan. A thick batter would not result in the holes. 
Baghrirs are usually served by dipping them in a honey - butter mixture.  The holes on the surface of baghrir soak up the syrup poured on it. The sauce is prepared by heating equal quantities of butter and honey until the mixture comes to a boil. 
Ingredients for baghrir: (Yield 10 - 12 pancakes)
3/4 cup semolina flour / very fine semolina
5 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. quick rising yeast
1 & 1/2 cups warm water

* Blend all the ingredients into a smooth. lump-free batter. Allow it to rest in a warm place for about 30 minutes. It would have turned frothy and there would be an increase in the volume of the batter.
* Heat a non stick pan or a griddle. Pour a ladleful of batter and gently spread it with the back of the ladle. They can be made larger or smaller.
* Cook on low flame until the top appears dry and cooked. Remove it with a spatula and serve warm with honey-butter syrup.

* Repeat the steps with the remaining batter.
* Don't stack the pancakes when they are warm since they stick to each other.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 56.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Boxty on the Pan

Boxty on the griddle,
Boxty on the pan,
If you can't bake boxty,
sure you'll never get a man.

Boxty on the griddle,
Boxty on the pan,
If you don't eat boxty,
you'll never get a man.

Old Irish rhymes like the ones above sums up the importance of a boxty in traditional Irish cuisine. I read somewhere that if a restaurant menu promises to serve traditional Irish fare and boxty is not part of it then it is not a traditional Irish eatery. It should not come across as a surprise considering that potato has been a staple of the Irish peasant diet for centuries and they ate potato three times a day. Boxty derived from the word 'bacstai' meaning poor-house bread in Irish and are basically potato based pancakes. Boxty is prepared in several ways traditionally in Ireland. Boxty on the pan uses a batter of mashed potatoes, grated potatoes, buttermilk, flour, baking soda and sometimes egg and are cooked on a griddle like pancakes. The other versions use only grated potatoes and are boiled like a dumpling or baked like a loaf.

Traditionally the recipe is kept to the basics since it was a peasant dish originally. However the modern versions may include grated onion, garlic powder and such for added flavors. Personally I felt that the boxty do not need any flavors at all and the basic version itself was good when served hot from the griddle. They are crispy from outside and softer inside. While preparing the pan version, the size of a boxty would be of the griddle size though you can make them bigger or smaller. It makes sense to make the griddle sized ones since the recipe has raw potatoes and they take longer to cook on low flame. If you start making small sized boxty, it would take forever. However for presentation sake, I made small sized ones. I used about 2 heaped tbsp. sized batter for each pancake and ended up with 5 boxty.

3 large sized peeled potatoes *
(or 1 cup mashed and 2 cups grated potato)
2 to 3 tbsp. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Salt to taste
6 - 8 tbsp. buttermilk
Butter / Oil to make boxty
* I cooked one potato and mashed it which came to scant 1 cup. I grated the other two potatoes that came to about 2 cups. 

* Chop one potato into pieces and cook it until done. Drain well and mash it finely. Or you can substitute about 1 cup of mashed potato.
* Grate the remaining peeled potatoes onto a cheese cloth or a thin cotton cloth. Wrap the towel around the grated potato and squeeze out as much water as possible. One would be surprised to note the amount of water that is released from potato gratings.
* Combine flour, salt and baking soda into a mixing bowl. Add the mashed potato, grated potato and buttermilk to the flour mixture and mix well to combine. It should be on a thicker side.
* Heat a griddle and grease it with butter or oil. You can make the griddle sized boxty or small sized ones depending on your choice. The bigger ones can be cut into wedges. I poured about 2 heaped tbsp. of batter and spread lightly with the back of a spoon to shape into circle.
* Cook on low flame until the top is almost set, doesn't appear wet and the bottom side is golden brown. When done, it should be easy to flip the boxty with the spatula. Flip and cook the other side too until done.
* Repeat the steps with the remaining batter. 
* Serve them warm with more butter and traditionally bacon goes with it.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 56


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Staffordshire Oatcakes

We are moving towards England today for some oatcakes. When I say oatcakes, they are not actually cakes but are yeast based savory pancakes which are eaten as a breakfast item. These oatcakes are a regional specialty of North Staffordshire area of England, specifically the Stoke-on-Trent region and prepared with a fermented batter of oat, wholemeal and all purpose flours. They are normally referred to as North Staffordshire cakes by non locals because they were once made only in and around Staffordshire and Cheshire. These oatcakes are treated as a delicacy in the region and the locals supposedly pay a trip to the nearby vendors on weekends to pick fresh oatcakes to savor them leisurely at home serving along with cheese, bacon, eggs and tomato. Those fillings / sides along with the oat pancakes is what the dish is about. Without those, they would be plain, pitiful pancakes I guess.I sprinkled cheddar cheese over our oatcakes.

These oatcakes were / mostly still a local fare and they go even by some nicknames like 'Potteries Chapati'  and 'Tunstal Tortilla'. The oatcakes are supposedly made for hundreds of years and naturally there are are several myths surrounding the origin of the dish. One being linked to the times when India was a British colony. Some claim that the local soldiers who served in India took a liking to chapatis and they tried to recreate them on their return to Staffordshire. They used the locally grown oats while doing so, resulting in these oatcakes.

Oatcake recipe has been a closely guarded secret for many years and the recipe varies among oatcake makers. The rural tradition of oatcake making had become a booming cottage industry during industrial revolution because of the local availability of oats and the expansion of pottery and mining business in the Potteries region. It was once common for oatcakes to be sold directly from the window of a house to customers on the street, through out the Staffordshire Potteries, the industrial area in the region. However the last business which sold oatcakes in this style closed recently and there are now small and large businesses selling oatcakes.
 And these oatcakes are not to be confused with the Scottish version oatcakes. They are also oat based but are biscuits that are baked. The Scottish oatcakes date back to the 19th century and used to be baked on a hotplate over open fire.

Ingredients: (Yield 6 oatcakes)
1 & 1/4 cup oat flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. rapid rise yeast *
1 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
Oil if necessary
Fillings as needed
* The original recipe uses dry yeast or fresh yeast. I used less yeast since I was resting it for about a couple of hours.

* Sieve together flours and salt in a mixing bowl.
* Combine sugar, yeast and warm water in a bowl and leave aside for about 10 minutes or until the mixture turns frothy.
* Add the yeast mixture and warm milk to the flour mixture and mix well to combine.
* Leave the batter to rest in a warm place for about 2 hours.
* The fermented batter would be frothy. Gently stir the batter with the ladle to combine.
* Heat a griddle on medium flame and grease it if necessary. Pour a ladleful of batter and spread it tilting the griddle or using the back of the ladle. Cook until the bottom side turns golden brown and flip. Cook until the other side is done too.

* Repeat the steps with the remaining batter.
* Oatcakes are served with fillings such as cheese, tomato, onion, bacon, egg and sausage. They can be eaten plain buttered / grilled with cheese. They can be served with jam / syrup / bananas though it would not be a traditional version.
* The leftovers can be reheated in a microwave.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 56


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Kanchipuram Dosa

Event: Blogging Marathon #56
Theme: Breakfast
Country: India

I have been noticing this dosa in the web world for years now but never got around making it though I prepare dosa batter quite frequently. The dosa batter being the prerequisite for the recipe. I kept wondering whether the folks at home would love a spicy version of their beloved dosa and stuck to that apprehension until I tried Kanchipuram idli and Azhagar kovil dosai. Surprisingly the two spicy versions were received well at home and they have become a regular feature in my kitchen.

Most of the Kanchipuram dosa versions I found online were similar and so there was no particular source I can link this recipe to. There seems to be another masala version which has piqued my curiosity and is quite different than the regular masala dosa. Now that is for another time and let's come back to Kanchipuram dosas. If one is used to the regular dosa making, then this recipe would come across as a breeze. The batter used here is similar to the regular version except the addition of yogurt and spices to it. Those subtle changes create altogether a different and yummy version that yields soft, spongy and spicy dosas.

2 cups rice *
1/2 cup urad dal / black gram
1 tbsp. chana dal /split chick peas
1 tsp. methi / fenugreek seeds
1/2 to 3/4 cup yogurt
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1 to 2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
1/8 tsp. asafoetida powder
1 tsp. grated ginger
Oil to make dosas (I use canola oil.)

* I used 1 cup of extra long grain rice and 1 cup of idli rice for this dosa. Any Indian variety rice except Basmati can be used.

Dosa batter preparation:
* Rinse rice, urad dal, chana dal and methi thoroughly and soak them in water for at least 3 to 4 hours. Drain before grinding.
* Grind the ingredients into a smooth, thick batter using water as needed. The batter should be on a very thicker side and not be runny.
* Transfer the batter to a container. Add salt and yogurt to the batter and mix well. The spices too can be added to the batter at this stage but I added them just before making dosas.
(The container should be big enough to allow the increase in volume of the batter during fermentation. If the batter is fermented properly, there will be an increase in the quantity of the batter and so always use a container which can hold more than the ground batter.)
* Cover the batter and allow it to ferment overnight or for at least 8 - 12 hours in a warm place depending upon the climate outside. 
* Add turmeric, black pepper powder, ginger and asafoetida to the fermented batter before making the dosas.

Making dosas:
* Heat a griddle / non stick pan on medium flame until a drop of water dropped beads on it.
* Pour a ladleful of batter on the griddle and with the backside of the ladle, gently shape it into a circle. Don't try to spread the batter thinly since these dosas are on a thicker side. Pour ½ tsp. of oil around the edges of the dosas and cook on medium flame until the lower side turns golden brown. Flip the dosa and cook on the other side too if needed. Remove the dosa with a spatula.
* Repeat the process of dosa making with the remaining batter.
* Serve dosas warm with chutney or a side dish of your choice.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 56


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Eggless Flapjacks

Event: Blogging Marathon #56
Theme: Breakfast
My choice: U.S.A & Canada

I chose to go today with one of my kid's favorite breakfast items, the flapjacks. These get made regularly in my home and surprisingly it took me so long to share them. Flapjacks also referred to as griddlecakes / hotcakes are the American and Canadian version pancakes that are served as a breakfast. Flapjacks are soft, fluffy and are easy to whip up in no time.
I am giving the basic version here but you can make them fancier by going with your choice of add-ons into the batter. Fruits, cheese chocolate chips to name a few and ditto with the toppings though maple syrup and the butter are the traditional choices. I used a flax egg here but your choice of an egg substitute or an egg can be used instead. If using an egg reduce the liquid quantity by 1/3 cup. Milk can be substituted with butter milk too.
Ingredients for 6 pancakes:
1 tbsp flax meal (Or one egg substitute)
1 cup all purpose flour (Substitute half the quantity with wheat flour for an healthier version.)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. melted butter
1 cup milk (I prefer it at room temperature.)
Butter and maple syrup to serve
1. Whisk flax meal and 3 tbsp. warm water together and leave aside for about 5 minutes.
2. Heat a griddle / non stick pan on medium heat such that a drop of water beads when dropped on it.
3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl. Whisk the flax meal from step 1, melted butter and milk in another bowl. Combine both dry and wet ingredients and whisk the mixture to a thick batter. 
4. Pour about 1/4 cup batter of batter onto the pan. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface and the bottom side turns golden brown. Flip the pancake with a spatula and cook for about 30 - 40 seconds more. Tranfer onto a serving plate. Repeat the steps with the remaining batter.
5. Serve the flapjacks warm with maple syrup and honey.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 56


Monday, September 21, 2015

Lempeng Pisang - Malaysian Banana Coconut Pancakes

Event: Blogging Marathon #56
Theme: Breakfast
My choice: Malaysia

'Lempeng Pisang' are Malay style traditional banana pancakes made with a coconut stuffing, eaten both as a breakfast and a snack. Traditionally the batter is wrapped in banana leaves for each individual pancake and then char grilled until the inside batter is cooked. However they can be made in a pan on stove top as shown in the link below for a more easier approach.  

The 'banana leaf' version from the original recipe didn't use even a single drop of oil / butter for making the pancakes as the natural oils in the banana leaf  allow the pancakes not to stick to the leaves while cooking. However greasing the banana leaves may make the pancake making more foolproof. And the bonus part is that the leaves impart their natural flavor to the pancakes. 

I badly wanted to make these pancakes the first time I saw them and I couldn't wait till I got hold of some banana leaves. I made the batter the traditional way but cooked them just like the regular pancakes using oil. They tasted real good even that way with the yummy banana - coconut combo and the flavor was awesome. I had planned to try them again with banana leaves in India during my summer trip but as usual as soon as I landed in India, I forgot that I own a blog. So much for planning to capture lempeng pisang, the traditional way. :) I promise to update this post later using banana leaves but I have provided pictures to give an idea.

Source: Here
Ingredients: (Yield 8)
3 large sized ripened bananas
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3 to 4 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. water (optional)
1/2 cup (or more) fresh shredded coconut
Fresh banana leaves of about 6x6 inch sized ones or oil to toast the pancakes

* Mash the bananas smoothly in a bowl. Add sugar and salt and mix to combine. Next add the flour and whisk to combine. Add 
water if needed. The consistency should be on a thicker side as shown in the picture.
* Pour about 3 tbsp. of batter at the center of a banana leaf (I used a sheet of aluminum foil  just for demonstration. I did not use it to cook.)
 * Spread it thinly into about 4 inch circle and then sprinkle a thin layer of coconut.
* Fold the leaf in half so that the batter inside now will be in half moon shape with the coconut inside. (Or simply you can cover the banana leaf with another banana leaf.)
* Choose a wide pan that can hold the folded banana leaf. Heat the pan and place the folded banana leaf with the batter inside. Cook on medium flame for about 4 -5 minutes and flip. Cook until it is done. (The banana leaves almost get charred while cooking.)
* Repeat the steps with the remaining batter.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 56


Saturday, September 19, 2015


I kept swinging between Middle Eastern dukkah and the Ethiopian berbere for the final 'condiment' post this week. Finally I inclined more towards the spicy berbere, owing to my Indian origin, I guess. And so for today, it is the fiery hot, flavorful spice blend from the Ethiopian and Eritrean regions, berbere. Berbere pronounced behr-behr-ee is prepared using a mixture of chili peppers and spices and is like an all purpose seasoning mix. This aromatic mixture can be used as a seasoning in stews / braises / soups / vegetables or as a rub for meats. It is the basic ingredient in dabo kolo, (a popular Ethiopian snack) doro wat (Ethipian chicken dish) and other Ethiopian dishes.

Some of the spices used in the preparation are the commonly available kind like cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin and the like while some spices used are grown only locally in the region such as korarima. The combo of fenugreek and red pepper are a must in a berbere recipe. If looking for a milder version, paprika can be substituted for some or most of the red pepper in the recipe. Berbere can be made both as a dry mixture or a wet paste. Being born and raised in a country which happens to be the spice capital of the world, I use spices in my cooking at the drop of a hat. And so naturally I had everything needed for this recipe in my pantry. Instead of using powdered spices in the recipe, I toasted whole spices and ground them for a robust flavored berbere.

(I actually couldn't trace the source link from which I tried this recipe even after scouring the web thoroughly a couple of times.)

1/4 cup dried red chillies
1 tsp. red chilli flakes
1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
6 cardamom pods
1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp. pepper powder
3 tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. all spice powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
Extras if making a wet berbere:
Fresh ginger (Skip ginger powder from the list.)
2 tbsp. finely minced onion
1 garlic clove, finely minced (Skip garlic powder from the list.)
3 to 4 tbsp. water or oil

* Toast all the spices individually without scorching them and let cool. 
* If making a dry version, grind together the toasted spices and all the powders under the 'ingredients' list finely. Store in an airtight container and use as needed. 
* If making a paste, grind together the toasted spices, spice powders, fresh ginger, onion and garlic with water or oil.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 56