Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hokkaido Milk Bread With Tangzhong


According to Aparna, for the recipe choice towards We Knead to Bake #3,
the Hokkaido Milk Bread is very easy to make.This bread with all the goodness of milk is unique not just for texture and height, but also of its slightly unusual method of making the dough.

 Also known for its soft cottony/pillowy texture, it’s a very popular bread in South Asian bakeries across the world. It is also named as Asian Sweet Bread and Hong Kong Pai Bo. Some people say this is a Japanese bread while others say it’s because the milk used in this bread is from Japan while some others have suggested its pure white colour and the texture resemble the pristineness of Hokkaido!

The Hokkaido Mild Bread owes its texture and height to the use of an interesting ingredient called Tangzhong. Basically, the Tangzhong method involves cooking 1 part of bread flour with 5 parts of water (by weight) at 65°C (149 °F) to form a roux.
At 65°C, the gluten in the bread flour and water mixture would absorb the moisture and create a “leavening” action. When the Tangzhong is added into other ingredients of a bread dough, it produces light, tender and fluffier bread.
This method of using Tangzhong is often seen in South Asian breads and was created by a Chinese woman, Yvonne Chen, who describes this method in her book which translates to “65 degrees Bread Doctor” .


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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Saturday Market ~100 Days in Namakkal - Part 2


If the success of a post lies in making a few nostalgic, a few excited, a few proud, a few encourage, a few comment, a few share, a few mail, a few call, a few obsessive and a few weep, the previous post was!

Thanks for the overwhelming response and  the pleasantest surprises I was offered by you! Feeling glad that the post is reaching and being received well, than I expected. Here lies the ultimate contentment of a blogger.

I had planned to visit a few schools in town but then since the exams are going on, hesitated to end up with complications. The visit to the poultry farms to for the chicks and eggs was almost confirmed but got cancelled the last minute.

No regrets as I secretly wished to cover the weekend market and make the post exclusive.

So, as planned, I visited the Sanikizhamai Santhai or the Saturday market , which is open the whole day, in the evening with a large eco bag that got back home empty!
I skipped to shop!

...hold my hands and I'll take you around...the pictures are going to speak with you..

















my favorite is reserved for the last!



 I can never forget the 110 days you pampered me in your lap. You mothered me like my home town, which I'll cherish for a life time!
Wouldn't miss a chance to be back to your warmth, anytime...
Namakkal, I love you and miss you!

 Have no words to thank,
 my loving fathers-in-law who made the posts possible in every way.
 my dear readers, fb friends and cousins-in-law for the unending support and cheer. 

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Friday, March 15, 2013

100 Days in Namakkal (Part 1of 2)

I do not know how many of you had heard about this town, located in the valleys of the Kolli Hills but am sure you would fall in love with this place if you do not wish the buzz of cities and hesitate to step down, too rural. The charming town has the fresh atmosphere, affectionate inmates and everything about the goodness of a village parallely sophisticated  for a town living person.
I know it is just putting all the good things together, though a fact should admit that I enjoy every single moment being here!

Today marks the 100th day of my stay in this cute town. To celebrate this, I planned to visit the major spots of the town.
Honestly, I was awed to learn about the historic importance of the town only while preparing this post. If only the government took some measures to encourage the tourism in this place!

Namakkal is one of its kind!


You can never miss this majestic fort if you happen to be in Namakkal.
The historical Malaikkottai or the Rock Fort is in the middle of the town. The small town has expanded around this fort, over the years.
More about the history of the fort is here.


A close up shot of the entrance up the fort.
The maximum my lens could zoom with me stuck to the same position as the previous image.

Your Namakkal visit is incomplete without the darshan of the18 feet tall Anjaneyar.The 'alangaram' is done on festivals, which I couldn't witness during my stay. This picture is from here.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Pains au Chocolat or Chocolate Croissants (a complete stepwise recipe)


Classic Croissants with Aparna is already a hit with the recipe choice of #2 We Knead to Bake for the month of February!
Pain au chocolat is a continuation of the same.

Now, pains au chocolat or chocolate croissants are nothing but puff pastries with rich creamy chocolate wrapped in, so that when you bite into it you have the buttery flaky outer layers giving way to the absolute 'yumminess' inside!

It's a bit of hard work as the dough is prepared as the same for Classic Croissants. Personally, these cute chocolate stuffed rolls rose better and tasted awesome!

Basically with the dough explained down, you can roll not only chocolate but filling of your choice. A mix of coconut and cardamom, cinnamon and sugar, minced mushroom or chicken dry curry with caramelised onions are to name a few.

Anyway, let's get to the recipe...


Pains au Chocolat
Recipe for the dough is same as Classic Croissants, adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman's at Fine Cooking.

I had halved the below recipe, laminated, made 6 medium sized croissants (posted here) with half the sheet and reserved the rest to make 6 pains au chocolat.

For the dough
1 lb. 2 oz. (4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
5 oz. (1/2cup plus 2 Tbs.) cold water
5 oz. (1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs.) cold whole milk
2 oz. (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs.) granulated sugar
1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) soft unsalted butter
1 Tbs. plus scant 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
2-1/4 tsp. table salt

For the butter layer
10 oz. (1-1/4 cups) cold unsalted butter

For the egg wash
1 large egg

I am pasting the recipe down for the basic dough back from my Croissants  recipe, to have it all again in one place.

Day 1

Make the Dough

Combine all of the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed for 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the mixing bowl once if necessary. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes.


(I used my hands to knead and didn't do it more than 2 minutes fearing the formation of gluten. My dough demanded a little extra liquid; a tbsp more of water and milk, the original recipe halved ). Transfer the dough to a lightly floured 10-inch pie pan or a dinner plate.( I used a square sandwich box which is 3 inches deep. I chose the shape square, hoping to roll out and extend the dough  to a square, without much difficulty for Day-2, again as the recipe says. It helped too :)Also, 'flatter' the dough, lesser the gluten formation during resting time. More the gluten, more the disobedient dough while rolling in Day-2 & 3). Lightly flour the top of the dough and wrap well with plastic so it doesn’t dry out. Refrigerate overnight.

Day 2

Make the Butter Layer


The next day, cut the cold butter lengthwise (and may be not across, as you see in the picture) into 1/2-inch-thick slabs. Arrange the pieces on a piece of parchment or waxed paper to form a 5- to 6-inch square, cutting the butter crosswise as necessary to fit.


Top with another piece of parchment or waxed paper. With a rolling pin, pound the butter with light, even strokes. As the pieces begin to adhere, use more force. Pound the butter until it’s about 7-1/2 inches square.


Trim the edges of the butter. Put the trimmings on top of the square and pound them in lightly with the rolling pin. Refrigerate while you roll out the dough.

Laminate the Dough


Unwrap and lay the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a 10-1/2-inch square. Brush excess flour off the dough.


Remove the butter from the refrigerator—it should be pliable but cold. If not, refrigerate a bit longer. Unwrap and place the butter on the dough so that the points of the butter square are centered along the sides of the dough. Fold one flap of dough over the butter toward you, stretching it slightly so that the point just reaches the center of the butter. Repeat with the other flaps . Then press the edges together to completely seal the butter inside the dough. (A complete seal ensures butter won’t escape.)


Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough. With the rolling pin, firmly press the dough to elongate it slightly and then begin rolling instead of pressing, focusing on lengthening rather than widening the dough and keeping the edges straight.Roll the dough until it’s 8 by 24 inches. If the ends lose their square shape, gently reshape the corners with your hands. Brush any flour off the dough. Pick up one short end of the dough and fold it back over the dough, leaving one-third of the other end of dough exposed. Brush the flour off and then fold the exposed dough over the folded side. Put the dough on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 20 minutes to relax and chill the dough.

Repeat the rolling and folding, this time rolling in the direction of the two open ends until the dough is about 8 by 24 inches. Fold the dough in thirds again, as shown in the photo above, brushing off excess flour and turning under any rounded edges or short ends with exposed or smeared layers. Cover and freeze for another 20 minutes.

If you live in a humid/hotter country, it is quite natural for the butter square to melt at least at the edges and seep in the dough while rolling out
 Immediately stick to the freezer ( not the fridge) and allow the butter to harden. Butter smudged dough is not the right one for croissants. Instead they need to be laminated beautifully between the layers of the dough with no seepage.

I also saw butter leaking out through the holes from dough while rolling out. I dusted flour well,wherever the butter peeped and completed the process. This prevented seepage of fat to an extend.
Remember, patch work with dough will not work!


Give the dough a third rolling and folding. Put the dough on the baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap, tucking the plastic under all four sides. Refrigerate overnight.

Day 3

Divide the Dough

The next day, unwrap and lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough. Cut the dough along the longer side into halves. Cover one half with plastic wrap and refrigerate it while working on the other half.

( I didn't divide the dough into two at this point as I had halved the original recipe. I continued rolling and again used just half of the sheet to make 6 Classic Croissants and froze the rest of the half which you see further down to make pain au chocolat)


With the rolling pin, “wake the dough up” by pressing firmly along its length—you don’t want to widen the dough but simply begin to lengthen it with these first strokes. ( If your dough is too cold, start with gentle strokes with your fingers and palms )


Roll the dough into a long and narrow strip, 8 inches by about 22 inches. If the dough sticks as you roll, sprinkle with flour. Once the dough is about half to two-thirds of its final length, it may start to resist rolling and even shrink back. If this happens, fold the dough in thirds, cover, and refrigerate for about 10 minutes; then unfold the dough and finish rolling. Lift the dough an inch or so off the table at its midpoint and allow it to shrink from both sides—this helps prevent the dough from shrinking when it’s cut. Check that there’s enough excess dough on either end to allow you to trim the ends so they’re straight and the strip of dough is 20 inches long. Trim the dough.

This is the point where half the sheet was cut and rolled into Croissants 


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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

'My Spicy Recipe' ~ Event Round Up and Announcement of Winners!

The initial decisions of picking out winners by 'draw' slowly got diluted due to the fabulous entries sent by the enthusiastic participants!.

Let me thank, first of all, each and every one for the amazing entries!


Now, I had to decide laying criteria for judging.
All I could think primarily were, the recipe, presentation and photography.

But then, I had a lovely bunch of entries with pictures of professional quality and presentation from my closer knit of friends. They were particular to encourage the deserving new bloggers and mentioned lovingly that they were offering the entries considering the friendship. I love that! So, I affectionately placed this irresistible bunch gently at the back seat, mingled with the overwhelming feeling of perfect understanding! Let me thank you, sincerely!

New criteria that got added were: the choice of the recipe, uniqueness of the entry, whether the recipe was sent over exclusively to the event "My Spicy Recipe" or shared with other events of the period, addition of the event logo and online shopping tips, though they were not insisted. I was also looking out for more, which stood out from the rest, again giving consideration to newer bloggers.

The Prize Winners

One recipe was accepted per blog. But then I saw bloggers who held 2 food blogs in different languages and blogging different recipes in both, updated promptly! Holding one food blog, regularly updated, is more than hard work. As bloggers we know how to tough it is to maintain 2 food blogs that too one in English and the other in a regional language!

Asiya Omar and Jaleela Kamal, girls, I am impressed!


She was one among the contestants who mailed me expressing her deep interest, clarifying her doubts and rather fighting with the bad connectivity she had been experiencing, exchanging at least 3 dozens of cheerful mails. Her Paruppu Adai or the healthy lentil pancakes from her  Tamil food blog, Samayal Attahasangal had been unique, the only breakfast recipe here, and the step wise traditional recipe of the Spicy Aathur Pepper Mutton  from her English food blog , Cook Book Jaleela had been contributed exclusively for the event. She was innocently worried about the not so well presented dish, until I consoled asking to leave as is. I succumb to your innocence, honesty, enthusiasm, and hard work.
Congrats, Jaleela, You go first!


She manages My Healthy Happy Kitchen, the English food blog and Samaithu Asathalam, the Tamil space with much effort and talent. She updates them regularly with stepwise pictures  with varied recipes and cuisine.
The only contestant who shared the online shopping tips above the recipe post in both her spaces and the third contestant to send over the entries. I received the homely Milagu Thanni Soup and the Spicy Pepper Prawn from her bilingual blogs within the first five entries!  Asiya, for your hard work, enthusiasm and talent you get the second with a close score!


The first impression is the best impression!
While the entries were coming in, this new blogger stole my heart with her simple but good photography, presentation and the extra love she gave me :)
I saw my logo not only under the recipe post but also in her side bar, throughout! Simple and good Egg Curry sent over by Divya Shivaraman from Dishing with Divya bags the third prize.

Well, this is not going to mean mean that the others are not competitive and deserving. I find even many appealing and equally good though I do not make a note here. Wish I had the choice of giving 43 prizes that all of you would be rewarded!!
Sadly, I am restricted with the first three.

The Final Round Up

Let me individually enjoy and appreciate each and every entry here. Nothing matches the love and concern combined in the dishes, though!


This spicy heartwarming Milagu Thanni or the Pepper Soup is from Asiya Omar had been one of my favourite recipes which was contributed very early for the event. Asiya is the author of Tamil and English food blogs!

Drinks / Beverages

One of the prettiest and unique entries!

Lavi, I am spell bound with this Spicy Chilli Hot Chocolate!
Can't ask for more!

Appetisers / Starters / Snacks


Beach style Kara pori  is a simple snack with an interesting combination of rice puffs, raw vegetables and boiled peanuts tossed with masala. It  requires less stove top but serves more than enough to liven up a beach side evening. Shared by Rak's Kitchen!

Sharmilee's Lemon Aval Upma can be considered as a heavy appetiser or a light meal. Made with poha or rice flakes, the dish is prepared with minimum oil for the tea-time munch.  The colour combination of the dish, the bowl, the props and shot on the whole is undoubtedly beautiful!

Imagine biting deep into these moist, spiced up Stuffed Capsicum topped carelessly with crunchy bits of onion! Boiled and mashed potatoes, green peas and carrots are the main ingredients she had used for stuffing the green and red bell pepper halves after spicing them up in an Indian way. A 'delicious pick' from Foodie lover.

This recipe is a fascination; a fusion of  North and South. The South Indian Vadas ( let me recommend you to have a look at the ingredients used to make the Vadas) blended with the array of Northy chat flavours and combined with the goodness of Yogurt! The feasty Dal Dahi Vada Chat from Jayasri Ravi.

A snack made with horse gram and vegetables! I bet these Spicy Kollu Vegetable Rolls are new to you as for me.She made my day mentioning the event prompted her to start a food blog and she did it right away, posting this interesting recipe!
Feeling proud that I had been the reason behind the start of a homely space which is going to benefit millions, soon! Good Luck, Lakshmi :)


Chicken legs never lose their demand and so do these hot Spicy Tandoori Chicken on the plate. Prepared by Faiza Kader. Shared by her Tamil Blog, 'En Iniya Illam'.

Don't these buns look perfect and more than gorgeous?
Do visit her space to check out her lovely step-wise recipe for Soft Chicken Stuffed Buns. I am more than excited to have them for the event, Nitha :)

Main Meal
(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner Recipes)


A healthy combination of rice and dal makes a healthy start for the day too.
Paruppu Adai from Jaleela Kamal. She is a busy homemaker who manages both Tamil and English food blogs!

The first girl who promised me to send over the entry. She kept her word by sending over her Spicy South Indian Tomato Rice.
A lovely recipe with pictures of aesthetic sense; from Pepper Bowl!
Can't ask for more!

Have you thought of making something tangy and spicy with quinoa? Well, Priya Sahasranaman has ventured the differently delicious Quinoa Puliyodarai! She also substitutes quinoa for the rice part in curd rice, pulao and even Khichdi!


Meena Selvakumaran had perfected the elaborate recipe of Dum Chicken Biriyani in  a simpler way urging the non vegetarian biriyani lovers to give a shot!
Also, the first contribution for my first event :)

Here's a treat from another spice lover.
Princy's Prawn Pulav - A simple but great meal for prawn and pulav lovers. The rich red colour, the blend of spices and the moist look of the pulav is simply  mouthwatering!

Who doesn't love this dish called 'Kothu Paratha'?
Babitha Costa's Beef Kothu Paratha  provides a sumptuous lunch for a non-vegetarian who likes beef!

Curries / Accompaniments


How many of you had thought of a combo of methi leaves and mor kuzhambu? Aparna Rajesh Kumar  elaborates with her stepwise of the flavourful Spicy Methi leaves Morkuzhambu in her space.

A guilt free side dish with the healthy green vegetable, ladies finger or okra.
The Konkani's Bhende Phanna Upkari or the Chilly Okra sent over with lots of love from Divya Kudua

Imagine you are living far...far away in a country quite far from your native home. Recreate a kuzhambu with all the goodness and flavours back home. Have it for lunch! How would you feel?I am sure Latamma felt heaven, when she made the very homely Karuveppilai Poondu Karakuzhambu with all her love!

I am sure many of you love biting into crunchy, juicy bits of young corn soaked in a flavourful gravy!
Sharanya's Baby Corn Gravy made with freshly ground Indian masala is a traditionally flavoured combo for Indian breads and pulaos!

Here's an Indo Chinese recipe of Vegetable Manchurian with Gravy. by Linsy Patel. Addition of soya granules along with the veggies for the balls gives the recipe an interesting twist.

Honestly, I haven't heard of Rogan Josh made with Mushrooms.
The innovative Mushroom ki Rogan Josh with stepwise illustrations from Arthy Shama.

If you are bored with the regular recipes of raw plaintain, give it a twist, following the recipe of Spicy Plantain Masala prepared by Priya Satheesh.

 The picture says it all. The yummy spicy red hot Mushroom Chops by Shama Nagarajan.

If I am right here, Vengaya Kose is one of the Tamil recipes which is disappearing from the tables of the state. This simple but special side dish is prepared and sent over by Meenal Ramanathan.

Gobi Capsicum Kheema -Yet another interesting combination of cauliflower, bell pepper, tomato and coconut, blended with a touch of jaggery. Contributed by Anuradha Prem, a creative girl, who crochets embroiders and paints.This entry is special as it is her first food recipe in the space :)

Quite an appealing and innovative dish. Spiced Unripe Banana Balls in Rich Gravy, contributed by Anshu Bhatnagar.

Spicy Gavarfali Dhokli or Cluster beans with wheat flour dumplings is an interesting combination!
"Dhokli can be had as it is or with roti, But we normally have them as it is," says Manjula of Desi Fiesta.

Non Vegetarian

Don't you think this Pepper Chicken Masala from Swapna is classic? I love the ingredients of the recipe and the pastel shades in the shot!

This simple Egg Curry from Divya Shivaraman has captured all the goodness and creaminess in the final picture. The clear stepwise illustrations with sharp shots were one among the first entries, that stole my heart.

This yummy and Spicy Pepper Prawn  is from Asiya Omar, from her Tamil Blog

A very homely Pepper Chicken curry from Tinku Shaji.

Yet another classic pick!

Turkey Kofta Curry is sure to delight the soul of any non-vegetarian. A glimpse from 'Divya's Culinary Journey.

Even a simple looking curry can be capable to lock most flavours. The Spicy and Perfect Shrimp Gravy which Usha suggests, is a good example!

Spicy Chicken Curry topped with lots of coriander greens is more than appealing for a chicken lover. Shrav's chicken curry illustrated stepwise is not an exemption to that!

Who cares about the presentation when it comes to a  homely and traditional recipe? :)
Spicy Aathur Pepper Mutton is sent over by Jaleela Kamal from her English blog

The pretty looking Pattukkottai Chicken Curry is one among my favourite entries. Revathi owns a neat blog with lovely pictures of food she cooks.

A homely treat for fish lovers. The irresistible Chettinad Fish Kuzhambu made and sent over by Nithya

Fork n Folks! Smart!
With a burnt shell of coconut, butter, topped with cloves, Latha has brilliantly induced a smoky flavour to her perfectly done Boneless Smoky Chicken.

Chutneys / Dips

This Red Hot Spicy dip is from Lakshmi Venkatesh. Enough to make any cheeks hurt, the fiery Varamilagai Thovayal is the traditional combination   with Vellai Paniyaram of Chettinad Cuisine!

Here's a quick-fix blend onions and tomatoes! The simple and yummy Onion Tomato Chutney for the South Indian idlies and dosas. From my little sis, an ardent chutney lover :)

Pickles / Preserves

The picture catches the attention!

The lovely Gooseberry Pickle send over with much enthusiasm by Jeyashri Suresh.

Green Bell Pepper and Green Chilli Pickle dip from Chithra is a very different chutney with a combination of two kinds of peppers!

I still dwell upon my doubts if anyone has a better recipe for 'Fish Pickle' than the Keralites!
Sini's Meen Achar is the last to be featured, but the most favourite treat for spice and fish lovers like me :)

Let me thank, from the bottom of my heart, each participant, who had taken time to prepare and send over the recipe, thereby making my first event a successful one :)

Loads of Love
Bharathy :)

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