Friday, May 31, 2013

Masal Vadai ~ Deep-fried spiced-up Channa Dal Patties

Masal Vadai

I am still trying hard to bring out the exact English translation of the Tamils' Masal Vadai.
Spiced up lentil dumplings? lentil patties? dal patties? extra spiced version of paruppu vadai? the step brother to  Malayalee's Parippu Vada? I am unusually losing words for a simple description for this humble snack!
Hope the one on top with title which am (still) editing is fair enough :)

Paruppu vadais used to be and still are a regular tea-timesnack in my in-laws' house. Ma-in-law makes them in a jiffy. I see her entering the kitchen and breezing out with a plateful of hot vadais in the evenings, at least once a week. Honestly I had never been a fan of those paruppu vadais those days or even until this moment. They were bland, non-spicy with a gross flavour of dal that they were devoid of onions, garlic, ginger or even cilantro; the natural flavour enhancers of a South Indian recipe.
Neverthelessly the vadas were crispy enough while hot and the imperfectly shaped patties added to the taste while washed along down the throat with hot sips of chai those days.
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Friday, May 24, 2013

Bialys ~ Soft and chewy rolls topped with caramelised onions


The name Bialy (pronounced bee-AH-lee) comes from 'Bialystocker Kuchen' which translates as “bread from Bialystok” which is in Poland. Apparently, Bialys are rarely seen or made in Bialystok these days.In the days when there used to be Bialys in Bialystock, it seems the rich Jews ate Bialys with their meals, while the Bialys were the whole meal for the poorer Jews.
In the early 1900s, many Eastern Eurpoeans, including the Polish, immigrated to the US and settled down in New York. Naturally, they also brought their Bialy making skills with them and that is how the New York Bialy became famous.

The Bialy maybe thought of as a cousin to a Bagel but is quite different from it. For one thing, a Bialy is baked whereas a Bagel is boiled and then baked. A Bialy is round with a depressed middle, not a hole, and typically filled with cooked onions and sometimes poppy seeds.So it is not shiny on the outside with largish puffy bubbles on the inside.A good Bialy should have a springy soft crumb and a chewy and floury crust. Bialys are best when eaten as they are and also within 5 to 6 hours of making them.

What lends Bialys their signature chewiness is the use of flour that is high in gluten. So to make Bialys, use bread flour if you can find it. Otherwise use all-purpose flour and add 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten (for the 3 cups). If like me, you can find neither bread flour nor vital wheat gluten, go ahead and make it with plain flour. You’ll still have very nice Bialys that are slightly softer, that’s all.

One way to make them slightly chewier is to refrigerate the dough overnight after the first rise. The next day, take the dough out and keep it at room temperature for about half an hour. Then shape the rolls and proceed with the recipe. These Bialys are on the softer side so do not over bake them or they will dry out and become tough.
Bialys usually have a thin layer of caramelised onions and poppy seeds. I decided to use only onions, and then lots of it. Being Indian and having been brought up on spices in my food, I also added some garam masala to spice up my filling. You can use whatever filling you would like. Anyways the filling needs to be savoury.
[Introductory content adapted verbatim from Aparna's recipe document]

And let me tell you now that there can't be a better choice than Bialys for We Knead to Bake for the month.


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Friday, May 17, 2013

Foodpanda ~ The online way to order food in just 3 steps!

I came across an an online food ordering website called Foodpanda.  It is an up-and-coming website
that operates by delivering food from a wide range of restaurants to homes and/or offices in 11 cities in India, namely Delhi, Gurgaon, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, etc.

As an author of a food blog I can tell you blogs like mine mainly focus on cooking ideas and recipes. The whole idea interested me because I am sure there would be lot more readers who live in cities and really don't find or cannot afford solid time to cook at home. A hectic day, drives many exhausted and makes them impractical to go out and eat.  Grabbing packed food on the way back home makes many of us rather impatient because of the detour, traffic and vehicle parking issues during busy evenings in city centres.

 Foodpanda covers favourite restaurants of your area as well as fast food joints. Type your locality in the home page to know the options. The cuisines are varied; Chinese, Mexican, Punjabi are to name a few.
 Enter your area, select your restaurant, browse the menu, order and and pay cash online.The food is on your way, while you chill out at home!

Have a lovely weekend, friends!

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Blueberry Lemonade ~ Sister blogs for me :)

My sister Nags, of Edible Garden, needs no introduction. Seeing no regular updations in my space lately, sis offered to do a guest post for me during one of our chats past week. Since I don't have much  fruit drinks to my credit, I wanted her to do one for me. She found just enough time to buy the fresh berries and do this post for me, inspite of her much busy weekend. She was a little worried about the poor lighting in her photography though I felt perfect and squealed in delight!
I honestly love shadowy/dull lighting than brightness for photo shoots these days.

Tight hugs and over to you, sis... :)

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