I had forgotten how tasty this loaf is until our next door neighbor in the village brought us a whole bunch of juicy lemons from the lemon tree in his garden. Seeing the lemons brought back memories of this lemon loaf that was my first bake from the book Home Sweet Home by Tarek Malouf. I haven’t baked too many cakes from Tarek Malouf’s book yet but I’m sure that if the recipes taste as good as this cake I’ve baked, then I will try more recipes from his book.
Tarek Malouf has a fantastic bakery in London called Hummingbird Bakery. I’ve visited the branch in the Dubai Mall in Dubai and tasted some yummy goodies there.
So here is the recipe.
Sweet Dough Lemon Loaf
Lemon cakes and lemon loaves are too tempting to resist and this one is extra special because it has yeast in it. Eat it fresh. It gets stale if kept too long.
For the dough
75 ml luke warm whole milk
60 ml tepid water
1/2 tsp salt
50 gms caster sugar
2 1/4 tsp dried active yeast
350 gms plain flour, plus extra for dusting
55 gms unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the filling
60 gms unsalted butter
100 gms caster sugar
Grated zest of three lemons
For the topping
90 gms full fat cream cheese
40 gms icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp whole milk
Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus extra to decorate
Grease the loaf tin and dust with flour.
In a small bowl, mix the warm milk, water, salt, 1 teaspoon of sugar and the dried active yeast. Set aside for 30 minutes or until a foam forms on the surface.
In a large mixing bowl mix the flour and remaining sugar. Make a well in the centre.
Melt the butter in the microwave or in a pan on the stove. When the yeast liquid is ready add the eggs, vanilla extract and melted butter to the yeast mixture.
Pour the liquids into the well of the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula to form a dough. Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for approximately 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth.
Place the dough in a lightly floured bowl, cover tightly with cling film and allow to prove in a warm place, for approximately 45 minutes or until the dough doubles in size.
While the dough proves, make the lemon sugar filling. Melt the butter in the microwave or in a pan on the stove. In a medium bowl mix the sugar, lemon zest and melted butter together. Set aside in a warm place so that the butter doesn’t solidify again.
Once the dough has proved remove it from the bowl. Gently knock the dough back. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is 12 x 15 inches. Cut the dough lengthwise into 4 equal strips with a sharp knife.
With a pastry brush coat each strip with the lemon sugar filling. Carefully lift the strips and pile them on top of each other. Cut the pile of strips into 6 equal square stacks. Carefully lift each stack and place it in the loaf tin, cut side facing up. Place each stack next to each other in the tin, packing them to form a loaf.
Wrap the tin in cling film and set aside the dough to rise again for 45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius, 325 degrees Fahrenheit, Gas mark 3, and bake the loaf for approximately 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Keep aside to cool slightly.
To make the lemon cream cheese topping, with a hand held electric whisk or a free standing electric mixer mix the cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth. Add the lemon juice, zest and milk and mix well until smooth.
Once the lemon loaf has cooled slightly, remove it from the tin and top with the lemon topping and lemon zest. Serve warm.
It was my birthday the other day and I didn’t want to bake a cake for a change. Actually, I wanted to try out a new recipe that I’d read about in this little book by Nita Mehta called Taste Of Hyderabad.
Ahmedabad is a cauldron in the summers. On my birthday too, the temperature soared. We didn’t feel like stepping out in the sun, so we didn’t eat out, or shop, but instead I cooked a feast for family and friends. I made date and split gram lentils halwa, mango ice cream, paneer kulchas and sambharia, a mouthwatering Gujarati stuffed vegetable dish. Those who have eaten it will vouch for its yummyness and I’ll post its recipe on my blog one of these days. But first, the recipe of the delicious halwa.
I’ve adapted this recipe from Nita Mehta’s recipe, as I said. However, I used 500 gms seedless dates instead of 500 gms seeded dates in the recipe and it came out delicious. You may want to adjust the quantity of sugar in the recipe though.
Date And Split Gram Lentils Halwa
This sweet dish tastes delectable. Make it and your guests will drool!
500 gms seedless dates
1 1/2 cups split gram lentils ( channe ki dal)
1 1/2 litres milk
1 1/2 cups clarified butter (ghee)
2 drops screwpine (kewra) essence
15 almonds blanched, peeled and slivered
A few pistachios chopped
1 tspn cardamom powder
1/4 cup sugar or to taste
Was the split gram lentils or chaane ki dal and put them in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the milk and once it begins to boil cook on a low flame for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender and the milk has dried up. Stir every few minutes to ensure the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Keep the milk and lentils mixture aside to cool. Grind the mixture to a paste.
Wash the dates and boil in 1/2 cup of water for 5 minutes or until slightly softened. Remove from fire and let cool. Mash the dates with your hands.
Mix the mashed dates with the lentil paste.
Heat the ghee in a clean heavy bottom pan. Add the dates and lentil mixture and fry well. Check for sweetness and add sugar if required.
Add the kewra essence and cardamom powder and stir. Decorate with slivered almonds and chopped pistachios. Serve hot or warm.
When my 9 year old nephew was younger, he loved watching Chota Bheem (Chota Bheem which literally means little Bheem, is an animated TV series that focuses on the adventures of a boy named Bheem and his friends in the fictional kingdom of Dholakpur. In this series, Bheem and his friends are usually involved in protecting Raja Indravarma, the king of Dholakpur, and his kingdom from various evil forces. Sometimes they also help other kingdoms. It is one of the most popular animated series for children in India- Wikipedia). Chota Bheem loves ladoos and therefore so do all little kids who watch it, I don’t know of a single kid who watches Chota Bheem and doesn’t demand the energy giving ladoos that he eats. My nephew must have ladoos, the owner of the beauty parlor that I go to, her grand daughter must have ladoos too!
So this time I’m posting a recipe of ladoos made from whole-wheat flour that my nephew loves. We make ladoos from many different ingredients in India but atta or whole-wheat flour ladoos are delicious and easy to make.
Ladoos are also served as an offering to Lord Ganesha. He just loves them.
These whole wheat flour ladoos are popular among the Sindhi community in India.
You can buy whole-wheat flour and the other ingredients required to make these ladoos at any Indian store.
Here’s the recipe.
Whole-wheat Flour Ladoos
Kids and adults alike will love this Indian sweet.
1 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup ghee or clarified butter
1/2 cup ground sugar
1/2 cup chopped mixed nuts and raisins
Melt ghee in a heavy bottomed pan on a medium flame. Roast the whole-wheat flour in the ghee on a slow flame for about 10 minutes or until it turns golden brown and a nice aroma emanates from it.
Remove from the stove and spread the roasted flour on a tray to cool.
Add the ground sugar and chopped nuts and raisins to the flour, mix well, and make table tennis sized balls with the mixture. You might need to apply some ghee on your hands to make the balls. There you go. The ladoos are ready to eat!
This recipe for almond pudding is a middle eastern one, and I got it from Anissa Helou’s book, Sweet Middle East. The pudding is subtly flavored with almonds, and garnished with pistas. It is delicious, to say the least, eaten at room temperature or better still, cold from the refrigerator. And oh! I added regular granulated sugar instead of organic cane sugar to the pudding.
It is a simple pudding to make but I love its fresh, delicate taste. I must admit I had no clue how it would taste before making it, I’d never tried making something like this before, but I was pleasantly surprised when the pudding was ready.
And, here’s an interesting tidbit. This pudding is called Kishk Al-Fuqara in Arabic. Fuqara means poor in Arabic, but as the author herself says, none of the ingredients in this dish are associated with poverty so how the name came about is a mystery.
We’ve all relished a variety of middle eastern savory dishes but the sweets and desserts of this region remain unknown to many of us. Try this dessert at home, whether you’re a novice, cooking expert, traveler, or just a TV food programme addict.
Make this delicately flavored almond pudding for an occasion or anytime. Your folks will love it.
4 cups whole milk
60 gms or 3/4 cup almond meal
40 gms or 1/4 cup rice flour or cornstarch
60 gms or 1/3 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
Some slivered or chopped pistachios
Put 3 1/2 cups milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally-watch it toward the end so as not to let it boil over. As it starts to boil add the almond meal. Turn the heat to medium low and let simmer, stirring regularly, until the almond meal has softened, about 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix the rice flour or cornstarch with the remaining 1/2 cup milk, stirring until completely smooth. Slowly whisk the starch mixture into the simmering milk and cook, whisking all the time, for about 5 minutes until the mixture has thickened.
Add the sugar and continue whisking until completely dissolved. Taste and adjust the sugar to your liking. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract.
Pour the pudding into one large serving bowl or 4 to 6 individual bowls. Let cool. Serve at room temperature garnished with pistachios or refrigerate to serve chilled, garnishing the pudding just before serving.
This curry or kadhi as it is called in Hindi and Punjabi is a delightful yellow in color. The color being fabulous besides, it tastes great too. It is much sought after in Punjabi food restaurants and is made a lot in Punjabi homes. I’ve eaten it very often in my North Indian friends’ homes when we were in the Air Force.
I can’t help but think, that those times in the Air Force were so different. We lived in Air Force camps, all of us united as one family, no difference whether we were Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians or Jews. We never gave a thought to our neighbour’s religion. We shared our food, books, games, school, our feelings and our friendships. Our mothers were our backbones while our dads were out flying. Our parents were our strength and taught us never to discriminate. I’ve kept alive many friendships from those days, some forty years later. These are sad times when people fight over the most petty of matters and violence is the rule of the day. I hope my blog serves as a path to love and peace through cooking and food.
This recipe is inspired by one from Nita Mehta’s Vegetarian Curries, a small book which packs a delightful punch of vegetarian curries and other vegetarian recipes. It’s also reasonably priced. So you can get it from your favorite bookstore or online.
If you have elderly people in your home you can make the pakoras with grated onions and potatoes instead of finely chopped ones. The pakoras will literally melt in the mouth.
Punjabi Pakora Kadhi
Make this mouthwatering Punjabi style curry for your loved ones.
3/4 cup gram flour
2 cups sour curd or yoghurt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
chilly powder to taste
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
3-4 dry red chillies
4-5 curry leaves
For Pakoras or Dumplings
1 big onion, finely chopped
1 big potato, finely chopped
1/2 piece ginger, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
A pinch of soda bicarbonate
Salt to taste
1 cup gram flour
1/3 cup water
Oil for frying
For Tempering or Tadka
1 1/2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
Mix curd, gram flour, salt, turmeric, red chilly powder and 5 1/2 cups water. Beat well till smooth and no lumps remain.
In a heavy bottomed pan heat the oil and put in the cumin and fenugreek seeds.
When the cumin seeds begin to turn brownish, add the dry red chillies and curry leaves. Fry for one minute.
Add curd-water mixture and stir till it begins to boil. Then lower the flame and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring in between. Keep aside.
Now to prepare the pakoras, mix the gram flour with water to make a paste like consistency. Add the rest of the ingredients for the pakoras except the oil which you must keep for frying them. Mix well.
Heat the oil for frying and drop spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil and fry, gently turning the pakoras around, till they’re golden brown all over.
Add pakoras to the curry a few minutes before serving.
To temper the curry, heat the oil in a small pan, reduce the flame and add cumin seeds, when they turn golden brown, add the red chilly powder and quickly remove the pan from the fire and overturn it onto the hot curry. Serve hot.
If you don’t have a love for chillies, like my dad, then add just the green chillies and no chilly powder anywhere else, like I have done.
Taste the curry when it is cooking and adjust for seasoning.
You may also sprinkle some finely chopped fresh coriander leaves as garnish before laying the curry on the table.
Just like Julie Andrews sings These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things in the 1965 musical Sound of Music and goes on to tell us some of her favorite things in the song, if I sang this song, which I love, I would mention Saboodana Khichdi made by mom.
The recipe for this savory tapioca pearls snack, usually eaten for breakfast, at tea time, or during periods of fasting, because it doesn’t contain garlic, onions or even asafoetida, is an heirloom family recipe. And you must try it to believe how tasty the dish turns out.
I’d rate it as a slightly difficult dish to make because the saboodana or tapioca pearls must be bought fresh, not powdery in the packing, but whole rounds. They must be soaked in just the right quantity of water- just enough to soak them overnight, but not completely drowned in water. When you soak them in water like this they will swell up by the next morning. And you can move ahead with the recipe.
Eat this tasty snack for breakfast or teatime, hot and fresh.
200 gms saboodana or tapioca pearls
6 tbsps ghee or clarified butter
1 tspn cumin seeds
10-12 curry leaves
2 medium sized potatoes, chopped into small cubes
1 cup roasted, peeled and roughly ground peanuts
Some finely chopped coriander
2 to 3 finely chopped green chillies
1 1/2 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
1 lemon cut into 4 slices
Take a medium sized, flat, broad based vessel. Put in the saboodana and soak in water about 1/4 inch above the level of the saboodana. Don’t let the saboodana drown in too much water. Let soak overnight. In the morning, the saboodana should have soaked in all the water, swollen up and if you press one, it should not have a hard centre.
Put the ghee in a thick bottomed pan and heat on medium flame. When hot put in the cumin seeds and curry leaves and fry till a nice aroma emanates, about one minute. Ensure that the cumin seeds do not burn and turn black.
Now put in the chopped potatoes into the ghee and add just enough salt for only the potatoes. Cover the pan with a thali, put some water on top of the thali and let the potatoes cook on a slow flame.
Meanwhile, lightly toss the soaked saboodana in its vessel. Add the green chillies, finely chopped coriander, sugar, roughly ground peanuts and just enough salt for the saboodana. Remember, you’ve already added some salt to the potatoes.
Now, bring down the cooked potato pan from the flame and put the saboodana into the pan, quickly and gently tossing and mixing.
Put back the pan on the flame and cook on low flame for 2 to 3 minutes. Your saboodana khichdi is ready. Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve hot.
The soaked saboodana should not be soggy and should not have a hard centre when pressed. It should have swollen when soaked overnight and the water should have been absorbed.
When tossing the saboodana before adding the peanuts, green chillies, chopped coriander leaves and salt, toss gently to separate the pearls so that they don’t stick to each other, so that when you add this saboodana mix to the pan of cooked potatoes, they do not stick and form lumps but are beautiful, separate, pearls.
You’ve eaten aloo parathas or Indian breads made with whole wheat flour and a stuffing of spiced mashed potatoes. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t like them. They’re so yum, you can have a hearty breakfast of them or even have them as part of a meal.
This recipe is a twist on the regular aloo paratha. Instead of filling the spiced potato mix in the dough after binding it, in my version, I mix the mashed potatoes and spices with the dough and bind them all together. Believe it or not, this way, when you cook the parathas, they’re so soft and melt in the mouth that you won’t be able to stop at just one.
Children and especially older people love them because as I said they’re so soft. Not just that, they taste awesome too. So next time you plan to make aloo parathas try them my way. Infact, my granny made these for mom for her tiffin box and all mom’s classmates would pounce on them and polish them off in the wink of an eye.
So here’s the recipe.
Aloo Parathas With A Difference
The epitome of homemade, eat them freshly made, hot from the tawa(skillet).
500 gms boiled, peeled and grated potatoes
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon chilly-ginger paste
salt to taste
A handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
1/2 cup oil
Some flour to sprinkle on the discs while rolling
Put the boiled and grated potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add the three cups of whole-wheat flour to the potatoes.
Add the onions, spices, chilly ginger paste, salt and the fresh, finely chopped coriander to the potato flour mix.
Now put in the oil, a little at a time, gently binding the dough as you go along. The dough should be firm, not too soft.
Divide the dough into 12 equal sized balls.
Put a skillet on the stove on medium flame.
Take a ball of dough and with a rolling pin, roll out a circle of approximately 5 1/2 to 6 inches. You may want to sprinkle flour to help roll out the circle of dough.
Now, lay the disc on the skillet and cook on each side till brown spots appear. Reduce or increase the flame, adjusting it to control the heat while cooking the paratha. Spread a teaspoon of butter or ghee on the cooked paratha. Similarly make the remaining parathas.
Sprinkle a little dry flour on the discs while rolling them out. This will make it easier to roll them out.
To keep the parathas hot while you finish making them, keep them wrapped in a clean, cotton cloth napkin.