Category: Lunch Box

Wholewheat Pizza Base | How to make Wholewheat Pizza Base

You like pizza, I know you do! It’s Friday night…you’re watching your favourite rom-com, you scarf down 5 slices of Pizza without pausing for a breath….and then the DOUGH hits you! Hits you hard 😶😶😶 it’s super chewy, hard and weighs you down. Not the best note to start your weekend on, right!?

We are all the same, I am just like you…love to have pizzas…watch movie marathons and hate getting off my couch on weekends! But not at the cost of feeling weighed down and missing the next two meals or so. Hence, my Wholewheat Pizza Base is perfect for satisfying all those pizza cravings in a healthy way 🤗

Wholewheat pizza base recipe Polkapuffs recipes Vegan pizza base recipe

They are extremely light, crisp on the outside, moist within and taste way better than the all purpose flour ones. And the toppings…well that’s a whole other topic! Play! Yes, simply play with the toppings…veg..non-veg..greens or just plain cheese and herbs! They all work well with this Wholewheat Pizza Base. Although, if you still feel good about a APF pizza base, click here for a detailed, step by step recipe. Also, learn to make your own homemade pizza sauce, absolutely lip smacking and the quickest recipe ever!

A few things to keep in mind when making your own Wholewheat Pizza Base..

1. Yeast – I have used Active Dry yeast. Keep in mind the manufacturing date and the expiration date. Mine is manufactured in June’16 and expires in February ’17. So that’s the window..but I won’t be using this packet after December ’16. The effectiveness of the yeast diminishes with time. So work according to the dates.

2. Wholewheat Flour – I have used Aashirwaad Select flour here. Also, I didn’t seive the flour before kneading the dough. Just measured it correctly by first fluffing the flour, then adding spoonfuls of the flour into the measuring cup and then levelling it off with a palette knife. This is very crucial, so be measure it right!

3. Hydration – Wholewheat flour based breads need slightly more hydration as opposed to the APF ones. I used olive oil and water to hydrate the dough. (You can use regular refined oil too).

Let’s get baking!

Yield: 4-5 pizza bases depending on the size and the thickness. (I made 5 bases of approximately 7″ diameter).

Equipment: a baking tray, measuring cups/ spoons, rolling board, rolling pin, a large mixing bowl, a small mixing bowl, cooling rack, a fork.

Ingredients:

2.5 cups wholewheat flour + some extra flour to dust the board while rolling the dough

125 ml warm water (you should be able to comfortably hold your finger in the water)

25-30 ml water @r.t.

3 tsp sugar

3 tsp active dry yeast

4 tbsp olive oil + 2 tsp extra to grease the dough

1.5 tsp sea salt

Method:

Activate the yeast – take 125 ml warm water and add the sugar & yeast. Mix well. Cover and set aside for 10 mins without disturbing it, to let the yeast bloom. If it doesn’t bloom, discard & start again. Don’t compromise this step.

Wholewheat pizza base recipe Polkapuffs recipes Vegan pizza base recipeWholewheat pizza base recipe Polkapuffs recipes Vegan pizza base recipe

To make the dough – take the flour in a bowl, add salt and oil. Next add all the bloomed yeast mixture in one go. Start mixing them altogether using your fingers. At first the dough will be sticky but it will come together with 3-5 mins of kneading. Add 25 ml of water and keep kneading until you have a smooth dough. The more you knead, the better the dough shall rise! Grease the dough with 2 tsp oil and knead again for a 2-3 mins. Totally, you need to knead for about 15-20 mins. Cover with a kitchen towel and place it in a warm place for 45-60 mins to rise.

Wholewheat pizza base recipe Polkapuffs recipes Vegan pizza base recipe

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Wholewheat pizza base recipe Polkapuffs recipes Vegan pizza base recipe

After 45 mins, this is what the dough looked like post the first rise. 

Wholewheat pizza base recipe Polkapuffs recipes Vegan pizza base recipe

Now, we punch the dough down and divide it into equals sized balls. Cover them again and let them rest for 30 mins for the second rise. The third picture below shows the size of the dough balls post the second rise.

Wholewheat pizza base recipe Polkapuffs recipes Vegan pizza base recipeWholewheat pizza base recipe Polkapuffs recipes Vegan pizza base recipeWholewheat pizza base recipe Polkapuffs recipes Vegan pizza base recipe

Preheat the oven for 10 mins at 200’c.

Now, dust the rolling board and the pin with some wholewheat flour and roll out the balls into a flatbread of about 3mm thickness and the diameter of about 6″-7″. Prick them well with fork as shown below.

imageWholewheat pizza base recipe Polkapuffs recipes Vegan pizza base recipe

Place the rolled dough on the baking tray and bake for 12-15 mins using both, upper & lower heating elements at 200’c to 210’c. (Please note every oven works differently so keep an eye on the pizza base, once it turns golden on the top side, take it out of the oven).

Once baked, cool the base on a cooling rack for 10 mins. Then apply pizza sauce & add other toppings and cheese and bake for another 10 mins or until the cheese melts. Enjoy!

If storing for future use, cool them completely, wrap them in cling wrap and refrigerate. Stays fresh for 2-3 days under refrigeration.

Wholewheat pizza base recipe Polkapuffs recipes Vegan pizza base recipe

Do try these out soon…you’ll love them!

Love,

Shreya💖

McDonald’s Style Pizza McPuffs | Bakery Style Vegetable Puffs

Vegetable Puff anyone?! You? And you?! Yes, I guess all of us would grab one the moment we’d set our eyes on these. They are so light, crisp…buttery, flaky…absolutely melt in the mouth yummy! The filling too an integral part…spicy veggies with a dash of tang is what made these Puffs to die for! Even the non-veg version was always so delicious…one Puff would never suffice! 😉

Bakery Style Vegetable Puffs recipe McDonalds Pizza McPuffs recipe Polkapuffs recipes

Hence, I will having 3 of them! Hahah! No, i didn’t, I shared these with my hubby…who couldn’t stop chomping on them. My hubby kept saying that they taste better than the bakery ones. The filling was very different he said, more like the one in a Pizza McPuff from McDonalds! I was like…yes, I did try to replicate the filling, he loved my version.😊

Bakery Style Vegetable Puffs recipe McDonalds Pizza McPuffs recipe Polkapuffs recipes

Why is the filling like Pizza McPuffs, you’d ask me…simply because I love the flavour bomb that is inside a McPuff. It’s so creamy and yet light, perfection in every bite! But I always wanted to make that in Puff Pastry version. So I did.

That filling, those buttery layers made this for the perfect snack…or if I may suggest, a light meal with some soup on the side on a winter night! Wow, sounds about right! 😍

Making the Puff pastry sheet at home is quite a task..trust me! The rolling, the folding, and repeating the steps at least 10-12 times is a challenge that may or may not give you perfect results. I have used ready to use sheets which I always keep in my freezer when I need to whisk quick snacks or pies even! They are handy and absolutely perfect. But there are few tips on using them that I will share here along with the recipe for the McPuffs filling.

Firstly, always buy a frozen pastry sheet which has a manufacturing date closer to the date you are buying it. Say for example, if you are shopping for this on 15 Jul 2016, the manufacturing date should nothing older than 01st June 2016. That way, you will get the freshest product.

They expire in 90 days, so do plan accordingly. Buy 1 or more packets depending on your consumption. (I always buy 2 at a time, because I know I will use it all in about 5-6 weeks.)

Thawing a frozen pastry sheet, it is crucial to know how you thaw (bring a frozen pastry sheet to room temperature) them. Every package once opened cannot be refrozen. To thaw, place the frozen pastry sheet roll at room temperature for about an hour. It also depends where you are, say if the climate is humid, it will soften faster and the same goes for the other way around too.

The size of the frozen pastry sheets is just right to make about 4-5 of these vegetable puffs. But it also depends on how you have sized the puffs, you could even make 6-7 of them. (I usually make large ones)

Let’s get started..

Yield: 4-5 large McPuffs/ Vegetable Puffs

Equipment: a baking tray, cooling rack, a knife, a fork, a small pan, measuring cups/ spoons, pastry brush.

Ingredients:

1 nos. frozen pastry sheet

oil as needed to brush the puffs before baking

For the filling:

1 cup each boiled and chopped carrots & beans (you can add any veggies or meat)

salt to taste

1/4 tsp crushed black pepper

1/4 tsp turmeric pwd

1/2 tsp red chilly pwd

3/4 tsp mixed Italian herbs

1 tsp ginger garlic paste

2 tbsp tomato ketchup

3 tbsp Amul fresh cream

2 tsp oil

Method:

Heat oil in a pan, add the chopped veggies. Season with salt & pepper. Mix well & sauté for 3-4 mins.

Bakery Style Vegetable Puffs recipe McDonalds Pizza McPuffs recipe Polkapuffs recipesBakery Style Vegetable Puffs recipe McDonalds Pizza McPuffs recipe Polkapuffs recipesBakery Style Vegetable Puffs recipe McDonalds Pizza McPuffs recipe Polkapuffs recipes

Next, add ginger garlic paste, turmeric, red chilly pwd and Italian herbs. Mix well and cook for 5 mins. Now turn off the flame, add cream and ketchup. Mix well. Set the ready filling aside to cool for a few mins.

Assembling the Puffs:

Lay the thawed pastry sheet and cut the pastry into pieces as per your choice. Place the filling in the centre and close the pastry from the other side as shown below. Use a fork and press down the edges to secure the filling within the puff.

Bakery Style Vegetable Puffs recipe McDonalds Pizza McPuffs recipe Polkapuffs recipesBakery Style Vegetable Puffs recipe McDonalds Pizza McPuffs recipe Polkapuffs recipesBakery Style Vegetable Puffs recipe McDonalds Pizza McPuffs recipe Polkapuffs recipes

Make small incision on top of every puff and brush them with oil.

Bakery Style Vegetable Puffs recipe McDonalds Pizza McPuffs recipe Polkapuffs recipesBakery Style Vegetable Puffs recipe McDonalds Pizza McPuffs recipe Polkapuffs recipes

Place the ready to bake puffs in the refrigerator for 10 mins to firm up, that way they get perfect flaky layers once baked.

As they cool in the refrigerator, preheat the oven at 180’c for 10 mins. Now place the baking tray in the oven to bake the puffs for 20-25 mins @190’c using both the upper & lower rods. (Please note that every oven works differently and you may need to adjust the timing and the temperature too. These settings worked for me.)

They will start turning brown on the top as they puff up, so keep an eye on them as they bake. Once done, remove from the oven and place the them on the cooling rack for a few mins to cool them a bit. Serve warm/ hot with ketchup.

Bakery Style Vegetable Puffs recipe McDonalds Pizza McPuffs recipe Polkapuffs recipes

Hope you try these soon and don’t be intimidated by the pastry sheets! They are very simple to use. ☺️

Love,

Shreya💖

Vanilla Sponge Cake in Pressure Cooker

There are somethings which you learn unknowingly, just by watching it way too many times…although that’s just in your subconscious. You don’t really know whether you already have known it all your life until you’ve tried it – my Mom’s Vanilla Sponge in a Pressure Cooker is just that for me, with a slight variation of my own that I’ve perfected over the years 😘

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Ain’t this a beauty! Such an easy recipe, even easier is the technique which is I’ve learnt from my Mom, she’s an expert with cooker cakes…no, not because she doesn’t own an oven….(she has a very rare flame heated English oven, almost like Nigella’s, that’s over 3 decades old & has seen some of the best bakes in its time)….it’s merely a thing of convenience for her to bake in a pressure cooker and get done quickly! She’s my Mom after all, quick and easy is something that’s been passed on me by her…☺️

Pressure cooker cake recipe PolkaPuffs recipe Vanilla sponge cake in pressure cooker

The hand that held mine once, holds on a piece of cake made by the one she made. How ironical! My first time clicking with a model, my Mom💖…the best part, this cake was made in her kitchen…using her utensils & equipments…(the props are mine…I end up stocking up on them wherever I go!)…almost the traditional way. I beat the sugar with the eggs using a manual beater for the first time in my life! That’s how she still does and says that is the correct way to incorporate the air into the batter for a light and airy cake… the results are here for you to see. She has a point. I will follow this more from now…give my muscles a bit of a workout! 😂 Also, no parchment/ baking paper!

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So coming to the recipe, my Mom uses homemade white butter when she bakes a cake. I have used oil in place of the homemade white butter as she didn’t have that ready at home. Also, I have added some milk…it really does make the cake so much more moist, here she agrees with me! You learn some, you teach some!

Yield: a 6″ square cake

Equipment: a mixing bowl, measuring cups/ spoons, baking tin, a large pressure cooker, a spare steel bowl, a cooling rack.

Ingredients:

1+ 1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 eggs at room temperature

1+ 1/4 cup all purpose flour (Maida, sieved once)

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup refined oil

1 + 1/2 tsp baking pwd

3/4 tsp vanilla extract/ essence

Method:

Prepare the tin with some oil and dust maida (APF) all over. Set aside.

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In a bowl, beat together the sugar & eggs until light and frothy.

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Then add the sieved flour, milk & oil. Beat again & add the baking powder with vanilla extract. Beat well, set aside.

Heat the pressure cooker on high flame for 10 mins. Place a bowl or plate inside at the bottom. DONT ADD WATER IN THE COOKER.

image Pressure cooker cake recipe PolkaPuffs recipe Vanilla sponge cake in pressure cookerPressure cooker cake recipe PolkaPuffs recipe Vanilla sponge cake in pressure cooker

Fill the batter in the ready tin upto half its capacity and place the tin in the heated pressure cooker on the bowl kept at the base. Cover the pressure cooker with it lid but remove its gasket and weight. Bake on medium flame for 40-45 mins.

Do a toothpick test and check if the cake is ready after 40 mins, it should come out with a few moist crumbs, if your cake is ready then remove from the cooker using kitchen tongs and cool the tin on cooling rack for 10 mins before unmoulding the cake.

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If the cake in undercooked, then let it cook for another 10 mins. It should be ready by then. Slice and serve.

This cake keeps well in an airtight box for 3-4 days.

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I am in love with it’s texture and airiness!!

Love,

Shreya ❤️

My variation adapted from here.

Oats Cheela | Savory Oats Crepes

No, I am not fond of Cheela. Period. Never have been and never will be! But my darling hubby is, more than fond I must say. He particularly enjoys it in the rainy weather with a cup of strong ginger tea 😘 And I indulge him! 

Hence, this morning….knowing the climate was perfect for these Cheelas or savory crepes…he asked me if I was going to make some…obviously I would I said! & I did. With my little, sneaky twist of healthy quotient in place and lots of spice too! Just the way he likes it.🤗

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I know everyone makes Cheelas and there is nothing special about them…but everyone makes these slightly differently and here’s how my Mom makes it…& I just add some oats to make it a bit healthier 😉 Let’s see how….

Yield: 5-6 cheelas/ crepes

Equipment: a non-stick pan, a spatula, a mixing bowl, measuring cups/ spoons.

Ingredients:

1 cup besan/ gram flour

2 tbsp oats

salt to taste

water as needed

1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste

1/2 tsp chopped green chilli

1/4 cup chopped onions

2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

a pinch of asafoetida (hing)

1/2 tsp red chilli pwd

1/2 tsp turmeric pwd

Oil as needed to cook the crepes

Method:

Firstly, in a dry non-stick pan, roast the oats for 1-2 mins. Let them not change the colour. We just need to crisp them up a bit. Turn off the flame. Let them cool down for a min. Then blend the roasted oats to a fine powder in a blender without using any water.

In a mixing bowl add all the ingredients except water & oil. Add little water at a time to a smooth & lump free batter. It should as thick as a dosa batter.

Oats besan Cheela recipe Savory oats pancake Savory crepes PolkaPuffs recipes

Heat the pan, spread the batter in a uniformed way. Drizzle some oil aournd it and cook on low flame for 2-3 mins on the first side. Then flip it over and cook other side for 1-2 mins. Add more oil if necessary. But do not cook on high flame, else they will remain undercooked within and will burn on the outside.

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Once cooked, serve hot with some ketchup or green coriander chutney.

Oats besan Cheela recipe Savory oats pancake Savory crepes PolkaPuffs recipes

My hubby loves these…and I am happy as they are healthy and super filling!

Love,

Shreya💖

Rassedaar Aloo Tamatar | Indian Potato & Tomato Curry

Considering how much I love Potatoes, I have a very few recipes about them on the blog! Dubkimaar Aloo or Rassedaar Aloo Tamatar is very common in my home…specially for Sunday brunch with some crispy, flaky, layered Parathas😋 NomNom!!

 Dubkimaar Aloo Aloo Tamatar ka rassa PolkaPuffs recipes

Rassedaar Aloo Tamatar is very famous all over Uttar Praadesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odissa, Madhya Pradesh and other neighbouring States, but is made differently everywhere you go. The taste changes from from one city to the next!

I am sharing my version of it which I’ve learnt from my Mom. No one makes Rassedaar Aloo Tamatar like she does, it’s irresistible, finger licking good!
The best part is that these are made without onions, garlic or any ginger even! Just some basic spices and you have yourself a yummy curry in a hurry! 😉
Pair it with some Masala Pooris or even Tehri, and you don’t need anything else!

Let’s see how….

Yield: serves 2

Equipment: a heavy bottom wok, measuring cups/ spoons, a ladle, a lid.

Ingredients:
2-3 nos. peeled, washed & cubed potatoes
1 nos. large washed & cubed tomato
2 tbsp mustard oil (you can use refined oil)
1 nos. slit green chilli
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp Garam masala
1/4 tsp amchoor powder (raw mango pwd)
Salt to taste
Water as needed
Coriander leaves to garnish

Method:
Heat oil in the wok. Once it’s hot, add the green chilli, cumin seeds & hing. Let these splatter for a minute. Then add the potatoes, turmeric pwd, cumin powder & red chilli powder. Stir well and sauté for 5 mins. Season with salt. Then, add some water and cover with a lids to cook for 10 mins or until the potatoes are done.

Open the lid, add the garam masala & tomatoes, mix well. Cover again to cook the tomatoes until they are mushy and form a curry. Adjust the consistency of the curry (rassa). Add amchoor powder and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve piping hot!

Dubkimaar Aloo Aloo Tamatar ka rassa PolkaPuffs recipes

That’s ‘comfort’ in a bowl.

Love,

Shreya❤️

Kadhi Pakodi

Typical to a North Indian family, we too love our Kadhi Pakodi or Kadhi Pakoras to no end. However, I do not make it very often and keep the novelty alive.

Kadhi Pakodi recipe by PolkaPuffs

That usually works too because whenever I do make it, my hubby is exceptionally happy and doesn’t wait long enough for me to even serve it properly before he starts attacking the meal 😘
So much so, that I couldn’t once click it in peace for the blog!! I mean, how does one set up the props..organise the shot, etc if you have someone hovering all around you and asking you every other minute if you were done already!!? LOL!

Kadhi Pakodi recipe by PolkaPuffs

Doesn’t that make for the most comforting meal?
A bowl of that warm, creamy, mildly spiced Kadhi with crisp yet spongy Pakodis is just what rainy afternoons need. It had been a damp weekend, so this became our late, extremely lazy Sunday lunch! Yet, not lazy enough for me click some pictures.
We had this with rotis instead of rice…as we were already pretty full from the Poha we gorged on for breakfast. Although it tastes best with some steamed rice and some kachumber (mixed salad).
I used my Mom’s recipe and it’s to die for! Usually I make the Pakodis in an Appepatra, click here to see how. Use my recipe for the Pakodi given below and follow the steps to make them in an Appepatra, that’s an almost oil free version, however, I have deep-fried these just the way my Mom does it. Indulgence is not such a bad thing once in a while, no?
The Pakodis are light & absolutely airy, almost melting into the Kadhi, and that’s how they should be if done right! Let’s see how…

Yield: serves 2
Equipment: 2 woks, measuring cups/ spoons, a few mixing bowls and spoons.

Ingredients:
For the Kadhi
1.5 tbsps Besan/ gram flour
250 gms Yogurt/ curd
to taste Salt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Water as needed
For the the Tempering
1 tbsp refined oil
a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1/2 tsp paanch phoran
1 nos slit green chilly
A handful curry leaves
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
Water to correct the consistency as needed
For the Pakodis
1/2 cup Besan/ gram flour
6-7 tbsps water
to taste Salt
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chopped green chillies
1/2 tsp chopped coriander leaves
3 tbsps finely chopped onion
1/4 tsp baking soda bicarbonate/ baking soda
to fry Oil

Method:
To begin with the Kadhi first, take the ingredients listed above for the kadhi and make a smooth mixture. This should neither be too diluted nor very thick. I do not add any water at this stage but you can always add some if the yogurt is too thick. Set this aside for 10 minutes.

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In the meanwhile, take all the ingredients listed above for the Pakodis except the oil, soda & water. Mix them well.
Add water very slowly and make a thick mixture. Set it aside for 10 minutes.
Coming back to the Kadhi, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a wok. Once it’s hot, add the hing, paanch phoran, g-g paste, curry leaves, green chilli. Let these splatter about a bit.
Then add the mixture we had set aside for the Kadhi. Keep stirring while you pour this into the tempering and let this cook on medium flame.

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Keep stirring for another couple of minutes until it has it’s first boil and stabilizes, else the yogurt may split.
Now add some water if needed to correct the consistency, mix well.
Next, add red chilli powder & adjust the salt to taste.
Let the Kadhi simmer for another 6-7 minutes.
Turn off the flame and cover with a lid.
The Pakodis need frying now, heat enough oil in a heavy bottomed wok.
Add baking soda to the Pakodi mixture & mix well.
Once the oil is hot enough, reduce the flame to medium and drop the mixture little bit at a time to make equal sized Pakodis.

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Fry them well until golden brown on all sides. Drain them well on kitchen paper. I could make 9 medium sized Pakodis with this quantity of the mixture.

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Add warm Pakodis to the Kadhi and serve with steamed rice/ rotis & a salad on the side.

Hope you like my version of Kadhi Pakodi and give it a go soon☺️
Love,
Shreya ❤️

Homemade Sandwich Bread | Basic White Bread

How many mornings have you had just a slice of toast with a cup of tea/ coffee…or juice and left for work or an early class?! Many, right?  Almost everyone loves their toast..some with butter…some with honey…or plain…me? I like it with my Homemade No Pectin Strawberry Jam 😬 

All these plus an warm, sweet & fresh loaf of bread makes for a beautiful weekend brunch. The aroma of a freshly baked bread can make you so, so hungry!! Yes…this loaf was baked by me for Sunday brunch…and was devoured by my hubby & me in about 15 mins! He, with some honey and me…jam!

Basic white bread recipe How to make a sandwich bread Polkapuffs recipe

Perfectly moist and light loaf of bread was a dream for me when I started baking breads about more than a year ago..but I kept trying and it’s been a little over six months that I make good breads..though not wholewheat…not yet. I am yet to try those.

Basic white bread recipe How to make a sandwich bread Polkapuffs recipe

The recipe that I use for this bread is the same as the one I use to make pizza base. It’s pretty easy, but do follow there simple steps to ensure a good loaf. They are all tried and tested by me.

Always fluff the flour and add spoonfuls of it into the measuring cup then level it off with a knife. As simple as that. Measurement is crucial.

Do not try to press down the flour into the cup to add more flour OR Never dip the measuring cup into the bag of flour. Doing these, will always leave you with a lot more flour than necessary and you will positively end up with a very dry and heavy loaf

I have used instant active yeast, never tried baking with fresh yeast. Check the box for the expiry date thoroughly before starting the recipe, make sure you don’t use the yeast if it’s less than two months away from the expiry date.

If your yeast doesn’t bloom or activate, discard and start again.

The water used for activating the yeast must be tepid. That is when you can comfortably hold your finger in the water but it must not be on the cooler side.

Do not try to make this “healthy” by skimping on the fat/ oil/ butter content. Follow the recipe and you will have a moist loaf.

Let’s get baking..

Yield: a small loaf/ 6-7 slices of bread

Equipment: 1 large mixing bowl, a small bowl, measuring cups/ spoons, baking tin, cooling rack.

Ingredients:

2 cups plain flour (Maida/ APF, 1 cup is approx 130 grams)

some extra flour to dust

2+1/2 tsp dry active yeast (1 tsp is approx 3.5/ 4 grams)

2 + 1/4 tsp sugar

3/4 cup warm water (you should be able to dip your finger comfortably)

4 Tbsp oil + extra for greasing

1 tsp salt

Method:

Take warm water in a bowl, add the sugar and yeast to it. Cover it and leave to prove & froth for 10 mins in a warm place.

Next, in a large mixing bowl, add the flour, 2 1/2 tbsp oil, salt to taste. Now add the entire proved yeast mixture & using a fork mix everything together to make a sticky dough. It will be very sticky but should not be falling apart at all. Now, sprinkle some flour on a work surface, and drop the dough on it,sprinkle some more flour over the dough. Using your palms, start kneading the dough well. Add more flour if the dough feels too sticky or some water if it feels very dry.

Keep kneading well for 10 mins. You will have a neat, non-sticky ball of dough. Knead it for a couple of mins more. It should all look like this.

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Now, grease the mixing bowl which you have kept aside & place the dough in it, cover with a lid or cling film & set aside in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours to prove. It should be double or more than double in size after proving. It will look like this.

Basic white bread recipe How to make a sandwich bread Polkapuffs recipe

Gently, punch the air out of the dough. Next, grease the baking tin with oil. Set that aside.

Roll out the dough in an squarish shape and flatten it out a bit. Start rolling from one side like a Swiss roll. Pinch to close the ends. Keeping the pinched side down, place this roll into the greased tin. Make deep incisions using a serrated knife if you like. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and place it in a warm place for 30 mins for second proving.

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This is how it should look after the second proving.

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Preheat the oven @180’c for 10 mins. Brush some oil over the top of the proved dough. Bake for about 20-25 mins @ 180’c using both, top & bottom heating elements. (Every oven works differently so pls set the temperature and the timing accordingly)

Once done, remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for about 15 mins before slicing the loaf as it needs to set well. That’s it, your bread is ready. Keeps well for a day or two wrapped in a parchment paper in a bread box or any container.

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Besides, waking up to a freshly baked bread can be therapeutic!😉

Love,

Shreya❤️

Idli Sambhar / Udupi Style Idli Sambhar

Idli Sambhar / Udupi Style Idli Sambhar – the evergreen breakfast in most homes is a novelty at mine! That’s because my hubby isn’t too fond of it and rarely agrees to have this combo for breakfast/ brunch. So on the day when he finally agrees to have some for the weekend, I go all out in making this combo extra special. 

Idli Sambhar / Udupi Style Idli Sambhar

There are no tricks to making a perfect Idli (lentil cake) if you ask me….it’s the climate that plays the most important role. Warmer the climate, obviously, better the fermentation resulting in soft, moist & super spongy Idlis 😋 Besides, softer the Idlis, the more Sambhar (South Indian style spiced lentil curry) they soak up!!! Sluuurrppp!

Idli Sambhar / Udupi Style Idli Sambhar

I have used my Mom’s recipe for both, Idli & Sambhar…along with her lip-smacking, easy-peasy green Coconut Chutney🤓 I must confess…this Sambhar is the closest to a traditional tiffin/ Udupi style Sambhar that I have ever had at home. Robust flavors accompanied by the tang from tamarind makes it super yum!

Idli Sambhar / Udupi Style Idli Sambhar

Let’s get going with the recipe…..I have shared a few tips in the method given below.

We will start with the Idli.

Wash the urad dal first. Rinse it at least twice under running water. Soak it with enough water for a minimum of 6-7 hours.
Follow the same step for the two kinds of rice. Soak them together with enough water for a minimum of 6-7 hours. Also, add the methi when soaking the rice.
Once the dal and the rice have soaked well, grind them separately. The dal, when ground must be smooth. Do not add too much water while grinding it.
Follow the same step for grinding the soaked rice with methi. However, the texture of rice when ground will be slightly grainy. Do not add too much water while grinding them.
Next, mix the ground dal and rice together in a large bowl. You can add a bit of water (I added approximately 1/2 cup) if they seem too thick after mixing.
Do not add salt yet. Once these two are mixed well, cover the bowl with a lid and set it aside in a warm place to ferment overnight.
Since the climate here is very hot & humid, the mixture fermented very well…almost overflowed from the bowl by next morning.

Idli sambhar recipe Udupi style idli sambhar recipe Polkapuffs recipe How to make idli batter at home

You can place the bowl in the oven with its light on to ferment overnight if the climate in your part of the world isn’t very hot. Do not touch the mixture or disturb the process of fermentation.
What I usually do is, soak the rice & dal in the morning around 11am, it’s soaked really well by 6pm. That’s when I grind & mix them.

That way the mixture ferments for almost 12-13 hours for breakfast the next morning! It always works for me, I don’t add ENO or any other fruit salt to make the Idlis soft and spongy.
The fermentation is the only key here.

Idli sambhar recipe Udupi style idli sambhar recipe Polkapuffs recipe How to make idli batter at home

Now that the batter is ready…what remains is making the Idlis! Keep about 1 cup water in the Idli steamer/ pressure cooker to boil.
In the meantime prepare the Idli plates, grease each depression with some oil. Season the batter with salt and mix well.

Pour about 2-3 tbsp. of the batter in each greased depression. Steam these in the pressure cooker/ Idli steamer for 10-12 minutes.
Once done, gently remove the Idli plate stand from the cooker/ steamer. Let it cool for a few minutes.
Now, a big pressure point for me is usually to unmould each Idli intact. A little tip here which I picked up from my Mom…
Take a bowl of water. Use your butter knife. Dip the butter knife in the bowl of water.
Then gently run it around the Idli and the Idli will come off the plate intact! Dip the butter knife in water for each Idli. Foolproof way to get those perfectly intact Idlis!!

For the Sambhar

Wash and soak the dal for 30 minutes. Add the soaked dal in the pressure cooker with water, salt, turmeric powder.
Add the tomatoes, curry leaves, onions & bottle gourd too. Cook them together in the pressure for 2-3 whistles. Let the pressure cooker cool down completely before opening the lid.
The dal & the veggies must be soft & mushy by now. You can add some water to correct the consistency if needed and boil the dal for about 2-3 minutes.
Next, add sambhar powder and grated jaggery to the tamarind pulp and mix well. Add this mixture to the cooked dal & veggies. Stir well and boil the sambhar for 3-4 minutes.
Now to temper the sambhar, heat oil in a small pan. Add all the ingredients listed above ‘for tempering’ to the hot oil and let them splatter for about 2 minutes.
Add this tempering to the boiled sambhar and mix well. Cover with a lid for a few minutes. Serve piping hot with Idli/ Dosa/ boiled rice.

Idli Sambhar / Udupi Style Idli Sambhar

Prep Time: 20 hours

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: Makes 15-18 small Idlis. Sambhar serves 2

Idli Sambhar / Udupi Style Idli Sambhar - the evergreen breakfast in most homes is very easy to make and absolutely healthy!

Ingredients

    IDLI:
  • 1 cup split White urad dal (white lentils)
  • 1 cup rice (I used Basmati)
  • 2 cup boiled rice
  • 1/2 tsp methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as needed
  • Oil for greasing as needed
  • SAMBHAR:
  • Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup tuar/ arhar dal (skinned & split pigeon peas)
  • 2+1/2 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup sliced onions
  • 1/2 cup cubed lauki (bottle gourd, one can add more veggies of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup tamarind pulp
  • 1/2 tsp grated jaggery
  • 2 tsp Sambhar powder (I use MTR)
  • 6-7 curry leaves
  • For tempering:
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
  • A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
  • 2-3 whole ber mirchi
  • A few curry leaves

Instructions

    IDLI
  1. Wash the urad dal first. Rinse it at least twice under running water. Soak it with enough water for a minimum of 6-7 hours.
  2. Follow the same step for the two kinds of rice. Soak them together with enough water for a minimum of 6-7 hours. Also, add the methi when soaking the rice.
  3. Once the dal and the rice have soaked well, grind them separately. The dal, when ground must be smooth. Do not add too much water while grinding it.
  4. Follow the same step for grinding the soaked rice with methi. However, the texture of rice when ground will be slightly grainy. Do not add too much water while grinding them.
  5. Next, mix the ground dal and rice together in a large bowl. You can add a bit of water (I added approximately 1/2 cup) if they seem too thick after mixing.
  6. Do not add salt yet. Once these two are mixed well, cover the bowl with a lid and set it aside in a warm place to ferment overnight.
  7. Since the climate here is very hot & humid, the mixture fermented very well...almost overflowed from the bowl by next morning.
  8. You can place the bowl in the oven with its light on to ferment overnight if the climate in your part of the world isn't very hot. Do not touch the mixture or disturb the process of fermentation.
  9. What I usually do is, soak the rice & dal in the morning around 11am, it's soaked really well by 6pm. That's when I grind & mix them.
  10. That way the mixture ferments for almost 12-13 hours for breakfast the next morning! It always works for me, I don't add ENO or any other fruit salt to make the Idlis soft and spongy.
  11. The fermentation is the only key here.
  12. Now that the batter is ready...what remains is making the Idlis! Keep about 1 cup water in the Idli steamer/ pressure cooker to boil.
  13. In the meantime prepare the Idli plates, grease each depression with some oil. Season the batter with salt and mix well.
  14. Pour about 2-3 tbsp. of the batter in each greased depression. Steam these in the pressure cooker/ Idli steamer for 10-12 minutes.
  15. Once done, gently remove the Idli plate stand from the cooker/ steamer. Let it cool for a few minutes.
  16. Now, a big pressure point for me is usually to unmould each Idli intact. A little tip here which I picked up from my Mom...
  17. Take a bowl of water. Use your butter knife. Dip the butter knife in the bowl of water.
  18. Then gently run it around the Idli and the Idli will come off the plate intact! Dip the butter knife in water for each Idli. Foolproof way to get those perfectly intact Idlis!!
  19. SAMBHAR
  20. Wash and soak the dal for 30 minutes. Add the soaked dal in the pressure cooker with water, salt, turmeric powder.
  21. Add the tomatoes, curry leaves, onions & bottle gourd too. Cook them together in the pressure for 2-3 whistles. Let the pressure cooker cool down completely before opening the lid.
  22. The dal & the veggies must be soft & mushy by now. You can add some water to correct the consistency if needed and boil the dal for about 2-3 minutes.
  23. Next, add sambhar powder and grated jaggery to the tamarind pulp and mix well. Add this mixture to the cooked dal & veggies. Stir well and boil the sambhar for 3-4 minutes.
  24. TEMPERING
  25. Heat oil in a small pan. Add all the ingredients listed above 'for tempering' to the hot oil and let them splatter for about 2 minutes.
  26. Add this tempering to the boiled sambhar and mix well. Cover with a lid for a few minutes. Serve piping hot with Idli/ Dosa/ boiled rice.
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Idli Sambhar / Udupi Style Idli Sambhar

I simply love these….and the combo is to die for!! Do try once.

Love,

Shreya💖

Pin it for later?!!
Idli Sambhar / Udupi Style Idli Sambhar

Banana Muffins|Banana Bread

Those bananas sitting in my fruit basket were turning darker every passing minute in this heat….and yes, I had wrapped the bunch head with cling wrap…but it won’t work with the soaring temperatures! Sigh!! 😔

Where do these overripe bananas end up usually..in the BIN. Yes…they do, don’t pretend otherwise. We’ve all done that….though we promise ever to do it again out of the guilt over wasted food, we still do! Else, banana milkshake happens…well that’s very common and usually better for kids…too many calories for my hubby & me😝

In the past too, I’ve shared a couple of recipes to finish off these overripe bananas. Being summers almost everywhere, you can try my 2 Ingredient Banana Ice Cream. It’s so yummy and gets done in a breeze…😛slllluurrppp! Or if you are willing to bake something vegan, try these awesome Butterscotch flavoured Banana Breakfast Bars which uses wholewheat flour.

So thought of making an Old Fashioned Banana Bread or Banana Muffin. The beast thing is one recipe takes care of both options!

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Look at that texture….perfectly moist, crumbly and absolutely melt in the mouth. That’s why I love a Banana Bread so much, it’s easy to make and easier to eat 😛 This too happens to be great for a grab-and-go breakfast.

Before we go on to the recipe, here are a few pointers to keep in mind when baking a Banana Bread/ Muffins- make sure that the bananas are really overripe. They must be literally falling apart if handled roughly. If they are even slightly firm, they won’t blend well with the batter and the resulting bread/ muffins will lack the actual flavour of bananas and could turn out very dry too. Make sure you don’t over mix the batter and do not let it sit for too long once it’s ready.

Most importantly, know your oven well. As every oven works slightly differently, you need to understand the temperature best suited to bake the bread/ muffin well. They may turn dry if over baked. They could easily remain uncooked from the centre and turn brown on the top and bottom if baked at a very high temperature. The recipe below will say the temperature that works best for my oven.

If you don’t have cupcake liners ready…it’s not an issue. As you see here, in the pictures, I didn’t have any liners too…ran out of the ones I usually use so I improvised…something I had seen on Pinterest. Just use parchment/ butter paper and cut out large squares, they need not be absolutely perfect. Line your muffin tray with these squares and spoon in the batter as usual. They look really rustic…and get the job done!

Oh, by the way… I made a ring cake along with a few muffins…why?! Don’t ask me that…I simply felt like it..🤗

Yield: one small ring cake and 8-9 medium sized muffins.

Equipment: a large mixing bowl, potato masher, a wired whisk, a cooling rack, cake mould (ring or round/ square), muffin tray, measuring cups/ spoons.

Ingredients:

3 nos. overripe bananas

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup Demerara sugar (brown sugar)

3/4 cup castor sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence/ extract

1 pinch nutmeg pwd (optional)

1 nos egg

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp baking powder

2 cups APF (Maida)

if you like, you can add Choco chips/ blueberries/ raisins/ pecans/ walnuts, etc as per your preference.

Method:

Line your muffin tray with the liners. Grease and dust your cake mould if making a bread. Set them aside. Preheat the oven @180’c for 10 mins.

Mash bananas using the potato masher in a large bowl. Add the softened butter & milk to it. Whisk it well, add the egg, nutmeg pwd,  both the sugars & vanilla extract and whisk once again until the sugar is dissolved. Took me about 5-6 mins.

Banana Bread bread Eggless banana bread recipe How to make banana bread Banana muffins recipe Breakfast muffins recipe Polkapuffs recipes Banana Bread bread Eggless banana bread recipe How to make banana bread Banana muffins recipe Breakfast muffins recipe Polkapuffs recipes

Next, add the baking powder & APF (you can sieve these once seperately before mixing with the batter). Fold them with the wet ingredients. But do not over mix.

Banana Bread bread Eggless banana bread recipe How to make banana bread Banana muffins recipe Breakfast muffins recipe Polkapuffs recipes

Fill the muffin tray with the batter and or the cake mould as shown below.

Banana Bread bread Eggless banana bread recipe How to make banana bread Banana muffins recipe Breakfast muffins recipe Polkapuffs recipes Banana Bread bread Eggless banana bread recipe How to make banana bread Banana muffins recipe Breakfast muffins recipe Polkapuffs recipes

Bake the muffins at 170’c for approximately 20-22 mins. If baking a bread, then bake it at 170’c for approximately 30-35 mins or a skewer entered in the center of the bread comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. If not, then bake for a further 5-7 mins @160’c. (Refer the pointers given above).

Once done, cool them on the cooling rack for 15-20 mins before you unmould the bread. This bread / these muffins keep well for 2-3 days in an airtight container.

Banana Bread bread Eggless banana bread recipe How to make banana bread Banana muffins recipe Breakfast muffins recipe Polkapuffs recipes

Happy Baking folks!!

Love,

Shreya💕

Adapted from All She Cooks.

Cheesy Corn & Paneer Toasties

It’s so hot…I literally want to run out of the kitchen each time I step in it🙄…and trust me, I do that. Who’s to stop me😝😝😝😝😜😛 

The only thing I want to spend time doing in the kitchen is making glasses after glasses of Aam Panna! It’s the one thing that I enjoy these days. I have just made the 3rd batch of it’s concentrate and the summers are just starting….😱😱😣 I honestly don’t know how many more times I will be making it! But the best part is that my hubby isn’t that fond of it so it’s basically just for me!!! He’s a Roohafza lover 😑😑😶

image

But, for weekends I usually like making something that works well as a brunch. Why rush to have two meals on a lazy day when you can enjoy one delicious meal?! Obviously, since it’s the summers, I tend to keep it simple and quick. Bread Pizza works really well for an indulgent brunch too!

However, these Cheesy Corn & Paneer Toasties are even quicker, yummier and uses all those tiny bits of leftovers from your refrigerator! You can literally change the ingredients each time you make these and they will be so goooooooood! Beside, this baby hits the table in less than 30 mins…flat! My kinda cooking…or you can say baking😉

CHEESY CORN & paneer Toasties Cheesy toast Breakfast ideas Polkapuffs recipes

Let’s get going…

Yield: serves 2

Equipment: measuring cups/ spoons, baking tray, cooling rack, mixing bowl, parchment paper.

Ingredients:

6-7 nos. slices of bread or Pav

1/2 cup crumbled paneer (cottage cheese)

1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese + extra for the topping

1/4 cup sweet corn kernels

salt to taste

1 tsp mixed Italian herbs

1 tsp green chilli sauce

1 tsp red chillie flakes

Method:

Preheat the oven @180’c. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or aluminium sheet. Set that aside.

In a mixing bowl, add everything except that bread/ Pav & mix them well.

image

Top the bread/ Pav with this mixture and add more cheese on the top. Place them in the prepared baking tray & bake for approximately 15-17 mins at 180’c or until the cheese melts & the bread/ Pav turns crisp.

image

Once done, remove from the oven and cool on the cooling rack for 5 mins. Serve them with ketchup 😋

image

This is irresistible…I for one, will be making these more often! Do try them out…I am  sure they will go really well with some cocktails too.

Love,

Shreya💖

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