How to make the perfect staffordshire oatcakes

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Shrove Tuesday may have been and gone, the annual greasy round wiped from the kitchen ceiling, the dog back on non-burnt offerings – but this is one pancake that deserves to stay on the menu all year round. These floppy flatbreads are just as delicious as their crisp Scottish cousins, and certainly make a better bacon butty.

Though there are spurious links to India, with claims that the local oatcake was inspired by the chapatis the North Staffordshire regiment enjoyed while stationed there in the days of the Raj, in fact oat breads were already a staple food in Britain’s uplands before her empire was even a twinkle in a megalomaniac’s bloodthirsty eye. They were quick to produce on the hearth in the days before domestic ovens were commonplace, and Sir Humphry Davy noted in his 1813 work, Elements of Agricultural Chemistry, that “the Derbyshire miners in winter, prefer oatcakes to wheaten bread; finding that this kind of nourishment enables them to support their strength and perform their labour better”.

They were once sold from “holes in the wall” throughout the region, and specialist oatcake bakers are still going strong, each with its devoted band of fiercely loyal customers. But for those of us outside the area, the staffordshire oatcake, as it is often referred to, is a difficult beast to track down (I’m with Rose Prince in thinking that “there is something scandalous about supermarket bakery aisles groaning with pitta bread, tortilla wraps and naan but without a single traditional oatcake in sight”). Happily, however, they are not hard to master, and they make for a mighty fine weekend breakfast or tea, preferably topped with melted cheese. Once Lent is over, at least.

Mary-Anne Boermans staffordshire oatcakes

The flour

Although many early recipes seem to use oats alone, including the one published in the Burton Daily Mail in 1917, and that collected in Florence White’s 1932 Good Things in England, most modern oatcakes are made with a proportion of wheat flour as well, giving them a slightly lighter flavour and texture. The plain flour suggested by Stoke DJ and “oatcake obsessive” Terry Bossons will work, but the high-gluten bread variety preferred by Elizabeth David in her English Bread and Yeast Cookery, Mary-Anne Boermans and Marwood Yeatman will give your oatcakes a more elastic strength useful for wrapping them around a filling.

David recommends using the white kind, but testers prefer the flavour that comes from a mix of white and wholemeal in Boermans and Yeatman’s recipes. I have increased the ratio of oat to wheat flour slightly to give the cakes a more emphatically oaty flavour; if you can’t find finely ground oatmeal, follow Boermans’s advice and grind your own from porridge oats in the food processor or blender. (I like to leave them fairly coarse, because it gives the oatcakes a more interesting texture, but though this may have been the case in the past, commercially produced oatcakes these days tend to be fairly smooth.)

Marwood Yeatman staffordshire oatcakes

The liquid

Again, older recipes are generally more spartan, moistening the batter with water alone, but David, Yeatman and Boermans use equal parts milk and warm water, giving the oatcakes a richer flavour and slightly softer consistency. (Milk also precludes the need to add a pinch of sugar to help the yeast do its work, as some recipes recommend.)

Boermans prefers a “a batter that is rather thicker than the traditional, which results in a thicker oatcake. In my defence, it makes for a more durable oatcake which I can then turn easily in the pan without it breaking, and it ‘laces’ beautifully, the surface becoming dappled with the characteristic pockmarks and holes seen also on pikelets and crumpets. The thickness also allows for a wonderful contrast when toasted between the crisp outsides and the fluffy insides.” In fact, her oatcakes may well be closer to the original style than she realises: Yeatman notes in The Last Food of England that the oatcake has undergone a “change in identity” since going commercial. Once sourdough, mixed in wooden tubs “impregnated with years of barm and allowed to retain a little batter … which started the next fermentation … the modern oatcake, probably universal by 1914, is less than half the width, thinner, softer, regular and raised with compressed yeast”. However, I find a thinner batter much easier to work with.

Rose Prince’s staffordshire oatcakes

The yeast

As Yeatman explains, oatcakes these days use manufactured, rather than wild yeast, though I would love to try a sourdough version if anyone has a tried-and-tested recipe. Most of the versions I try call for fresh yeast (available from bakers, or even at the bakery counter of large supermarkets), but no one can detect any difference in flavour between fresh and the dried yeast that goes into Boermans’s pancakes, so use whichever you find easiest to get hold of and work with.

Bossons also adds bicarbonate of soda and baking powder to his batter in a belt-and-braces approach that does indeed yield a lovely lacy texture, but also gives them a marked chemical flavour no one is very keen on. Whether this is intentional or not (bicarbonate of soda isn’t an uncommon ingredient), it doesn’t go down well here. If your batter isn’t bubbly enough without it, it may be time to buy some more yeast.

Extras

Laura Mason and Catherine Brown’s book, The Taste of Britain, mentions adding a little melted bacon fat to the batter. I give it a try in Prince’s recipe, but find it makes the batter rather soft and prone to falling apart when turned – better, we decide, to cook them in lard or bacon drippings if they’re available, or simply to serve them with the stuff instead. Clarified butter also works well, but you can use just about any fat you like given that the pan only needs to be lightly greased (though if you choose coconut oil, please don’t tell me about it).

Oatcakes can be as little or large as your heart desires (the small variety are known as “little dippers”, according to Yeatman) but Mason and Brown describe the standard kind as about 20cm in diameter, and 4mm thick. They are traditionally cooked on a hot bakestone of the kind also used to make Welsh cakes and crumpets, as well as Scottish oatcakes, but these days it is easiest to make them in the same hot frying pan you would use for any other pancake, though, given their size, I find it easiest to turn them with a plate rather than attempting to flip.

Serve with just about anything you like – although I would recommend them as a particularly delicious edible plate for a fry-up.

Felicity Cloake’s perfect staffordshire oatcakes

Makes 10 large oatcakes
450ml milk + 450ml warm water
250g finely ground oats (you can grind ordinary oats in a food processor)
100g strong wholemeal flour
100g strong white flour
1 tsp fine salt
4g dry yeast or 10g fresh yeast
Fat of your choice to cook (lard, bacon drippings, clarified butter, vegetable oil)

Heat the milk with the same amount of water in a pan until about blood temperature.

Meanwhile, mix the oats, flours and salt in a large bowl. Mix the yeast with a little of the warm liquid and then cover and leave until frothy. Stir into the dry ingredients and then whisk in the remaining liquid until smooth. Cover and leave in a warm place for about an hour until bubbly, or overnight in the fridge if you prefer.

Grease a large frying pan with a little fat and put on a medium-high heat. When hot enough for the batter to sizzle as it hits it, give the bowl a quick whisk, then add a ladleful to the pan and tilt to spread it out. Cook until dry on top, then loosen the edges and carefully turn it over (depending on the size, it may be easiest to flip it on to a plate or board slightly larger than the pan) then slide it back into the pan. Add any toppings you would like to melt or heat through (cheese, for example), and cook until golden on the bottom. Fold over and eat, or allow to cool then cover and store in the fridge or freezer, reheating in a dry pan before use.

 

How to make the perfect vegetarian scotch eggs

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It’s an unfortunate fact that many of the best things on the traditional British picnic menu are sausage-based, leaving vegetarian and non-pork-eating guests stuck with bread and cheese. This would be no real hardship were not for the fact that even many non-meat eaters find that scotch eggs have a way of making eyes at you from the other side of the rug, flaunting their bright yolks and crunchy crumb in a way that’s really quite unreasonable.

The popularity of the scotch egg at such occasions is partly explained by the fact that, like the Cornish pasty, or the sausage roll, it’s a robustly portable sure-fire crowd pleaser that is likely to arrive in better condition than the unfortunate quiche or sweating salad; and given the existence of the vegetarian sausage, there seems no good reason that non meat-eaters should miss out. There are a few commercially produced examples on the market, but you can’t beat a freshly made scotch egg, the coating still crisp, the egg just warm – and, in most cases, that means getting stuck in at home.

The meat

Jacqueline Meldrum’s vegetarian Scotch Eggs.

Let’s start with the most important bit – the bit that isn’t sausage meat. Opinions diverge on the best replacement for meat in this context, with some, such as Gizzi Erskine’s Bombay potato version in her book My Kitchen Table making no attempt to recreate the flavour or texture of the original, and others, such as Deri Reed of the Ethical Chef, proudly declaring that people are often shocked when they find his tofu and chestnut-based take contains no meat. Jacqueline Meldrum’s recipe using vegetarian haggis seems to fall into the first camp, while the chipotle and chickpea eggs in Alice Hart’s book the New Vegetarian and Mark E Johnson’s stilton, walnut and apple numbers on his blog Yorkshire Grub, seem to cock a snook at the very idea of pork.

This leaves me with a problem. All five are delicious, though most of us find deep-fried blue cheese rather too rich a pairing for an egg. Hart’s pulse-based version, by contrast, is delicately flavoured enough to allow the egg itself to take centre stage, which reminds us – when we stop to think in between shovelling bits into our mouths – that if this is going to be at all faithful to the original, the filling ought to be the star. Sausage, though undoubtedly important, is definitely the best supporting actor in a scotch egg. This means that, much as we love Erskine’s warmly spiced potato jacket flecked with coriander and zingy with lemon juice, it doesn’t quite feel like a scotch egg in anything but basic concept. It’s also quite delicate to transport, which is an important factor in a picnic product.

Gizzi Erskine’s vegetarian Scotch Eggs.

Meldrum and Reed’s are the closest to the original ideal, though unfortunately the latter’s coating melts away in the fryer, somewhat puzzlingly, so although I can confirm it’s delicious, with a good crunch, I can’t say exactly what it’s like wrapped around an egg. The haggis proves a far more amenable victim, especially when mixed with peanut butter and oats – the texture is just right. However, it does taste of peanuts and cumin, neither of which are flavours I’d associate with a traditional scotch egg. Swapping the nuts for the similarly binding qualities of a raw egg, and the spices for mustard powder, mace and fresh herbs does the trick – and I’m also going to use crunchy pinhead oatmeal rather than rolled oats, because I think it gives the coating a more interesting texture.

I consider adapting my own vegetarian haggis recipe for the purpose, because the ready-made stuff feels like cheating, until I reflect that most ordinary scotch egg recipes begin with sausages and, really, in high summer, few of us want to spend any more time in the kitchen than we have to. There are several very good examples on the market all year round which are perfect for the role, and some brands will even ship internationally, although if you don’t live somewhere where it can be found in most large supermarkets, you may wish to do a bit of experimentation of your own.

The egg

Mark E Johnson’s vegetarian Scotch Eggs.

I know soft-boiled eggs look better on social media, but I’ve finally admitted to myself that I don’t much care for them cold, so I’m going to plump for the soft side of hard boiled: firm, but still fudgy (happily they are much easier to peel than their more delicate counterparts. Should you wish for a liquid centre, Erskine’s six-minute eggs are just perfect. Either way, I’d recommend rolling them in flour before coating, as this will help the haggis mixture to adhere to their shiny surface.

Reed uses duck eggs, which are both meatier and more substantial. If you go down that road, you will probably need to increase the quantities of the other ingredients by about a third to account for their larger size.

The coating

Alice Hart’s vegetarian scotch eggs.

Meldrum coats them in rolled oats and Hart in mixed seeds but, for a traditional scotch egg feel, it has to be breadcrumbs, and preferably the dried variety (panko, if you have them, will add extra crunch). The usual flour, egg, crumb routine is the best bet for a robust outer shell – go for two layers for a good bite.

The cooking

Deri Reed’s vegetarian scotch eggs.

Hart and Meldrum both bake their eggs in a hot oven, but this is not a course I’d recommend unless in dire emergency – not only will your eggs come out very firmly hard-boiled, but without the fat that lubricates a pork sausagemeat coating, they will also be rather dry. Deep-fat frying gives infinitely superior results, and needn’t be intimidating as long as you’re careful. Trust me, these are worth it.

Perfect vegetarian scotch eggs

Makes 4

6 medium eggs
300g vegetarian haggis
2 tbsp chopped mixed herbs (eg sage, chives, thyme)
1/2 tbsp English mustard powder
A pinch of ground mace
25g pinhead/coarse oatmeal
50g flour
Splash of milk
50g dried breadcrumbs
Sunflower or vegetable oil, to deep fry

Felicity Cloake’s perfect vegetarian scotch eggs.

Put 4 of the eggs in a pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, then plunge into a sink of cold water to cool.

Meanwhile, crumble the haggis into a bowl and stir in the herbs, spices and oatmeal. Beat one of the remaining eggs and add to the mixture.

Put the flour in a shallow bowl, the final egg, beaten with a splash of milk, in a second, and the breadcrumbs in a third.

When cool enough to handle, roll the eggs along a hard surface to crack the shells, then carefully peel. Roll each in the flour, then take about a quarter of the mixture into one palm and flatten it slightly. Put the egg in the middle and close the coating around it. Repeat with the other eggs, and then if you have time, put the eggs in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up.

When you’re ready to cook, roll the eggs in the flour, followed by the egg, followed by the breadcrumbs. Repeat the last two layers if you have enough left to do so.

Fill a deep pan a third full of oil and heat to 170C (or when a crumb of bread dropped in sizzles and turns golden, but does not burn). Gently lower in the eggs and cook for about 5 minutes until crisp and golden, then drain on kitchen paper.

 

HOW TO MAKE OMURICE, JAPAN'S OOZY EXPLODING OMELET

Do you remember that scene in Tampopo with the omelet? The one that sits on top of the dish of fried rice and unfurls with custardy egg like a popped balloon when split open?

That’s omurice. (Sound it out and you’ll get the cognate.) And it’s a delightful example of home-cooked yōshoku cuisine.

Yōshoku—literally “Western food”—is a subset of Japanese cooking that originated at the turn of the 20th century. During the Meiji period, as Japan increased its global presence, Western ingredients and cooking techniques became fashionable, and yōshoku cuisine was was born. Omurice, one of the most popular yōshoku recipes, combines Japanese fried rice, French omelet-making technique, and American ketchup, gravy, or demi-glace.

Versions of the dish are now served in diners and prepared in homes all over Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. But it deserves to be made everywhere.

The simplest style of omurice consists of a thin, fully-cooked sheet of egg, wrapped around a filling of chicken or vegetable fried rice, which is then topped with ketchup. The Tampopo version keeps the egg and rice separate til the very end, in which the cook uses a deft, wrist-tapping technique to roll a partially cooked disk of scrambled egg into an enclosed, almond-shape omelet. The omelet is immediately rolled out of the pan and onto the rice, and if you’ve cooked it properly, a slice of a knife will make the omelet fall open and cover the rice with a soft, saucey scramble.

Japanese chef Takanori Akiyama of Bar Moga in New York serves a dressed up version of the homey classic. He cooks his rice in chicken stock and flavors it with onions, chicken, spicy homemade ketchup, demi-glace, and plenty of black pepper. His omelet is delicate and tender: a thin yellow skin, perfectly rolled around a belly of creamy curds. It’s the most popular dish on the menu at the sexy Soho cocktail bar, and one that took Akiyama several cases of eggs to perfect.

If you’d like to try replicating it at home, take a look at our tips below and give it a shot. Just don’t expect immediate victory.

The Rice

rice

Chicken fried rice at Bar Moga

Max Falkowitz

Omurice is the most popular dish on the menu at Bar Moga, and Akiyama prepares a fresh batch of rice for it every day. He cooks short grain sushi rice in homemade, unsalted chicken stock and keeps it warm in the rice cooker for easy scooping. If you’re only making one omurice at home, don’t sweat those details; any leftover white or brown rice will do. And don’t worry if the grains start out a little bit dry. You’ll be reheating them in butter, demiglace, and ketchup, and they’ll soften up.

Once the fried rice is cooked, pack it into a small, oval-shaped dish (or a ramekin), invert it onto your serving plate, and leave the dish there while you prepare the omelet. The dish will insulate the rice and keep it warm while you finish cooking and can be removed to reveal the smooth, perfect oval of rice immediately before serving.

The Pan

omurice

The omurice omelet perched delicately atop its rice bed.

Max Falkowitz

Akiyama uses an 8-inch nonstick Teflon pan to cook his omurice omelet, and he emphatically suggests you do the same. It has the perfect amount of surface area for quickly cooking a three-egg omelet, and the nonstick coating will save you many eggs, headaches, and tears. Just be sure the coating is in good condition—no scratches or dents, please!—and keep all metal tools out of sight and mind when working with it.

The Eggs (or, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”)

omurice

This is the tricky part! A gas stove is helpful and easier to regulate, but by no means necessary; I was also able to finagle an oozy omelet on an induction stove.

Beat the eggs with a splash of milk and cream and don’t bother with the salt—there will be plenty of seasoning in the rice and sauce. Then add a drizzle of canola oil to a nonstick pan and get it very hot. Add the eggs and immediately stir them up with wooden chopsticks to scramble and begin cooking them without coloring.

When the eggs are about 50% cooked (this happens very quickly!), evenly distribute the soft curds across the surface of the pan. Let the eggs cook, undisturbed, to set up slightly, just 20 seconds or so. Then, using chopsticks to loosen the omelet’s edges, start rolling it carefully. Once it’s rolled, you heat the omelet for just a few seconds to seal the seam. At this point, you should be able to gently roll the omelet towards and away from yourself without it splitting or leaking into the pan.

Chef Akiyama admits that it took him several dozen eggs before he mastered his smooth, perfectly enclosed, molten in the middle omelet, and only recently did his sous chef get the hang of it so Akiyama can take a day off. Buy an extra dozen eggs and resign yourself to a few (or a few hundred) odd-looking omurice. Don’t try to be a hero: practice is good for you, eggs are cheap, and even the uglies are delicious.

The Sauce

Bar Moga does a great job of making everything in-house—from the crystal clear chicken stock used to cook rice to the sultry, spiced ketchup. Omurice is traditionally a quick and homey meal, so we saved time by using a good-quality packaged demiglace; you can, of course, make your own if you prefer.

But don’t cut corners on the ketchup. Akiyama makes his own with loads of fresh tomatoes and nine different spices for a peppery, extra-savory condiment that’s far less sweet than Heinz. It is tough to make a small amount without scorching the bottom, so make a full batch and pour that stuff on everything. It is great on home-fried potatoes and it makes a killer cocktail sauce. And, of course, eggs, explodey and otherwise.

Make this classic Palakkad Iyer coconut curry this summer

The beans mulagootal is a light curry that is typically eaten with a tangier pickle or a spice powder to offset its flavours. (Photo: My Diverse Kitchen)

A Mulagootal is a very typical preparation of the Palakkad Iyers. It is made usually using one type of vegetable (traditionally amaranth leaves, raw banana, yam, pumpkin, ash gourd or snake gourd though nowadays beans, cabbage, carrots, etc are used; this list of vegetables is not exhaustive) and occasionally a combination of two vegetables like raw banana and yard long beans.

The vegetable is cooked with red gram lentils (or sometimes split moong lentils) in a coconut gravy but no chillies or pepper is used making this rather bland yet very tasty. I , however, like to add a green chilli (the less spicy variety) while grinding the coconut paste as this lends a nice flavour without the “bite”. Since a mulagootal is bland, it is always served in combination with a spicy and tangy preparation like a puli pachadi (made with tamarind) or a thayir pachadi (made with yogurt) or a pulikyatchal ( a very spicy and tangy chutney made from green chillies, ginger and tamarind). If one is feeling lazy and not upto preparing a second dish, then a spicy pickle or a podi would do just as well.

Here, the vegetable in my mulagootal is beans but you can make this with a vegetable of your choice following the same recipe.

Beans Molakootal

Ingredients (Serves 4)
2 cups-Thinly sliced green beans
1 cup- Cooked and mashed red lentils (tuar dal)
¼ tsp- Turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 sprig- Curry leaves

For the coconut paste
¾ cup- Freshly grated coconut
1 ½ tsp- Cumin seeds
1 tsp- Black gram lentils (urad dal)
1 Green chili (optional)

The mulagootal is made with just one vegetable and tuar dal. (Photo: My Diverse Kitchen)The mulagootal is made with just one vegetable and tuar dal. (Photo: My Diverse Kitchen)

For the tempering
1 ½ tsp- Coconut oil (or sunflower oil)
1 tsp- Mustard seeds
1 ½- Black gram dal (urad dal)

Method
* In a pan, put in about ¼ tsp oil and put in the 1 tsp black gram lentil (for the paste). Sauté till it starts turning golden. Add the cumin seeds and sauté till it just till it gives off an aroma. Do not brown it. Grind the sautéed lentil and cumin seeds with the coconut and green chilli, adding just enough water to obtain a smooth paste. Keep aside.

* In the same pan (or another one), put the green beans, turmeric powder and salt along with 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer till the beans are well cooked

* Alternatively, you may cook the beans in the microwave till done and then put it on the stove with turmeric, salt and about 3/4 cup of water and bring this to a boil. Then turn down the heat to medium.

* This is what I do. I find it quicker and also like it that the beans retain their green colour.

* Now add the mashed red gram lentils and the curry leaves. Mix well and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the coconut paste, stir again and allow to come to a boil. After about 2 or 3 minutes turn off the heat and transfer to a serving bowl.

* In a small pan, heat the 1½ tsp oil for tempering. Put the mustard seeds in and when they splutter, add the black gram dal and stir till it becomes golden in colour. Pour this into the mulagootal and stir before serving.

How to make the ultimate Indian Masala Omelette

Indian masala omelette sandwich_759_MyWeekendKitchen

This is the Indian take on the basic omelette, spiced up and complete with tempering of cumin and chillies. With a little green chutney and ketchup, the Indian masala omelette makes for a great sandwich filling as well. In fact, the late night road side food joints in India are famous for this indigenous “omelette sandwich”.

Ingredients
2 – Large eggs
1 knob – Butter
1/2 tsp – Cumin
Salt – To taste
Red chilli flakes – To taste
1 tbsp – Milk
1/4 cup – Onion, chopped
1 – Green chilli, chopped

For the omelette sandwich 
4 slices – Wholewheat bread
2 – Cheddar cheese slices
2 tbsp – Tomato ketchup
2 tbsp – Green chutney

Indian masala omelette sandwich LR

Method
* Place a pan over low heat and let it get hot.
* Crack the eggs into a small bowl. Add in all the spices and a tbsp of milk. I always add a little milk to my eggs, it make the omelette fluffier and also takes away the smell.
* Beat well with a fork.
* Once the pan is hot, add the butter.
* When the butter has melted, add the cumin seeds. Add onions, and chillies. Fry and toss them around for about 1 minute.
* Now add the beaten eggs. As soon as you put the eggs in, stir them quickly with the spatula.
* This is a flip-over omelette where there is no soft, runny centre. When the omelette firms up from bottom, ease the sides with a spatula and flip over. Cook the other side until it is golden brown.
* Remove from heat and slide over a serving plate.
* To make the omelette sandwich, cut the omelette in quarters.
* Take two bread slices and spread tomato ketchup on one and green chutney on another.
* Put two omelette quarters on of the slices. Top with cheese slice and close with the second bread slice.
* Lightly cook on both side on the same pan used for making the omelette.
* Remove on a serving plate, cut into two triangles and serve hot.

How to make Fried Turnip Cake with Vegetables

This recipe shared by chefs at Yauatcha is a delight.

Fried Turnip Cakes might not sound appetizing to you and might dismiss it in a jiffy. But let us tell you this: Life is too short to try out the same food, over and over again. This recipe shared by chefs at Yauatcha, Delhi is a delight and something different to serve your guests the next time they come visiting. Try it for yourself beforehand. A very innovative way to add turnips to your diet, we say!

Fried Turnip Cake with Vegetables

Ingredients
Rice flour-375g
Wheat starch-160g
Potato Starch-75g
Water-675ml
Salt-20g
Seasoning-40g
Sugar-80g
Carrot-200g
Radish-1000g
Mushroom-150g
Hot water-1050ml

Method
* Peel the carrots and radish. Cut them into thick juliennes and blanch them till soft.

* Soak the shitake mushrooms in hot water for at least 2-3 hours. Squeeze out the water before cutting them.

* Cut the shiitake mushrooms into dices and toss them in a hot wok for 2 mins.

* Mix the rice flour, potato starch, wheat starch, salt, sugar and water (675 ml) together till it turns into a smooth and light batter.

* Add the blanched radish and carrots, Then add the tossed shitake mushrooms and mix well. Add 1050 ml of hot water gradually (preferably boiling) to this mixture and mix well.

* Oil the surface of the cake tin and line the base of the tin with butter paper to prevent the cake from sticking.

* Add the mixture in a cake tin (preferably, square shaped and about 2 inch in height) and steam it for 50-60 mins. Once cooked, allow it cool for 2-3 hours and then brush oil over the surface when cooled. Cover and cool it in a refrigerator.

* De-mould the cake and remove the butter paper.

* Cut into small squares about 1cm thick and fry them till golden.

* Make a mixture of fried garlic (finely chopped), fried shallots (finely chopped), chopped spring onions and chilli oil.

* Arrange it into a pyramid, spoon the fried garlic mixture at the base, place the fried turnip cake and repeat till the top of the pyramid.

* Garnish with finely chopped bird eye chillies and Serve!

 

 

How to make Sarson Ka Saag with Makki Ki Roti

Try out some Sarson Ka Saag with Makki Ki Roti this winter.

There’s nothing like Sarson Ka Saag and Makki Ki Roti to beat the winter chill. If you are a Punjabi or have Punjabi friends then you know what we are talking about. Considered as a comfort food, this dish is something which you can easily make at home. Chef Vaibhav Bhargava, Sheraton New Delhi Hotel tells us how.

Ingredients
For Sarson Ka Saag
250g – Mustard leaves
125g – Bathua leaves
125g – Spinach leaves
240g – Fenugreek leaves
200g – Onions
50g – Ginger
20g – Green chilies
20g- Garlic
5g – Red chili powder
1000ml – Water
50g – Maize flour
Salt to taste

For tempering
100g – Onion
20g – Oil

Makki Ki Roti
500g – Maize flour
150ml – Water
5g – Ajwain
20g – Ghee
Salt to taste

Method
For Sarson Ka Saag
* Clean and chop all the greens and then wash them again in running water to remove dirt. Repeat the process 3-4 times.

* In a pressure cooker, add all the ingredients except maize flour and cook it for 8-10 mins.

* Put the greens along with stock and maize flour in a blender and blend it for a min.

* Take a bowl and pour the blended greens in it. Now, take a pan, add the greens and simmer it for 20-25 mins.

* In another pan, heat oil or ghee, add the chopped onions and saute them till brown. Add the prepared saag and stir fry them. Keep stirring for a few mins.

For Makki Ki Roti
* Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add half of the water and knead well. Add more water if required.

* Using a cling film, roll the dough and make small size balls of the dough.

* Roast the makki ki roti on a tava with a few drops of ghee until it’s brown and thoroughly cooked.

* Serve hot with Sarson Ka Saag.

How to make Angara Murgh Tikka and Blue Cheese Naan

Chicken Tikka and Naan combo is probably the favourite of Indians.

Is Chicken Tikka and Naan your favourite combo? Do you prowl around the city, trying to find outlets that serve the best? What if we tell you that you don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant or waste your time hunting for a place any more to have a delicious meal? It’s possible to get that great combo with an interesting twist right at home.

Subrata Debnath, Executive Chef, Vivanta by Taj – Gurgaon, shares his amazing Angara Murgh Tikka and Blue Cheese Naan recipe with us.

Ingredients
Angara Murgh Tikka
500g – Boneless chicken thigh and leg
100g – Yogurt
1 tsp – Ginger paste
2 tsp – Garlic paste
1 tsp – Roasted cumin powder
1 tsp – Red chilli powder
½ tsp – Garam masala powder
½ tsp – Coriander powder
½ tsp – Yellow chilli powder
1 tsp – Kasoori methi
2 tsp – Lemon juice
2 tbsp – Clarified butter (ghee)
Salt to taste
1 tbsp – Melted butter

Blue Cheese Naan
300g – Refined flour (maida)
100ml – Warm water
10g – Yeast
5g – Salt
2 tbsp – Yogurt
75g – Blue cheese
1 ½ tbsp – Clarified butter (ghee)
1 tsp – Melted butter

Method
For Angara Murgh Tikka

* In a large mixing bowl, prepare the marinade by mixing in all the ingredients well except the chicken and the butter.

* Add the chicken cubes and mix well.

* Refrigerate for 2 hours.

* Skewer the chicken cubes on wooden shashlik sticks and cook over a charcoal grill or inside a grill tandoor. If unavailable, cook on gentle heat with a dash of ghee in a large non-stick skillet.

* While the chicken cooks, baste it with melted butter for added flavour.

For Blue Cheese Naan

* Combine the yeast and water in a bowl and set aside.

* Mix together flour, salt, yogurt and ghee in a large bowl.

* Add the yeast-water mix to the dry ingredient mix and knead it into a soft dough. Cover the dough with a muslin cloth and allow it to rest for 2 hours until it’s well-risen.

* Once the dough has risen, add the blue cheese and knead again.

* Dust a clean surface with flour and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into small bite sized naan pieces (approx 5 inch in diameter).

* Roast the naan inside a charcoal tandoor or over a small charcoal grill. Alternatively, stick the rolled out dough inside the walls of a pressure cooker and allow it cook without the cover.

To serve

* Place the bite-sized naan on a plate and brush with melted butter.

* Place the chicken tikka on the naan pieces.

* Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

* Serve hot with thin slices of onion, beetroot, mint chutney and lemon wedges.

Make your food bloom this season with edible flowers

People love flowers for their fragrance, colour and texture and just the fact that they can ease your nerves by simply looking at them. Now, you have one more reason to stare at those pretty ferns and petals and thats food.

Mrinmoy Acharya, Head Chef, Ciclo Cafe in Gurugram and Pankaj Jha, Senior Executive Sous Chef at The Suryaa in the capital share the various ways of marrying delectable food with gorgeous edible flowers so that you never run out of reasons to woo your loved ones with flowers.

*Pansy: Mild and delicate, this beautiful garden flower with velvety petals comes in purple, yellow, blue and white and is great for garnishing. Tastes like grapes and mint, this helps adding a slight taste to the dish. You can add these pretty flowers to your salad to enhance its flavour or just use it as a garnish on chocolate tortes or add to the plating while serving pastries or puddings.

*Nasturtium: One of the most popular picks in India, with its mild peppery flavour makes for an excellent pickling and culinary component. The bright yellow, orange nasturtium flowers are easy-to-grow and one of the tastiest herbs in the world. As the leaves of this flower are also edible, simply chop them and add to salad along with the flowers. You can also make desserts and appetisers more appetising by adding as a garnish.

*Marigold: Marigold of the sunflower family or calendula adds a lot to the plate because of its bright colour. Add to salad making it a refreshing summer floral dish or include it in custard to give a citrusy touch for a change.

*Crocus flower: These are easy to grow and look extremely attractive when a dish is served. Apart from using them in salads and main course. You can also mix this bud in beverages for flavouring and can also be used in making tea and wine.

*Snap Dragon: This fragrant specimen come in vibrant colours like red, yellow, pink and adds punch to your otherwise boring food. Mix it with liqueur, cranberry and lots of ice to make a delicious drink or add to pizzas and pies to give a fresh twist to the junk food.

4 Natural Ways to Make Your Hair Grow Thick

One of the most fun things about our body is our hair. We can experiment with it however we want to.
I, personally, mark the end of a phase, be it a bad phase or a good one, by changing my look, in which my hair plays a huge part, obviously. So, how can we be alright with our hair not being the way we want it to be which is smooth, silky, and thick? We don’t want our prized tassels to be scraggly and dull, but then, with all the playing and experimenting, these things are bound to happen.

What causes hair thinning?

 4 Natural Ways to Make Your Hair Grow Thick
1. Excessive physical or mental stress: Physical stress due to a surgery or engaging in tiring activities, or even flu can cause temporary hair loss. This can trigger a type of hair loss called telogen effluvium. Stressful events can disturb the hair cycle pushing more hair than usual into the shedding phase.

2. Lack of protein: When our mothers ask us to eat a lot of green vegetables and eggs, they have a reason behind it. In addition to a lot of other things, protein deficiency also causes hair loss. This is because our body tries to make up for the deficiency by rationing protein by stopping hair growth.

3. Heredity: If you have a family history of hair thinning or baldness, you may be prone to it.

hair 620

4. Hormonal changes in females: 

Just as pregnancy causes hair loss due to excessive stress and hormonal changes, so can switching between or going off birth control pills. This is because these things cause a lot of hormonal imbalance in the body.

5. Anaemia: Iron deficiency, which is something majority of women suffer from, can also lead to a lot of hair loss which is one of the most common symptoms of anaemia,

6. Over-styling:

Styling your hair too much can also cause hair loss because its is being put through too much stress. Exposing your hair to too much heat and chemicals can also make it weaker, as it affects the roots.

The good news is that just a little bit of nourishment and a little bit of care can make them all glossy and thick like you’ve always wanted them to be. There are so many natural remedies to stimulate hair growth and increase the volume of your hair. Here’s how to make your hair thick by using simple home remedies.

1. Eggs

Since protein deficiency is one of the main reasons for hair thinning, it shouldn’t be a surprise that eggs, a great source of protein, will help you undo the damage. Protein is the best nutrient to give your hair the strength to grow in volume and in length. To use egg on your hair, beat two eggs so that they are properly whisked together. Apply this mixture on dry hair and let it stay for about half an hour. Not only will this help in the long run, but it will also make your hair soft and silky instantly.

eggs 625

2. Coconut Oil

Our grandmothers and mothers have been pestering us to apply coconut oil on our hair at least once weekly, and that can’t be because of no reason, right? Coconut oil is the best product to maintain the texture and shine of your hair. Coconut oil also has the necessary proteins to keep the hair strong. To use coconut oil for getting thicker hair naturally, massage a bit of warm coconut oil into the scalp and hair and cover it with a hot towel for 10 to 15 minutes. This will ensure that the oil stays heated while penetrating the hair shaft.

coconut oil

3. Olive Oil

Olive oil has everything that our hair needs to stay healthy and thick. This is because of the omega-3 fatty acids

it contains which make it easier for the hair to become thicker and more voluminous. To use olive oil, simply apply the oil to your hair and massage it over your scalp. Leave it on for thirty minutes and then rinse with a light shampoo.

olive oil

4. Castor oil

Castor oil has high amounts of Vitamin E and fatty acids which promote hair growth, and due to its high viscosity, it coats the hair thoroughly. Apply castor oil on your hair just as you would apply coconut oil for best results.

castor oil

In addition to these natural remedies, there are various ways in which you can protect your hair from losing its health. For instance, don’t over-wash. Washing them too often can dry out your hair. The less you wash, the more hydrated your hair will be, and more hydration means better health. And, if it is necessary for you to wash your hair often, then consider using sulfate-free products as they have lesser harsh chemicals which affect the roots of the hair.