Pizza Dhokla

pizza dhokla

I love Gujarati Snacks (well, who doesn’t?) but have never made any of them at home. Always devoured the readymade ones from the likes of Bikaner and  Haldiram. My attempt at making these snacks is only limited to borrowing recipes, so recently when a Gujarati friend’s moms passed on a tried and tested recipe of Khatta Dhokla I made it the very next day. It turned out really nice and Nabeel lapped it up in no time. Great, I had now found my new Tiffin recipe.  Since Nabeel picked the curry leaves and mustard seeds from the dhokla (tempering) I thought of eliminating them completely and came up with a version of incorporating pizza flavours in the humble dhokla.

Pizza Dhokla is basically a sandwiched dhokla with a filling of pizza toppings. It’s really simple and quite wholesome. It is a dry snack and apt for school tiffin, as a travel snack or even as a gourmet snack for parties and gatherings. Pizza Dhokla is meant for the entire family, kids and adults alike. Give it a try.

Pizza Dhokla Recipe 

Ingredients
1 cup Rawa (fine semolina)
1 cup curd (yoghurt)
1 cup water
2 tablespoons melted butter
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup chopped capsicum
¼ cup chopped corn niblets
¼ cup chopped tomatoes
¼ cup chopped mushrooms (use raw but can be sautéed if you wish to)
¾ cup grated cheese
3 tablespoons pizza sauce (use tomato ketchup if not available)
Oregano, as per taste
Chilli Flakes, as per taste
Salt, as per taste

Method
Step 1 – In a separate bowl, mix together rawa, curd and water. Keep the dhokla batter aside for an hour.
Step 2 – In another bowl, mix together capsicum, corn niblets, tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese.
Step 3 – Add in pizza sauce, oregano, chilli flakes and salt. Keep this vegetable mixture aside.
Step 4 – After about an hour, add melted butter, baking soda, salt, oregano and chilli flakes in the dhokla batter.
Step 5 – Once the batter starts to froth add half of it in an oiled round container and steam*. This is the bottom layer.
Step 6 – After about 5 minutes, check if the bottom layer of dhokla is 90% done. Spread half the vegetable mixture gently over it.
Step 7 – Pour the reaming batter over the vegetable mixture and continue to steam till the top dhokla layer is cooked.
Step 8 – Remove the entire dhokla like one big cake and cut into wedges similar to pizza slices.
Step 9 – Serve immediately along with a dipping sauce of your choice.

*Note: To steam dhokla, you need a big vessel with simmering water. Place a stand in the vessel and keep your batter filled pan on it. Cover the big vessel with a lid and let the dhokla batter cook by way of steaming. I used an 8 inch round pan for this recipe.

 

dhokla

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Beat the Heat – Tender Coconut Milkshake

Tender Coconut water or Nariyal ka paani, is considered to be a very healthy drink for it is a natural source of electrolytes, calcium, potassium, magnesium, amino acids and sodium. During hot weather, tender coconut is something you should make a part of your daily diet because it is beneficial in maintaining the water levels of the body and regulating the body heat.

tender coconut milkshake

After water, tender coconut water is the purest form of drink found and is highly beneficial for the skin and body. Due to its purity and zero side effects the drink is highly recommended to babies and pregnant ladies. 

I have sipped ample of coconut water during both my pregnancies right from the beginning, but honestly its been more out of compulsion. Consuming something so bland and tasteless on a daily basis is really not my thing. That’s why I came up with this idea of whipping a milkshake using Tender Coconut;  it’s a fantastic drink that has the goodness of tender coconut water and meat, both.

A lot of people find the taste of tender coconut water to be quite bland and this delectable drink called Tender Coconut Milkshake is definitely a way of upping its taste quotient. 

Tender Coconut Milkshake makes an amazing thirst quencher for kids. Serve it for breakfast or at parties. It can fit anywhere you please. Use fruits to make a variety of combination.


Tender Coconut Milkshake Recipe
Makes 1 glass of milkshake

1 cup fresh coconut meat (malai)
1 cup tender coconut water
¼ cup vanilla ice cream or milk cream (malai) or fresh processed cream or milk
2 tablespoons Honey or sugar, as sweetener
Ice cubes

Step 1 – Finely chop tender coconut meat (malai). Reserve a spoon for garnish and put the remaining in the blender jar of a mixer – grinder.
Step 2 – Pour the coconut water, honey or sugar, ice cubes and ice cream.
Step 3 – Blend the mixture on a high speed till you get a smooth and creamy milkshake.
Step 4 – Pour in a glass, top with reserved coconut malai and consume immediately.

Notes:
• This is NOT a make ahead drink. Please extract coconut water minutes before making the milkshake because the water tends to get sour on storing for a long duration.
• 1 medium sized tender coconut’s water and meat is ideal to make 1 serve of the milkshake.


Disclaimer: This article was originally written for and published on BabyChakra.

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Yummy & Healthy Sweet Breakfast Recipes for Kids

We generally tend to look out for savoury recipes for kids especially when it comes to breakfast. That is one important meal of the day which needs to be taken and so all efforts are on finding yummy, nutritious breakfast ideas for them. Kids prefer eating sweet stuff more in comparison to savoury; have you ever considered preparing something sweet for breakfast for them? Also if you notice the regular, ready to eat breakfast items are commonly sweet in taste..why is that? Because, dishes that are sweet in taste please kids more than anything else.

Here are 3 sweet breakfast recipes that I shared on BabyChakra for its readers. You can check them out and try for your child.

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  1. Chocolate Porridge – To witness a warm bowl of freshly prepared porridge gobbled up in minutes by the child is any mothers dream ..hehehe. Such dreams shall definitely turn true if you try out this super nutritious and yummy chocolate flavoured porridge which is on the lines of dalia.

Chocolate Porridge / Chocolate Dalia Recipe 

Chocolate Porridge

 

  1. Date & Nut Milkshake – Yummy, wholesome and high on energy this milkshake tastes very similar to chocolate milkshake which means the kids can never say no to it! A huge glass and your child will be energized for a good part of the day.

Date & Nut Milkshake Recipe

date and nut milkshake

 

  1. Flapjacks – Flapjacks are sweet energy bars made out of oats. They are rich in folic acid and calcium and a very popular treat for kids. When there is no time to prepare something fresh, these make-ahead goodies are great are your ideal breakfast fix for kids. They work wonders with a glass of milk and keep the child energetic for a long duration.

Flapjacks Recipe

Flapjacks

 

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Snack on Yoghurt

Snacking has become a way of life for kids these days given their rigid schedules. Kids rarely have time to savour and gain from the basic meals of the day, their 3 full meals are essentially broken down into 5 to 6 quick snacky meals out of which 2 are usually grab and go kind of meals.

For most kids’ breakfast is just a glass of milk before heading to school followed by a light Tiffin snack during a short timed break, mostly packaged and lacking good nutrition.
For the after school, after play, before activity class, TV time munching, etc kind of snack breaks kids usually enjoy quick fixes in form of semi-prepared convenience foods or chips and other packaged stuff which tastes delicious but satisfy for a short period.
Lunch and Dinner might be nutritious home cooked meals but they are consumed in small portions because of the many breaks that precede and follow them.

To sum it up, kids eat a lot during the day but does it help them in anyway? Was the consumed food nutritious along with being yummy and convenient? You may prepare the best of and the healthiest stuff for lunch and dinner but are you ensuring their other meals are nourishing, too?While a child may not ask such questions with regards to food, we as mothers need to.

Snacks can be healthy too and nothing like freshly prepared homemade snacks to munch on. However, preparing something fresh every time is not very practical and one does have to rely on food stuffs outside of the kitchen. Nuts, fruits, yoghurt, dried nuts and fruits, etc are great snack options which are very healthy and convenient, one of my past article lists all such healthy snack options that one could consider.

It is important to concentrate on the snacks kids consume during those little hunger breaks as it makes a lot of impact on their overall daily consumption.

Yoghurt as a Healthy Snack

danone yoghurt

The Indian consumer has quite a few variety of packaged yoghurt to choose from. Danone India has fruit flavoured yoghurts on offer and it recently launched a healthier version called “Greek style Yoghurt”. Danone’s Greek Style Yoghurt is one of its kinds for the Indian consumer. It has higher protein content, low fat and is much creamier. The protein is almost double and is ideal accompaniment for the carbohydrate rich Indian diet.

We were at the product launch of the same and there were some unknown insights shared by Nutritionist Naaznin Husein on yoghurt and how it can be a great snack option.

  • Yoghurt has been a traditional food item and every Indian household consumes in it some form of the other for its wonderful benefits
  • Yoghurt is great for your gut and helps aid digestion, something very much needed for our kids who eat so much during the day.
  • Young and adults alike need to consider snacking on pre-portioned yoghurt packs as a replacement to unhealthy options like chips or fried food with empty calories.
  • Yoghurt is high in proteins and helps curb hunger while keeping the calories at minimum.
  • Yoghurt works wonderful as a low fat dessert, late night snack or T.V time snack.
  • Yoghurt adapts well to recipes and there are many ways you can use it to create mouth-watering dishes.
  • Yoghurt packs are ideal as on the go snacks and can be carried in lunch boxes.
  • Yoghurt based smoothies are the ideal breakfast item for kids.

 

chef demo - food bloggers

Chef Varun Inamdar demonstrating few recipes using Danone Yoghurt

I found one of the breakfast recipes interesting for kids, below is an image of the recipe card as shared by Danone.

banana brulee

breakfast recipe card

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Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

cinnamon-rolls

Cinnamon is my favourite spice to use, when it comes to baking and these Cinnamon rolls have been on my to-do list since long. Having enjoyed them at many breakfast buffets during holidays the urge to bake them at home had just been growing. Finally, when I managed to get cream cheese I knew what it would be used for…to dress my homemade Cinnamon Rolls. More so, one of my favourite bloggers made these recently and I had to follow suit 🙂

Cinnamon Rolls are a favourite breakfast item in the US, equally enjoyed in Europe and other parts of the world, made famous mostly by the popular chain of cinnamon roll outlets, Cinnabon. Cinnabon is now in India and Indian’s sure love their cinnamon rolls.

breakfast-rolls

Cinnamon rolls are commonly baked and that is how I cooked them. But, they can also be cooked by deep-frying, similar to doughnuts, so if you are a doughnut and a cinnamon roll fan then you have a chance to enjoy the best of both at the same time.

cinnamon-rolls-with-cream-cheese-icingWe enjoyed the cinnamon rolls for breakfast (obviously) and my boy enjoyed licking off the sinful cream cheese icing the most.

If you are in love with Cinnamon Rolls and would like making them at home then follow this easy, from scratch recipe that yields melt in the mouth rolls. The icing can be prepared using only icing sugar and water in case cream cheese is not easily available.

Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients 

For the dough
Flour – 140gms
Egg – 1 nos, beaten
Sugar – 1 tbsp
Melted Butter – 2 tbsp
Yoghurt – 2 tbsp
Active Dry Yeast – 1 tsp (5 grams) mixed with 2 tbsp luke warm water
Salt – a pinch

For the cinnamon layer
2 tbsp melted butter
4 tbsp brown sugar
½ to 1 tbsp cinnamon powder (depending upon how mush cinnamon you can take)

For cream cheese icing
2 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp cream cheese
1 tbsp milk
Few drops of vanilla essence

Melted butter, for greasing and brushing

Method
Step 1 – To prepare the dough, activate yeast in luke warm water. Cover and keep aside till the mixture turns frothy.
Step 2 – Sieve the flour in a bowl, add in salt and mix well.
Step 3 – Mix in the remaining dough ingredients, including yeast mixture and knead to form pliable soft dough.
Step 4 – Cover the bowl with a muslin cloth and let the dough double in size. It will take approximately 1 hour for the dough to proof and rise.
Step 5 – Once the dough has risen, remove it on the kitchen platform and punch out the air.
Step 6 – Roll the dough into a rectangle, roughly about 7 x 4 inches.
Step 7 – For the cinnamon layer, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon powder well. Apply melted butter over the dough and spread the cinnamon mixture evenly, over it.

cinnamon-roll-layering
Step 8 – Roll the rectangle tightly, lengthwise. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 6 equal cinnamon rolls.

cutting-rolls
Step 9 – Take an 8 inch round cake tin and grease it with butter. Place the cinnamon rolls in it with cut side up. Cover the rolls with a damp muslin cloth and let them double in size.

proofing-the-rolls
Step 10 – While the rolls proof, pre-heat the oven to 200 C.
Step 11 – Once ready, pop the rolls into the oven. Rolls should take about 40 to 50 minutes to bake. If you notice the top of the rolls browning then cover with a piece of foil to prevent further darkening.
Step 12 – Remove the cinnamon rolls from the oven and brush with melted butter, if you like. Keep aside to cool before pouring the cream cheese icing.
Step 13 – To prepare the icing, mix all the ingredients vigorously to a smooth mixture. Pour over warm cinnamon rolls and serve immediately.

cinnabon

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5 fun breakfast ideas for kids

Breakfast is an important meal of the day for both adults and kids. Kids, in particular, need to eat a wholesome breakfast to face the challenging day ahead. We all know about the cold war between food and kids and how difficult it is to get the right thing in their system; unless of course the food is presented in a very attractive manner to them or when they whip up treats on their own. Here are some fun ways kids can make their own breakfast, with little help from parents, and relish it too.

fun-breakfast-ideas-for-kids

5 fun ways to involve kids in making their breakfast and eating it too!

Read through the 5 fun breakfast suggestions involving kids to bring a stop to all your kids breakfast woes.

chocolate-pancake-pizza

Chocolate Pancake Pizza

1) Chocolate Pancake PizzaWant kids to eat pancakes in a fun way? Let them convert pancakes to yummy chocolate pizzas. Kids can layer pancakes with maple syrup, sliced fruits and then grate oodles of chocolate over it before lightly baking it. The goodness of wheat pancakes, fruits and chocolate will make your child happy and ready to face the day.

rainbow-toast

Rainbow Toast  (Image credit:  www.learnplayimagine.com )

2) Rainbow Toast – I found this incredibly good looking breakfast idea on the net. With some edible rainbow food colours, the humble bread slice can be turned into something so appealing that kids will always look forward to breakfast. Mix some edible colors with milk and paint a rainbow on a bread slice, toast the slice and enjoy. For detailed procedure read here.

instant-kids-milkshake

Flavored straws are a great way to perk up a boring glass of milk

3) Strawesome Milkshake – Have you bought flavoured straws for your kids, yet? Yummy flavoured straws from Sipahh are a wonderful way to spike up a boring glass of milk at the breakfast table. All that the child has to do is rip open the individual straw packet, dip it in milk and sip through to enjoy instant delicious milkshake. Available in 10 exciting flavours, kids get to indulge in a different milkshake every day.

4) Assembling Quesadillas – Mexican quesadillas stuffed with vegetables and kidney beans make for a wholesome breakfast that will keep the child full for hours. Let your child build his own quesadillas by laying out its ingredients in different bowls on the breakfast table. Things required are tortillas, sautéed mixed vegetables or boiled shredded meat of your choice, mashed kidney beans, grated cheese, herbs and seasonings. Once the quesadillas are layered, help the child lightly toast or grill them in a pan.

fruit-skewers

Fruit Skewers for breakfast – artistic & fulfilling

5) Fruit Shashlik – Fruits are the most ideal thing to consume for breakfast. Lay an array of fruits at the table and ask kids to arrange them in an artistic way on skewers to make Fruit Shashlik or Fruit Kabobs. Instead of diced / cubed pieces of fruits use special cutters to cut fruit and make the entire breakfast activity interesting and fulfilling. Honey or maple syrup can be drizzled on the fruit skewers for added flavour.
Do try these simple yet interesting breakfast ideas involving kids this holiday season and let me know how your kids enjoyed them. Do you have any breakfast idea involving kids? If yes, then please share in the comments below.

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Demystifying the basics of bread making & WHOLE WHEAT BREAD LOAF recipe

basic of bread making

** Long post alert! Prolonged scrolling time 🙂 **

I am back after a 4 month long hiatus. Not that I was happy to be away but the situation had me tied up completely, leaving no time to blog. However, in these 4 months I have had a whale of a time thinking of, and sometimes whipping up few new recipes, draft posts of which are waiting to be published that I promise to share asap.

Today’s post is all about breads and the technique behind them. Also sharing, a lovely Whole Wheat Bread Load recipe, which has taken up a lot of my R&D time, but has been worth it, in the end.

Nabeel and I love white sliced bread and it used to make up for our quick breakfast every other day, hmm..well, till a few months ago. The day I learnt about the zero nutrition and negative health effects processed factory made breads have I decided to slowly discontinue them in my routine. It was not easy to eliminate bread completely from our lives and therefore I was constantly looking for recipes and inspiration to bake my own healthy bread loaf. Finally, after lot of reading and some unsuccessful kitchen attempts I found the formula to make the perfect Bread Loaf.

whole wheat breakfast bread

Baking is more science than art! And within it baking, bread is one of the most difficult things to create if you don’t know the science behind it. Once you understand the theory then there is no stopping. Based on my understanding of this science, I am sharing with you a few bread basics that you need to keep in mind before you attempt making any breads. Hope it gives you an idea of what is added when and why.

whole wheat bread slice

Demystifying Bread Making

1) Good bread is the result of good gluten formation. Gluten is nothing but the stringy texture of dough you achieve when wheat flour is mixed with proportionate quantity of water and kneaded well. So the bottom line is knead well to reap well 🙂
2) Refined flour or Maida produces better gluten in comparison to Whole wheat flour. That explains why most bread products use refined flour. This however, is changing thanks to bread improvers, additives, gluten flour, etc that is used by bread manufacturers. They help give a good texture to the product but are totally zero on nutrition.
3) It is possible to bake bread using whole wheat flour, just DON’T compare the end result with a refined wheat flour product. A whole wheat bread is denser and heavy on the stomach but much nutritious than any other bread.
4) Yeast, fresh or dry plays an important role in bread making. It helps in fermentation which gives the airy texture to the bread. Active dry yeast is easily available and much stronger then fresh yeast. Both are interchangeable in a recipe, fresh yeast is always double of active dry yeast and similarly dry yeast is half of fresh yeast quantity.
5) Sugar is the food for yeast, it helps yeast grow. While salt is the birth control measure of yeast :-), it helps keep the yeast from over multiplying which might cause the bread to crack and collapse while baking. Thus, salt is added only after first fermentation so that sugar can help the yeast grow during the first round and then salt controls it during the second.
6) Yeast requires warmth to grow but it dies at 60 C so always use luke warm water (NO hot water) to make the solution.
7) Yeast products to be baked at 200 C and over only. Since, the yeast dies at a low temperature the high temperature helps cook the bread fast retaining the air pockets even though the yeast has stopped producing them. This gives the texture to the product.
8) Always cool down freshly baked bread before slicing it.
9) Remember the more you practice the better you get at baking breads. Initial attempts might be unsatisfactory but they will help you understand the techniques well.

whole wheat bread loaf

Whole Wheat Bread Loaf Recipe
Makes 1 (6×3.5×3.5 inch) loaf

Ingredients
320 grams Whole Wheat flour
15 grams or 1 tablespoon Active Dry Yeast
10 grams or 2 teaspoon Honey or Sugar
150 ml lukewarm water
15 grams or 1 tablespoon homemade ghee or Butter
5 grams or 1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons (approx) Sesame Seeds
Melted ghee or Butter

Method
Step 1: First make the yeast solution by dissolving yeast and honey in the lukewarm water. Set it aside for 15 to 20 minutes or till the solution froths.


Step 2: Meanwhile, measure the flour and empty it over your working counter. Grease your loaf tin with oil and keep aside.
Step 3: Make a well in the flour pile and pour the frothed yeast solution in it, carefully.

flour well
Step 4: Bring the flour together and mix. Once the yeast solution has been mixed take some water and start kneading. You might need approx. 150 ml to 200 ml of water to make the dough.

mixing dough
Step 5: Knead the dough well by stretching and pulling it. The secret to well baked bread lies in the kneading of its dough. Refer image to understand how to knead properly.

how to knead bread dough
Step 6: Once you achieve smooth yet firm dough, round it up neatly and place aside covered with a moist cotton cloth or muslin. Let the dough rest till it doubles in size (first fermentation). The time here varies depending upon the temperature but it should be anywhere between 20 to 50 minutes.

bread dough texture
Step 7: To check whether the dough is ready lightly press it with fingers, the feeling is same like when one touches sponge. Turn the dough and look for web like formation at the bottom (refer image).


Step 8: Using your palm, cream ghee or butter and salt together on the counter.

salt and fat mixture
Step 9: Literally, throw the fermented dough over the mixture and punch it to release all the air trapped within it. Lightly knead and shape into a rectangular log with the sides neatly tucked in. The log should be slightly smaller than the loaf tin.

punching bread dough
Step 10: Place the dough inside the loaf tin and gently press using fingers to cover the corners. Cover the loaf tin with a cloth or muslin and set it aside to double in size (second fermentation). This fermentation will take anywhere between 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the room temperature. The hotter it is faster the fermentation.


Step 11: Switch on the oven and set it at 220 C. Once the loaf has doubled in size, uncover it and brush it very gently with some water. Sprinkle sesame seeds and press them lightly on the loaf so that they stick to it. Let the dough remain for 5 minutes.

second fermentation
Step 12: Once the oven is hot, place the loaf tin on its center rack. The loaf will take around 40 to 50 minutes to bake.

Step 13: Remove the loaf and immediately brush it with melted ghee or butter. Take the loaf off the tin and keep it on a rack to cool. It is important that the loaf is removed from the tin and then cooled.

freshly baked bread loaf
Step 14: Slice and serve the bread only after cooling it completely.

whole wheat sandwich bread

Nabeel enjoying the bread

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