Wednesday 18 September 2013

Crouu-doughnuts | Kronuts - Baking Partner Challenge #14

 You know what is the latest sensation in the pastry or bakery world?? It's none other than the 'Cronut™' which is one of the most viral desserts of all time ! Developed by chef Dominique Ansel for Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City & launched in May 2013, this dessert has fans all over the world & the imitation versions are being tried all over US & Australia. So what is this dessert actually? You can say in simple words that it is a hybrid of a croissant & donut, but let's listen to what the inventor says about the delicacy (from the Dominique Ansel Bakery website)

Taking 2 months and more than 10 recipes, Chef Dominique Ansel’s creation is not to be mistaken as simply croissant dough that has been fried. Made with a laminated dough which has been likened to a croissant (but uses a proprietary recipe), the Cronut™ is first proofed and then fried in grapeseed oil at a specific temperature. Once cooked, each Cronut™ is flavored in three ways: 1. rolled in sugar; 2. filled with cream; and 3. topped with glaze. Cronuts™ are made fresh daily, and completely done in house. The entire process takes up to 3 days.

So when Swathi decided to challenge us with making Kronuts this month, I was very excited. Since I could not get to eat this delicacy from any bakeries here, I wanted to make it at home & see how it tastes :) I must admit it is a long process & has a lot of work to do, but it was fun learning something new & getting to see the end result. I would never dare to say that I nailed it. There were a lot of hiccups like wet dough & oozy butter & separated layers while frying. But each failure taught me something new, thanks to the guidance of Swathi, Archana, Suja (whose notes on the method helped me) & my fellow bakers :) And I know that next time, I would definitely make a better one :) 

So this is what I treated myself to, frying & eating kronuts when I turned a year older again yesterday ;) So let's see how it is made, do not get scared seeing the long steps & process & also do not omit reading any line, coz the tips & precautions are also listed along with the method :D Taste wise, they were great, crispy & flaky, but I did not use any filling or glaze to make them soft. And also I baked a few to see how it would turn out, but they were nowhere near the fried ones. They could not retain the shape & were falling apart & was also soft & tasted very doughy. So it is best to fry them to enjoy them :D

Recipe Source: Bootleg Cronut

I Took: 3 days/3-4 hours

Makes: 16 kronuts

I Used:

For Dough
All purpose flour - 510 gm | 3.75 cups
Salt - 7 gm | 1 tsp
Sugar - 100 gm | ½ cup
Milk - 150 gm | ½ cup+2 tbsp
Yeast - 2 ¼ tsp
Eggs - 2 jumbo | 3 large
Unsalted Butter - 50 gm | 3.5 tbsp

For Butter Layer
Butter - 295 gm | 1 ¼ cup+ ½ tbsp

For Frying
Canola Oil - 2-4 cups
Water - 200 gm
Cinnamon Sugar - 400 gm sugar + 100 gm cinnamon

The Way:

Day 1: Prep the dough
  1. Take out butter & eggs from the refrigerator half an hour before the dough preparation. This is to allow them to reach room temperature
  2. Prep-ing the yeast                                                                                                                                                                            Fresh Yeast  - Mix with milk (at room temperature) beforehand to activate the yeast                                                                    Active Yeast - Heat half milk to lukewarm (around 110F / 43C) & add yeast. Set aside for 5-7 minutes to proof
  3. Heat milk in microwave for about 30 seconds & add butter to it. This is for butter to melt easily. Keep aside
  4. Combine all the dry ingredients - flour, sugar, salt & instant yeast (if using) in a bowl of a stand mixer
  5. Add the butter-milk mixture to the dry ingredients. Add yeast (if not instant) & eggs
  6. Mix on low speed for 3 minutes or until everything is incorporated. Mix on high speed for another 8 minutes. If kneading by hand, as I did, knead well for about 10-15 minutes until you get a smooth shiny dough ! Do not over knead the dough
  7. Remove the dough & tuck under edges to form a ball. Grease a bowl with oil or cooking spray & place the dough in the bowl with seams down. Cut a cross across the top of the dough with a knife to help the dough relax
  8. Cover the bowl tightly with clear plastic wrap & make sure it is not in contact with the dough. Place the dough in a warm area & allow it to double in size, which would take about 60 minutes
  9. Once the dough has proofed to double, refrigerate it overnight

Day 2: Incorporating butter to dough

Prepping butter
  1. Cut the cold butter lengthwise into ½ inch thick slabs. Arrange the slabs on a piece of parchment/waxed paper to form a 5 or 6 inch square, cutting the butter crosswise as necessary to fit. Cover it with another piece of parchment paper
  2. Using a rolling pin, pound the butter with light even strokes. As the pieces begin to adhere, use more force
  3. Pound them until it's about a 4x6 inch rectangle. Then trim the edges & place the trimmings on top of the rectangle & pound again lightly. When done, place the butter in refrigerator for 2 hours
  4. Do not over work with butter. If the butter starts to leak, try to put it back in the refrigerator
Laminating the dough
  1. Unwrap & place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a 10 inch square. Brush excess flour off the dough
  2. Unwrap & place the butter at the centre of the rolled dough square
  3. Fold one flap of the dough over the butter, stretching it slightly that the flap just reaches the centre of the butter. Repeat the same with the 3 other flaps to form an envelope
  4. Press the edges together to completely seal the butter inside the dough
First turn
  1. Lightly flour the top & bottom of the dough. With a rolling pin, firmly press the dough to elongate it slightly & then start rolling to lengthen the dough and keep the edges straight
  2. Now turn the dough so that the shorter end faces you. Roll again to expand the length of the dough. Make sure the dough does not stick to the work surface. Add flour if needed
  3. When the rolling yield you a rectangle of 21x9 inches, mark the rectangle into 3 equal columns. Fold the right third of the rectangle into the centre third. Fold the left third of the rectangle into the centre third like a business letter. This is the first turn
Second Turn
  1. Try to do this right away after the first turn, but if the dough is too warm, wrap in film (aluminium foil) & place in refrigerator
  2. Repeat rolling just like the First Turn and make sure to lock the unsealed edges of the dough & roll over the dough to form a rectangular shape
  3. Again, as in first turn, mark the rectangle into 3 equal columns. Fold the right third of the rectangle into the centre third. Fold the left third of the rectangle into the centre third
  4. Marking the dough allows you to track your progress, and ensure that the orientation of the dough is correct when you remove it from the refrigerator
  5. Cover the dough in parchment paper & refrigerate for at least an hour
Third Turn
  1. The dough will be hard, so gently pound the dough to warm the butter. If it is too cold the butter will separate and not spread as it should
  2. Repeat the previous steps, and turn again, marking the corner with three fingerprints
  3. Cover dough with parchment paper and plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour
Fourth Turn

Make the final turn, repeating the steps from turns 1-3. Refrigerate overnight

Day 3 - Kronuts frying day:

Rolling out the dough

  1. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and roll out the dough to approximately the size of a sheet pan, ½ inch thick
  2. The dough should stay cold, without sticking to the surface. If it starts to stick, place in the refrigerator and roll again when cool
  3. Transfer to a sheet pan with parchment paper and chill before use
Punching out Kronuts
  1. Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper & greased with oil  
  2. Remove dough from fridge and take two ring moulds, with the larger mould around 3½ inch and inner around 1½ inch 
  3. Make sure that the dough is really cold while you punch out the holes. Or else the kronuts will not fry straight
  4. Transfer the punched kronuts to the sheet pan, leaving enough space between them to allow them to proof. Brush the top of the kronuts with water and set aside  
  5. Leave in a warm area until they have proofed which would take about 30 min
  6. Once it is proofed keep it in the refrigerator for 1 hour or in the freezer for 15 minutes before frying
Frying the Kronuts
  1. Heat canola oil in a pot over medium temperature. about 3 inches high
  2. Once the oil is ready for deep frying, turn heat to low and place Kronuts in oil to fry (1-2 at a time to avoid overcrowding) 
  3. Turn and flip the kronuts often so that they brown evenly. Fry them in a low temperature otherwise outside become too dark soon and also the inside will not cook properly. Also if the temperature is very low, the layers would start to separate out in the oil & you would not get a full kronut
  4. Once golden brown throughout, remove from oil and strain them on paper towels
    Once it is no longer shiny transfer to a container with sugar and cinnamon and toss. Enjoy with some icing sugar dusting or with a glaze of your choice.


    • Eat them immediately as they have a short shelf life 
    • Do not refrigerate them as the humidity from the refrigerator will cause them to go stale and soggy 
    • If filled with cream or glazing, avoid serving them warm


    Monday 16 September 2013

    'Ona Sadhya' & my rattlings on Onam !

    I know I am a bit late here at my space, but better late than never coz the sun has just rose at some part of the world, so all my kin & kith out there celebrating Onam, 'Wish you a very happy Onam & a glorious year ahead'. Onam has always been a memorable time for me right from childhood. When I was young it was about holidays & when I grew up it was about food. And somehow it was always easier for me to talk or write for a pretty good time about Onam starting with 'Onam is the harvest festival of Kerala. It spans for 10 days & usually occurs in the month of August or September!' Now that's what Onam actually is, but for me it has struck a slightly deeper & different chord. I have always been amused when I think about it from that point of view !

    It's one festival that I have seen people really thrive to be with their extended family & spend time together - be it in dicing up veggies, prepping up for the sadhya, lining the courtyards with lovely patterns of flowers & leaves or just discussing the current issues or catching up with each other ! Spirits do go down when they can't make to their hometown for an Onam hols. And what do such souls do? They do have associations which chirp in together & have the 'Ona Sadhya' & the innumerous games & programmes like Vadamvali (pulling the rope) & Kaserakali (Musical chair) to name a few ! All these feels & conveys one of the commendable aspect of the natives of 'God's own land' - their sense of oneness & their undying faith in the age ole adage 'Kanam Vittum Onam Unnanam' (You have to eat the Ona Sadhya even if it is by selling your land)

    Onam 2012 - back in Kerala

    Still in confusion on how to make this pookalam beautiful with the limited flowers in hand

    Finally, this is what we managed !!

    So moving on from my rattlings, we did celebrate Onam this year in our own small way, with whatever we could muster up. This time we had to celebrate here in Norway & couldn't get to fly back home like we did last year :( So we had a mini Ona Sadhya served in lovely plantain leaves, the traditional way. Luckily I found a pair of leaves last week from the Asia shop, it did cost me a bit but c'mon it's Onam & I wanted to gather up all that I could to make it feel as homely as it could be. But sadly, I could not find enough ingredients to make some 'Aviyal', the must have dish for any Sadhya as Deeps puts it. And also Ada for making Ada Pradhaman & that's when google gods helped me. Me & Deeps prepared some Ada yesterday. It was so exciting to do that from scratch ! Pineapple Pachadi was also prepared by Deeps & stacked up yesterday night. And Puliyinchi is from my Mil, which we got when we came back from our vacation. And the rest all was prepared today morning by me ! I did forget to get some bananas, but still the platter looks good, right? I didn't get enough time to take individual pics of the different dishes, but then maybe some other day? Do let me know if you would like to see any of the particular recipes here & I would prepare & post them soon :)

    Dishes in order

    1. Pappad
    2. Manga Achar (Mango Pickle)
    3. Naranga Achar (Lemon Pickle)
    4. Puliyinchi
    5. Ishtu (Stew)
    6. Pineapple Pachadi
    7. Mathanga Erissery (Made with Vanpayar/Red Cow Peas instead of Tur Dal in recipe) 
    8. Cabbage Thoran
    9. Achinga Payar Upperi (Long Beans Stir Fry)
    10. Rice
    11. Rasam
    12. Pulissery
    13. Sambar
    14. Palada Pradhaman


    Thursday 12 September 2013

    Turnip Stir fry | Noolkol Poriyal | Madhuramullangi Thoran

    Turnips & Shallots stir-fried & served with coconut dressing

    Turnips, I seriously am not sure what they are called in Tamil or Malayalam or any other Indian language for that matter :D When I asked my mom she said, 'It's Nukal na??' But somewhere else I read Nookal is actually called 'Kohlrabi' in English & it means German Turnip. When I asked my fellow bloggers in FB, Sangeetha, Nithya & Princy also told me it's Madhuramullangi in Malayalam & Nookal in Tamil. Anyways, the turnips that I got here does not exactly resemble the one that we get in India. This is white in color & does not have those antennae-like shoots from the bulb. Rather the bulbs are smooth & round and they have the leafy extensions from the top of the bulb (like in carrots). 

    So putting aside the confusion on the name, I went ahead & prepared it just like how mom makes the Nukal poriyal. It tasted almost the same as the original Nukal that we get back in India. So do not hesitate to try them out as they are very low in calories & also rich in Vitamin C & dietary fiber. Moreover it is a very easy & simple recipe to prepare. 

    Recipe Source: Ma

    I Took: 30 minutes

    Serves: 3-4 persons

    I Used:

    Turnips - 1 cup - diced
    Shallots - 8-10 no - sliced
    Grated Coconut - 3 tbsp
    Mustard - 1 tsp
    Red Chilly - 2 no
    Curry leaves - A sprig
    Oil - 1 tbsp
    Salt - As Needed

    The Way:

    1. Peel the skin of the turnips & rinse them thoroughly. Dice into small cubes
    2. Boil the diced turnips along with salt & turmeric powder (optional). Avoid turmeric powder if you want to retain the yellow color 
    3. In a frying pan, heat oil. Splutter the mustard seeds. Add red chilly & the sliced shallots
    4. Saute them for a while until they turn slight brown. Add the curry leaves & the boiled turnips. Mix well
    5. Allow them to become dry. Add the grated coconut & give it a nice stir. Switch off the flame & serve

    Monday 9 September 2013

    Chinese Scallion Pancakes with Ginger dipping sauce - IFC Challenge #1 | Cong You Bing

    When  Saraswathy and Shobana geared up to create this new event 'International Food Challenge' I knew I that I am definitely gonna participate in this one ! C'mon, who would want to miss a chance to learn some exotic dishes from the cuisines around the world? The added advantage is you can make them at home without having to search for that speciality restaurant in your locality :D And as it would please anyone, the first challenge was to experiment on Chinese cuisine especially from the Cantonese region. So let me give you guys some heads up on this cuisine as shared to us from the event organisers. 

    Cantonese Cuisine, also named Yue Cuisine or Guangdong cuisine, is one of the main cuisine styles in China. It comes from Guangdong Province in southern China and it is one of among the eight great traditions of Chinese cuisine. The basic cooking techniques of Cantonese cuisine include roasting, stir-frying, sautéing, deep-frying, braising, stewing and steaming. Steaming and stir-frying are most commonly used to preserve the ingredients' natural flavors. The most characteristic cooking methods of Cantonese Cuisine are cooking in salt, cooking in wine, baking in a pan, and soft ¨C frying. 

    We were given four recipes to choose from namely Spiral Moon Cake, Cantonese Savoury Glutinous Rice Dumplings, Cantonese Wonton Noodles Soup & Chinese Scallion Pancakes. I chose Chinese Scallion pancakes, the simpler one. This closely resembles the Kerala parottas in that APF is used to make these pancakes. Spring onions or Scallions is used as a stuffing. This is served with a sweetishly sour dip. I enjoyed having these, especially the dip which made the pancakes more tastier !

    Recipe Source: Adapted from here

    I Took: 40 minutes

    Serves: 3-4 pancakes (5 or 6 inch dia)

    I Used:

    For Pancake:

    All purpose flour/Maida - 1 cup + more for dusting
    Scallions/Spring Onions - ¼ cup
    Oil - 4 tbsp
    Salt - 1 tsp / As Needed
    Boiling-hot Water - ¼ cup / As Needed

    For Ginger-Dipping Sauce:

    Thin Soya Sauce - ¼ cup
    Rice Wine Vinegar - ¼ cup
    Chopped Scallions - ¼ cup
    Crumbled Dried Red Chilly - 1 tsp
    Ginger - 1 tsp
    Toasted Sesame seeds - 1 tsp
    Sugar - 1 tsp

    The Way:

    1. Sift together flour & salt. Add 2 tbsp oil and mix well
    2. Slowly add the boiling-hot water & knead until it forms a soft & smooth dough
    3. Cover with a damp cloth & allow it to stand for 20-30 minutes
    4. Divide the dough into 3-4 pieces of equal size & roll them into balls using hand
    5. On a floured surface, place a ball & roll it into a thin circle using a rolling pin
    6. Spread a tsp of oil evenly over the pancake & sprinkle 1-2 tbsp of scallions over it
    7. Roll up the pancake from one end (horizontally) like a rug
    8. Curl (vertically) the roll around in a spiral. With the palm press the top of the spiral to flatten it. Using a rolling pin, roll again & flatten to achieve a 5 or 6 inch pancake
    9. In a hot non-stick pan, pan sear both sides of the pancake (like you make chapathis) until golden brown. Add oil if necessary
    10. Mix all the dipping ingredients together. Cut the pancake into wedges and serve them with the dipping sauce


    • I omitted rice wine vinegar in the dip as I did not have them. Still tasted awesome !


    Friday 6 September 2013

    Ribbon Pakoda | Ola/Ottu Pakoda | Ribbon Murukku | Nada Thenkuzhal

    Ribbon shaped fritters prepared from besan flour

    Not many of you would need an intro to this lovely snack ! You might have always seen your mom or granny prepare this for Diwali or Janmashtami & just munching them as such is a delight on it's own :) It is also a very common snack/fritter in the South Indian bakeries. At times, on lazy days, we used to have them as an accompaniment to rasam sadam when cooking elaborate meals with poriyals & kootu were not in picture. Have you tried them that way? If not, do take a chance. You would love them. As a matter of fact, they taste awesome with sambar sadam too ! Very easy to make, just mix all the ingredients together & fry them in hot steaming oil. Voila, your fritters are ready. Now let's take a peep on the ingredients that needs to go in for the dough :)

    Recipe Source: Ma

    I Took: 40 minutes

    Serves: 3-4 cups

    I Used:

    Besan Flour - 1 cup
    Butter - 2 tsp
    Red Chilly powder - 1 tsp
    Black Sesame Seeds - 1 tsp
    Asafoetida - 1 tsp
    Oil - For deep frying
    Salt - As Needed

    The Way:

    1. In a bowl mix together the besan flour, butter (softened), red chilly powder, black sesame seeds, asafoetida & salt 
    2. Add water little by little & mix together to make a soft yet firm & non-sticky dough. It should not be watery & almost like the chapathi dough
    3. Meanwhile heat oil in a kadai to deep fry. Grease with oil the string hopper/idiyappam mould with the ribbon pakoda disc on. Fill the mould with the dough 
    4. Press the dough onto the hot oil in circular motion to form a single layer. Do not overcrowd as it will not ensure even & fast cooking
    5. Fry them until the sizzling (shh) sound ceases. Turn over to the other side & fry again till the sizzling ceases 
    6. Drain the excess oil onto a tissue paper & cool completely. Continue the same process with the remaining dough
    Store in airtight container and enjoy them over a cuppa chai !


    • If the sesame seeds are too big, then they might get stuck in the disc & you will not get the desired shape. If then, pulse them in the mixie before adding to the dough. This ensures that they are fine enough to get through the holes of the disc
    • If you like the pepper flavour you can add ½ tsp freshly ground pepper. Again make sure they are fine enough to get through the holes of the disc
    • Originally dalda is used in the preparation of this pakoda, but considering the side effects on health I used butter instead !