Mar 27, 2012

Very Versatile Gluten-Free Flat Bread

It has been a long search for a gluten-free bread recipe and I think this one is the best, simplest and tastiest I have come across.

When Richa from Hobby and More posted this recipe, I tried it the same day and since then I have made it countless times in different forms. It has replaced my pizza base, my pita pocket and the "dipper" for olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Richa is an awesome vegan blogger from  Seattle and has a knack of coming up with some really amazing recipes. This one I have made so many times, I know by the time I finish writing this post I'm going to have to make it again!

The texture is perfect, the taste is amazing and it's so light you can keep eating it till you can't move! It is a steamed bread which can later be crisped up in your grill or on the tawa.

I followed her recipe and replaced a few ingredients to use stuff which is easily available in Bombay. Initially Richa suggested to add some gum (Gum Acacia) to the mix also, but we later realized the gum isn't necessary. By the third time, I eliminated the gum out of the dough and it was just fine. It was all in my head.

This was my first attempt at it. Turned out great!

Here is what you need:
(Makes two big flat breads or three small ones)

1/2 cup finely ground Oats (Use any of the quick cooking oat brands)
1/2 cup Arrowroot Starch
1/2 tsp Instant Dry Yeast
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1  tsp Jaggery syrup / raw sugar
1 tbsp Oil (Any neutral oil)
less than 1/2 cup warm water

Sesame Seeds/ Nigella Seeds/ Cumin Seeds / Pepper / Herbs / Garlic to top it up depending on what you are using it for.

In a bowl, mix the oats, starch, yeast, baking powder, salt and flavouring if any. Add in the jaggery syrup and oil and stir it around. Add warm water little bit at a time till the dough starts coming together. Make this dough a little more wet because the oats tend to soak up water very quickly. It's okay if it is sticky. (Check out Richa's post for pictures of the dough)

Let it rise for about an hour and fifteen minutes in a bowl covered with cling wrap.

Punch it down and split the dough in half or into three. Take each piece and flatten it out with your hand on a piece of parchment paper. This is necessary so that the dough doesn't stick to anything while steaming it. You can add some seeds on the top if you are serving it plain.

Before the second rise.

Let it rise for 15 minutes covered with a damp towel or cling wrap.

In the mean time get the steaming apparatus ready. I used a big vessel with water and a flat colander covered with a plate to steam the breads.

Once the breads have risen a bit, transfer them to the steamer one by one for about 5 minutes. When you touch the bread now, it shouldn't stick to your finger. Remove it from the steamer carefully and peel off the parchment paper and let it rest on a wire rack for a few minutes.

To use it as flat bread, grill it or toast it a bit. Use to dip into vinaigrette, or salsas, hummus

To use it as a pizza base, transfer the bread to a grill. Let it grill for about 5 minutes, then take it out and top it up with sauce and vegetables and put it back in again.

GF Pizza Base topped with sauce and veggies  

To use it as pita bread, grill it or toast it dry on a flat pan. Cut it in half and push your fingers through the middle to make a pita pocket. Stuff with falafels, hummus, vegetables, pickles and lots of tahini.

This one was toasted on a tawa / flat pan
 Thank you Richa 

Mar 26, 2012

Gluten Free Marble Cake

With all the different ways to make a simple cake, whether it is gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free and as my dad says cake-free, this one has to be the simplest and tastiest gluten-free cake ever.

I've been on a wheat avoiding spree for a while now. I must say it makes me feel lighter from the inside. The biggest question when avoiding wheat is how to satisfy the cake craving. There are loads of wheat free recipes out there, but almost everything uses Xanthan Gum. I'm not very sure what to make of this gum. It's a processed product unlike the Gum Acacia (Dink) we get here and also the origins of Xanthan Gum are a little suspect. Even though you only need a pinch of it in the recipes, it's not easily available in India unless you want to buy 10 kilos of it so I'm going to stay away from this one.

It's a simple and light cake that tastes great. It has no Jowar aftertaste which is a plus point and has a great crumb. It tastes great when eaten the same day. I’m sure it won’t stay too long because it tastes so good!

This recipe was published on One Green Planet. In case you missed it there, it's here now.

Dry ingredients:

1 cup Sorghum Flour
1/4 cup Red/Brown Rice Flour
1/4 cup Arrowroot Starch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vegan gelatin/ agar agar powder (not needed)
2 tsp acacia gum powder
3/4 cup raw sugar/ brown sugar
3 tsp cocoa powder

Wet ingredients:

1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup neutral oil
3/4 cup non-dairy milk or water
1 tsp vinegar

Preheat oven to 350°F

Mix all the dry ingredients except the cocoa powder. Make a well in the center and add the wet ingredients. Add the non-dairy milk little bit at a time and mix it till the batter resembles a thick cake batter.

Scoop out roughly half the batter in to another bowl and add the cocoa powder to that. If it is too dry add a little bit of the non-dairy milk to it. Now you have two batters.

In a greased 6 inch cake tin, scoop some of the vanilla batter in the center and flatten it. Next add the same quantity of the chocolate batter on top. Add alternating layers of the batter till you are done and make lines on the top using a knife to give a marbled look.

Bake for 25 minutes or till the edges are firm. The center should be soft to touch. Let it cool completely before you cut.

This cake is even better with some warm chocolate sauce poured on top.

Mar 6, 2012

Oil free Sorrel/Gongura Chutney

I've always been a rebel. Ever since I can remember I would want to take the off beaten path. I enjoy the thrill of a new challenge. I notice that I do that with my cooking too, right from the point of buying vegetables. I am always attracted to stuff I haven't seen in my mom's kitchen and I always pick it up just to try it out. The first time I picked up sorrel leaves I only knew I could make the famous gongura chutney with them. But as I delved deeper I realized sorrel is a very commonly used leafy green all throughout Europe and Africa. They use it in soups, salads, cakes and even as a drink. 

Sorrel is varitey of sour leafy greens that we usually get after the monsoon right up into winter. They could replace the tamarind in dals or add another dimension to the bitter Fenugreek/ Methi leaves. I just stuck to doing what I knew and that was the chutney. On another attempt I might try the soup. 

Since I cook oil-free 95% of the time, this recipe avoids the oil needed for tempering. It might not last as long as it should but fresh food is always tastier.

One bunch of sorrel leaves, stalks removed and chopped
2-3 dried red chillies
1/2 teaspoon husked, split urad dal
Salt to taste

Put about a tablespoon of water in a deep bottomed pan. When it begins to boil, add the sorrel leaves and salt. Cover with a lid. Keep checking on in. They will eventually wilt and change colour to an olive green.If there is too much water in the pan don't cover it. If they begin to stick to the bottom add a teaspoon of water at a time and stir it around. Once all the leaves are cooked take it off the stove. Let it cool for a while before you grind it to a paste.

In a small wok or a tempering spoon like the one on the left, add the split urad dal once it is hot. Keep shaking the wok/spoon until the dal is evenly brown. 
Remove it and in the same wok/spoon, roast the red chillies till they are slightly darker. 

You can grind the chillies with the sorrel if you like it spicy.

Add the dal and the chilli to the sorrel. Serve with some warm rice. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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