Monday, June 30, 2008

Baklava Buns

When Dhivi and Siri announced the start of Open Sesame II, I was only more than happy to participate in this round as well. This time, I selected box 4 and received the following riddle:

I am a flower but adorn a bouquet, I do not
I have an inbuilt perfume in my being
So strong and so intense that my oil will make your insides 'hot'
My medical impact all over the world seen.

My 'Yorubas' infusion is the 'savior' of star wars
I have been used as a barter by the fellow 'sadiqi's' during trades
One does not have to fight tooth or 'nail' for me
I am usually pink but mostly available browned in shades

I may be dry , I may overpower your tongue
But add a little for that midas touch
Come now, start thinking of that spice
Whose bite make your 'teeth' say Ouch!

After an initial incorrect guess, I got it right with 1 hint. The answer is CLOVES! Yes, the fragrant spice that can add the right pizazz to a given dish.

I tend to use cloves in either non-veg dishes, pulao/biryani, or tea for the most part. So, I sat around for days waiting for inspiration to strike. Well, days turned into weeks and suddenly it came to me... I thought why not combine the flavors of baklava with the concept of a cinnamon roll and see what happens. The result was sheer bliss! :)

For this recipe, I took a basic cinnamon roll dough recipe that I've used in the past. The dough recipe is originally from and can be found here. I then took the flavors of baklava (nuts, cinnamon, cloves, sugar) and formed these into a filling. For the icing, I used honey and cream cheese.

Making this took a bit of time, but wasn't too hard if you're not too scared of yeast. Even if you are scared, it's still not going to be too hard! :) The great thing about this recipe is that the second rise of the dough is done in the fridge so that you can break it up into 2 steps. This way, you can have these for breakfast and not break much of a sweat! :)



4 egg yolks, room temperature
1 whole egg, room temperature
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Butter - 6 tbsp, melted
Buttermilk - 3/4 cup, room temperature
All purpose flour - 3 3/4- 4 cups (optional : use 1/2 wheat or white whole wheat)
Yeast - 1 packet (2 1/4 tsp)
Salt - 3/4 tsp


Dark brown sugar - 1/2 cup, packed
White sugar - 1/4 cup (or use light brown sugar)
Ground cinnamon - 2 tsp
Ground cloves - 1 tsp (use 1/2 tsp for a mild clove flavor)
Walnuts - 2/3 cup, toasted for 10 minutes in 350 F oven, chopped, and cooled
pinch salt
Softened butter - 1 1/2 tbsp


Cream cheese - 3 ounces, softened
Honey - 1/4 cup (adjust per taste)


1. Fit a stand mixer with whisk attachment and whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add 2 cups of flour, yeast, and salt and whisk until moistened. Now, switch to the dough hook attachment. At this point, add all but 1 1/4 cup of flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the dough now and see if it's sticky. If so, add flour 1/4 cup at a time and allow to combine. Knead on low speed until the dough clears the sides of the bowl, about 5 more minutes. (Note: I needed 3 3/4 cup of flour to make the dough) Place dough in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to double in volume in a warm place. This step takes 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Note: The dough will rise well even though the liquids have not been warmed. Just make sure everything is at room temp!

Unrisen dough

2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling by combining the sugars, cinnamon, clove, salt and nuts in a bowl. Keep aside.

3. Once the dough has risen sufficiently:

Ooh... Poofy!

Turn out the risen dough onto a floured surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle. Now, roll this into a rectangle that measures 18 inches by 12 inches. (Note: I made half of the amount, so my rectangle looks half the size!) Brush the rectangle with the softened butter, leaving a 1/2 inch border on the top and bottom edges. Sprinkle with the sugar/nut mixture made in step 2.

4. Once you've done this, start rolling the dough into a cylinder. Start with the end closest to you (bottom edge of the pic) and roll towards the far end (top edge of the pic). Since I made half of the amount, my rectangle was 9 x 12. You'd have the 18 inch edge at the bottom of the pic and would be rolling the same way. Now, make sure you've press the edge of the roll to seal it and place the roll seam side down on your surface:

5. Using a serrated knife, cut the cylinder into rolls about 1 1/2 inch thick. This will yield 12 rolls. Butter a 9x13 pan and arrange rolls in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in the refrigerator overnight (up to 16 hours).

6. The next morning, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in a warm place for 30 minutes- 1 hour. You want the rolls to reach room temp and to become somewhat puffy. Sorry, I forgot to take a pic of this!

7. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Then, place the baking pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 20-30 minutes or until slightly browned and an instant read thermometer reads 190 F when inserted into the bun.

8. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Whisk the honey and cream cheese together until smooth and creamy. Spread over the rolls and serve warm.
So, do you like yours iced or not? The rolls were so delightful! They really had a delicate crumb and delicious texture... The filling was so fragrant and the toasted nuts just took it over the top. It was not as gooey as a cinnamon roll that you might buy at the mall, but was actually a bit lighter and the crumb melts in your mouth. Honey with the cream cheese icing was just wonderful!! Overall, this was a refreshing change from the usual cinnamon roll and makes for a decadent treat!

My dear Dhivi and Siri, I hope you guys like this as well. It's on its way to Open Sesame II at Dining Hall. Impressed with this dish? Well, then, please remember that voting starts on July 1! Thanks and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Rava-Coconut Ladoos

I know I've been pretty irregular with my posts lately, but I've had a lot of random stuff going on these days. My parents will be leaving for India in a few weeks and have been a bit occupied with last minute prep to send them off. Plus, other family stuff has had me a bit preoccupied, too.

You might have wanted to see the rava ladoo that I mentioned I sent to my SIL in my last post. I love making this rava ladoo because it's so easy to throw together and fast. Add to that that it's one of my SIL's favorite sweets and mails well and I had a perfect item to send her. :)

Nothing really new about this rava ladoo. I like my sweets to be moderately sweet, so I've used 1 cup of sugar. If you like very sweet sweets, you can increase the sugar as per your taste. These wind up being sweet, firm, melt in your mouth ladoos flavored with cardamom and the mild sweetness of coconut. Add to this raisins and cashews and you've got a delicious treat!


Rava - 2 cups, roasted until golden brown in 3 tbsp of ghee and cooled
Ghee - 1/3 - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1 cup, or as per taste
Grated coconut or dessicated coconut- 1 cup
Milk - 1/4 cup
Cardamom - 3, powdered or 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
Cashews - 2 tbsp, roasted in ghee and kept aside
Golden raisins - 2 tbsp, roasted in ghee and kept aside


1. Grind roasted and cooled rava in a mixie with sugar until it's fairly finely powdered. Remove from mixie.

2. If using fresh coconut, microwave for 1 minute to dry it out. Cool it, then grind in mixie until powdered. If using dessicated coconut, just powder it until finely powdered. Add to the rava/sugar mix along with cardamom powder.

3. Now, add milk along with fried raisins and cashews to this and mix to combine. Slowly add ghee until you have a slightly loose, but not extremely loose mix.

4. Form the mix into balls of the size you like. I got about 15 ladoos with this recipe. Place the balls on a piece of wax paper or parchment paper and allow to firm up. This takes 15 to 30 minutes.

Enjoy rava ladoo with a cup of cardamom tea or mail them to your loved ones!

Given the addition of coconut in these delicious treats, I'm sending these to Suganya for AFAM coconut!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Click for Bri and Couscous

The dynamic duo at Jugalbandi has asked us for our support in this month's special edition of Click. This month's photography competition has been combined with a fundraiser for Bri's treatment. Who is Bri, you ask? Bri is Brianna Brownlow of the blog, "Figs with Bri." Currently, Bri is in a situation where she has explored many treatment options for her breast cancer, yet the cancer has reccurred. The cancer has metastasized to many areas of her body. As many of us probably know from the media, health insurance will not cover many treatments that can be potentially helpful. So, bloggers are uniting to help raise money for Bri to help out in her toughest fight to date. Please check out the full details at Jugalbandi's site by clicking here. You can find out more info on how to donate money, more details about Bri's health situation and what prizes are potentially in store for you!

I thought that this dish of saffron couscous would be quite fitting with the theme of yellow for this month's click. It just seems so sunny and happy to look at, I thought.

We had this for dinner last night and it was fantastic. Yellow from the addition of saffron, combined with sweet bites of raisins, and crunch from the almonds and scallions. It tasted great on its own and makes a perfect foil for any Middle Eastern type of curry.


Couscous - 1 cup
Water or stock - 1 cup
Raisins - 2 tbsp
Scallions - 2 stems, chopped
Sliced almonds or pine nuts, toasted - 2 tbsp
Saffron - pinch
Salt to taste


Bring saffron and stock/water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the raisins, salt and couscous. Cover, turn the heat off and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Add scallions, almonds, toss and serve. Enjoy!

Seeing as how this is also a Middle Eastern dish, I am sending this in to AWED at Siri's Corner! AWED was started by Dhivi of Culinary Bazaar.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Beetroot Halwa, Ramblings and a Prize

Like many people, my feeds haven't always gotten updated on taste of India, so please use the subscribe button on the right side bar to get regular updates of my blog.

It's been a very strange few weeks, I feel. I was sick for several days. Then, I seemed to be doing a bit better. We heard that one of my cousins will be getting married soon which was great news! They grow up so fast, don't they?

But, after that came the news that my Amayee (grandmother) was sick. I mean really sick. I think about the active, lively person she used to be and to see and hear of her state now just makes me so sad. The day we heard about this, none of us were in a very good mood at all. Thank goodness it turned out to be severe dehydration (which was caused by intense diarrhea) and she's doing a lot better now.

So, my mood has been pretty lousy lately due to all of these things. Add to that the killer heat we're having here and I think some of my brain cells have gotten fried in the process. I haven't felt like doing much of anything for a while...

I just got the news that I won the Open Sesame contest at Dining Hall. That totally made my day!! Funny enough, I learned about it when I read some of the comments on my blog. Thanks so much to each and every one of you sweet souls that voted for me. Thanks also to Dhivi and Siri for coming up with such a fun idea!! Let's see how round 2 goes, eh?

Given this happy news, it seems fitting to share some sweets with you all. Plus, yesterday was my SIL (husband's sister) and her husband's anniversary. Can't believe time has flown by! I sent them a care package with rava ladoos (for her) and beetroot halwa (for him) in honor of the occasion. This is the recipe for the halwa that I sent. Revathi, this is the same recipe for the halwa I sent you as part of arusuvai. :)

I'm not going to lie and tell you that the entire taste of the beetroot is covered up in this sweet. So, if you are someone that detests beetroot, you may or may not like this one. It has all the creamy decadence of a halwa recipe and is a really nice way to get the nutrients of beetroot into your system, though! As per my husband and me, it gets 2 thumbs up!

Beetroot Halwa:


Beetroot, grated - 3 cups
Milk or half and half - 1 1/2 cups (I used 2% milk)
Ghee - 3 tbsp
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Cashew nuts - 10-15, broken
Raisins - 10-15
Cardamom - seeds of 3 pods crushed or 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
Salt - pinch


1. Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a pan over medium high heat. Add the grated beetroot and fry until the raw smell goes away.

2. Now, add the milk, salt and sugar. Lower the heat to medium and allow it to cook until all the liquid is absorbed. Stir occasionally. This may take 15-20 minutes, so be patient. As the mixture thickens, add 1 tbsp of ghee (or more if you wish).

3. Turn the heat off of the pan. In another pan, heat 1 tbsp ghee and fry the raisins and cashews until the cashews are golden and the raisins plump up. Add to the halwa with cardamom powder. Stir well and serve hot!

Enjoy the halwa and thanks for listening to my ramblings! :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Rotis and an Award!

I just received another award!! It's the good chat award from Cham of Spice Club. Thank you so much for thinking of me, dear! Our friendship started in the early days of our blogs. Cham, I still have some of the masala powder you sent me for arusuvai. I think of you every time I use it!

One other topic is about the Open Sesame event at Dining Hall. As you probably know, voting has started. If you liked my okra corn cakes, please log into Dining Hall and vote for me. To vote, click here. Thanks to all in advance!!

Coming to the food part of this post, I'm going to write about 2 rotis. One has been in my drafts for a while and the other is newer. They are dill-vegetable roti and spinach-corn roti.

Dill-Vegetable Roti:

This one came about when I was thinking about akki rotis I've had in the past. I don't know if it was the person who was making it or what, but I haven't been a fan of the texture of akki rotis that I've had to date. No offense to anyone! However, I love the flavor components involved and decided to change things around to my taste.

The result is a soft roti that is loaded with the goodness of vegetables and perfumed with the fragrance of fresh dill. It explodes with flavor and is a meal in and of itself!


Whole wheat flour/atta - 2 cups
Fresh dill, chopped - 1/4 cup
Zucchini - 1 small, grated
Carrot - 1 medium, grated
Onion - 1 small, finely chopped
Green chillies - 4-5, or to taste, finely chopped
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Warm water to mix dough


Mix the flour with oil and salt. Add all of the other ingredients with warm water to make a slightly stiff dough. It should be a little stiffer than normal chappathi dough. Allow the dough to rest for 15-30 minutes. Then, roll out using flour as required. The thickness will be a little thicker than chappathis. Fry on hot tava/griddle adding a few drops of oil until brown spots appear on both sides.

Tastes great hot, but reheats well. Enjoy on its own or with pickle/curds/side dish!

Spinach Corn Roti:

This one came out of a bit of randomness. I think I was still in a corny mood after making my okra corn cakes (excuse the pun!) and decided to try corn flour in a roti. I had some frozen spinach on hand and was able to throw these together. The taste was awesome, but these should definitely be eaten hot. They won't reheat well, so just keep that in mind.


Corn flour - 1 cup
Whole wheat flour/atta - 1 cup
Frozen spinach - 1/2 cup (I didn't squeeze it dry)
Green chillies - 4-5 or to taste, chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, grated
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece, grated
Chilli powder - 1 tsp, or to taste
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Amchur (dried mango) powder - a pinch, optional
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp to mix into the dough
Warm water


Mix the oil and salt into the flours. Now, add the remaining ingredients except water. Toss to combine and add enough warm water to make a slightly stiff dough. Allow to rest for about 30 minutes. At this point, I wasn't able to roll the rotis out, so I just took balls of dough and patted them out with my hand as thin as possible. Then, place them on a heated tava/griddle and drizzle a few drops of oil. Cook until you get brown spots on both sides and serve hot.

These came out pretty thick, so the texture was a bit different, but still tasted great! They were good on their own, but even better with a little bit of South Indian style mixed veg pickle!

Needless to say, these are both off to Srivalli for her roti mela. I'm also sending the following previously posted rotis:

Garlic-Avocado Rotis

Methi Rotis