Friday, 31 May 2013

Bialys- Chewy rolls with caramalaized onions

I was again late for making this months bread for We Knead to Bake. But then as I always say here better late than never :-)

Even though I made the bread late, I am so happy I did them as they are sooooooooo DELICIOUS. We loved it.
These days Hans is trying to less is intake of Carb in the evening and trying to eat lighter food as possible on weekdays.
So I made this bread on a weekday, and as you know my niece come here for having her food, I thought atleast I can bribe her for eating this bialys with her soup.
So I made the bread in the morning and then a uncle from Hans came just to say hello as he had to be in the city so when he went I gave four bialys with him saying have this with soup. ( He rang next morning to say it was yumm)
So niece came in the evneing and ofcourse she said she will eat one and they were so yummy we ate 3 all together, we would have ate the fourth one too but both of us felt guilty , if we eat the fourth one Hans wouldn't have a chance to eat the delicious bialy.
I will try them again as it is not a difficult to make, I think the only think which is a bit tricky to make is the shape.

The bialy (pronounced bee-AH-lee) maybe thought of as a cousin to a Bagel but is quite different from it. For one thing, a Bialy is baked whereas a Bagel is boiled and then baked. A Bialy is round with a depressed middle, not a hole, and typically filled with cooked onions and sometimes poppy seeds. So it is not shiny on the outside with largish puffy bubbles on the inside. A good BIlay should have a springy soft crumb and a chewy and floury crust. A lot of people slather Bialys with butter or cream cheese but the best way (in my opinion) is to eat them as they are. Bialys are best when eaten within 5 to 6 hours of making them.

The name Bialy comes from Bialystocker Kuchen which translates as “bread from Bialystok” which is in Poland. Apparently, Bialys are rarely seen or made in Bialystock these days (I wouldn’t know if this was a fact and I’m going by heresay). In the days when there used to be Bialys in Bialystock, it seems the rich Jews ate Bialys with their meals, while the Bialys were the whole meal for the poorer Jews.
In the early 1900s, many Eastern Eurpoeans, including the Polish, immigrated to the US and settled down in New York. Naturally, they also brought their Bialy making skills with them and that is how the New York Bialy became famous.
What lends Bialys their signature chewiness is the use of flour that is high in gluten. So to make Bialys, use bread flour if you can find it. Otherwise use all-purpose flour and add 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten (for the 3 cups). If like me, you can find neither bread flour nor vital wheat gluten, go ahead and make it with plain flour. You’ll still have very nice Bialys that are slightly softer, that’s all.

One way to make them slightly chewier is to refrigerate the dough overnight after the first rise. The next day, take the dough out and keep it at room temperature for about half an hour. Then shape the rolls and proceed with the recipe. These Bialys are on the softer side so do not over bake them or they will dry out and become tough.
Bialys usually have a thin layer of caramelised onions and poppy seeds. (I have written below what layer I have used)

Bialys (Adapted from King Arthur Flour)


For the dough:
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/4 cup water
3 cups all-purpose flour (use bread flour if you can find it or all-purpose flour + 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten)
1 tsp salt
Milk for brushing the dough

Make the dough first. If you are using bread flour or vital wheat gluten, then your dough will be tougher to knead so if you have a machine you can use, I would say go ahead and use it. Me, I always take the easier way out provided I get good results. If you’re doing this by hand, just adapt the instructions to that.
Put the yeast, sugar, salt and flour in the food processor bowl. Pulse a couple of times to mix and then add the warm water in a steady stream. Knead until the dough comes together as a mass and then let the dough rest for 10 minutes. This will help the dough absorb water. Knead again, adding a little more water or flour (not too much) if you need it, until your dough is smooth and elastic but not sticky.
Shape it into a ball and put it in a well-oiled bowl, turning the dough till it is well coated. Cover and let it rise till about double. This should take about 2 hours. If you’re not making the Bialys right away, you can refrigerate the dough overnight at this point. When ready to make them, keep the dough at room temperature for about half an hour and then proceed with the rest of the recipe.

In the meanwhile, make the filling.
3 tablespoon of olive oil
600 gm red onions thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves finley chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme and few leaves for decorating
1 tso of dark brown sugar
1 tsp of sherry vingear

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onions stir and cover with a lid and cook in a low heat stirring now and then.
After the 20 minutes add the onions and thyme. Fry everything for another 10 minutes stirring now and then.
Add the sugar and vingear and fry everything in a high heat for futher 7 to 8 minutes stirring and taking care that the onion mixture doesn't burn at this stage.
Add the mixture in to a bowl and leave it to cool before you use it.

Sprinkle your work surface lightly with flour and place the dough on it. Divide it into 8 equal pieces and shape each one into a roll by flattening it and then pinching the ends together to form a smooth ball.
 Place the rolls on a lightly greased baking sheet and cover them with a towel. Let them rise for about one hour (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours for refrigerated dough) till pressing with a finger on the top leaves a dent.
Work on one piece at a time, while you keep the others covered so they don’t dry out. When the rolls are ready, pick them up one at a time and using your fingers, form the depression in the middle. Hold the roll like a steering wheel with your thumbs in the middle and your fingers around the edges. Pinch the dough between your thumb and fingers, rotating as you go and gradually making the depression wider without actually poking a hole through.
Remember not to press on the edges, or they will flatten out. Once shaped, you should have a depression about 3” in diameter with 1” of puffy dough around the edge, so your Bialy should be about 4” in diameter. Prick the centre of the Bialy with a fork so the centre doesn’t rise when baking.

Place the shaped dough on a parchment lined (or greased) baking tray leaving about 2 inches space between them. Place the caramelised onion filling in the depressions of each Bialy. Brush the outer dough circle with milk. If you’re using crumbled paneer, add it to the Bialys in the last 5 minutes of baking or it will get burnt.
Bake the Bialys at 230C (450F) for about 15 minutes till they’re golden brown in colour. Cool them on a rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
 This recipe makes 8 largish Bialys.
I also sprinkled a bit of feta cheese in half of the bialys.


Thursday, 23 May 2013

Orange Chicken - Chen Pi Ji

If you are a regular reader you might know that my FIL comes to our home for lunch every day after MIL passed away.
Mom was not a adventures type when it came for making food, she always made traditional food from Belgium, sometimes I think she started trying newer things after I came here as she hears from me about this or that spices etc..... but still 99 % of food she made was belgian/eurpean food. ( I must say she could make really super delicious paela one of the best I have ever had)

My FIL ofcourse complains ( when mom was there) when ever she made rice, pasta etc.... even though he will polish his plate of rice or pasta he would still say is it rice/pasta today as he loves his potatoes . So in their place it will be mostly potatoes, meat and vegg in their place, there is always potato mash , fried potato, boiled potato most of the lunch time.

My father in law loves travelling and he has gone to most of the places in Europe, but he would have loved to still travel, but as he is 86 he is not allowed and now we have this joke, each time I  make a chinese dish I tell him Dad we are travelling to china today, or when i make pasta I will be like Dad we are travelling to Italy today.

Now to the recipe this is the recipe from Easy Chinese Recipe from Bee Yinn Low, I am sure most of you will know her from her delicious and beautiful blog Rasamalaysia.
I love this book, and I have made couple of dishes from the book and each time it turns our super yumm.
So even before I tasted the finsiehd dish I knew it will a a really yummy chicken and indeed i was not wrong it is so good.
Some of the dishes I ahve made from the book are Chicken With Garlic Sauce  , Kung Pao Chicken.

Bee had written if you want the dish to have more sauce then double the portion of the orange juice and as I like a bit of sauce i have trippled it.
I am giving the original recipe and I have  written in a another color in brackets what changes I have done.
So if you want the dish to be dry then do the exact as in the recipe and if you like it to be saucy then do my way which is written in another color.

Orange Chicken:

250 gm skinless ,boneless chicken meat cut into slices
2 tablespoon of corn starch
Oil for deep frying
1 tablespoon of oil
2 cloves garlic minced
5 dried red finger length chillies
2 green onions ( scallions) white parts ( I used the green part also)


3 table spoon of fresh orange juice ( I used 9 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons of soysauce
1 tsp of chinese rice wine or sherry
1/4 tsp of seasame oil
2 1/2 tablespoons of sugar ( I only used 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 tsp of corn starch ( I used a bit more than one tablespoon as i used more orange juice )
1 tablespoon of water ( I used 3 tablepoons of water)

1. Mix all the ingridients for the sauce in a small bowl. Toss the chicken witht eh cornstarch in a seperate bowl. Set aside.
2. Heat oil on a wok for deep frying and when the oil is hot , Gentley drop the chicken pieces into the oil and loosen them up immediately with the spatual to prevent the chicken from clumping together.
3. Deep fry the chicken to a light golden brown. Dish out with a striner or slotted spoon, draining the excess oil by laying the chicken on a dish lined with paper towels. Discard the oil.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wol over a high heat. Add the garlic stir quickly with teh spatual before adding the dry chillies, stir fry untill you smell the spicy aroma of the chillies.
5. Returnt eh fried chicken back into the wok and add the sauce. Stir continiously, untill the chicken is well coated witht eh sauce. Stir in the green onions and serve immediately with steamed rice.
Tip from me if you think you sauce us too watery then use a bit more corn flour mixed with bit of water to thiecken up the sauce. If you think there is less sauce and you want more saucy then add a bit more water . Just make sure if you add more water or orange juice then add a little bit more soysauce too.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Torcettini di Saint Vincent (Sugar Crusted Twisted Cookies from the Valle d’Aosta)

If you are a regular reader of my blog you know that I am in the Bread baking group started in Facbook by Aparna We Knead to Bake.
And actually this Torcettini di Saint Vincent (Sugar Crusted Twisted Cookies from the Valle d’Aosta)  but as unexpected things happen in ones life I coudn't make the bread in April.
So last week when I has time I made this yeasted cookies.
They are really so easy to make, and well less in calories than the other cookies I have made but delicious too.
And they do keep well in a airtight container, as even on the fourht day after making them they were good.
Torcettini are smaller versions of Torcetti (meaning small twists), and these pear/ teardrop shaped twists are made of a dough of flour, yeast and butter which are shaped and then rolled in sugar before being baked. These biscuits are synonymous with the town of Saint Vincent in Valle d'Aosta, a small mountainous region in North-Western Italy, even though they’re well known throughout the Piedmont region as well.

The origin of these biscuits is believed to be from Grissini (breadsticks) which were made from the leftover scraps of bread dough. According to one story, a Grissini baker had some leftover butter which he needed to use up. Inspiration struck and he decided to add the butter to the last batch of his Grissini dough for the day. To be able to differentiate this lot of “breadsticks”, he rolled them in sugar and shaped them into loops, and the Torcetti was born. Torcetti/ Torchettini taste even better when they’re flavoured with lime/ lemon zest or anise.

These biscuits are crunchy, not very sweet and pair very well with cold milk, hot chocolate, tea/ coffee or wine. They are delicious served warm and equally good cold, and keep very well if stored in airtight containers. Apparently, Queen Margaret, the wife of King Umberto I of Savoy loved these biscuits so much during her stay in Valle d'Aosta, that she gave her servants enough provisions to bake an abundant supply for her consumption.

Torcettini di Saint Vincent
(Adpated from A Baker’s Tour by Nick Malgieri)

1/2 cup warm water, about 110F
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or 1 tsp instant yeast)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder (if making chocolate torcettini)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp lime/ lemon zest (replace with orange zest for the chocolate version)
40gm unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
about 1/3 cup sugar for rolling the cookies

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, in a small bowl and keep aside.
Put the flour and the salt in the food processor bowl (or a largish regular bowl if kneading by hand) and pulse a couple of times to mix. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the butter is well mixed and the flour-butter mixture looks powdery.
If making chocolate Torcetti, remove 2 tbsp all-purpose flour and add the 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder mentioned in the recipe. Don’t add the lemon zest/ anise. Use orange zest and maybe add 1/ 2 tsp instant coffee powder with the flour.
Add the yeast-water mixture and pulse till it all comes together as a ball. Do not over process or knead. Place the ball of dough in a oiled bowl, turning it so it is well coated with the oil. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise quite a bit.
This dough does not really double in volume, but it should look “puffy” after about an hour or so. When you pinch off a bit from the top you can see the interior looking a bit like honeycomb. Press down the dough and deflate it, wrap it in cling warp and refrigerate it for at least one hour or up to 24 hours. (I did just for a hour)

When ready to make the cookies, take the dough out and lightly roll it out into an approximately 6” square. If the dough feels sticky, scatter a little sugar on it. Using a pizza wheel cut the dough into four strips of equal width. Cut each strip into 6 equal pieces, by cutting across, making a total of 24 pieces. The measurements are not very critical in this part because this just makes it easier to have 24 equal sized bits of dough, as compared to pinching of bits of the dough.
Roll each piece into a pencil thick “rope” about 5” long. Sprinkle a little sugar on your work surface and roll the “rope” in it so the sugar crusts the dough uniformly. Form the “rope” into a loop crossing it over before the ends.
Place the Torcettini on parchment lined baking sheets, leaving 1 1/2" between them. Leave them for about 20 minutes or so till they rise/ puff up slightly. Don’t worry, they will not “puff up” much.
Bake them at 160C (325F) for about 25 minutes till they’re a nice golden brown. Cool the cookies completely, on a rack. Store them in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Thursday, 16 May 2013


Do you think you can have a addiction calle book buying especially baking and cooking books, well according to my family I have one as I always buy baking/cooking books .

It is for a while I have been eyeing this Book, but then as I have been trying to stop my addiction of buying Cooking / Baking books, I have been putting it in the back of my mind, but then as you can see I lost my self control and bought this Bouchon Bakery from Thomas Keller.
And I must say I am in love with the book. The recipes are so good plus the photos ore just sooooo BEAUTIFUL.

I thought I will try the recipe called Bouchons :-) and must say I was not disapointed at all. We love it except for my FIL as he is always pissed off if I make something with chocolate. As he is always complaining that I make too much bakings with chocolate.
Ib the book he has described it has, this is tgheir take on tge most loved little cake in AMerica, the Brownies.
They make in a special silcon moulds for a particular kindof shape but as I don't have this mouldI used one of the moulds I have at home.

Bouchons :
Unslated butter cut into chunks 141 grams / 5 ounces
All purpose flour 50 grams / 1/4 cup + 1 1/2 tablspoon
Unsweetend cacao powder 50 grams /  1/4 cups + 1 1/2 tablspoon
Salt 0.4 grams / 1/8 teaspoon
Eggs 75 grams / 1/4 cup + 2 teaspoon
Granulated sugar 162 grams / 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon ( Ofcourse as always I only added half of this sugar)
Vanilla pasta 1.5 grams / 1/4 teaspoon ( I didn't have so I added vanilla extract)
Chocolate chips 112 gm / 1/2 cup
Powder sugar for dusting

Place half the butter in a medium bowl.
Melt the remaining butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat, stirring occaisionally.
Stir the melted butter into the bowl, all the butter will come to the room temperature and become creamy looking, with small bits of unmelted butter. Set aside.

Place the bowl and swift in the cacao powder. Add the salt and whisk together.
Combine the eggs, sugar, and vanilla paste in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment ( i used hand held mixer) and mix on medium low speed.
Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. With the mixer running, alternating between the two, add the butter and flour mixture in 3 additions each. Ten mix to combine well, scraping the bowl as necessary.

Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and fold in the chocolate chips. Set asdie in a cool spot ( not the refrigerator) for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350°f.
Transfer the batter to the pastry bag, or use a spoon.
Pipe or spoon the batter evenly into the molds,stopping just below the top rim.
Bake for 12 minutes in a convection oven, 16 minutes in a standard oven.
Test a bouchon with a cake tester, making certain not to hit a chocolate chip, the tester should come out clean .
Remive the mold from the oven and let the bouchons rest for 10 minutes ( so they will hold their shapes), then unmold the bouchons onto a cooling rack, turn right side up and cool completley.
The bouchons can be kept in a covered container for upto 3 days.
Just before serving, dust the tops with powdered sugar.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Chicken Korma With Almonds

Shyama have started making Indian food in her place and she has most of the basic spices in her shelf and she looks to my blog to find some easy to make Indian dishes and I have been telling to her for few weeks that I will post this easy chicken recipe which is nnot spicy so that when she makes it her friends can enjoy the dish too.

But as you all noticed I have not been blogging regularly as before plus we also went to a short holiday to London last week will write about the trip in my next post as I did meet two food bloggers there which was so much fun.

As I love to cook and have been cooking for long, I never thought of explaining in details, Shyama made one of my recipes last time and she said as I had written roast the spices she roasted them in oli the spices and all the onions etc and it turned black and smokey and all her friends who came to the kitchen was saying what is that burned smell,

So here it go Shyama, when I write  Dry Roasting whole spices then what you have to do is
 Place the spices  in a small frying pan or saucepan over a medium heat and stir and toss them around for 1-2 minutes, or until they begin to look toasted and start to jump in the pan.
Now transfer them to a pestle and mortar, crush them to a powder or coarsely grind them according to the recipe instructions. This will be easier to do now that they have been roasted.

Couscous (dog) while i was setting the table to take the pic, he was just drooling over chicken :-)
Chicken Korma With Almonds:

700 gm Chicken skinned and cut into bite size pieces.
3 to 4 tablespoon of oil
2 tsp cummin seeds
2 garlic cloves finley chopped
1 inch ginger finley chopped
300 gm onion puree ( chop onions and use a hand held blender to make them into a puree)
50 gm Almond powder
2 tsp garam masal
1 to 2 table spoon of corriander leaves chopped

For the Marination
125 gm of youghurt
1 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric

Spices to powder:
4 cloves
3 cardamom pods
5 cm piece of cinamon stick
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 table spoon of corriander seeds
 Dry roast the spices above and grind them to a fine powder
200 ml water

50 ml of cream or more if you like more creamy

Marinate the chicken with a marination ingridients and the spice powder in a glass bowl and keep in the fridge for few hours. I sometimes forget this and just marinate the chicken for a hour and use.

Heat the oil in a wok , add the cummin seeds and stir fry for a minute, then add the garlic and ginger and fry for futher 1 minute. Now add the onion puree and fry for some 6 to 8 minutes till the onions are lightly golden color, if you thing th emix is looking too dry add a bit more oil.
Now add the chicken with the marination and fry for few minutes , and add the almond powder ,and add the water , close the wok with a lid and cook in a low fire till the chicken pieces are almost cooked.

Now add the garam masala and cook till the chicken is cooked well .
Add the corriander and cream and stir well and serve with rice or chapathies.
Taste if salt is enough otherwise add a bit more salt.