Handvo – Savory Bake

In recent years there seems to be a rising interest among Indian bakers, towards gluten free foods and bakes. And while we scour the internet and experiment with various flours, one of our very own age old recipes chuckles quietly in the corner, wondering what the fuss is all about.

Yes the Handvo which is a popular Gujarati savory rice and lentil cake of sorts, has been delighting both gluten tolerant and intolerant people alike over the ages and as an added bonus, is high in protein, incorporates vegetables of choice and is a whole meal unto itself. And yes it can be made sugar free and is veganisable, clearly ticking most of the boxes that people want to tick in these times. Really, why would anyone need to look any further?

And though this analogy may seem far fetched, I do feel like likening this to the couplet by the famous saint and poet Kabir, which says that the musk deer goes hither and thither in search of the fragrance that it smells, while all the while failing to realize that it is emanating from its own glands.

Ok let us save the philosophical lecture for another day and focus now on the recipe because though it is a pretty straightforward process, there are many ingredients to put together and I will need you to give me your full attention.

But first say hi to the dish that you are going to create today.

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Sourdough Bagels

Staying imprisoned at home for nearly 4 months, has had its share of benefits too. Hitherto untouched and untried recipes have been played with and at times, not just the easy versions but also their artisan counterparts have been conquered 😀

For example, all my life I had never even thought of baking bagels but now that the Sourdough (SD) madness has well and truly engulfed me (and most of the corona stricken world), I decided to bravely jump right into the Ring (yes pun intended), even bypassing the regular commercial yeast recipe.

So SD bagels it will be today and I am quite pleased to say that for a first time, it was hugely satisfying. Of course there will be more trials using whole grain flours in future but as always, I strongly advise that the first time with a new bread recipe should preferably be with maida aka All Purpose Flour (APF) or in this case, bread flour. A high gluten flour will enable better textured bagels. It is usually difficult in my city to obtain bread flour but fortunately I had some at hand.

Now allow this bagel to tantalize you to join me and take you through the process.

A bit of trivia – the husband played reluctant hand model since my usual victim (my son) was unavailable 😀

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Sabudana Khichdi or Sago Upma

I have been going crazy with my baking and unleashing whatever little creativity I have 😀 At times though, I quietly slip back into some traditional cooking and I try my hand at snacks and other dishes that suddenly take my fancy.

One such item is the Sabudana khichdi, which I suddenly get the urge to make when I see the little white pellets staring beady eyed at me from the corner where I have dumped them along with all the other ingredients that I buy from time to time when shopping madness engulfs me.

This dish can be loosely described as a savory snack made from soaked, seasoned and spiced sago balls. Also called sago pearls, these balls are made from the starch of the cassava root, which we also refer to as tapioca in India. This is eaten at breakfast or practically any time of the day.

While this is a very common dish which is made by many communities in India and and is also popular as food that is permitted to be eaten during fasting by Hindus, it also is a rather tricky thing to get right. Beginners can very easily botch up this concoction that is made from this innocent looking pellet and have a sticky, gluey mass on their hands instead of the light, airy, fluffy and separate grains that they have undoubtedly been aiming for. And I speak with the conviction of a victim 😀

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Matcha Sourdough Loaf

Does one have a separate blog post for the same recipe that has merely been jazzed up by the addition natural colors? Yes indeed, if it is the dramatic marbled matcha, turmeric and black sesame stunner which demands and commands its own exclusive space.

Created by playing with the dough from the earlier Simple Sourdough Loaf 3 recipe, this  Sourdough (SD) loaf will have a special place in my heart and blog, for being the first bread that I have successfully managed to color using natural ingredients.

The excitement of presenting this recipe, is going to make me shorten my usual blabbering, which of course is lucky for you 😀 and we are going to get to the details as soon as we can.

But take a moment to gaze at her will you and tell me if she takes your breath away, just as she did mine.

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Sourdough Focaccia

Well if you have been following my blog, you will see that I finally had my first outing after 3.5 months of self incarceration. The brunch at Taj Yeshwantpur was a welcome change and a breath of fresh air albeit through a mask.

I have also been busy on the recipe front for a while too and I have been playing around in the kitchen to such an extent that I have not been able to make time to document my work. But man, do I have a lot of new recipes for you, waiting patiently in the pipeline for my mood to release them from imprisonment.

But those will have to wait awhile because today I am going to be partial and jump the queue with my latest creation because … Sourdough *insert happy silly smile*

After having fun with Sourdough (SD) loaves and crackers in the past weeks, I decided to try something else for a change. Happily I decided on the Sourdough Focaccia, which is such a simple thing to produce, that I wonder why on earth it missed my attention all my life!!!

So dive into this gloopy dough and super simple recipe which gives rise to (yeah yeah pun) a chewy, crusty, flavor filled bread that also looks gorgeous enough for people to think that you are really an expert. Well they really do not need to know the truth right? 😎

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