Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Baked Sorghum Flour Crackers/Jowar Methi Mathri (Gluten Free recipe)

In some of my previous post I have mentioned how I have embarked on a journey to stay fit and healthy and wrote a really long post on my struggles to maintain a healthy weight. Its a very touchy topic for me or for any woman for that matter. Hence sometimes I get carried away and I write whatever comes to my mind at that very moment because of which I end up with a lonngg post. Ok I should stop now...hehehe. 

Anyhow, since the past few months I have been making a conscious effort to stay away from refined sugar, anything that has all purpose flour and deep fried foods as much as I can. Its not like I don't indulge in them once in a while but its a complete no for me on a daily basis. Somehow it can be a tad bit difficult to say no to some of my favorite fried Indian snacks like chakali, chips, bhajjis,  vadas etc...you get the idea right? :P. Also if anything that has a methi (fenugreek) in it then I can gorge on it endlessly :P. One such Indian snack is Methi Mathri which I love munching with a hot cup of ginger infused chai. Originally mathris are made with all purpose flour or combination of whole wheat flour and APF. These are also deep fried....Sighhhh. But if you are currently in a situation like me :P and are searching for a yummy baked version, then fret not. I have come up with the perfect recipe for thin, crispy gluten free and healthy baked version of these goodies. It is quite easy and fuss free recipe. Give this a try and I am sure you will love it. 






This recipe will yield around 30-40 mathris/crackers

Ingredients:

2 cups of sorghum flour/jowar flour
1/2 tsp of baking soda
Salt to taste (i used around 1/2 tsp of salt)
Warm water for making the dough
2 tsp of kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
2 tsp of sesame seeds
1 tsp of carom seeds
1 tsp of crushed black pepper
4 tbsp of oil

You can skip the kasuri methi and instead use other herbs like thyme, rosemary etc.

Method:

1) Heat oil in a small pan. In a bowl add the sorghum flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Now add the hot oil. Mix in and rub the oil onto the flour with your hands. At this stage the flour should resemble the texture of bread crumbs. 

2) Now add rest of the ingredients that is kasuri methi, sesame seeds, carom seeds and crushed black pepper. Mix everything well.

3) Start adding warm water little a time till all the mixture comes together and forms a dough. I used approximately 3/4 cup of warm water. Gently knead it and cover it with a plastic wrap/clingwrap and let it rest for 10-12 mins. This dough does not much of kneading so do not knead it too much. 

4) While the dough is resting preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and place the oven rack one level below the top rack. Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep this ready.

5) Time to make some crackers. Divide the dough into two or three portions. Take a piece of cling wrap or plastic wrap and place it on your counter top or rolling board. Place a portion of the dough on top of it. Now place another piece of cling wrap on top of the dough and start to roll it with the help of a rolling pin. 

6) There is no need to roll it very thin else the dough will form cracks and it will be difficult to lift the crackers. Roll it nice and even as much as possible. Now remove the cling wrap from the top and using a cookie cutter or pizza cutter cut the crackers in any shape of your liking. I used a pizza cutter and cut it into small squares. Brush the crackers with a little oil on top. You may poke holes on the crackers with the help of a fork but you can skip this step. 

7) Gently lift the crackers with a help of a spatula (I used a frosting spatula) and place it on the lined baking sheet. 

8) Bake at 350F(180C) on a preheated oven for 25- 30 mins. Turn the crackers midway after 10 -15mins for even baking on both sides. I baked them for around 30 mins to get a nice color all over them. But 20 -25 mins of baking should be fine. However keep checking on them in between as different ovens can vary with respect to temperature. 

9) After baking transfer the crackers/mathris onto a plate and let them cool completely. They will be more crispy after cooling. 

Enjoy these baked goodies with a hot cup a chai or coffee. 








Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Cocoa and Quinoa Energy Bars

Ever since I started making energy bars at home I have not bought a single pack from any grocery store. I absolutely enjoy making my very own version of energy bars wherein I can add ingredients of my choice and the fact that it is naturally sweetened and free of preservatives takes the cake. 

I have already made a baked version (Oats and Nuts Energy Bars) and my favorite non baked version (Amarantha and Dates Energy Bars) of energy bars. You can take a look at the recipes here and here

This energy bar is also a no bake, super easy like throw in everything and mix kinda recipe. I have used cocoa powder to add a different flavor profile. But do not expect this to have an intense chocolate flavor. This energy bar is mildly chocolaty,  super crunchy because of the popped/puffed quinoa and very much chewy in texture. You can add chopped chunks of dark chocolate for an extra kick of chocolate. 






This is a small recipe and makes about 8 - 10 energy bars.

Ingredients:

1 cup pureed/crushed medjool dates (approx 14 -16 pitted soft medjool dates)
1/3 cup of good quality cocoa powder
1/2 cup of popped/puffed quinoa (If you want to know how to make popped/puffed quinoa click here)
1/2 cup of popped/puffed amaranth (You can skip this and add more quinoa or more nuts of your choice)
A little less than 1/4 of chopped almonds
A little less than 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
You can use any nuts of your choice.

Method:

1) Lightly grease an 8"x 8" baking dish with coconut oil or vegetable oil or any baking dish in which you will be able to spread the mixture to make bars. Keep this aside.

1) In a blender/mixer puree the pitted medjool dates until it is gooey in texture. If you are using dates other than medjool which are hard in texture, soak them in little warm water for few minutes before making a puree.

2) In another bowl add the rest of the ingredients. To this add the pureed dates and vanilla extract.

3) Mix everything thoroughly until nicely combined. If you are finding it hard to mix everything with a spatula then just grease your hand with coconut oil and use you hand to combine everything nicely.

4) Spread the mixture evenly into the greased baking dish pressing with your fingers. Use the back of a spoon to spread the mixture evenly. Cover with a cling wrap/plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1- 2 hrs.

5) Cut into squares or any shape of your liking.

Crunchy and yummy cocoa and quinoa energy bars are ready.



How to make popped/puffed quinoa?

Puffed or popped quinoa is a fun way to enjoy this super healthy grain. Top it over your morning cereal bowl, smoothie bowl, salad, add them in your homemade energy bars, homemade granola or simply snack on them. The options are endless. 

Homemade popped quinoa tastes very much like popcorn but is very crispy but unlike popcorn it will not be fluffy after popping. It is very easy to make your very own puffed quinoa at home. Let see how. 





Method:

1) Take quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and wash it under cold running tap water thoroughly. This procedure is required to wash off the saponin that coats the quinoa which gives off a very bitter taste. Hence rinse the quinoa nice and good before proceeding with rest of the steps. 

2) Spread the washed quinoa with the help of a spoon or spatula onto an ungreased baking sheet. 

3) Dry the quinoa in the oven set at the lowest temperature (mine is 170F) with the oven door open.

4) Stir the quinoa frequently to ensure all the grains dries evenly and thoroughly for around 30mins. 

5) Take a regular sauce pan or a heavy bottomed pan and heat it on a medium flame. Add around a teaspoon of any oil like coconut, vegetable or peanut oil in the pan. I used a non stick saucepan, added no oil and it worked perfectly fine. 

6) Add 3 - 4 tsp of quinoa at a time so that there is an even layer of quinoa in the pan. You can add more if you are using a large pan. Cover with lid or hold the lid in your direction as the quinoa starts popping. Shake the saucepan in between when the quinoa starts popping. Trust me you will need a lid for this because they will start jumping and flying out of the pan.

7) You will know its done when the popping sounds reduces/stops. Immediately transfer the quinoa into a bowl or a dish and repeat the same procedure with rest of the quinoa. As seen in the picture the quinoa will be brown in color post popping/puffing. 

Enjoy :)

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