Monday, November 24, 2014

Sheermal- Persian Saffron Flatbread | We Knead to Bake #22

I had heard the word sheermal but was under the impression that it was something that existed only in Kashmir. Aunty Google helped me know that it exists even now as a street food in India especially in Muslim neighbourhoods and is an integral though rare  part of Lucknowi especially Awadhi,Kashmiri or Hyderabadi cuisines. Its origins can be traced to the Mughals or Persia as the name is based on the Persian word for milk 'Sheer'. 
Shirmal/Sheermal is a naanlike milk bread made with refined flour, clarified butter/ghee , along with saffron and milk. Slightly sweet in taste, it can be served with spicy kormas/gravies or even sweeter spreads.This month for We Knead to Bake Aparna gave us Sheermal and it was a joy to bake it.

Ingredients:
Instant Yeast: 1 tsp
Sugar: 2 tsp
Luke Warm Water: 4 tbsp

All Purpose Flur: 2.25 cups
Salt :3/4 tsp

Egg: 1 lightly beaten OR Ener G Egg: 1.5 tsp packed powder whipped/mixed with 4 tbsp of water 
Ghee/ Clarified Butter: 4 tbsp

Milk 4-8 tbsp (I needed only 2-3 tbsp)

Kewra Essence /Rose essence: 1 tsp

Few Saffron Strands soaked in 2 tbsp warm milk
Ghee/ Melted Butter : for brushing

Preparation:

Mix yeast & sugar with warm water and keep aside for few minutes until frothy.

In a big bowl or processor, mix together flour & salt. Add in the yeast mixture and egg and whisk/beat well. Add in the ghee in two additions and continue  whisking/beating until it resembles finee crumbs.

Add in milk tablespoons at time -it took just 2 tablespoons for me- and continue kneading until you start getting a dough. Add in the kewra/rose essence -I added rose- and more milk if needed and knead until you a soft and very lightly sticky dough.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, turning once to coat, covering loosely with a plastic wrap and let it sit until doubled for an hour or two.
Meanwhile soak the saffron strands in little warm milk and keep aside. You can see it turning a happy yellow.

Once doubled, take the dough and knead again applying ghee all over. Let it rest again for another 15-20 minutes. 

Dived the dough into 4 equal pieces. Take a piece, roll it out to a circle of 4" diameter or 1/8" thickness. Transfer it to a lined/greased baking sheet. Using a fork, prick holes all over the surface of the bread. Repeat the process with the other three pieces. 

Brush the saffron milk all over the rounds so that it absorbs as much flavour as possible. 

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C/350F for about 10-15 minutes till they turn a lovely golden brown. Take out and lightly brush them with melted ghee/butter. Serve warm. If serving after sometime transfer to a wirerack.


These are perfect when they are warm. They can be enjoyed as such or with any korma/choice of sides.They are only slightly sweet and a yellowish in colour thanks to the saffron. These are usually served in Muslim households with nihari or a slow cooked beef or lamb stew.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Low Fat Banana Bread | Healthy and Tasty

While posting the Banana Bundt cake, I was wistfully wondering whether I can make it again and that too quickly. But ofcourse patience which is never my virtue, wanted something quick. Something that we can easily put together and pop off in the oven to finish the work to perfection. And lo, out came another bookmark -Low Fat Banana bread from Joy of Baking. This was lower in fat as it contained no butter but oil, and a part of refined flour was replaced by healthier whole wheat flour. 



So those who are still salivating on the banana bundt cake can try this low fat banana bread which is healthier and as tasty. I had only half cup of banana with me and hence I halved the recipe as given below.

Ingredients:
Banana: 1/2 cup mashed ripe
Baking Soda: 1/2 tsp
Low fat Plain yogurt : 4 tbsp 

Veg Oil: 2 tbsp
Demerara Sugar: 6 tbsp
Egg: 1/2 = 3/4 tsp pkf EnerG + 2 tbsp water
Vanilla Extract: 1/2 tsp

All Purpose Flour: 1/2 cup ~ 8 tbsp
Whole Wheat Four: 4 tbsp
Cinnamon Powdered: 1/4 tsp
Baking Powder: 1/2 tsp
salt: 1/8 tsp
Nuts/Chocochips/Combo: 1/4 cup (optional)

Preparation:

Mix together bananas,soda and yogurt. Let it sit till other ingredients are ready.

In another bowl, whisk together oil,sugar, egg and vanilla.

In a large bowl, mix together the flours, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.Optionally add in 4 tbsp of chopped nuts, choco chips

Add the banana mix to oil mix and add this to the flour mix. Stir until all ingredients are moistened. Now if you have forgotten to add the nuts with the flour mix earlier, then now is the time to add them. You can fold them gently into the batter.

Pour into a greased or lined loaf pan, smooth the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes in a preheated oven at 350F until the centre of the loaf comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let the bread cool for about 10 minutes in the loaf pan. After which transfer it to a wirerack to cool  completely 

Serve the bread for breakfast or as an anytime snack. A hot cuppa and a slice are heavenly in the morning with hot news.

 

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