Satisfying Lunches

Living in a country where the standard lunch item seems to be rice or roti [wheat flatbread] in massive quanitities, which put me in a food coma within seconds of eating, I crave simple fresh meals more often. Don’t get me wrong, I love Indian food. All kinds of Indian food. North. South. East. West.… Continue reading Satisfying Lunches

Homemade Crackers

Homemade Gluten-Free Crackers.

During 2009-2010 I lived with someome who had every food-allergy on the planet [just about]. She was gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free [mostly], corn-free, sugar-free [mostly]. And she loved having me cook for her, as she did for me on many a week night when I got home from work after a grueling 12-14 hour day.

So, in the spirit of being a good roommate, I learnt how to make delicious things, on a moment’s notice, that met her restrictions.

Many years later, no food restrictions in sight, I’m still addicted to many-a-recipe from my time with Karen. Including these crackers. Which go surprisingly well with any dip, or on their own. The only thing they don’t do – is travel well. [Recipe inspired by Nourishing Meals]

Note: Roll the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper, and bake on the same parchment. Crackers store well for about a week, but I can’t fully validate that, since they never last more than a day or two.

Ingredients

1 ½ cup flour [variety of oat, sorghum, rice]
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup cooked quinoa or millet [even brown rice works well here]
6 to 7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 to ½ cup water

Toppings:
1 -2 tablespoons of sesame seeds, flax seeds, poppy seeds, garlic and onion chips – sky’s the limit
Sea salt and cracked black pepper – to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place all dry ingredients [minus toppings] in a food processor and pulse until mixed. Then slowly add olive oil, and water until dough forms. Pull dough on to parchment paper, and gently roll out. Sprinkle all your toppings, roll again to embed them, then gently cut with a butter knife. Slide onto a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

Cool, eat, repeat.

Pretzels

I wish I could say “there is nothing I enjoy more than a pretzel”, but unfortunately, I love all carbs. What I do enjoy, is a pretzel that is slightly chewy, crisp on the outside, and right out of the oven.

In days past <read, pre-India>, I would walk to my favorite Bavarian store in Pike Place Market, buy a pretzel and eat it on my walk home. But in Chennai, I have yet to chance upon a Bavarian store in walking distance from my home.

Luckily, I have no shortage of German friends, including a very dear grad-school mate from Bavaria. And while I tend towards not sharing any of my own recipes, I happily share those given to me by others’. Note: I’ve produced these successfully in gas, electric and even toaster ovens.

So here it goes: Hannah’s Pretzels

Ingredients
750 g flour
1 package yeast
½ table spoon sugar
2 table spoons salt
2 table spoons baking soda (for the bath)
some flour for the work area

How-to
Dissolve yeast and sugar in 100 ml warm water. Cover and let sit in a warm place for 15 minutes.
<You can buy yeast at Nilgiris or Amma Nanna in Chennai>

Mix the flour, yeast, and 300 ml warm water and salt. Knead dough for 8 minutes (on surface covered in flour). Place dough in bowl that’s dusted with flour, cover and let sit for one hour.

Cover a baking sheet with baking paper. Divide dough into 20 pieces (though I think last time I made these I divided it into fewer pieces). Shape into pretzels. Place the ‘raw’ Brezn on the baking sheet, cover and let sit for 15 minutes.

Bring 1.6 l water to a boil. Remove from stove. Carefully add baking soda. Preheat oven to 200C (400F)

individually dip/submerge raw pretzels in the hot baking soda mixture for about 10 seconds. Place on baking sheet. Sprinkle coarse salt on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Enjoy!