Saturday, 25 November 2017

Gourmet Camping [or not!]: Sour Dough Chapatis

When camping you 'need' to eat great food! So this year I experimented with sour dough chapatis. They are a great dessert! The easiest way to make sour dough is to get some starter from a friend! :) .... I will post other ways to start you own in a separate post.

Sour dough is made with flour, water and starter. How fast it "grows"/ferments depends on the temperature/weather. So if it's warm you need to keep feeding it. See upcoming post.

The great thing about sour dough is that it is literally pre-digested by the bacteria. So it is easier to digest. And the sour taste helps stimulate digestion. It also won't go bad as long you continue to 'feed' it.

Like most recipes, you need to get a sense of what you're making - i.e. I can give measurements but ultimately you need to be the judge. Chapati dough is made to the same basic consistency of bread. I am being flexible or expansive in using the term 'chapati'. They are grilled. But you can also use butter, or ghee as in traditional Indian cooking. in the pan just before you place the dough in it. These are called parathas. It's more like a shallow fried bread. Both are great.

To make enough for 2-3 hungry campers:
Start with about 1-1.5 cups starter
Add enough flour [preferably whole grain organic] to make a thick consistency. This depends on the type of flour, how it is milled, etc. But expect to use at least 2 cups.
It is best to use gluten flour to help it rise, but not necessarily. I have used buckwheat, oat, spelt, and wheat flours. You can also add things like sesame seeds, ground flax, poppy seeds, etc. My Garam Masala adds a fantastic boost of flavour. [See recipe in previous post]. Mix well so all ingredients are wet. Traditional Indian recipes often call for ghee to be added to the dough mix itself. But don't do this till you are forming the balls, if so desired.

Leave the mix at least 1/2 day. The longer the more sour it becomes. This also helps to break down phytates found in grains, seeds, etc. which are anti-nutrients. You can "punch it down" when it rises. The longer you leave it, the more flour the bacteria "eat", so you will need to keep feeding "them" flour. More water should not be necessary.

Make small balls of the dough - about 2" or so. Meanwhile have a pan [or even a pot] heating on your stove or fire. If you want you can add 1-2 Tablespoons of butter, ghee or coconut oil to the pan. Other oils should not be fried. If making at home, a toaster over works well. Then you just flour the pan and roll out dough and bake at 350F or higher till it is done. The higher the temperature, the more it will rise.

When the butter is hot,and after you flatten the dough by hand, bottle or a similar object, put the dough in the pan.It will cook fast - depending how think you make them. Flip when one side is browning. Once both sides are brown they are ready to be devoured.

Add more butter, etc. before each new ball is put in the pan,if necessary.

You can serve with anything you would put on bread or just plain. Yum!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Rhubarb Xtreme Sugar Free With Dates, Coconut And More

First question: Is rhubarb a fruit or vegetable? We eat it like a fruit...sourly...but biologically it is far from a fruit.

So how do we get it to taste yummy without being too too sour? [The sour taste is good for digestion though]. One sugar free way is to use the natural sugar in dates [or raisin or any dried fruit and most fresh fruits] and coconut.  Serving with cream or milk helps too.


Water [a few cm in pot]
Rhubarb: 5 or so stalks
Dates: about 1/2 cup
Shredded coconut: 1/2 cup [try to get organic without preservative]

Xtras: berries, milk, cream...

Cut the rhubarb into 1cm piece. Put in boiling water. Add dates right away or can wait till rhubarb almost soft. But cooking the dates adds more sweetness. Add coconut before rhubarb is soft. You can add other fruit at this point also. Can also add oats if you like.

Serve hot with additional fruit if you like, or toasted/raw seeds/nuts and cream/milk. Ice cream is good too - but full of sugar.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Granola Bars: Gluten And Sugar Free And YUMMY!

These yummy granola bars are gluten free [GF] and basically sugar free. They have as few sweeteners as possible - but some are needed to keep them together. The dates and raisins are healthier alternatives than filling with sugar. Eggs have been added for the purpose of keeping them together also. Experiment with alternative ingredients as you wish. Try to use organic [and local] ingredients if possible: especially the raisins and peanut butter - the "conventional" [sprayed with toxic sprays] are known to contain lots of harmful residue.

Mix the dry and wet ingredients separately:

4.5 c rolled oats
.5 c rolled barley [can be replaced with oats or alternative grain/seed]
2 c coconut flour
1.5 c dates finely chopped
1 c raisins
.5 c sunflower seeds
.75 c pumpkin seeds

1 c peanut butter
.5 c tahini
1.5 c butter [or oil but butter adds to richness and is healthier than polyunsaturated oils correlated with cancer]
2 eggs
.5 c blackstrap molasses [the most unrefined and healthiest form]
.25-.5 c honey

It helps to heat the butter slightly till it is in an oil state.

Mix all separately and then together. Oil 2 7"X11" pans.
Put ingredients in pans and press down firmly.
Heat at 350F for 20-25. Watch as the coconut flour burns easily

Let cool 20 min. before cutting. Enjoy!

Friday, 27 January 2017

Make Your Own Curry Powder - Garam Masala!

In India most people traditionally have made their own garam masala [what some in the world may call curry powder]. The homemade stuff kills the store bought mix .... as is usually the case with home prepared things.

It's real easy and well worth the time! Spices really make a meal taste fab! - if done right.

For "gm" use whole spices. They are toasted in a frying pan or a toaster over. Listen for when they start to pop. That is a sign they are almost ready.

Then you grind up or pound them to a powder. A coffee grinder can be used. Store them in a jar or freeze if you do a lot. Simple! Add to the food near the end of the cooking process. They can be used in soups, stir fries, dals, omelettes...

There are millions of variations of the spices and the amounts - depending on preferences. Here's a simple combination I have created - partially due to the availability of the spices.

1 part of each of the following seeds:
hot peppers [depends on how hot they are and how hot you like your food so alter accordingly]
turmeric [not to be roasted though]
green cardamon [remove pods]
black or brown mustard 

2 parts:

Keep a record of your mix. After trying a simple one like this one here, it's time to begin experimenting!