Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Gajar-mewa-nu-achaar(Carrot and dried fruit sweet pickle)-my Irani connection

It was August 1999.
I remember noticing a thin, short, fair bespectacled girl become the pick of our seniors to rag in hostel.
Yes, ragging in college and hostel was normal in those days and we as dutiful juniors were supposed to sing songs, dance on their tunes, make them laugh and describe embarrassing words that they asked us. 
Now when I think back, we were asked some very silly questions like 'Do you have a boyfriend' or 'What is a chumma'. 
Let me remind you it was 1999 and not like today where such words are commonly spoken by everyone and is not considered any deal at all. In those days (and for my generation even till date) it was nothing short of blasphemy to utter such words in front of elders or share our love lives with them. 
Well as for 'Chumma', we soon learnt that it is a Kannada word for the expression 'just like that'. 
I was asked to sing songs for my seniors every now and then as part of my ragging. No one ever dared say no to the seniors. No one but Afsana K. Meherbani-that same fair Irani girl who was the favourite amongst the seniors because she would lash back at them with her answers. She once threw a seniors plate full of food as retaliation and that really angered everyone. That was true blasphemy in the hostel world.
I remember telling myself never to befriend that girl as it would mean getting in more trouble. 
Ragging soon got over or perhaps the seniors got bored of us. I really do not remember how it happened, but very soon that same Irani girl became an integral part of our group. And in no time Afsana, me and Veena became the best of friends. Years passed and we became more closer, much more than just friends. We were like sisters. We cried while leaving that same hostel, that place we spent four years of our most beautiful and carefree days. 
Our hostel food was usually made palatable by some goodies from home. Afsana used to bring this delectable Gajar-mewa-nu-achaar that was the only way I could relish mess food. Afsana introduced us to this amazing pickle which is usually made in Pasrsi/Irani weddings.
A few days back when I put my hands on this pickle at home, I kept thinking of those wonderful and carefree  hostel days.
Sweet memories with this sweet pickle. 

Recipe source : Parsi cookbook by the very famous Katy Dalal
Ingredients : I reduced the recipe by one fourth
  • 1 cup grated Carrots
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup Sugarcane vinegar(I used Apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried dates
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • salt to taste  
Soak raisins, dried dates and dried apricots in 1/4 cup vinegar overnight.
Place carrots in a heavy pan and add sugar. 
Strain the overnight soaked dried fruit and keep aside. Use the same vinegar and pour in the pan over the carrots and sugar. Let it cook on slow fire. 
Add chopped garlic. 
If required add more vinegar to soften the carrots 
(I did not require) 
When carrots have softened in about 4-5 minutes, add the soaked dried fruits and bring the mixture to a boil. 
Add garam masala, turmeric powder,red chilli powder and salt and mix well. 
Remove from heat when the pickle has thickened to required consistency and allow to cool.

Sending this recipe to Kolkata Food Bloggers ongoing event 'East or West, Food is best'.

Happy Pickle relishing

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Smoke House Deli

Smoke House Deli
Quest Mall, Beckbagan
Pocket pinch for two: Rs 1800/- approx

Kolkata Food Bloggers monthly table meet for March was unanimously decided upon Smoke house deli which has been getting rave reviews since it opened doors. A bunch of us decided to have our lunch there on a Saturday afternoon. 
One of the first thing that will strike you is their decor which is simple, minimalistic yet very impressive. The entire place is done up in an off white tone which transmits you to a Victorian time.
Their seating capacity is pretty large and in no time we saw the entire seats full. A reservation beforehand is recommended especially on weekends to avoid long waits.
My fellow bloggers including me had a hard time deciding on our dishes and kept leafing the pages of their menu card for a long time before we decided to start with a soup. 
We ordered a Baby fennel+smoked chicken+thyme soup (Rs 220/-) and got it divided into two helpings. The soup had strong and beautiful flavours of the fennel and I loved the smoked chicken bits in it.

We were served a complimentary and a very cute Bread basket along with butter which was enjoyed with our soup.

My fellow blogger friend Manjari ordered a Lemon Mint Iced tea for herself which according to her was a little overpowering in the lemon juice but was enjoyed nevertheless.

Finally it was time to decide our dishes. Each one of had our picks and very soon our table had some very impressive and well presented dishes.
Chilli crusted Bekti+lemon+thyme (Rs 590/-) was served with a bed of creamy rice and steamed vegetables. The fish was cooked perfectly and had a lovely hint of lemon to it.

Peri Peri rubbed grilled chicken+citrus Pimento (Rs 430/-) was served with potatoes and a side salad. I found it a little spicy for my taste buds and a little salty too but the chicken was grilled to perfection.

House special Tenderloin steak (Rs 520/-) was served with vegetables and in a gravy which again I found a little salty for my taste. I loved the dollop of sour cream on top which balanced the overall taste. Overall I found this dish quite impressive.

Spinach+Ricotta Ravioli (Rs 430/-) was the best dish of the day for me. It was served with a very flavourful tomato sauce which had perfect seasoning and came with an olive tapenade. The pasta was thin and had a beautiful filling of spinach and ricotta cheese. Certainly my favourite dish so far.

It was time for desserts and like the main course we struggled to finally decide on a helping of Bitter Chocolate+Orange ganache Torte with ice cream (Rs 190/-). The dessert was a big let down though it was rather presented well. The ice cream complimented the otherwise lame pastry very well but being a dessert freak I could not make myself eat more than a tablespoon or more.


Disclaimer :  The views and opinions shared here are my own and I have not been compensated in any way for the same

Monday, 24 March 2014

Mediterranean Experience at Souk - Taj Bengal

As a part of the Kolkata Food Bloggers we had the opportunity not only to be invited by the Taj Bengal, Kolkata, to their flagship Restaurant, Souk, to sample their range of Mediterranean spreads but also the fortuity to dine with the General Manager, Mr. K. Mohanchandran and the Executive Chef Sujan Mukherjee of Taj Bengal alongside exclusively. After a brief exchange of introductory salutation it didn't take long to bridge the culinary affinity that was crescendo-ed  by the ceaseless draw of Mediterranean delicacies intricately prepared by the Executive Chef.

General Manager K. Mohanchandran and Executive Chef Sujan Mukherjee of the Taj Bengal, Kolkata
The Souk experience did enhance the understanding of the authentic flavours from regions around Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria serving as a one stop place to indulge in a range of authentic Mediterranean dishes. A souk is a traditional middle eastern market place and the Souk of Taj Bengal definitely represents those culinary traditions. 

The Mezze consisted of a Hummus Turki, Hummus Bil Lahm, Felafil, Lahm Kibbe and Swada Dijaj and Tabbouleh served with assorted Pita.

I was exposed to the authentic middle eastern flavours for the first time and I must admit it was a thrilling experience.
As a food blogger I love to write about food because of my passion for it and I am sure that it is a singular subject that draws the whole humanity together, from its very need for survival and existence to the relishing adventures that takes you places and experiment new cuisine. As boundless as this subject is I have realized that there are a lot of cuisines and dishes I don't have much knowledge about and there is always the 'first time'. However, being a cook (not a chef as many people lovingly call me) there are some cuisines and dishes about which I can speak a little more in terms of intricacies, techniques and flavours. The real enjoyment comes from acknowledging the fact that knowing everything is not possible and it is not possible to know everything. Therefore I have learnt to discover food as and when opportunities arise and dining at the Souk was one such contrasting experience as I can believe that the enormous culinary expertise in Executive Chef Sujan, and the General Manager himself, backed by years of experience and exposure in the industry and first hand travels world wide was met with the like of myself having very little idea about the Mediterranean food tradition. However, that afternoon at the Taj, it was the common passion for food that translated the extreme spectrum of expert and novice into a series of platter that uttered an elevated culinary sedation.  
Hummus Turki and Hummus Lahm was very interesting. It was based on chickpea puree with Tahina. The Turki had chopped piri piri olives and the Bil Lahm had crisp fried morsels of lamb. The interesting part was that for a person like me having the dish for the first time in life (and thankfully not having the need to travel to Turkey just for Hummus) I thought it to be more on a cookie texture with my first glance at it. In contrast to my perception the Hummus was exceptionally soft,  like a puree, that just melted in the mouth. 
I recollect the chef explaining the Hummus first as the platter came in but my eyes was stilled on the Lahm Kibbe (I learnt the name later). Lahm Kibbe was again an exceptional dish with cracked wheat with lamb stuffed with meat and pine nuts. 

Grills Izgarlick Karides (Prawn from Egypt), Adana Kebab (lahm from Adana), Tavuk Yogurtulu Bitlis (chicken from Bitlis) and Samak Meshwi (Fish from Turkey)

It is believed that grilling originated from the Mediterranean region. With that note it was such a treat to be sampling the range of the Mediterranean grills. I love to grill myself over the charcoal fire and I realized the spices used were so very different.
Samak Meshwi was my pick of the evening having mesmerizing flavours. The prawn was another master dish which left me spellbound. It was soft, perfectly cooked and had amazing flavours.

For the main course we were served Lahm tagine.
Lahm tangine was the softest lamb that I had ever laid my hands on. The pickled lime in the dish gave a beautiful tangy touch to the dish. The grain made along with the lamb was something I had for the first time and it gave a very complimenting filler addition to the lamb.

Pan fried fish with pickled lemon, cayenne pepper, parsley and onion had a beautiful tangy touch to it. 


The trufle rice was really exceptional. The rice was flavoured in trufle oil and berries and complimented the rest of the spread exceptionally well.
Again a first time dish, Moussaka consisted of layered Aubergine, zucchini, yellow squash with buttered burghul. This is a traditional Greek specialty. 

The Dessert Platter was unique in its own way. The rose petal ice cream was made with real rose petals and was served on a cookie. The Omali was a dessert very new to our palate which was basically baked fillo with condensed milk. 

 After the expanse of the never ending Mediterranean platters we were served with the Moroccan mint tea which was extremely light and appetizing in nature. A perfect way to end a fabulous afternoon which would always be special in many ways. The Mediterranean Cuisine has certainly open up a whole new foodie world for us and there is no better place in the city than the Souk at Taj Bengal.  

Happy Mediterranean

Vishal & Amrita


Saturday, 22 March 2014

The Tea Trove-New Menu launch

The Tea Trove, Deshapriya park cordially invited Kolkata Food Bloggers to the launch of their new menu which has Italian, American and Mediterranean influences. I was greeted very warmly by the owner Shruti who told me about the plunge in food industry that she and her husband have jointly taken about 2 years back. The Tea Trove has another outlet at Sarat Bose Road, which serves vegetarian food and is their maiden venture. 
The place has been divided into two sitting arrangements, one with normal chairs and tables and another which has low seating with lots of cushions thrown in. Personally I felt the low seating could be a bit uncomfortable but I believe it is a big hit with the younger crowd. There were lots of board games to engage young minds and the walls have quirky lines and graphics which is definitely a pleaser to youngsters.
The Tea Trove has also recently started an open kitchen which is fast becoming a new trend in food industry. The only problem was that their ventilation system was not reviewed before taking the step as we found the place smoky after a little while.

From their regular menu of cold teas we were served Creamy Dream, Tom & Jerry and Culture shock. While the first one is described as cold tea with ice without milk, the other two are green tea with coca cola and strawberry infusion. I found the infusions a little too overpowering taking away all taste and subsequently health benefit from a green tea.

Our drinks were soon followed by Chicken wings Thai style and Bar-B-Que style. I found the thai sauce a little overpowering in its sweetness but loved the hint of spice from the chillies. The Bar-B-Que sauce was thick and had a hint of tamarind which the chef admitted to have added to lending it a lovely twist.

Next to arrive on our tables was the famous Beer Batter fish with Tartar sauce. Though the fish was soft and fresh and was complimented perfectly with the chunky Tartar sauce, what we missed was the crispy coating on the fish pieces as promised by the name. It is the expectation of the name of the dish that failed more than the dish in itself. 
Arinchini with Pomodoro, Mozarella which is risotto stuffed with cheese and deep fried was a new dish for me. It was served with a tomato sauce which was perfectly seasoned and had fresh flavours. I loved the combination of cheese, risotto and the sauce. 
Californian crisps with basil vinegarette was another misnomer for me as what was served was crispy fried brussel sprouts. It had an inherent bitter taste which was not acceptable to my palate. The hint of basil vinegarette was enjoyed but I so wish the dish had a little explanation to what is being served. 
Veg Lasagne was a messy affair with the the layers slipping out on the served dish. I found the top layer of cheese a little burnt, but otherwise the dish had lovely elements.

The last dish, Mediterranean Roast Chicken served with mashed potatoes and salad, was truly the winner of the day. I loved the crispness of the roast chicken along with its flavours which was perfectly balanced with the fresh salad, crispy croutons and mushrooms.

I would like to suggest the management to check on a few areas to improve their new initiative. 
  • For an efficient open kitchen the ventilation definitely needs to be checked
  • The staff needs to be trained more on being alert to customer needs
  • A little description of the menu will help customer to choose their dishes.
  • A little more neatness and thoughtfulness in presentation of each dish will certainly attract the customers more.
I would like to thank team The Tea Trove for taking the initiative of open criticism and inviting Kolkata Food Bloggers for an honest review.


Disclaimer : The views and opinions shared here are my own and I have not been compensated monetarily or otherwise for the same.

Read here for the experience shared by my fellow blogger friend Antara Ray.

The Tea Trove
23, Lake Terrace,Deshapriya Park
Cost for two : Rs 500/
Hours : 11 am to 12 midnight 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Tie & Dye Holi cake with natural colours

Festivals to me are a great excuse for a family get together and having to spend some fun time over delicious food. I am also particularly interested in creating Festival special food. And since my first love is Baking, I cannot help but imagine trying out something new in baking. This Holi I tried my hands on Thandai cookies and this Tie & Dye cake where I have used all natural colours in the cake batter. The idea came from the popular usage of organic colours nowadays which is certainly safer and healthier than the poisonous chemicals used in regular colours. 
People all around are getting more conscious and are ready to take steps to prevent as much damage as we can to our body. It is a great beginning in itself and is a small but important step to ensure our children get to live in a better environment.
Since Holi is the festival of colours, I decided to add some colours to my cake and experimented doing so with Nature's vibrant colours. 
I personally feel I could have added a tbsp more of each colour because the batter before baking seems to have the perfect colour but after baking the colour gets reduced in its intensity. But it is still far better than adding all the artificial food colours. 
Here's to a Happy and Safe Holi! 

Recipe source  : I used the cake recipe from Suma's blog Cakes and More and modified it 
Ingredients : I made a 5" round cake which is good for 4 servings
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar, powdered
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup yogurt (I used homemade curd)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1-2 tbsp each of beetroot puree, spinach puree and carrot puree
Icing :
  • 3 tbsp white butter, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar/powdered sugar
  • colourful sprinkles
Prepare the natural colours by boiling each vegetable and then making its puree. 
Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius. 
Prepare a 5 inch round cake pan by greasing and lining with butter paper.
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl.
Whisk together yogurt, oil, egg, and vanilla in another bowl.
Fold in the wet mixture into the flour mixture.  Mix well.
Divide the batter in 4 bowls.
Add turmeric powder to one and mix well. Add more if required.
Add spinach puree, carrot puree and beetroot puree each to the the remaining three bowls and mix well. Add more to get the desired colour.
Pour random spoonfuls of each of the coloured batter in the  prepared pan.
Bake  for 30 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.
Slice the dome on top of the cake.
Mix icing sugar with white butter and spread on top. Top with the colourful sprinkles. 

Note : Add more of the individual puree to get more distinct colours. The colour gets reduced after baking.

Happy, safe and a colourful Holi

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Thandai Cookies

Holi is the festival of colours and is celebrated with lot of  fun and fervour. For me Holi is a sweet remembrance of the non stop fun we had as children colouring each other with the darkest of shades that would not come out for weeks. Holi meant the kitchen smelling heavenly with yummy treats esp Thandai and Gujiya. It meant spending hours in the bathroom afterwards scrubbing ourselves hard to get the colour out of our hair, face and body. Our nails would be invariably painted with a pink or black colour. And we all looked the same!
I remember when I was small, my cousin brothers who are elder to me were the mastermind behind all the mischief. They would fill scores of balloons with coloured water and throw them at their friends. Each year, it was a competition of sorts to paint each other with the toughest of colours that would take weeks to come out. Going next day to school meant meeting my friends in different shades. 
Things thankfully have changed over the years. For better reasons, the culture of playing Holi with those chemicals is slowly reducing. People are realizing the after effects of these meaningless colours and have started opting for Organic colours. I personally prefer Holi now with dry colours or what we call Abeer. 
For Holi this time, I experimented with the very famous Thandai flavour and incorporated it in cookies. Thandai is a popular drink consumed esp during Holi which is made by grinding almonds, rose petals, fennel seeds, melon seeds and black peppercorns and adding to milk. There is a variation called Kesariya Thandai where saffron is added to the mixture but the most famous one is the Bhang Thandai which is basically adding the leaves of cannabis plant whihc has intoxicant properties.

Ingredients : Yields about 15 cookies
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour (maida)
  • 3 tbsp whole wheat flour (atta)
  • 2 tsp rice flour (chawal ka atta)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of baking soda
  • 6 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter, cold
  • 2 1/2 tbsp Thandai spice
  • 1 tbsp rose water
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • almonds, chopped
  • khus khus/posto (Poppy seeds) for sprinkling on top
Thandai spice : This will make a little more than the quantity required in the cookies
  • 1/2 cup dries red rose petals
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds/saunf
  • 2 tsp melon seeds/magaj
  • 4-5 green cardamoms/hari elaichi
  • 15 whole black peppercorns/gol mirch

Procedure :

Thandai spice :
Grind all the ingredients to a fine powder.
Sieve the mixture to get a further fine powder and remove any particles.

Cookie dough :
Add all purpose, whole wheat and rice flour in a bowl and mix with sugar, baking powder and baking soda.  Add cold butter and rub the flour in the butter till it gets incorporated in the flour mixture. 
Add the Thandai spice and mix.
Now add rose water and milk and knead to a smooth dough. If required add a little more of the rose water/milk. 
Cover in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or overnight. 
Take the dough out to come to room temperature before you begin baking them.
Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius and line a baking tray with a lightly greased parchment paper/aluminium foil. 
Dust a little flour on your work station and roll the dough to 1/8" thickness. 
Cut out cookie shapes with a round cookie cutter or a round shaped bowl/glass.
Press in the chopped almonds on top of the cookie and sprinkle with khus khus/posto seeds. 
Place the cookies on the baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes or till they are browned well. 
Allow to cool completely to crisp them.

  • Substitute rice flour with corn flour.
  • Be more experimental and add Bhang to the cookie dough.

Wishing all of you a Happy and Colourful Holi

Monday, 10 March 2014

Matar ke Chilke ki Subzi aur Pakode-Grandma recipe

Matar ke chilke ki subzi
Matar ke chilke ke pakode
I have beautiful memories of my Grandmother, who we fondly called 'Beji', warming herself in the winter sun while her fingers working non-stop on one thing or the other. Either it was peeling loads of carrot to make her lipsmacking Gajar ka halwa or my favourite Gajar ki kheer, or peeling loads of peas which were used with all sorts of vegetables. She had some amazing recipes under her sleeves which she would love to rustle up for her family. And her mantra was no wastage. Almost everything that could be cooked was put to use. She would walk herself to the market and get vegetables and fruits picking the best with her experienced eyes. Every month, I remember, she would hand wash the wheat grains, cleaning them to be ground to flour for everyday use. I remember she would keep telling us, spend as much as you want when the thing is really important and save as much as you can when that thing is not very significant. Penny by penny, she saved to run her family and tend to it very lovingly. 
It has been about 10 years she left us for her heavenly abode but I still miss her. Miss her warmth, her love, her wise words, her sweet chatter and her amazing recipes. Time heals the pain of losing her but I think of her every now and then and wish I could have spent more time with her. She lives today through her recipes that I keep attempting which are far from mimicking that same flavour and taste. I am sure it was that extra dollop of love that went in each dish which made it so special.
Today I am sharing my Beji's special Matar ke chilke which she would use to make a subji and even make Pakode out of it every winter. 

How to peel the chilke:

Take out the peas from the pods and open it. Break a little tip from the top and pull it down. You will see a thin peel coming off. Try and bring it all the way down. If it breaks in the middle, try peeling from the other end. Throw the thin peels and save the chilke for use.

Chilke ki subzi 

Ingredients : For 2 servings
  • 20 pieces of peas chilka
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut in bite size
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic pods, chopped
  • 1 mediom sized tomato, chopped
  • 1 green chilly, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
Wash and pat dry matar ke chilke.
Chop them roughly in 1" pieces.

Heat vegetable oil in a deep pan/kadai and add the chopped onions. As they start changing colour add the chopped garlic and green chilly and cook for a minute.
Add chopped tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. 
As you see the oil separating from the masala, add turmeric powder and salt and stir well.
Add the potatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add a little water for the potatoes to cook. Cover and cook for another 2 minutes. 
When the potatoes are half done, add the chopped matar ke chilke. 
Cook for about 5 minutes or till well cooked.
Serve with roti or rice and dal.

Chilke ke Pakode

Ingredients : For 2 servings
  • 10-15 Matar ke chilke
  • 1 tbsp besan/chickpea flour
  • 1 tbsp chawal ka atta/rice flour
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
  • a pinch of turmeric powder
  • oil for frying
Wash and pat dry matar ke chilke.
Cut them in 1 1/2" pieces.
Take besan and chawal ka atta in a bowl. Add salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Mix well.
Add water, little by little to get a dropping consistency of the batter. It should not be too thick or thin. 
Heat oil in a deep pan/kadai.
Drop the batter laden chilke in the hot oil. 
Cook till they get a light brown colour and drain on an absorbent paper.
Serve these crispy yummies with imli/tamarind chutney.

Matar chilka chaat
I experimented with the crispy pakodas and added them to my chaat along with chopped onions, chopped coriander, imli/tamarind chutney, dollops of curd and bhujia sprinkled on top. It was truly amazing.

Happy Chilka experimenting

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Classic Croissants

It has been one full year, that members at 'We Knead to bake' put their trembling hands on Classic Croissants. Well some of the expert bakers had already dealt with the long and tedious process of Croissant making. We were to follow a recipe which was three page long and explained with utmost details. Charged up to get rid of my fear and try these French beauties, I was left bereft to realize that I did not carry my packet of instant yeast to Allahabad, where I had come to spend a lovely time with my In-laws. I made up my mind to reach Kolkata and try them for sure especially after seeing everyone loving the bake and calling it their best. 
One thing led to the other and I never got around making them. The humid weather of Kolkata further added to my grievance and I waited for winters to nail them. 
This February when Aparna announced that her oven had broke down and all members were given the choice to bake a bread of their own, I pushed myself to put my hands on Classic Croissants. I was still scared of the lengthy process and of the butter leaking from the dough horror but this oppurtunity was my true Croissant Calling. I reduced the recipe to half and jumped onto the beautiful, magical, butter laden world of Croissants. 
Croissants are basically yeasted puff pastry that is baked in the shape of crescents.There are stuffed versions too. The ones stuffed with chocolate is called Pain au Chocolat. The basic process involves enveloping a slab of butter with the dough, rolling it out and then folding and resting the dough repeatedly before shaping it.
Frankly speaking, I am super happy at my attempt and glad I got the fear out. This bake is certainly a feather on my cap. Though butter leaking can be an issue, it can easily be taken care of following Aparna's detailed instructions and notes. Do check her blog post for more detailed pics of the process.

Recipe Source : Jeffrey Hamelman's Classic Croissants adapted by Aparna Balasubramanium

Ingredients : I reduced the recipe to half and yielded about 7 Croissants and some scraps

For Dough :
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, and a little more for dusting/rolling out dough
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp cold water
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp cold milk 
  •  2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 20gm soft unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tbsp instant yeast
  • 1tsp salt
Butter Layer
  • 100 gm cold butter (I used Amul)
To Brush the dough
  • 2 tbsp milk/1 tbsp milk + 1 tbsp cream 


Day 1:Make the dough and refrigerate overnight

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in the bowl. Mix till it comes together. Lightly flour a 10-inch pie pan or a dinner plate.  And place the ball of dough on this.  
Gently shape the dough into a flat ball by pressing it down before storing it in the fridge, this makes rolling out next morning easier. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and wrap well with plastic so it doesn’t dry out. Refrigerate overnight.  
Day 2: Make the butter layer and Laminate the dough

The next day, cut out 2 pieces of parchment or waxed paper into 10” squares each.  Cut the cold butter into 1/2-inch-thick slabs. Place these pieces on one piece of parchment/waxed paper so they form a 5- to 6-inch square. Cut the butter further into pieces as required to fit the square. Top with the other piece of parchment/waxed paper.
Using a rolling pin, pound the butter with light, even strokes. As the pieces begin to stick together, use more force. Pound the butter until it flattens out evenly into a square that’s approximately 7-1/2”. Trim the edges of the butter to make a neat square. Put the trimmings on top of the square and pound them in lightly with the rolling pin. Refrigerate this while you roll out the dough.
Unwrap and lay the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it out to a 10-1/2-inch square, and brush off the excess flour. Take the butter out from the refrigerator-it should be cold but pliable.  If it isn’t refrigerate it till it is. This so that when you roll out the dough with the butter in it, neither should it be soft enough to melt, or hard enough to break. Unwrap the butter and place it on the square of dough in the centre, so that it forms a “diamond” shape on the dough.
Fold one flap of dough over the butter toward you, stretching it slightly so that the point just reaches the middle of the butter square. Bring the opposite flap to the middle, slightly overlapping the previous one. Similarly repeat with the other two so that the dough forms an envelope around the butter. Lightly press the edges together to completely seal the butter inside the dough to ensure the butter doesn’t escape when you roll out the dough later.
Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough. With the rolling pin, firmly press along the dough uniformly to elongate it slightly. Now begin rolling instead of pressing, focusing on lengthening rather than widening the dough and keeping the edges straight.
Roll the dough into an 8” by 12” rectangle. If the ends lose their square shape, gently reshape the corners with your hands. Brush off the excess flour. Mark the dough lightly equally into three along the long side. Using this as a guideline, pick up one short end of the dough and fold 1/3rd of it back over the dough, so that 1/3rd of the other end of dough is exposed.
Now fold the 1/3rd exposed dough over the folded side. Basically, the dough is folded like 3-fold letter before it goes into an envelope (letter fold). Put the folded dough on a floured baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 15 to 20 minutes to relax and chill the dough.
Repeat the rolling and folding, this time rolling in the direction of the two open ends (from the shorter sides to lengthen the longer sides) until the dough is about 8” by 12”. Once again fold the dough in thirds, brushing off excess flour and turning under any rounded edges or short ends with exposed or smeared layers. Cover once again with plastic wrap and freeze for another 15 to 20 minutes.
Roll and fold the dough exactly in the same way for the third time and put it baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap, tucking the plastic under all four sides and refrigerate overnight. 
Day 3: Shape the dough

The next day, unwrap and lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough.
“Wake up the dough up” by pressing firmly along its length with the rolling pin. Don’t widen the dough but simply begin to lengthen it with these first strokes. Slowly roll the dough into a long and narrow strip, approximately 8” by 11”. If the dough sticks as you roll, sprinkle with flour.

Lay a measuring rule or tape measure lengthwise along the top length of the dough.
With a knife, mark the top of the dough at 5-inch intervals along the length. Now place the rule or tape measure along the bottom length of the dough and make a mark 2-1/2 inches in from the end of the dough. Make marks at 5-inch intervals from this point all along the bottom of the dough.
Make diagonal cuts by positioning the yardstick at the top corner and the first bottom mark. Use a pizza wheel/ pie wheel or a bench scraper and cut the dough along this line which connects each top mark to the next bottom mark and then back to the next top mark and so on. This way you will have 7 triangles and a scrap of dough at each end.  

Shape the croissants
Now work with one piece of triangular dough at a time. Using your rolling pin, very lightly roll (do not make it thin but only stretch it slightly) the triangle to stretch it a little, until it is about 10” long. This will give your croissants height and layers.
Using a sharp small knife, make a 1/2- to 3/4-inch-long notch in the centre of the short side of each triangle. The notch helps the rolled croissant curl into a crescent.
Place the triangle on the work surface with the notched side closest to you. With one hand on each side of the notch, begin to roll the dough away from you, towards the pointed end.
Flare your hands outward as you roll so that the notched “legs” become longer. Roll the triangle tight enough but not too tight to compress it, until you reach the “pointy” end which should be under the croissant.
Now bend the two legs towards you to form a tight crescent shape and gently press the tips of the legs together (they’ll come apart while proofing but keep their crescent shape).
Shape all the triangles like this into croissants and place them on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet leaving as much space between them as they will rise quite a bit. 
I stuffed some choco-chips in the side scraps and roughly rolled them too.

Proof the croissants

Brush the croissants with milk (or a mix of milk and cream).
Refrigerate the remaining milk/ milk+cream (or egg wash) for brushing the croissants again later. Place the croissants in a cool and draft-free place (the butter should not melt) for proofing/ rising for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  
They might need longer than 2 hours to proof, maybe as much as 3 hours, so make sure to let croissants take the time to proof. The croissants will be distinctly larger but not doubled in size. They’re ready if you can see the layers of dough from the side, and if you lightly shake the sheets, the croissants will wiggle.  

Bake the croissants

Just before the croissants are fully proofed, pre-heat your oven to 220C (425F). Brush the croissants with milk/ milk+cream a second time.
Bake them for about 15 to 20 minutes till they’re done and golden brown on top and just beginning to brown at the sides. Cool the croissants on the baking sheets on racks.

The choco-chips stuffed dough scraps

Do not be scared of the lengthy procedure, it is just explained well for your understanding. 
Take a look at how Vaanya enjoyed these buttery yummies 

Happy 'Croissant Calling'


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