December 28, 2009


Upma is a common breakfast dish you will find cooked in South Indian household. It is tasty, healthy, and above all very easy to cook. It is colorful with different vegetables and leaves. I also many times cook it for dinner or a brunch, or as some simple evening snack. However, the original recipe has few ingredients not so easily available to me here, and I like to call this particular recipe as “my version”. Like, I don’t get curry leaves here, a main ingredient of upma. Also there I cook it in a slightly different procedure. Anyway, the simplicity of this dish makes it so interesting to me, and I don’t mind a few modifications. Also I like adding more vegetables than the flour, such that the flour will roughly coat the vegetables. Sometimes I even add a small diced tomato. I like to add many different kinds of vegetables in it, and like the subtle flavor of mustard. And finally I love to have it with a generous amount of tomato ketchup.

1 big bowl of different vegetables cubed (carrot, cauliflower, peppers, broccoli etc)
1 medium sized potato (peeled and cubed)
2/3cup of semolina flour
1tbsp of black mustard seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2tbsp oil

1. Heat oil in a pan.
2. Put the mustard seeds and cover over low heat. Let them crackle.
3. When the crackling stops and one gets the aroma, put in all the cubed vegetables.
4. Cook in medium to low heat for some time, until the vegetables are almost cooked.
5. Add the semolina flour, mix well and cook for 1-2 min.
6. Now add water little by little, such that the semolina gets cooked but not overcooked and lumpy.
7. Cook covered for 1-2min over medium flame.
8. Serve hot with tomato ketchup.

NOTE: Adding the right amount of water is a crucial step. Around 1/2-2/3 cup of water is generally enough, but it is advisable to add a little at a time and then add again if necessary. Also, sometimes roasting the semolina flour a bit before using it helps it making less sticky and lumpy.

December 27, 2009

Chocolate Potica

Potica is a traditional Slovene dessert. It is like a pastry. Sweet thin dough rolled with chocolate, nuts, or ham filling, baked, and then sliced crosswise. Traditionally a walnut filling or a chocolate filling is used. Sometimes also a filling of tarragon herb is used to get a sweet smelling potica. In the villages, a salty potica is also made by farmers with homemade ham, sausages etc. It is baked in any kind of occasion of festivity or celebration, or simply like that. And women take pride of baking the nicest looking potica. Though quite a long procedure, the recipe itself isn’t much complicated. Maybe it needs some practice to get the nice shape, but otherwise it tastes same good even if not looking so nice. It can be served both hot and cold; and sometimes with dry fruits, marmalades, hams, cheeses etc.
This was the first time I was making it for Christmas. It was more learning it under supervision, than actually making it. Though it doesn’t look the nicest, it tastes just as good.


For dough:
1/2lit milk
1sp sugar
1sp flour
20-30g yeast (not dry one)
760g flour
100g butter
2 tbsp sugar
10g vanilla sugar
1sp salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk
– The first 4 ingredients are to make the yeast.

For chocolate filling:
100g butter
180g sugar
150g hazelnut powder
200g chocolate powder
10g vanilla sugar
4 egg whites
3 egg yolks


The dough:
1. Warm 50ml of milk with 1 spoon each of sugar and flour.
2. When the milk is lukewarm, remove it from heat and add the yeast.
3. Cover it and allow it to rise for 15min. The yeast must rise. If it doesn’t, you will have to repeat the whole thing again.
4. In next step, warm the rest of the milk and add butter. Let the butter melt.
5. Put into this milk 1 egg and 1 egg yolk.
6. In the flour, add 1 sp of salt.
7. Then add the yeast mixture, and the butter-milk-egg mixture.
8. Make smooth dough (5-10min if using the machine).
9. Set aside and let the dough rise for an hour.

The chocolate filling:
10. Take the hazelnut powder, add 3tbsp of sugar in it, and roast it to get the aroma. Set aside.
11. Beat the 4 egg whites until it is stiff, and put it in the refrigerator.
12. Now beat the butter to make it soft and creamy adding the vanilla sugar.
13. Next add 3 egg yolks, remaining sugar, chocolate powder one by one, and beat after each time to get the creamy texture.
14. In the end add the hazelnut powder mixture and beat until smooth and creamy.

The potica:
15. After an hour when the dough has risen, roll it into a thin big square.
16. Gently and evenly mix the beaten egg white with the chocolate filling and spread it gently on the dough.
17. Now roll it into a log. It will maybe be big for the baking tray, so cut into half.
18. Put it in baking tray lined with greased baking paper.
19. Leave again for half an hour so that it rises.
20. Now bake it in a preheated oven at 180°C for 1-1:15hr. It will nicely turn brown.
21. Put it in serving tray, brush the top side with butter and dust it with vanilla sugar powder.
22. Make crosswise slices and serve.

NOTE: The vanilla sugar is for flavor, and one can add vanilla essence, in case the sugar is not available.

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