Sunday, March 07, 2010
It is possible to have your scone, or your jaggery dosa, and eat it too. And today I'm going to show you how.
My Jaggery Dosa is a traditional South Indian snack, and it's one of the easiest treats to throw together on a busy afternoon. Jaggery Dosa is quite healthy by itself, made as it is with whole-wheat flour, rice flour and jaggery, an unrefined sugar used in many Indian sweets. I made mine even healthier by using brown rice flour.
For those who are not familiar with jaggery, this is a golden-brown sugar usually sold in blocks and sometimes cubes in Indian grocery stores everywhere. Eaten by itself, jaggery is almost cloyingly sweet. But added to traditional Indian sweets it has a richness and depth that sugar just cannot emulate.
A favorite snack in Maharashtra, the state where I grew up, is to eat a handful of roasted peanuts with a smidgen of jaggery. One of my uncles, Bhau mama, loved it so much that as children we would know he was about to visit, even without being told, when my mom would put the tava, a slightly curved griddle, on the gas stove to roast peanuts. His eyes would twinkle, literally, when she put the plate before him.
Desi's eyes twinkle when I put before him my jaggery dosa, because it is a snack he grew up eating in his Tamil home.
Jaggery is great in sweets because it forms a perfect marriage with cardamom, the intoxicating spice so integral to so many amazing Indian sweets.
I made my jaggery dosa healthier by adding to it brown rice flour instead of regular rice flour. I got this from iHerb where I also got some other wonderful organic and wholegrain flours, including the oat flour and the barley flour that I used in my Oat and Barley Scones.
The scones, as the name suggests, are wheat-free (although not gluten-free, as I'd earlier said, because one reader points out barley does contain small amounts of gluten-- I stand corrected). The absence of wheat gives these scones a really crumbly, light texture that's fabulous. My favorite way to eat these is with a dollop of vegan whipped cream.
To sweeten my scones, I used another non-traditional sweetener: agave nectar. Because agave is a low glycemic index food, meaning it is absorbed slowly by the body, it is much healthier for you than regular sugar. I also love its caramelly, nutty taste that I think enhances just about any baked good. At the suggestion of a reader who tried my Black Currant Scones, I also decided to substitute some of the fat in the recipe for heart-healthy olive oil, and it worked beautifully.
I am sending the scones over to Champa aka BangaloreBaker's Bake-off.
So here without more ado are the recipes for two traditional snacks, one from the east and the other from the west, both healthier than their original avatars but just as yummy as they were ever intended to be. Enjoy, all!
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup brown-rice flour
A pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
2 tbsp cashewnuts, chopped into very small pieces
1/2 cup jaggery mixed with 2 tbsp water. Place in a small saucepan and over medium heat until the jaggery has melted smoothly into the water. You don't want any lumps here. Set aside to cool.
1/4 cup coconut milk
Water as needed
Mix the flours, salt, cardamom and cashewnuts. Add the coconut milk and jaggery and add just enough water to make a batter that's pourable.
Heat a non-stick or cast-iron griddle until a drop of water skitters and evaporates quickly. Using a round-bottomed ladle, pour about 1/3 cup of the batter in the center of the griddle.
Quickly spread the dosa by spiraling the batter outward, using the bottom of the ladle.
You can sprinkle a few drops of oil around the edges of the dosa to get it crispy. This also helps release the dosa from the griddle. But if you'd rather omit the oil, do so by all means.
When the dosa is golden-brown on the underside and comes of the griddle quite easily, flip it over and cook for another 30 seconds or so.
Serve hot. I like mine with a dollop of vegan butter.
Barley and Oat Scones
1 3/4 cup oat flour
1 cup barley flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup golden raisins
Mix all these ingredients together and set aside.
In another bowl mix together:
2 tbsp flax meal + 2 tbsp water
1/3 cup agave nectar
3 tbsp vegan "butter" like Earth Balance
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup soymilk + 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar, mixed and set aside for a minute to curdle
Add all the wet ingredients to the dry all at once
Mix with a fork until the mixture comes together in a ball.
Place the ball of dough on a lightly floured surface and pat out with your hands into an 8-inch circle.
With a pizza cutter, as you would a pizza, cut into eight equal-sized wedges.
Place each scone about an inch apart from the other on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush the tops lightly with a mixture of equal parts of olive oil and soymilk for a golden finish. You can also sprinkle some sugar on top for more bling.
Bake in a 425-degree, preheated oven for about 16-18 minutes until golden-brown.
Cool for a few minutes on a rack and serve warm.