Tag Archives: fusion

Til-Gul Babka Jewish Indian bread


Nothing is more appetizing than the smell of freshly made bread. Be it the fresh roti that is made right on the stove top or a loaf of bread baked in the oven.. it calls everyone to the kitchen and around the dining table. I am not much of a baker, I do bake cakes occasionally but it does not come to me naturally. I feel cakes are way easier than the breads, when you start baking breads, you are going closer to the science than art.

After MasterChef, one of the goals has been to bake more often and since my family is not too much into the cakes, and I like to challenge myself, I am planning to bake more breads and try new techniques.

January is one of my favorite months. This is the month of resolutions, new beginnings and many more things. One of the things is Hurda, its my most favorite thing on this face earth, and this is the time we celebrate Sankranti. This is the only festival in Maharashtra that is based on a Solar/Gregorian calendar, rest of them are all lunar calendar based. Sankranti is celebrated on the 14th of Jan, and other parts of India celebrate this festival with different names, Pongal in southern India, Bihu in Eastern India, Uttarayan in Western India and Lohri in Northern India.  The common theme is great food and happiness and most of the  sweets  are made from Sesame seeds and Jaggery. Both these foods create ‘heat’ in the body and hence eaten during this winter season.

Going back to my baking breads, as you know, I love combining flavors. I had seen this sesame bread recipe on pintrest and that is also my source of inspiration today.So I decided to make this bread which is fit for the Sankrant and something new. Here it comes;

Til Gul Babka



I know right, it sounds crazy but tasted yummy, if you are into sweet breads, you might want to give it a try. This recipe is quite versatile and can be easily made into a savory bread as well, all you have to change is the filling and you are good to go.

I had read about this technique of ‘Tangzhong‘ and decided to try using it with this bread. I think it definitely helped keep the bread very moist. Tangzhong is a a Japanese technique, it makes for a very sticky dough that is very tricky to handle, but thats what makes for the very soft final product.

Tangzhong is nothing else but a paste made with flour and water, you cook it to almost a roux like consistency. You cool it and mix it in the dough.It sounds so simple and it is, but let me tell you, it created incredibly soft almost pillowy bread.

I think I am so in love this technique that I think I will end up using in everything I bake. 🙂

Back to the recipe



  • 50 g  Flour
  • 1 cup milk

Bread dough

  • 350 g Bread Flour ( about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 salt
  • 65 g sugar ( about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup warm Milk
  • 2 tsp Yeast
  • About 1 cup Tangzhong
  • 1 egg for egg wash


  • 1/2 cup Crushed Jaggery ( you can use dark brown sugar if you can not find jaggery)
  • 1/3 cup roasted peanut
  • 4 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 4-5 Tbsp ghee ( or softened unsalted butter)


Making Tangzhong

  • Mix in the water and flour to form a good slurry
  • Cook it on low flame till it thickens. It should be a little less thick that a mashed potatoes. One way to check is if you stop stirring, does the mixture stays in circles and you can see the bottom of the pan
  • Take it off the heat, cover with a plastic wrap, making sure it touches the surface of the paste. This will ensure that no crust forms
  • Cool the Tangzhong to use later

Making the filling

  • Grind all the ingredients except the ghee and molasses
  • Mix the powder in ghee and molasses to make a paste

Making the dough

  • Warm up the milk and add the yeast. Leave it aside for 10-15 mins for it to foam up
  • Until then mix, Flour, Salt, sugar, sesame seeds
  • Add an egg and mix
  • Now add the yeast and milk mixture and mix for 30 secs
  • Add the tangzhong that is cooled
  • Now knead the dough in the stand mixer for 10-15 mins
  • Keep adding softened butter while the mixer is running
  • The dough will be a very wet dough, don’t worry. If the dough sticks to the bottom of the bowl, don’t worry
  • Take a greased bowl and transfer the dough.Let the dough roof for at least 2 hours.
  • I like to proof my dough in the fridge, so I can use it when I am ready
  • The dough should double in size

Assembling it together

  • Punch and deflate the dough
  • Roll it into a reactangle
  • Spread the filling evenly

Shaping the bread

  • Take the rolled log and cut it along the length with a sharp knife
  • Twist the two parts together to form a braid keeping the cut side up
  • Take a bread loaf pan that is greased and lined with a parchment paper
  • Add the dough in it and let it rest for at least 60 mins


  • Heat the oven at 350 F
  • Brush the dough with egg wash and bake for 25-30 mins in a 350F


  1. This dough was a little more than a standard bread loaf can handle, so I removed about 1/3 cup dough before shaping it
  2. If you can not find molasses, you can substitute with honey




Star Anise Panna cotta with Khubani

This is where my Master Chef  journey began. A very close friend really pushed me to sign up for Master Chef Auditions. The auditions were on Saturday and Friday evening at 7:00 PM I had not idea what I would bring for the auditions. I decided to make this recipe which has been my family favorite. I walked into the auditions with the Panna cotta and heart beating fast.

Star Anise Panna cotta


 Panncotta is an italian word that translates to ‘ Cooked Cream’. It is such an easy to make dish and yet it is very easily customizable. You can change flavors, pair it with different things and the best part, it looks super fancy.
I tried quite a few recipes till I settled on this one.  It tastes just like the panna cotta served at Italian restaurants. I like to serve it with fruits or even chocolate sauce, or stewed fruits.
Today I have flavored it with one of my favorite spices, Star Anise & served with stewed apricots. In Hyderabad ( India) there is a sweet, Khubani ka Meetha, and my inspiration for  today’s dessert comes from that.

Panna Cotta



  • 1/2cup  milk
  • 1 (.25 ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin ( I used Knox powder today)
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 6-8 Star anise
  • 5-6 Whole black pepper


  1. Blooming the gelatin: Pour milk into a small bowl, and stir in the gelatin powder. Set aside.This will help gelatin absorb the milk and mix well
  2. Pound the spices in a mortar and pestle. Keep them coarse
  3. In a saucepan, stir together the heavy cream and sugar, and set over medium heat until it is lukewarm, and set it aside for 1 hour or so. Longer the better.
  4. Setting aside the cream helps the flavors of spices seep into the cream beautifully.
  5. Bring to a full boil, don’t let it over flow. Pour the gelatin and milk into the cream, stirring until completely dissolved.
  6. Cook for one minute, stir so the gelatin does not form a lump.
  7. Remove from heat, strain and pour into  individual ramekin dishes.
  8. Cool the ramekins uncovered at room temperature.
  9. When cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, ideally  overnight before serving.

Stewed Apricots


  • 10-12 Dried Apricot
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2-3 Star anise
  • 2-3Whole black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water


  • Chop the apricots fine
  • Add sugar, water, spices and apricots in a small sauce pan
  • On a low flame cook till the apricots are softened and the water gets nice and syrupy.
  • Remove the spices before serving


Pistachio Rose caramel

Will Update the recipe soon.

To serve

Demold the pannacotta and serve with the stewed apricot. I also love to use candied Pistachio while serving.


Indian style french toast


I am a firm believer that a good breakfast is absolutely necessary to keep you going the whole day. One of my favorite breakfast food is eggs. I like eggs in any form. My mom tells me that when I was a teenager, I used to say that I had to eat eggs and bread everyday for the rest of my life, I will be very happy.

One of the recipes that my mom makes is the ‘desi styled, spiced French toast’. She takes all the ingredients of the typical Indian Style Masala omelet  like chopped onion, tomatoes, green chili,cilantro and use it as a batter for the french toast. It tastes just divine. I love eating it with Maggi Hot and Sweet sauce. She toasts the bread slice a little before she dips in the batter which I think makes a big difference.

So when my friend Ruchi Airen posted a recipe of Spicy Buttermilk French Toast, I knew I had to try it. So here is my take on Ruchi’s recipe. BTW, she is an amazing cook, I am planning to try her detox plan soon.



2 eggs

2 tbsp chopped onion

2 tbsp grated Lauki ( Opo Squash)

1/4 tsp chopped green chili

1 tbsp chopped cilantro

1 tsp Pavbhaji Masala

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup Shredded cheese, I used the mexican blend I had on hand

2 multigrain bread sliced





Whisk the eggs with all the ingredients except cheese and buttermilk.




Add buttermilk and cheese and mix well.


Dip the bread slices and make sure the batter coats the slices from both sides.


On a heated pan cook in a little bit of oil it till brown on both sides.


Your healthy breakfast is ready.  

My kids just loved it. I was happy because I got them to eat ‘Lauki without them realizing it 🙂 . 

Thai Paneer Pinwheel



Summer goes by too quickly…I feel that every year when I start back to school shopping. We decided to celebrate the last weekend in summer before the schools open with a backyard jacuzzi party..the plan was to keep things simple. Everyone makes an appetizer and then one friend would make khicadi ( a dish made with rice and lentils). Since I love to put a twist on your typical recipes, I decided to make pinwheels but with ‘Thai Touch’. It is a quick simple recipe that uses that the farmer’s market bounty. It can be put together in less than 30 mins if you have all the ingredients at home.

You can make many versions of this, like I make Chinese, Mexican and of course Indian 🙂

Thai Paneer Pinwheels



Thai Paneer Pinwheels




1 cup grated Paneer ( Indian Cottage cheese)

1/2 cup onion finely chopped

1/4 cup red bell peppers finely chopped

1/4 cup green bell peppers finely chopped

1 green chili chopped fine

1 tbsp  garlic  finely chopped

1 tbsp ginger finely chopped

1 tbsp cilantro chopped

1 tsp thai basil finely chopped

1 tsp thai curry paste

1 tsp sriricha sauce

salt to taste

1 box Crescent rolls



Preheat 350F.

Grate or crumble paneer.

Grated paneer

Step 1

Unroll the crescent roll. You will get a rectangle. Seal the perforations gently to get a uniform rectangle

Step 2

Chop all the vegetable fine

Chopped vegetable


Step 3

Mix all chopped vegetables with the grated paneer. Add all the sauces & salt to your taste and mix well.

Spread the mixture evenly on the rectangle dough. Make sure you leave some space around the edges. The filling tends to come out if spread it all the way to the edge.

Roll it up gently, try not to press it while rolling. If the edges open up while rolling, just pinch and seal it. Cover it in a plastic wrap. Keep it in the fridge for 10-15 mins. This makes it easy to cut.

Take the roll out of the fridge. Cut it in 1/4 inch slices.


While cutting use the sawing motion so the rolls don’t get flattened while baking.

Arrange the cut rolls filling side up on a greased baking tray. Make sure you keep some distance between the rolls else they will be stuck together and will not have enough room to spread while baking.



Bake for 18-20 mins at 350 F.

Pinwheels ready


When ready serve with hot sauce or any other condiments of your choice.



I have made other variations with Tandoor Paneer, Mushroom-goat cheese and even sweet kind with apple filling