Saturday, October 23, 2010

Tengtuk and Co.

When I started making bread on a regular basis, a statement from Isabel Allende’s book Aphrodite’ would hover in my mind, “ There’s a limit to being domestic, and making fresh bread on a regular basis is one of them”. I confess though that making bread is a therapeutic exercise to me and out of the many, many things one can do with flour, I find it the easiest to do (amazing isn’t it ?). Much simpler than making roti, paratha, cakes and muffins :), and definitely hand-made udon noodles. I got tempted to make udon after having a very satisfying meal at a Korean restaurant and seeing the udon recipe at Viet World Kitchen. But I draw the line at making udon. I think I will stick to buying noodles and pasta in the future. The udon was accompanied along with a Tuna Soboro from Just Bento and a Ladakhi Thuk. All thuks are stews where vegetables, dumplings, meat are simmered in a broth. I had made Tengthuk quite a few times before, its awe-inspiring simplicity taking me by surprise. The first time it was prepared by a Ladakhi friend, Tashi. I was enthralled at his speed in making ribbon noodles and cooking it in the simmering broth. I just knew that a Thuk was the thing to have with the home-made, hand-made udon! The Thuk recipe was from The Ladakhi Kitchen, acquired on our jaunt there some years back. Ladakh because of its high altitude grow fewer varieties of almost all food items we take for granted here. But they make everything go a bit further. The vegetables are what I had at hand; almost anything can be added.


1 onion, chopped

2 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered

2 carrots, peeled and sliced thickly

2 small kohlrabi, peeled and halved

Red cabbage, sliced thinly, a handful

2 tomatoes, quartered

Water, 3 cups

2 teaspoon salt

Garam masala, pinch

1 Tablespoon oil


Heat the oil and sauté the chopped onions. Add the potatoes and kohlrabi and cook them for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook them with the salt for another 5 minutes. Add the carrots and water and cook until the vegetables are tender but retain a bite. I cooked in a pressure cooker and it took 5 minutes under high pressure. When the cooker has cooled enough to open, add the thinly sliced red cabbage and simmer for 3 minutes. Taste the salt and add more if necessary. Add the garam masala and serve warm.

Pear nut soda bread

This bread was an impromptu creation to use up some long-standing poached pear and do without the yeast that I usually use to raise my bread. The result is a slightly sweet bread which is great with a salty dip or a vinegary dressing. Its also a multigrain bread having three types of flour.

2 cups white flour
1/2 cup rye
2 tablespoon white cornflour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup liquid from poached pear
1/4 cup water
1 egg, beaten
1 cup pecan, chopped
1 and half Tablespoon pumpkin seeds
1 and half teaspoon baking powder
2 Tablespoon butter, molten

In a bowl mix together the flours, salt, baking powder and the chopped nuts. In a mixer blend together the egg until frothy and add the sugar and 2 tablespoon of the butter until the mixture thickens. Add the water and poached pear liquid and whiz once more. Add the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix together with hand. It will be a sticky dough. Butter a loaf pan. Scrape in the batter and push into the corners. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds. Bake at 180 degrees centrigrade for one hour. Cool it before unmolding.
Serve with a cheese dip or any savoury spread. We had it with guacamole.