Winters are really depressing with short days. To top it, this year Mother Nature is making it worse with overcast skies almost every day. Today was no exception. It was cloudy and rained most of the day. I was wondering how on earth was I going to take pictures for my blog, today? To my utter surprise, pictures turned out pretty decent! In fact, I am very pleased with the first picture. I guess I need to play around a bit more with my camera to figure out the right technique to get decent pictures even on gloomy days with hardly any sunlight, such as today. I am hoping we will have more sunshine in the new year.
Today’s recipe is from a cookbook. Mathari is a popular North Indian snack. It is usually deep fried but this recipe is a baked version. Classic Indian Cooking by Juli Sahni had both deep fried and a baked version. The baked version is a flavored with Kasoori Methi (dried Fenugreek Leaves) and the deep fried one is plain. My Kasoori methi box had a sell by date of last month and made plain baked matharis. I used only carom seeds (ajwain or vooma). The other substitution I made is for vegetable shortening. I used olive oil instead.
Source: Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahni
Total Time: 1 hour
Preparation: 40 minutes
Baking Time: 30 minutes (15 minutes per batch)
Yields: 66 (5 ½ dozens)
- 2 ½ cups All Purpose Flour (loosely packed & leveled)
- 2 tsp. Kosher Salt (I used 1 tsp. regular salt)
- ¾ tsp. Carom Seeds ~ Ajwain ~ Vooma (if using Kasoori Methi, ¼ cup)
- 4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter chilled and cut into small pieces
- 4 tbsp. Vegetable Shortening chilled (I used 3 tbsp. Olive Oil)
- ½ cup cold Water
- ¼ – 1/3 cup Flour for dusting
- 2 Large Baking Sheets
- Cookie cutter ~ Biscuit Cutter ~ Small bowl (I used the bowl in the pictures above)
- Rolling Pin
- Fork to prick the crackers
- And off course measuring cups & spoons, and a bowl
- Crush caroms seeds in palms or in fingers and take it in a big bowl.
- Add flour, salt and mix well.
- Add butter and shortening, if using, mix well with fingertips until butter blends into the flour. If using oil instead of shortening, add it at this point and mix until it is blended into the flour.
- Add water and to bring the flour together. Transfer the dough to a working surface; countertop or a cutting/working board and knead well for a minute to make the dough soft. Do not over knead.
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 F. Line the baking sheets with aluminum foil, for easy cleaning.
- Divide the dough to 4 equal parts. Take one part onto the working surface, dust some flour and roll it out into a 9 – 10” circle. While rolling out one part of the dough, keep the others covered with a saran wrap or a plate, until ready to use.
- Using a fork or a skewer, prick the circle to avoid puffing of the crackers when baking. This step can also be done after the next step but I felt it would be easy pricking it first and then cutting it into smaller circles.
- Using a cookie cutter or a biscuit cutter, cut out the big circle into small crackers. I used a small bowl, 2 – 2 ½” in diameter to cut out the matharis or crackers. Keep aside the scrapes.
- Transfer the crackers to a baking tray. Repeat the above two steps with the rest of the dough parts. Lastly, gather all the scraps, roll it out and cut it out into crackers.
- Bake the crackers in on a middle rack for 10 minutes or until light spots are formed on the bottom side of the cracker. Turn around and bake for another 5 minutes until the turn light brown. I baked in two batches, half the dough that is crackers made from two parts of the dough balls, in one batch. While the first batch was baking, I rolled out the other two parts and the scraps.
- Transfer the baked crackers to a cooling rack and cool them. Once cooled, transfer to an airtight container.
- Substitute carom seeds with kasoori methi / dry fenugreek leaves for methi mathari or fenugreek crackers.
- Salt: Recipe says 2 tsp. of kosher salt but I used only 1 tsp. regular salt. I usually use iodized salt but today it was non-iodized salt.
- Vegetable Shortening: I used olive oil instead. Vegetable oil can also be used.
- Oven Temperatures: temperatures vary from oven to oven.
Recipes I posted this month in 2009 and in 2010 .
Events: This goes to Lail’s Bake Fest #26, an event started by Cook’s Joy and to Kalyani’s Only – Baked Treated an events tarted by Pari. And of course, the main reason for this post is Cooking from Cookbook Challenge. How can I forget to mention that?!