We love the rain. Especially the first rains. And as the rains fall, we Indians head to that plate of bhajias and pakoras and other deep fried yum stuff.
And then guilt strikes and we try and eat baked and roasted stuff that assures us that its light and healthy and not deep fried . But when you bake them your self ,you realise that the only way you’ll ever get that great taste is by adding a large amount of fat .
That really defeats the purpose. The rains are supposed to make us feel good. And not guilty. Thats when it hits you that its all about smells. We associate smells with food. The smell of the rain on parched earth ,the smell of bread baking, the smell of pakodas frying in hot oil, the smell of cookies baking,the smell of chai brewing with ginger and lemongrass- OK ,I’ll add cardamom for you.
Its all about the trillions of nerves that live in your nose.
So ,today, we’re letting those nerves tell us the way to reduce calories from your favourite savoury crackers.
All right, these started out as mathri or mathi that is nothing but deep fried salted and lightly spiced ,crisp crackers. Absolutely rocking with chai and mango pickles. But then I got thinking of “phantom aromas” from a post I had read some time ago. In research still being conducted, they have found out that we percieve the flavour of our food through not only taste , but also texture and SMELL. There’s a lot unknown about the nuerosciences, but what we take in taste is also sensed by the nerves that take smells to the brain.
That is why we use essences in our baking. And its these essences that play with our head and tell us how amazing that baked food is.
I found Ossoro essences also have savoury flavours. That was something I never knew existed. Because, essences are generally linked to desserts. But, I saw cheddar cheese, garlic bread,even mexican chilli essences.
So I will be bringing you a few recipes that use these savoury essences in your food. I’m experimenting , overeating, styling and photographing the food I make with these essences.
I’m using the Cheddar Cheese Essence in these Mathris or crackers. What I have done is use a lesser amount of cheddar cheese, preserving the flavour and aroma of a good masala cracker, while significantly reducing the calorie count.
So I’ve significantly reduced the guilt too.
Try these. Take a sniff of these crackers and you’ll realise that you can smell and taste the cheese. Make sure you store the essence in a cool dark place ,just like you would do your vanilla essence. I used butter, you can use ghee . I grated the room temperature cheddar cheese with a fine grater so that it would mix well. I love coriander, so I used a lot. YOu can use fenugreek too, but that over powers all other aromas. So be careful while using herbs like fenugreek or curry patta.
Also ,you must let these cool a bit and store in an airtight container.
Remember ,the reason why we make small quantities is to keep these fresh. If you live in a super humid place like mumbai, bake the at 180C to freshen them up for three minutes.
You can make these in small tart shells and use them as canapes also. Top them with a sweet , creamy and spicy sauce and crunchy vegetables to make a pretty entre.
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup chick pea flour
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour or maida
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 60 gms or 4 tbs soft butter
- 20 gms or 1 heaped tbsp finely grated cheddar cheese at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
- 7-8 drops Ossoro Cheddar Cheese Essence
- 1/2 tsp jaggery powder or sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
- 2 green chillies finely chopped
- Cream the butter till light and fluffy with the sugar and the salt.
- Add the grated cheese and cream well.
- Add in the Ossoro cheddar cheese essence, salt and red chilli flakes.
- Mix in the sesame seeds.
- Now sift in the flours and the baking soda.
- You will be able to mix the dough with your spoon easily.
- Form into a ball, place in a lidded container and chill 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Roll out the dough in two parts to about 2-3 mm thick. I prefer to roll between parchment paper.
- Prick the dough with a fork and cut out desired shapes.
- I cut out some with a circle and some random shapes.
- Bake the trays in the oven for 18-22 minutes, rotating them midway.
- Allow to cool slightly and store in an airtight container.
- I used less salt because the butter and cheese are salted.
- I adore coriander. Like I said, feel free to use even Mexican or Italian herbs.
- You can add upto 1/4 cup sugar too, if you like it sweeter. But the crackers will bake faster because of the presence of sugar. So reduce baking time.
- You can of course, use only whole wheat flour or only maida.
- If your dough is dry and crumbly, sprinkle a little water.
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