Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lemon Yogurt Cake with a secret ingredient

Urad Daal, Vigno Mungo has superhuman (should I say superplant?) properties attributed to it - Good for bones, Good for diabetes, Anti inflammatory, Improves digestion, strength and vigour etc...  It is one of the two daals allowed during Shraddam.  Unsurprising, since it originated here in the Indian subcontinent.  (I am so proud that mango is Magnifera Indica, sounds like magnificent Indian ;)

Idli, Dosa, Adai and every tadka here in the south uses Urad daal, but in the dehusked and sometimes split form.  Medhu Vadai is the epitome of urad daal cooking, deep fried, donut shaped savoury snack.  I suck at making it.

The batter itself is an art, urad daal soaked for optimal time and ground to an airy paste with salt added just at the right time so that it doesn't release too much water before we start frying. The shape is even more complicated, I never get the donut shape and I simply abandon it in favour of the north Indian dahi-vada shape - an ellipsoid.  I also have a tough time ensuring it cooks through AND doesn't soak up too much oil.

My co-sister makes huge batches of these perfectly every time we visit my MIL.  My MIL points out my lack-of-skill, always adding I should do this more often, very good for the kids.  Mutinously, I make the other vadai, a mix of all daals.

 My chief conundrum in making this vadai is, for our family of light eaters, grinding the minimum daal quantity, 1 cup in the grinder, is too much.  The batter does not do well if refrigerated.  Grinding it in the blender DOES NOT result impart that whipped egg white texture to the batter and consequently poor vadai.  But, on Saraswathi Pooja day, I made perfect vadais, mainly because I made the batter and my cousin fried it all up.  We were 8 of us, including 4 kids and we could, between us and our neighbours finish all the vadai in 1 sitting.

The route I usually take with urad daal, the black version, is make grandiose plans for making Dal Makhani, Rajma Daal etc... and relegate the packet to the recess of my pantry after the first attempt.  This daal IS mucilaginous.  The word sounds a lot nicer than the texture.  Imagine cooking Okra in a pot of water?  The awful gooey-ness?  That is what this daal does if you are not very very careful.

The only way to use this daal is to fry it until it is as crisp as a potato chip (dry fry, not deep fry so orders of magnitude healthier).
This time I added it to my favourite yogurt cake :)  I would prepare a separate sauce since the daal does dominate a tad.  I might add a scant 1/4 cup more sugar next time.  Gau whines of course.  He prefers his cakes unhealthy.

  1. 1 cup atta
  2. 3/4 cup split black urad roasted until crisp and munchy, ground to a fine powder
  3. 1/4 cup maida - more of a good luck charm in case the urad does strange things to the cake
  4. 1 cup sugar
  5. 1 cup yogurt
  6. 1/3 cup oil
  7. 1 tsp baking powder
  8. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  9. 1 tsp lemon zest
  10. 1 lemon juiced
  11. 2 eggs
  12. 1 cup finely chopped apricots 
  13. 50 g shelled pistachios coarsely powdered
Heat oven to 175 deg C
Butter 2 loaf pans.
Mix the sugar, yogurt, oil in a bowl.
Add eggs one at a time and beat until well incorporated
Mix the flours, baking soda and baking powder in another bowl.
Mix the flours with the wet ingredients until just incorporated.
Add the lime zest and lime juice.
Fold in the apricots.
Divide the batter between the two pans
Top with pistachios, pressing gently into the batter.
Bake 30 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out with just crumbs.

Top encrusted with coarsely broken pistachios

Nice soft cake though a tad crumbly;
The cake had lovely dark spots and the apricot didnt look so neon-ic

1 comment:

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