Everything granola.............. and the inevitable granola bar

One teenager, one small child and the two of us make for very odd eating schedules.  The rather odd hours S. and I keep adds to the oddity (odd adds to oddity, repeat 10 times);  Basically, at any given time in our home someone is very hungry and someone else, usually the cook, me, is very sleepy/tired/unwilling to cook at all.   The net result is, Ash, being the sweet boy that he is, will be satisfied with Bananas, S. will eat anything and Gau will demand junk and junk only.   One goto snack is cereal, homemade ot store brought.

 Honey Bunch of Oats is the most preferred cereal at our home but it's carbon foot print must be enormous!  From time to time, I get up caught in the "Be Indian Buy Indian" slogan of yesteryears and want to buy only locally made products from Indian companies, not MNC in India.  The 24 Mantra ones are OK, but not what I would call a resounding success with Gau/Ash.  I have to chop up nuts, fruits and add a fistful of chocolate chips before Gau deigns to relish the cereal.  (I can always yell him into submission. unpleasant.  Want to save it for higher goals).

 Organic food getting mass produced seems to go against the very grain of being small and sustainable.  If my terrace garden basil dies, I will use mint or coriander for the pasta, but if I were running a restaurant, I would probably buy it outside, organic or not, just to keep my clientele happy and my employees engaged.  24 Mantra claims to be different but Volkswagen was supposed to be all about excellent engineering not data manipulation to get expected results.

I have uncovered the shortcomings in my usual home made granolas:
1.  Ragi/Jowar too weirdly crunchy (actually hard in places).
2. Popped Amaranth leaves (not leaves mind you, seed :D ) a floury taste in the mouth after it is soaked in milk.
3.  I am utterly useless at figuring out how to cook/use lotus seeds.
4.  Cereal too loose, should be more clumpy
5. You might think toasting the raisins with sugar and oil/butter will pump it up. It doesn't,  Trust me.  It tastes burnt and your child insists on spitting each burnt raisin into your hand.

So, Now, The new, improved, eminently adaptable version of my granola with guidelines.
1.  If you are going to use a mix of grains, make 80% of it the neutral oats, only 10 - 20 % Ragi Jowar etc...
2.  Use sunflower oil/butter about a teaspoon to every cup of grains.  Avoid EVOO, the flavor is lost, not worth the expense.
3.  Use about 1/8 cup nattu chakkarai, powdered jaggery for every cup of grains.  The jaggery melts into a syrup and lifts the granola to a sublime level.
4.  Use almonds, cashews, pistachios, melon seeds etc... generously.
5.  Use about a spoon of honey per cup of grain.
burnt raisin version
cranberries version

6.  Get your hands in and mix thoroughly.
7.  Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes, stirring 2 - 3 times.  Switch off let sit for another 10 minutes.  Take out, leave undisturbed until cool, then add dry fruits.
8.  Serve with chocolate chips and sliced fruits.

This batch has:
  1. 5 cups oats
  2. 1 cup ragi flakes
  3. 3/4 cup jaggery
  4. 1/8 cup honey
  5. 1/4 cup oil
  6. 2/3 cup almonds, roughly broken in a mortar with a pestle
  7. 2/3 cup melon seeds
  8. 2/3 cup raisins
  9. 2/3 cup chopped dried apricot

1-7 mixed and baked; 8 - 9 added after mix cooled

All the amarath i have that couldn't go into this cereal?  I made it into a granola bar :)

Basic recipe:

  1. 1 cup amaranth
  2. 1 1/2 cups slow cooking oats
  3. 1 1/2 cups nuts + seeds
  4. 1 1/2 cups dry fruits
  5. 1/4 - 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  6. 1/4 cup butter
  7. 1/3 cup brown sugar - I used nattu sakkarai
  8. 1/4  - 1/3 cup honey
Mix 1 - 3 and toast at 350 def F for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally, then cool oven down to 300 deg F
Melt 6 - 8 together until the brown sugar melts
Pour the melted liquid on the toasted mix and mix
Add the dry fruits and mix
Pour into a 9" buttered pan, press down and bake for 20 - 30 minutes, until edges brown.
Cool and cut with a serrated knife 

I used sunflower, pumpkin seeds and cashew nuts in this version; Dates and raisins for the dry fruits.

If the bar crumbles, freeze then cut.  Another "binding" option is to process 1/2 cup toasted mix into a fine powder...


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