Multigrain cheddar and pesto buns: Of Amreekan Indians and American Indians!

Well, well, well… it’s been  just over a week that I wrote my last post! Last post – sounds so romantic, doesn’t it? Like something out of Kipling or Louis L’Amour, if you’re inclined to Westerns! Or something that the boy who stood on the burning deck would have played as he went down with his ship or maybe the bandmaster on the Titanic.

Feels a bit strange to not have a writing deadline every day. But then, I’ve been able to cook whatever I want everyday without worrying about whether I have already featured it in my blog (and after the hundredth or so dish, let me assure you, it can become pretty tough to remember what you’ve written about and what hasn’t featured yet!) and therefore will I have to make yet another dish for the blog (this is Madras where the degrees on the thermometer, if we had thermometers in Fahrenheit that is –  are always over hundred!) and I have earned the right to grumble!

And that reminds me, can anyone in the world, barring the Sheldon Coopers and Stephen Hawkings-es (Hawkingi?), figured out how to do, in their heads, the conversion from F to C? When I’m baking, for instance, I have a shot at it – in the dark – because by the time I come around to the bit in the recipe (here is an earnest prayer to Amreeka, Amreekans and Barack Obama, – please, pretty please, for the sake of the rest of the world, would you shift to metric???!) where I need to preheat the oven to something-something Fahrenheit, my hands are full of floury goop and I have to try and operate the keypad with my elbows – NOT! Sometimes I’m right, at other times, we eat overdone/underdone/don’t know if over or under but we just know something is wrong – baked goodies!

And so, not having a deadline, I have been bingeing on the stuff I like – four days in a row – same dish! Making do with podi annam (a spiced dal powder mixed with cooked rice and ghee – kitchen staple and the next thing to heaven in the south of India for the times when you don’t want to cook). You see, the problem is that, Maggi having disappeared quite off the scene with its tail stuck firmly between its legs, for a generation for which Friday night dinner meant either eating out or eating Maggi in your nightclothes after an early bath and watching Antakshari on the telly, the loss of Maggi has been like losing a beloved member of the family – the guy (yes Maggi is male, I insist! Wanna slug it out??!!) who gave serious starchy comfort in times of tiredness and need, life is just not the same!

But… but we shall take comfort in the cheesy arms of this…






Plain flour – 1 cup
Wholewheat flour/atta – 1 cup
Bajre ka atta (bajra flour – bajra is a native Indian – Indiawala Indian, yaar, not American Indian but oh dear, there are so many of those Amreekan Indians, it can get very confusing. So we shall define them thus:American Indian – the guy who was formerly called a Red Indian and wore feathers and scalped the palefaces (you don’t have to be politically correct here, I assure you!) with a tomahawk – NOT a kind of hawk, but I think, an axe kind of thing, but can no longer be called that because it is politically incorrect.Amreekan Indian – the guy who went from India and held on tight to his Indian-ness (excepting my California cujjin bunch!), sambar and bhajans and Vedanta classes (excuse plizzzz, I love you guys, I do and you bring a smile to face… well, to be honest, it’s more of a belly laugh but what’s a laugh or smile between friends, right? Right?!)

And now somehow, these guys have all crept into my recipe and I don’t know how to take them out so please don’t knead them into the bread!

Yeast – 1 sachet – proved in 2 tbsp warm water
Milk powder – 2 tbsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Sugar – 2 tsp
Butter / oil mixture – 2 tbsp




Cheddar cheese – chunks – 1 cup
Pesto (see earlier posts for the recipe) – 2 -3 tsbp


Knead the ingredients for the dough adding enough water to make a soft dough, till elastic, leaving out Indians of various hues – red to brown, and set aside in a covered bowl to prove for an hour.

Knock back, divide into 7 -8 balls.

Flatten the balls a bit and smear with 1 tsp pesto. Add 3-4 chunks of cheddar and bring the edges together to form a parcel.

Roll lightly between your palms to shape into buns.

Place on a greased tray, leaving about 2 cm between each to allow for the second rising.

Cover and let it rise for another 30 minutes.

Make cuts across the top (optional), brush with milk.

Bake at 180 C for 25 minutes and at 200 C for a further 15- minutes till done  and golden brown on top.

Serve with any soup.


And now, My Obama, shall we look at why you don’t want to go metric??