For the longest time, my younger daughter K had “eyes bigger than her stomach” as the old Telugu saying goes – meaning that she always served herself more than she could manage to eat. Since, I, in the interests of not putting on any more pounds, had resolved not to eat any lefotvers from my children’s plates (believe me, you’ll end up eating two or more meals at one mealtime, depending on the number of kids you have!), these would be disposed of in the dustbin with stern lectures on the poor starving children in Africa and elsewhere in India… to little avail..
Until finally, K’s stomach finally caught up with her eyes – both plate sized rather than saucer sized! As her athletics training grew more intense, she could out-eat almost every kid in the class – boys and girls – and in the process giving the boys a plate sized complex! Copious quantities of food were made and consumed, as she continued to remain reed-thin – no thanks to genes – going by the sizes of both parents!
Now, working with a fitness firm, K has finally met her match in appetites – everyone eats more than her! A couple of weeks ago, on her way back from work with a friend, AP – they spot a new, snazzy bakery. Yay, a NEW place to eat at! Suddenly remembering the mom who’s fed her all these years, K, feeling very virtuous, tells AP, “Let’s go in and buy something for my mom. She loves breads”. Nothing loth, the two of them park and enter the bakery full of the milk of human kindness (let’s get mom something kindness!) and money jingling in their pockets. The bakery smells heavenly – as any bakery should. And so, a few minutes later, our pals roll out of there, with hands full of baguettes, croissants and what-have- you, hearts feeling very virtuous and pockets no longer jingling with anything!
They unload the stuff and sit down in a car now smelling quite heavenly! Unfortunately, what they’ve forgotten is that companions tend to go in threes and the the third in the trio of good intentions and jingling pockets is grumbling tummies! The third now grumbles loudly – over the noise of the engine…
“Let’s just smell it,” says he.
“Let’s just break off a small bit at the end and taste it,” says she.
“A very small bit can’t hurt, right?” says he.
You see where this is heading, right? An hour later, the mom of K is presented with two buttery, jammy, satisfied but guilty faces with several empty brown paper packets. Yes, the packets did smell quite heavenly!
Yes, this mom is quite nutty about breads – to the extent of making croissants for Deepavali in preference to the usual festive fare of pulihora, payasam and vadas! But the making of croissants in weather like Madras is quite a feat so now I prefer the easier recipes – like this delightful one for… supersoft…
- Maida (plain flour) or a mixture of plain and wholewheat flour – 500 gm
- Sugar – 1 tsp
- Butter – 60 gm
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Yeast – 2 tsp
- Warm milk – 120 ml
- Warm water – 120 ml
- Flour for dusting
Mix together the salt, flour, sugar and butter. Make a hole in the centre and add the yeast and the liquids. Mix well till you get a very moist dough. Cover and set aside until doubled in size – about an hour.
Knock back, divide into eight balls. Press them slightly and roll out a little till the tops are flattened.
Place on a greased, floured baking tray, about 2″ apart and press on top of each with your thumb to form an indentation.
Brush over with milk and dust with flour. Set aside for twenty minutes till it doubles again in size and bake at 200C for about ten minutes till golden and feels hollow when you tap the bottom.
Serve as sandwiches with any kind of filling from anywhere in the world – Indian masala paneer to Thai salad or just plain with butter and honey!
And next time you want to buy something for your mom eat first and then buy!