I love it when people invite me for lunch or dinner on weekends. No, I am not saying this because I'll get to not cook that day, but for an entirely different reason. You see, when you invite people, they bring you some flowers, fruits or some candy. I bring food that they can use for the party. Even when people say "Don't bring anything. Just come and have a good time.", I have to take something. The only time I don't mind going empty handed is when they invite me for their kids' birthday party. But then, I will have some gift in my hand. Bottom line, I have to have something in my hand when I go to someone's place. I am pathetic that way.
I like it even better when people invite me and let me decide what I am bringing. It gives me another chance to make something that I have been wanting to experiment with.
We were invited by one of our friends and I had told the hostess that I would bring some kind of baked appetizer. Knowing me too well, people have stopped forcing me not to bring something. I was actually planning to make 'Bread Toast', but then changed my mind and made these Indian style bread sticks. It was very well taken by the crowd, so I guess I can pretty confidently say 'Go make some. You'll like them'.
Ingredients: (Adapted from the book by Land O lakes)
Red Onion - Chopped finely about 1 cup
Green chillies - 5 chopped
Mint - chopped about 3 TBSP (You can use cilantro if you like that better)
Cumin - 1 TBSP (This was pretty strong. If you don't like cumin too much, use 2 tsp)
Olive Oil - 2 TBSP (Recipe called for 4 TBSP butter)
All purpose flour - 2 3/4 - 3 1/4 cup (It took 3 1/4 cup for me)
Warm water - 1 1/4 cup
Salt - 1 tsp for the dough plus as needed for the onion green chilli mixture
Dry Yeast - 2 1/4 tsp
Sugar - 1 TBSP
Coarse Salt - for topping
Coarse crushed black pepper - for topping
In a skillet, dry roast the cumin seeds. Set aside. To the same skillet, add oil. When hot, add green chillies, onions. Add some salt and let it wilt. When onions are cooked, add mint and turn off the heat. Let this mixture cool down a bit.
In a bowl, take warm water. Add sugar to it and sprinkle yeast on it. Let it froth about 5 minutes or so. To this, add salt, roasted cumin, flour. Add 2 3/4 cups in the beginning to make a smooth dough. Knead it for couple of minutes. Now add the onion green chilli mixture to this. It will have some water content so you will need to add more flour now. Add enough flour to make a smooth but a little sticky dough. Coat with oil and cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for about 45 minutes to an hour.
When the dough has doubled in bulk, deflate the dough and divide into to two portions. Divide each portion into 12 balls so that you have 24 balls of dough. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 F (I did mine to 375 F since I was using dark pan). Grease two large baking sheets. Set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll the balls into long ropes. Do not worry about the length being equal, it has to be similar in thickness. Flour your hands as needed. Place on the baking sheets. Brush the top of the sticks with water. Sprinkle with coarse salt and crushed pepper. Bake for 12 - 18 minutes or till golden brown. Since I was baking at a lower temperature, mine took almost 25 minutes to bake. Serve warm. You can make these ahead and pop in the preheated oven at 200 F for about 10 minutes to get fresh sticks.
You can serve this with tomato hot sauce or mint chutney and tamarind date chutney combo.
You can add chopped garlic to this. Fold in some cheese (about a cup) to get cheesy garlic bread sticks. If you don't like cumin, go for fennel or leave it out. I am thinking of fennel, onion, garlic and sun dried tomato combo. See how uneven I have rolled the sticks, I was in a hurry. If you are a perfectionist, roll the dough with a rolling pin and cut into strips and bake.
Now to the event announcement:
I haven't been continuing with my 'Baking from the Book' event for the past month. When Sowjanya of 'RUCHIKACOOKS' asked if she could host it this month, I was more than happy to let her. So, if you are interested in referring to books when you bake, hop over to her place to see the rules of participation.
Needless to say, these Cumin Onion Bread sticks are on their way to Sowjanya for hosting 'Baking from a book' an event started by me.
These bread sticks are on their way to Susan's Yeastspotting.