It is a chilly, dull kind of winter day today, with a chill, dull kind of afternoon. It is the kind of afternoon that makes me want to cook something, preferably something new to me, that will absorb me entirely, fill my house with a beautiful aroma, and light up the faces of my family with big smiles. I always have an overflowing list of recipes that I have bookmarked from here and there, so choosing one is a big task for me, one that involves a lot of hemming and hawing. Today, though, the choice of what I wanted to try out was an easy one – I chose a savoury semolina cake, aka an eggless savoury rava cake.
There has been a lot of senseless eating (including cake) over the XMas and New Year holidays, and my body is not thanking me for all the weight it has piled up. This savoury cake would ensure that I would bake, try out something new, something that did not involve sugar and all-purpose flour and an insane amount of butter. So, that is how a savoury semolina cake came to be baked in our home today. I am happy to report that it did fill our house with a lovely, savoury aroma, and it did put some huge smiles on the faces of our family, for it turned out beautifully and delicious.
There are several recipes for this kind of cake on the Internet, but I chose this one, because the language sounded relatable and the tone sounded honest.
Now, take a look at this beauty of a cake straight out of the oven, in a loaf pan, will you?
The cake has a lovely texture and, cut up into slices, it makes for a perfect tea-time snack. While it tastes great on its own, I wouldn’t mind having it with some mint and coriander chutney or some tomato sauce.
I can say this is going to be a regular at our house now onwards. Maybe, just maybe, the next time on, I will try this out with a few little tweaks of my own. Till then, this is good.
Let me recount the recipe here, for the sake of reference.
Ingredients (yields about 10 slices):
Onion – 1, medium-sized, chopped finely
Vegetables – 1 cup, chopped finely (I used whole green peas, chopped capiscum and carrots. You can even add veggies like beans and sweet corn)
Coriander leaves – a few stalks, finely chopped
Green chilli – 1
Ginger – a 1-inch piece, peeled and chopped
Semolina or rava – 1 cup (I used the normal fine rava that we use to make upma)
Thick curd – 1 cup (not too sour)
Salt – to taste
Oil – 2 tablespoons + some for greasing the tin
Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Garam masala – 1/2 teaspoon
To be added later:
Sesame seeds (til) – 1 tablespoon + some for garnishing
Baking powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Baking soda – 1/2 teaspoon
Water – a bit more than 1/4 cup
- Ensure that all the vegetables are finely chopped and ready to go. Mince the green chilli and ginger thoroughly. Keep aside.
- Preheat the oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes. While that is happening, mix the curd and semolina in a large mixing bowl. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Grease a loaf pan with a little oil and keep it ready.
- In a pan, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the mustard and let it splutter. Add the cumin seeds and the chopped onions. Cook for a minute or two, till the onion turns translucent. Add the other finely chopped vegetables and the ginger-chilli paste, salt to taste, cumin powder, turmeric powder, chilli powder, garam masala, and coriander leaves. Saute for just a minute. The vegetables do not need to be fully cooked at this stage, as they will be baked in the cake anyway. Let this vegetable mixture cool down a bit.
- Add the vegetable mixture to the curd and semolina in the mixing bowl. Add the water and 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Add the baking soda and baking powder to the mixing bowl. Mix well, ensuring that everything is well combined together. If the baking soda is not well combined, the cake might taste a tad weird. Once you have added the baking soda, it will react with the curd and the batter will start foaming slightly. The tin needs to go into the oven immediately, only then will you get a fluffy cake with a beautiful texture.
- Pour the batter immediately into the prepared loaf tin. Shake the tin a little to level the batter. Sprinkle some sesame seeds over the top of the batter. Bake in oven at about 160 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake cones out clean.
- Let the cake cool a bit, and then invert it onto a wire rack. Let it cool down further before you slice it up.
- Serve with green chutney or tomato sauce, or as is! The cake tastes good cold, but you might want to reheat it before serving.
Now, excuse me while I go and hog on a slice of that gorgeousness with my afternoon chai!
Meanwhile, you tell me what you think about savoury cakes and your favourite recipes for them, will you?