NUT & SEED LOAF (with onions and spices)
Every month I look into the Daring Bakers’ home with great expectations and trepidation. Once I have the challenge lodged in my head I go about life waiting for tomorrow to happen and yet by the 15th I haven’t moved a muscle or given it a thought and by the 20th, I yet feel like the” last minute conquer-ess” and on the 24th I am in mode panic. This has become a monthly ritual with me and I think, I am almost testing my ability to function when pushed against the wall. This month it wasn’t any different. After a few initial readings I knew I was in unknown territory, that a “gluten-free anything” wasn’t up my alley. I almost wished for a bout of maybe, cold or flu so that I had a legit excuse to avoid the challenge. But when I realised none of the above was happening I got on the job and decided to give it my all (literally)
For the August challenge Susan from The Kiwi Cook dared us to make Seed & Nut Loaf – a super-healthy and gluten-free alternative to standard wheat-based bread.
Gluten-free??? Low gluten…. maybe I can handle, but this was not what I had bargained for in the midst of Parsi New year excesses. This was really a “Challenge”. When you haven’t thought about allergies, yours or anyone’s and don’t need gluten free stuff, you just don’t tread the path except when forced to and Susan did just that. A Seed and Nut Loaf with no wheat or flour …how was it going to hold together? I was sure it was going to fall apart like a landslide on the mountain. Then I went and read the recipe closely and Oh My God!! The lady had used Psyllium Husk Powder (Isabgol in India), I almost rolled over on the floor and had a coronary. Susan, my dear I remember using Psyllium Husk for some very unappetising purposes(LOL!!). I resolved to avoid the psyllium husk. That was the binding agent and now I was in a bind.
To bind the loaf I ground half the nuts and seeds in the recipe to provide for the lack of “flour” and also used a wee bit of rice flour (gluten free). Concerned about the taste I added an Indian essence to the loaf with lightly fried onions, garlic, shredded curry leaves, cumin and coriander. Since the last minute prep did not allow me time, I had to settle for cucumber seeds which look like the cousins of sunflower seeds. I was tempted to add half an egg but held back and sent out a prayer instead. Its so versatile you can add peanuts or pine nuts or walnuts in place of almonds and cashews. Make a Mediterranean version with olives, basil and thyme. The fun is in making it to your taste. The end result??? Its almost like a savoury granola bar.
This has been revelation to me, gluten free, so tasty and filling and super chewy, dense, very, very nutritious. When paired with humus and basil garlic pesto it’s a meal in itself. Cut into slices and toast them in a pan with a dab of butter and you are in gluten (or is it guilt!) free heaven. 🙂
SAVOURY SEED AND NUT LOAF (WITH ONION AND SPICES)
¼ cup + 1/4 cup cucumber/ sunflower/ melon seeds
100 grams flax seeds
¼ cup cashews
¼ cup almonds, chopped
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground pepper
3 heaped tablespoons rice flour
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion sliced thin
1 green chilly, deseeded and finely chopped
3-4 pods garlic, finely chopped
A fistful of coriander/ parsley, finely chopped
4 curry leaves, finely shredded
- Oil and line with parchment paper a loaf tin 4” by 8”. Oil the parchment as well. Preheat the oven to 180oC
- Gently roast and then grind together- ¼ cup cucumber seeds, 50 grams flax seeds, ¼ cup cashews. Empty into a medium sized glass bowl.
- Add the whole seeds, almonds, oats, chia seeds, salt, cumin, pepper and rice flour to the above mix.
- Fry the onions lightly in 1 tablespoon olive oil till transculent, add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds more. Add this mix and the remaining oil and chopped curry leaves, coriander to the bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon.
- Add in 1 1/4 cup water to the mix to form a firm but not dry mixture. Make sure there is no excess water and the mixture doesn’t turn runny. Its better to pour the last ¼ cup of water slowly. You may not need all of it.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf tin and smoothen it out with an oiled spatula or your fingers. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and invert onto a wire rack. Remove the parchment and bake for another 35 minutes till its browned and a knock on it sounds hollow.
- Remove and cool to room temperature. Slice and toast it in a pan with a dab of butter for a couple of minutes. Serve with a slathering of humus and basil-garlic pesto, tomato chutney or just plain butter.
TIP: To make a sweet version add dates and prunes a tablespoon or two of raw sugar or palm sugar. Use 3 tablespoons honey mixed into the water.