649. Turmeric Aniseed Rusks
Anytime snack time
What is a snack? A snack is any sort of small amount of food eaten in between meals. It can be fruits, veggies sticks, to fried bhajias, baked goodies or even sandwiches. It all depends on individual tastes and requirements. When we were growing up, my mum would give us a glass of milk and leftover rotis with chevdo. We would put the chevdo in the middle of the roti, roll it up and it was the yummiest snack ever. In our house, bateta vada, bhajias, kachoris, samosas were mostly served at dinner time with parathas and vegetable curries.
Once a week we would walk with my mum to the Westlands shopping area.It was a day when we would go to the supermarket, go to the veggie market and a visit to the famous Oven Door Bakery was a must to buy some cookies, breads and some light yellow coloured rusks. I used to love those rusks. Back then we were not allowed to drink tea or coffee but we would dunk the crispy crunchy rusks in milk and enjoy them. I am sure they added yellow colour to the dough and it had a few aniseeds in them.
The #FoodieMonday #Bloghop group decided on snacks as the 94th theme. I immediately knew that I wanted to make the rusks. I’d been wanting to make them for ages but just got so busy with other things and the recipe would be put aside every time I thought of making them. When I was baking them, the first round, hubby could smell the aniseed and asked me, “What are you still baking, in a few days we leave. Aren’t you suppose to slowly close down your kitchen?” I think he doesn’t realize that a food bloggers kitchen doesn’t close down until he or she is actually out of the house making their way to the airport, station or wherever one is going. Still keeping to the healthy cooking, I definitely didn’t have any fried snacks on my mind and rusk time it is!
What are rusks?Rusks are twice baked bread or light dry biscuits. There are two ways these rusks are made. One is when a baked cake is sliced and then baked again at low temperature to make it light, dry and crispy. The other method is when a baked bread is sliced and baked again at low temperature to make it light, dry and crispy. I remember giving my 3 when they were toddlers, Farley Rusks. These were shaped round and were crispy and dry. Ideal to travel with as all it required was milk to soak them in and feed them to the children.
In South Africa they are known as beskuit in Africaan. It is believed that making these rusks or beskuits was a way of preserving bread, that would be used during long treks as food. One could dip them in tea, water, soup or stew and have it in place of fresh bread. Rusks are known by different names in different countries; skorpor in Sweden, zweiback in Germany, sponge rusk in Cuba, tvebak in Denmark, biscotte in France, paximadi in Greece, peksemit in Turkey, sookhar in Russia, naan sukhari in Iran, fette biscottate in Italy, khasta in India. I am sure they all probably made them for farmers, merchants, etc who had to be away from home for long periods of time or even as a way of using up stale bread or cake. The flour and other ingredients may vary from place to place but they all are twice baked.
I didn’t want to use yellow colour so I used turmeric instead. Yes I am on a mission to include turmeric in everything possible. ( I’m suffering from early stages of rheumatoid arthritis and turmeric is suppose to be the wonder medicine). I added aniseed (valiyari, saunf) and cardamom powder for the flavours. Wondering why I didn’t try the recipe ages ago. Its such a wonderful filling and healthy snack.
Pssst … my hubby’s comment on the tea “I can see the bottom of the cup! You should have told me to make it if you wanted to photo it!” I must admit I love my tea with as little milk as possible and pretty dark. Hubby doesn’t like it that way and however much milk I add to his, its never perfect. So he makes his own cup of tea!
TURMERIC ANISEED RUSKS
Makes about 40 pieces
1 cup wheat flour (atta flour)
1 cup plain flour (all purpose flour)
½ cup fine semolina (sooji)
2 tbsp butter or oil
2¼ tsp active dry instant yeast
3 tbsp milk powder
3 tbsp sugar
½ – ¾ tsp salt
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp aniseed (valiyari, saunf)
¼ cup pistachio flakes or any nuts of your choice
1¼ cup hot milk
extra flour for dusting
extra oil or butter for greasing
1 tbsp milk for brushing
- Heat the milk till it is hot. Add turmeric powder to it. Mix and let it cool down a bit.
- Mix the flours, semolina, cardamom powder, milk powder, aniseed, sugar, yeast and salt together in a big mixing bowl.
- Add oil or butter and mix into the flour.
- Pour the turmeric milk into the flour mixture. Using a spatula mix the milk into the flour.
- Let the shaggy dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Lightly dust the work top with some flour. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead it till it becomes smooth. If the dough sticks to your fingers but you can still knead it then don’t add any flour. If it is too sticky then add small amount of flour.
- Grease the bowl with some oil or butter. Shape the dough into a ball. Rub oil or butter over it.
- Let the dough rest for 1½ hours or till it is double in size.
- Slowly deflate the dough. Dust the worktop with some flour.Slowly knead in the pistachio flakes.
- Divide the dough into two. Roll each part into a ball.
- Roll one part into a rectangle of 10″X 12″. Roll it up, starting at the longer side into a log. Pinch the seams and tuck in the ends. Place the shaped dough on a greased or lined baking tray.
- Repeat the above step using the remaining dough.
- Let the shaped dough rise till it is nearly double the size or for 50-60 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Brush the risen dough with some milk.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the bread is baked.
- Remove the baked loaves from the oven and let them cool down completely. I left the bread to cool overnight.
- Next day, preheat the oven to 150°C.
- Slice the loaves into ½” slices. Arrange them on a baking tray.
- Bake them for 1½ hours till they are crispy. Turn them over halfway during the baking time.
- Let the rusks cool down and store in an airtight container.
- These rusks are best served with tea, coffee or milk.
- You may use any flour of your choice. Replace the semolina with flour if you don’t want to use semolina.
- Add spices and herbs of your choice.
- I cut the pistachios into flakes so that when I sliced the bread, it was easier. Sometimes with little chunks of fruits and nuts it’s difficult to slice the bread or cake easily.
- You can bake the slices on the same day but make sure the bread is completely old before you slice it.