Homemade granola, at last - with homemade applesauce
I am not a big fan of store bought cereals. However I do stock whole wheat flakes and unsweetened cornflakes for breakfast in a hurry. Buying boxed cereals with sugar and salt overload are totally avoidable as the first meal of the day. Oats is another regular during breakfast hours. That is one thing the husband has mastered in microwave cooking - Oats, frozen peas, masalas of choice, water and microwave for 4 minutes or so - for a bowl full of fibre, protein and good carbs. I prefer my oats slightly sweetened with jaggery, cooked with milk and cinnamon. When I saw this recipe for granola on Nigella Lawson's show - combining cereals with nuts, seeds, spices - I knew I had to try this. But it turned out to be one of those ideas that keep sitting on the back burner - waiting for the right moment, to be explored. Early this week, sufficiently inspired, I went to the store and bought the necessary ingredients - Oats, cornflakes, apples, sesame seeds for the rest of the stuff I already had at home.
Ever since the waxed, coated and 'sitting in cold storage for god knows how long' apples from US and NZ have flooded the markets, I have totally given up apples. I hate the shiny waxy skin, I hate the pasty texture and total lack of taste. But Shimla apples are another breed altogether - they are the perfect combination of juicy, crisp and sweet and I bought 2 kilos. The timing was perfect as I could use a couple of them to make applesauce to hold the garnola together. [Recipe for applesauce at the end of the post]
The resultant breakfast in a bowl is very high in fibre from the whole grains and wheat germ, the sesame seeds are rich in calcium, iron, vitamin B1 and zinc. The taste is absolutely superlative with subtle sweetness from natural sugars in jaggery, honey, apple and the spicy sweetness of cinnamon. Try this once and I guarantee you will never buy the cardboard shards sold in the name of Muesli in supermarkets here.
Here's my recipe - adapted from Nigella Lawson's - Andy's Fairfield Granola
Pressure cooker if making applesauce at home (preferable for quickly stewing apples)
Two large baking trays atleast 9X9
- Preheat the oven at 200 C.
- In the largest bowl you have, mix the oats, wheatflakes, nuts, toasted sesame seeds.
- In a medium bowl, mix the jaggery water, honey, oil, applesauce, ground ginger and cinnamon and salt.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients in the large bowl and mix with two serving spoons or with your hands, until the spices and liquids have thoroughly coated all of the cereals and nuts.
- Line the baking trays with aluminium foil.
- Distribute the granola mix between the two trays, pressing down well.
- Bake each tray for around 30 minutes at 200 C - keeping a watch that the granola is not burning. If it is browning too fast, turn the tray and reduce the temperature to 175 and bake till quite crisp.
- Once cool, break into bits or crumble, mix up the dried fruit and store in airtight container.
Dissolve the 1/2 cup jaggery in 1/2 cup of water.
2 handfuls of granola or 1/2 cup with a cup of milk and some fresh fruit if you like.
How to make applesauce
Wash, peel and core 2-3 good apples.
Chop into medium pieces and pressure cook with 1/2 cup water, either directly in the cooker or in a bowl for 5-7 minutes. ie. After three whistles, keep on sim for 5-7 minutes.
After a few minutes, open cooker, remove the stewed apples and mash with a back of a ladle or in food processor.
This will yield over a cup of applesauce.
If you dont have a pressure cooker, follow the process in a saucepan with a fitting lid. Simmer for 20-30 minutes till apples are totally soft and then mash.