I've often felt that a lot of stuff like flax seeds , which are recommended in the diet, by modern nutritionists because of their amazing quantities of the good Omega-3 fats, were actually part of our diets , say 50 years ago. I distinctly remember, in my childhood, seasonal variations in dry chutneys, vegetables, methods of preparation and so on. Unlike today, when everything is available all the time , on a shelf, in a shop which sells 200 other varieties.
My household help "S" (hitherto blogged and filmed about) introduced me to a perfect flax seed chutney, amazing in its simplicity. It was something that was part of her traditional diet when she lived and tilled fields, and they occasionally made it even now. Most chutneys go overboard on coconut and sesame seeds, two things with their own fat content, different from the beneficial omega-3 fats. This was a simple combination of roasted flax seeds ground together with dried roasted kadhipatta leaves, garlic and red chillies. Salt added as per taste. Folks went crazy over it, adding it to things like toast, curd-rice, salads , and some even used it to bring taste to vegetables they abhorred, like doodhi, by sprinkling it there in copious quantities.
I knew these seeds contained oil and wondered if one could use it in baking. And I decided to use the delicious flax seed dry chutney which I had in large quantity.
Many years ago, baking was all about sweet stuff , birthday cakes and home made pizzas, while you pretended to ignore the amount of ghee in nankhatais. With the icing-licking members now much older and into more exciting pursuits and sports, one has been trying some tried and tested recipes from friends in the blogging world and Facebook, like Monika Manchanda and Sangeeta Khanna, with amazing results.
And I was looking for something which would have very little added fat, minimal or no sugar, and something savoury, utilising some of the less experienced tastes (As opposed to the sweet). Another motivation was that people were continuously looking for something to snack and nibble on. And there needed to be a brake on bad fats and sugar.....
Using a whole wheat cookie recipe, from Monika, and Sangeeta's experience with flax seeds in baking, I experimented with a recipe using whole wheat, oats, flax seed chutney (I have tons of it), various dry fruits/nuts, and spices. And I came up with these crunchy, savoury, cookies with a sudden sweet raisin sensation as you chewed. Folks dipped them in tea, coffee, yogurt, and some are planning to try it with chutney, sauce and even mustard. I thought next time I would add methi leaves.
(Disclaimer : I am the type who measures with handfuls, fistfuls, dollops and so on. Every time I make stuff , we enjoy different tastes, based on what I added more. More of an eater than a cooking person, I just do things with a different perspective. )
Here is how it happened.
The blue bowl holds 250cc of water. One such bowlful of whole wheat atta.
Same amount of flax seed chutney to be added.
Two fistfuls of ajwain (carom) seeds. Also called Trachyspermum ammi. Not that you need to know, but I thought the name was amusing. (You could try using saunf, shahajeera, jeera etc instead. )
Half the blue bowl full, oats
Handfuls of whatever dry fruits and nuts you have.Coarsely crushed. I used, raisins, walnuts,almonds, apricots, and the last of the manookas.
Add 4 teaspoons of oil, and use milk to make a semi stiff dough, the kind you can make balls out of and press easily into flat rounds. (I didn't want to add the oil, but that was the old conservative me taking over; and 4 teaspoons would mean very little in each cookie. ( made 35 cookies). Ah well !
Arrange in a non stick pan . Bake in a preheated oven (OTG) at roughly 180 degrees. About 15-20 minutes. Till nicely browned, looking dryish, and test with a knife to see if cooked in the centre of the cookie.
Remove from oven, let cool . These are not chewy, but quite dry. Get nice and crunchy as they cool. Taste a bit like bajra puris. Great with chilly pickle, or burnt fresh green chillies, coarsely crushed and mixed with dahi....:-)
Immediately store when cool, in an airtight bottle/container.