Friday, April 18, 2008

Madhur Jaffrey's Granola.



Making granola can be tricky. This is because no one seems to agree on what good granola is.

I'd say granola must contain oats, some form of fat and sweetener, and at least one other ingredient (nuts, dried fruits). Most importantly, it must be crunchy. From what i've seen, homemade granola usually falls in one of three categories:

1) Cereal.
Some recipes are reminiscent of muesli. They are simple, cluster-free and healthier than other varieties, but they have that chewy, raw oatmeal texture. Other recipes try to replicate box cereal by using flours or ground oats to bind small, uniform clusters.

2) Candy.
These granolas have huge chunks that are held together with lots of sugar and butter/oil. The amount of sugar results in a deep brown color and caramelized exterior. Sometimes they're loaded with coconut, chocolate, or peanut butter. When properly baked they're crispy and delicious. When under-baked, they get stuck in your teeth.

3) Not Granola.
Occasionally, i've ordered granola in a bakery and received a large bowl of what looks like caramelized nuts. Or a pile of dried fruit and nuts. I strongly believe granola needs a grain component, and a proper balance of other stuff.

My favorite granolas definitely fall in the candy category. I think of granola as a treat, not a health food. Foster's Homemade Granola is definitely my favorite. Melissa's Seven-Year Granola is also nice; it's more like very good boxed granola.

This recipe is from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. It's a simple, not-too-sweet granola that's good with milk or yogurt. Because this recipe uses water, the granola takes an extremely long time to dry out. If the granola isn't completely dry by the end of the baking time, I suggest turning off the oven and leaving it to cool.

When you look for recipes, check the ratio of sugars/fats to dry ingredients. This is usually a good indicator of what texture the granola will have. Keep an eye on quantity too- this recipe makes twice what the Foster's recipe does. If you have too much, put it in bags and give it to friends!

adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian

4 1/2 cups (14oz) rolled oats
1 cup (2.5 oz) sliced, blanched almonds
1 cup (4 oz) untoasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup (2 oz) sesame seeds (the beige kind)
1/2 cup canola or peanut oil, plus extra for greasing the tray
1 cup honey
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (4 oz) raisins

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Put the oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds in a large mixing bowl. Line a large baking tray/half sheet pan with greased foil.

Combine 1 cup water, 1/2 cup oil, honey, sugar, and salt in a small pan and bring to a simmer. Stir to mix and turn off the heat. Slowly pour this mixture over the oats, nuts, and seeds, and mix with a spatula until thoroughly moistened. Spread the granola out in the tray and then place the tray in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Toss Well. Turn the heat down to 275F and bake for another 45 minutes, tossing every 10-15 minutes. Now turn the heat down to 225F and bake for a further 20-30 minutes, tossing after every 10 minutes, until the mixture appears dry.* Remove the tray from the oven. Add the raisins. Toss the granola every now and then until it has cooled thoroughly. Store in a tightly closed jar. Makes 9 cups.

*If the granola is still damp, continue to toss and bake until nearly dry. Turn off the oven and leave the granola to cool.


jd said...

Oh, I love home-made granola!

This looks delicious - I can't wait to try the recipe :)


Christina said...

I like making granola! I haven't lately because it seems more suitable to warm weather (part of my twisted logic!), but now that it's warming up I'll have to make a batch.

Great post!

Sophie said...

Definitely agree with you that granola needs a grain!

I wouldn't have thought to turn to Madhur Jaffrey for a granola recipe but actually there are all kinds of wonderful things in that world vegetarian book

Aran said...

i used to make granola at home all the time and for some reason i stopped, forgot about it. you are inspiring me to make some. i should since i just made yogurt too! your photos are so beautiful!

cookworm said...

Of all the recipes I've tried in that book, this isn't one of them! I'm picky about granola, too...but this one looks pretty good.

If you get a chance, try Madhur's Red Lentils with Zucchini, Gujarati-Style Potatoes, or Spinach with Dill. Those are a few I make fairly regularly.

HoneyB said...

I followed your link to your favorite granola as the "candy" type would be my favorite also! I have saved this link for my future reference as I want to make granola!