Indian Masala Biscuits
1 3/4 all-purpose flour2 tbsp fine white or brown rice flour (optional)1 tsp baking powder1/4 tsp baking soda1/2 teaspoon salt (or according to your taste)115gm chilled butter, cut into small pieces3 green chillies, deseeded and chopped3/4" piece of ginger, finely grated1 1/2 tsp whole peppercorn, crushed coarsely1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and crushed coarsely1 tbsp granulated sugar1 1/2 tbsp finely chopped curry leaves1 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander/ cilantro3 to 4 tbsp cold yogurt1 1/2 tbsp black sesame seeds (or white sesame seeds)A little oil to brush the tops of the biscuits/ cookies
You can do this by hand also, but I prefer to use my food processor. The advantage with using the processor is that the warmth of one’s palms/ fingers doesn’t warm up the dough and melt the butter.Put both flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda into the bowl and add the pieces of chilled butter. Pulse until the mixture takes on the texture of breadcrumbs.Now add the chopped green chillies, finely grated ginger, crushed peppercorn and cumin, sugar, the chopped curry leaves and coriander leaves. Pulse a couple of times to mix well.Then add 2 tablespoons of yogurt and pulse again. Add one more tbsp of yogurt (or two, as much as needed), and pulse again until the dough just comes together and clumps together. You want a moist dough, not a wet one – somewhat like pie dough.Do not over process or knead. The dough should be just moist enough for you to use your hands and bring everything together to shape into a ball. Flatten it into a disc and cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least hour. You can also leave it overnight (up to about 24 hours) and work on it the next day.Pre-heat your oven to 180C (350F) and line your baking trays with parchment or grease them with oil. Lightly dust your working surface and roll out the dough to 1/8”(3 mm) thickness, not more or your biscuits/ cookies will not be crisp. Sprinkle the sesame seeds uniformly over the dough and use your rolling pin, very lightly, to press them in.Using cutters of your choice (about 2-1/4 inch (55 mm) to 2½ inch (65 mm) in size), cut out biscuits/ cookies and place them on lightly greased baking trays. Brush a very thin coat of oil over them. This will help them brown while baking.Bake them in a preheated moderate oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or till they’re done and golden brown on the top. Remember the baking time will depend on the thickness and shape of your biscuits/ cookies. Let them cool on the trays for about 5 minutes and then cool them on racks. Once they’re completely cool, they should be a bit crunchy and not chewy.Store them in airtight containers. They should keep for about 4 to 5 days at room temperature in a cool place.