sesame tahini baath cake (Goan coconut cake)

Sesame Tahini Baath (Goan Coconut Cake) Cake |A Brown Table
  • I had a little interview at Food and Wine magazine this week, talking about my blog and food. Please do check it out! 
  • My sweet and wonderful friend Alanna shares some of the fun moments she captured when we made Masala Chai this past weekend. Her photography and recipes are a treat, you won't be disappointed! 
Sesame Tahini Baath (Goan Coconut Cake) Cake | A Brown Table

Here's a little twist to one of my favorite coconut cakes, the Baath. It's a delicious, rustic Goan coconut cake made with semolina that has a little bit of rose water. I've shared a lightened version of the regular Baath cake before but I've been aching to make it again and wanted to try something new this time. This version uses nutty tahini and toasty black sesame seeds, imagine all of that nestled in a semolina cake with the light fragrance of rose water and a gentle hint of vanilla. 

Sesame Tahini Baath (Goan Coconut Cake) Cake | A Brown Table

I cut back on the sugar in this version but you can certainly increase the amount of sugar (as suggested in the recipe instructions below). This cake would be perfect with that cup of masala chai or coffee. 

Here are some of my tips for working with semolina cakes and this cake in particular,

  • The trick to a good moist and soft semolina cake, soak it in the batter for a few hours to overnight and then bake it. 
  • I prefer to store this cake wrapped in the refrigerator (or freeze the excess in airtight bags). I'm always worried that the coconut could get rancid and the cake keeps well. Bring the cake to room temperature before serving. Refrigeration also helps to lock in the aromatic floral scents in this cake.
Sesame Tahini Baath (Goan Coconut Cake) Cake | A Brown Table

sesame tahini baath (Goan Coconut Cake) Cake

yields: one 9 inch cake


1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature + a little more for greasing a 9 inch circular pan

1 1/2 cups brown sugar (if you like it sweeter, you can go up to 2 cups)

1 tablespoon tahini

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon madagascar bourbon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon coconut flavored rum (optional)

1/4 cup rose water

3 cups (1 lb + 1 2/4 ounces) semolina

1 cup (2 3/4 ounces) shredded unsweetened coconut (I used the Bob's Red Mill brand, I was really pleased with its scent and taste)

1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups reduced fat coconut milk 

1/4 cup black sesame seeds 

1. Line the base of springform or regular circular 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease the sides with butter and keep aside until ready to use.

2. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment cream until light and fluffy on medium high speed for about 5 minutes. Add the tahini and beat for another minute until combined.

3. Add one egg at a time to the creamed butter and sugar mixture and mix on medium-high speed until completely combined. 

4. Add the vanilla extract and coconut rum (if using). Beat for 30 seconds until completely mixed. 

5. In a large mixing bowl, lightly whisk, the semolina, coconut, salt, baking powder and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the black sesame seeds. Pour half of this mixture into the creamed butter-sugar-egg mixture and combine using the paddle attachment. Pour in the rose water and coconut milk. Add the rest of the semolina mixture and combine on medium speed until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface with an offset spatula (wet the spatula with a little cold water, to prevent the batter from sticking). Sprinkle the rest of the sesame seeds on the surface of the cake batter. Cover the cake with cling film and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to overnight before baking.

6. To bake the cake, place a wire rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350F. Remove the cling film and bake for 45-50 minutes turning the cake half way through baking. The cake is done with the top is slightly golden and the center is firm to touch or when a knife or skewer when passed through the center of the cake comes out clean from the center. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 30 minutes in the cake pan. Run a knife around the edges of the baked cake, remove and allow to cool to room temperature before serving. To store, I recommend refrigerating in an airtight container or freezing the extra (bring to room temperature before serving). 

masala chai

Masala Chai | A Brown Table

I decided to get an orchid from the Mountain View Farmer's market. It's not like I've had a lot of luck with them in the past but they are so beautiful that I find it hard to resist. Let's just hope this one lasts and after all the flowers are gone, this plant will sprout some new buds. Here's to some wishful thinking! If you have any orchid tips, do let me know, I need all the help I can get.

Orchids | A Brown TableMasala Chai | A Brown Table

This weekend, my buddies, Alanna of The Bojon Gourmet and Phi of Princess Tofu came over to spend a day. If you follow us on Instagram you might have noticed all the insane amount of eating, cooking and photographing that happened. I took the girls out to try some Indian street food at one of my favorite chaat houses in South Bay, followed by a trip to an Indian grocery store, some pumpkin picking, some cooking, more eating, photography and a whole lot of chatting. And there was chai, we had lots of it, I could think of no better way than to spend my day with these two extremely talented people. 

Masala Chai | A Brown Table

Chai is a ritual habit for some and Indian houses make masala chai in several different ways. Here are some of my tips on making chai at home,

  • I buy loose black tea (tea bags are good) and I generally use the Assam black tea variety at home.
  • Chai (tea) with no spices (masala), is simply called chai in Hindi. There are several different types and combinations of spices that can be added to tea. Some people prefer some more to others. Personally, I prefer green cardamom and ginger in my masala chai, I use them individually or together depending on what I have in the house. Either way of all the spices I've listed in my recipe here, green cardamom and ginger are my top choices. (I haven't shown cloves and peppercorns in the photograph but they are good additions to the masala (spice) blend.
  • Adding the ingredients at the right temperature to the water is important because it helps in infusing the flavors correctly. 
  • When crushing the spices, just crush them once or twice with a mortar and pestle to release the seeds, do not over grind or pound them excessively into a powder. 
  • For sweeteners, you can use sugar, honey or even raw Indian sugar - jaggery. 
  • Milk or any other non-dairy milk is completely optional. 
Masala Chai | A Brown Table

masala chai

yields : 4 cups


4 cups water

1 inch piece ginger root

4 whole green cardamom pods, crushed

1 black cardamom pod, crushed (optional)

1 inch piece cinnamon stick (optional)

6-8 black peppercorns, crushed (optional)

4 whole cloves, crushed (optional)

1 1/2 teaspoons black tea leaves  (Assam tea)

around 1 /2 cup hot milk or what ever kind of vegetarian milk you prefer (rice, soy or nut based) (amount used might be more or less depending  upon your personal preference on how dark or light you want the tea)

sugar to sweeten as needed 

1. Place the water in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium high and add the spices immediately.Bo (I always add either ginger and/or green cardamom, the rest are all optional). 

2. Remove the saucepan from the stove and allow to the spices to infuse for about 4-5 minutes. Place the saucepan back on the stove and bring to a boil on medium high. As soon as the water begins to boil, add the tea leaves and reduce the flame to low. Allow the liquid to boil for about 30 seconds and remove from stove. Cover with a lid and allow to sit for 1 minute. 

4. To serve, pass the hot tea through a tea strainer to get rid of the tea leaves and spices into a teapot or teacup (as needed). Add enough milk to get a light brown color (depends on how dark or light you like your tea) and sweeten as needed. Serve hot with cookies or pastries. 

mini kimchi parathas

Mini Kimchi Parathas |A Brown Table

There are mini cakes and now, there are mini parathas, I don't see why not! If you haven't tried a paratha, here's the gist, it's a flaky flatbread made with whole wheat flour that can be stuffed with tasty things or not. Contrary to popular belief, it's rare to see naans being cooked in an Indian kitchen but you'll definitely see parathas being cooked a lot (and rotis too). You can eat parathas at breakfast, lunch, or dinner (it works for every meal) and this kimchi-stuffed paratha does just that!

Mini Kimchi Parathas |A Brown Table

We live in a part of the city that is considered Koreatown, lots of Korean grocery stores and restaurants but it also plays host to quite a few Indian restaurants. The exciting part about living in a predominantly Asian neighborhood, I get to try and buy a lot of different types of kimchi from the markets, the one I used in this recipe is a Napa Cabbage type but you can use any of your favorites. 

Here are some tips;

  • Use durum whole wheat flour, it gives the best texture and a softer bread than you would with regular whole wheat flour. It is also sold as "atta flour" in Indian grocery stores. 
  • Drain the kimchi to remove some of the liquid, it makes it easier and less messy when you stuff the flatbread.
  • Greasing your hands before assembling the parathas, makes it easy to flatten the discs. 
  • You could also flatten the discs of dough with a rolling pin but they can burst and the cabbage releases a lot of juice and I found that technique to be more of a headache for this type of a filling. The dough would rip under pressure from the rolling pin and it is not easy to pan fry flatbread with stuffing falling out. 
Mini Kimchi Parathas |A Brown Table
Mini Kimchi Parathas |A Brown Table

mini kimchi parathas

yields: approximately 12-14 mini parathas


1 cup kimchi (use your favorite type)

3 cups (14 ounces) whole wheat flour (use the durum kind it gives a softer texture than regular whole wheat flour) + a little more for dusting

1 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil or ghee

1 1/2 cups warm water (at around 90 C) * you might end up using less water

4 hard boiled eggs, peeled

1/4 cup scallions, both green and white bits thinly sliced

4 red radishes, thinly sliced

salt and pepper

1. Place the kimchi in a large strainer or sieve over a bowl. Press gently to drain the excess liquid. Chop the kimchi coarsely and keep aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the 3 cups of whole wheat flour and salt. Whisk a few times by hand to mix the ingredients evenly. Add 4 tablespoons of the vegetable oil and 1 cup of the warm water. Using the dough blade attachment, combine the ingredients  on low speed for about 4 minutes to form the dough. If you feel that the dough is not coming together easily add one tablespoon of the remaining hot water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Wrap the dough with cling film allow to rest for about 20 minutes before using. (You can also prepare the dough a day in advance and refrigerate the dough until ready to use, just bring to room temperature before preparing the parathas).

3. Divide the dough into approximately 12-14 one inch diameter balls. Dust the balls with a little extra flour and keep the balls covered with a clean moist cloth to prevent drying. Before preparing the parathas, grease your palms a little with the oil. Take one ball in the palm of your hands and flatten to form a disc that is about 5 inches wide. Place about a generous teaspoon of the chopped kimchi in the center and bring the edges and seal the top (this is similar to making a dumpling). Flatten the top with your hands and using your fingers flatten to form a disc that is about 6 inches wide. While flattening the disc try to push the filling in the center towards to the side. Prepare the rest of the parathas similarly. (The photograph panel above, has step-by-step figures). 

4. Heat a non-stick or cast iron skillet on medium high. Put about 1/2 a teaspoon of vegetable oil in the center of the hot pan and add one paratha in the center. Cook on each side for about 2 minutes until each side is lightly blistered and seared. PlaceCook the rest of the parathas similarly. 

5. Serve the parathas with quartered boiled egg slices garnished with a few scallion and radish slices along with a little kimchi on the side. Season with salt and pepper as needed.