This is something I first made a year ago, at least and have been making and teaching a lot ever since. It’s a simple bread recipe that got perked up with the addition of my friend Megha of i2cook‘s fantastic basil pesto. Megha makes a cashew nut and soy oil pesto that is fresh and organic, and quite versatile–I’ve used it in sandwiches and pastas and dips and have always been happy with the result. It works beautifully in these rolls, too.

Apart from pestos of various kinds, I have played around with:

  • Maharashtrian or Gujarati-style garlic chutney mixed with a little grated cheddar
  • Nutella or any other Nut Butter with chopped nuts (just increase the amount of sugar in the dough and use milk instead of water)
  • Indian pickle masalas (I’ve used the masala and pickling oil leftover in jars after the pieces of mango and lemon have vanished, and I have been more than happy with the result!)
  • Chopped fresh herbs with butter and/or cheese
  • Chopped chorizo and sundried tomatoes
  • Jalapenos and cheese

Here’s the recipe!


  • 200 gms. flour
  • 2 tsp. yeast (I use fast acting dry yeast; if you’re using an Indian brand of dry yeast, use 2.5 tsp. and rest the dough longer)
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • ¾ cup lukewarm water (more or less as needed)
  • 3 tbsp. Pesto
  • 2 tsp. butter +for brushing
  • 1 tsp. salt


  1. Place the yeast and sugar in a bowl and top with the lukewarm water. Leave in a warm place to froth for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Make a soft dough using the frothed yeast and the flour, adding more water if necessary. Work the dough on a clean surface such as a counter top.
  3. Rub the salt and butter together until light and foamy and work into the dough. Knead well. Rest covered with a plastic wrap or moist muslin for 15-20 minutes (in a warm climate) or until double in size.
  4. Punch  the dough and knead again. Roll out onto a floured surface until about ¼ inch thick. Spread the Nutella.
  5. Roll the dough into a spiral log.
  6. Cut the log into 2-inch pieces and place cut side up in a round 9-inch pan with some space in between for the rolls to rise. Leave to double in size again.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes at 200 degrees centigrade. The tops should be a light gold.
  8. Remove and brush with the melted butter when hot.
  9. Cool completely before serving.

This is my contribution to January 2013’s We Knead to Bake event, organized by one of my food photography idols, Aparna, of My Diverse Kitchen. Check out her post to see what the other members of the group have been baking!