Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tomato dosa

I prepared this tomato dosa for Prajwal's snack box recently and he loved it for its attractive color and taste. I have not made it spicy as this is a kid friendly version. You can make it more spicy by adding green/red chillies accordingly to suit your taste buds. Saute and grind the chillies along with the tomato mixture.

Ingredients

Dosa batter - 1 cup
Tomato - 1, large and ripe, chopped
Onion - 2 tbsp apprx or 1/2 an onion, chopped finely
Garlic - 2 or 3, chopped finely
Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp
Salt and oil as needed.

Method
  1. Heat a pan, add a tsp of oil. Once the oil is hot enough, add the cumin seeds and allow to splutter. Add the garlic flakes and saute for a min, followed by onion. Saute until the onion turns transparent. Then add the chopped tomatoes and saute until the raw smell goes off. Add the coriander leaves and asafoetida, mix well and turn off the flame.
  2. Allow this to cool down completely and grind to a smooth paste. Add salt as per taste, but keep in mind that the dosa batter already would have some salt.
  3. Mix the tomato paste along with the dosa batter and stir well.
  4. Now that the tomato dosa batter is ready, heat a skillet, pour a ladle full of batter, drizzle few drops of oil along the sides. Cook on both sides. Goes well with coconut chutney. 






Monday, November 18, 2013

Potato Cheese Balls

Potato and cheese together? What a heavenly combination it can be was the thought that came into my mind when I saw this recipe on some cookery show. I wanted to give it a try for a long time and got a chance to make it for potluck at VJ's office and it was one of the hit dishes that day. I had to make it in bulk, so did couple of trial runs and it turned out well all the times. Prajju loved this a lot, he calls them "kekako ball" :P. I have been teaching him to call it potato, he is still trying to pronounce it right. But I love the way he says kekako :-) .

Ingredients

Potato - 3
Cheese - 5 small cubes
Corn flour - 1 tbsp
Garlic cloves - 3, grated
Green chilli - 1 or 2, thinly sliced
Bread crumbs - 1/4 cup (bread crumbs made out of 2 breads)
Oil - 1 tsp for sauting
Oil for frying
salt, pepper powder as per taste

Yields 4 or 5 balls

Method
  1. Boil and mash the potatoes. Set aside
  2. Take the corn flour in a bowl, mix little water and form a thin batter out of it.
  3. Heat oil in a pan, add the grated garlic and green chillies and saute for a minute. Then add the mashed potatoes, salt and pepper and give a stir. Turn off the stove. Allow to cool down a bit.
  4. Divide the potato mixture into equal portion, take one ball and stuff it with a small piece of cheese in the center and cover from all sides. Roll them in between palms to get a ball shape. Do this for all the balls.
  5. Now, take the cheese stuffed potato ball, dip in the corn batter and roll in the bread crumbs. Make sure it is well coated with the bread crumbs. Do this for all the balls.
  6. Heat the oil for frying in a pan. Check if the oil is hot enough and then fry them until golden brown. The potato balls will not take much time to be fried. They will be done in seconds.  Drain in a paper towel and serve hot with tomato ketchup!!

 Tips
  1. The corn flour batter should be very thin, if it is thick the outer layer will peel of while frying.
  2. You may have to wash and dry your hands each time you feel the potatoes are sticky and if you don't get a perfect ball.
  3. Make sure you do not break the bread crumbs coating when you turn the balls from side to side or else the potato and the cheese may ooze out of the ball.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mixed Veg Raita


Ingredients

Curd - 1 cup
Onion - 1 (small sized)
Tomato - 1 (small sized)
Cucumber - 1
Capsicum - 1/2
Carrot - 1 (small sized)
Green chilli - 1, sliced thinly
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Red Chilli powder - 1/4 tsp
Corriander leaves, mint leaves, curry leaves - few, finely chopped
Salt as per taste

Method
  1. Beat or whisk the curd, add all the vegetables and salt.
  2. Garnish with cumin powder, red chilli powder, corriander leaves, curry leaves and mint leaves. You can also stir in them along with the vegetables so that all the flavors get along well.
  3. Refrigerate and serve chilled.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Chilli Parotta

Chilli Parotta is the best option to transform your frozen parotta's when you don't feel like making a better accompaniment for it. This is a very simple and easy dinner recipe. The actual way of preparing this dish in restaurants is to deep fry the parotta's and then to toss them along with the vegetables and sauce. I definitely not gonna deep fry or toss them. My way of preparing is to prepare the paratha in the tawa, cut them into pieces, prepare the sauce and then mix the parathas with this. Do not forget to serve this with any kind of raita or atleast curd for its spice level :-) Adding lime juice just before serving helps suppressing the spiciness too. Try this out and I am sure you will definitely like it!!

Ingredients

Parotta - 2 nos
Onion - 2, chopped
Tomato - 1, sliced finely
Capsicum - 1/2, chopped into thin strips
Garlic - 4 cloves, chopped
Green chillies - 3, slit lengthwise
Coriander leaves - 2 or 3 tbsp, chopped
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1.2 tsp
Chilli sauce/tomato sauce - 1 tbsp
Oil - 1 or 2 tbsp
Salt as pepr taste

Method
 
1.  Cook the parotta's until golden brown and cool down. I clicked these pictures when I prepared this  dish for a potluck. So I had used more than 2 parottas.











2.  Cut them or tear them into bite size pieces.












3.  Heat oil in a pan, add the fennel seeds once it splutters, add the garlic and onion and saute until it turns transparent. Then add the capsicum followed by tomatoes and coriander leaves saute in high flame for a minute. Usually they toss them in high flame to get the nice flavor. If you are not comfortable with tossing, just saute them in high flame.
4.  Lower the flame to minimum and add red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala, tomato sauce and the salt. Fry until the raw smell goes off. Add the sliced parotta pieces and mix well. Turn them evenly so that the masalas and the parottas mix together well.
5.  Add some more coriander leaves for garnish, switch off the flame, keep covered for few minutes allowing the flavors to blend together. Usually chilli parottas prepared at home tastes good only if we allow them to sit for few minutes giving them some time for all the flavors to blend together. Drizzle some lemon juice at the time of serving. Serve HOT with any raita!!



Note :
  • You can add vegetables like cooked peas, grated carrots or grated cabbage along with this to make variations.
  • If you don't want these parottas to be very spicy lessen the amount of chilli powder as per your taste
  • You can also add some soya sauce and spring onions to this and give a chinese touch to this recipe
  • You can also prepare chilli chapati following the same steps above except for replacing parotta with cooked chapati.

Mysore Pak


I was not a great fan of Mysore Pak. VJ loves them and he used to prepare it for any special occasion. As I am not a big fan of it I did not show much interested in learning the recipe. But when I happened to taste the Sri Krishna Sweets mysore pak, the smooth and soft, ghee flavored sweet started attracting me. When my interest on food started growing I wanted to give a try on mysore pak too. When I saw the quantity of ghee used, as usual my brain started warning me and I reduced the quantity a bit. The result was a hard and rock shaped mysore pak, but still it tasted in its own way. That's the lesson learnt. A soft and melt-in-your mouth mysore pak needs lots (loads) of ghee!! This Diwali, when I was thinking of preparing any sweets, my mom and sis asked for a mysore pak. Hence my second attempt was a no-compromise version. And yeah, now I got it right and perfect :-)

Mysore pak is an easy, yet tricky sweet to prepare. Conflicting right? Yes, that is how this sweet is. You have to be very cautious while preparing this. This sweet would get its perfect shape and taste in a matter of 10-15 seconds. If you miss that, you will end up with a hard and dry mysore pak. It's all about learning the correct techniques for a perfect mysore pak. I will try to list out every bit of my learning. Hope this will make your effort much easier.

Ingredients

Besan flour - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 1/2 cups
Water - 1/2 cup
Ghee - 1 cup + 2 tbsp

Method
  1. Grease a plate or tray with ghee and keep aside.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp ghee until smoky and mix this with the sifted flour. This helps to remove the raw taste of besan flour and gives a nice aroma. Mix the besan flour gently using a spoon so that the ghee spreads evenly across the flour. Now sift this and set aside. This helps avoiding any lumps while mixing the flour along with the sugar syrup.
  3. Prepare the sugar syrup. In a wide bottomed pan, add sugar and 1/2 cup of water, boil on medium heat until one string consistency. That is, when you touch the syrup and stretch between your thumb and index finger, a string will be formed. Or place a drop of the syrup in a bowl containing cold water and the drop should be firm like a ball rather than getting dissolved. 
  4. Now add the besan flour to the sugar syrup stirring continuously, mix until smooth, there should not be any lumps. Make sure the heat is medium at all times.
  5. Start adding the ghee slowly using your left hand while you stir constantly with your right hand. Add one or two table spoon of ghee to the besan-sugar mixture, it sizzles, shows holes in the mixture and absorbs all of them. Now again add one or two tbsp of ghee and follow the same steps until you finish adding all the ghee. By this time, the besan will start leaving the sides, will start changing color, a nice aroma will be coming and will be a frothy mixture with lot of holes.
  6. At this point immediately turn off the flame and transfer the mixture to the greased tray, wait until warm and cut into desired shape. Allow to cool down completely before transfering to its container. 

Tips
  • Always keep the flame in medium for the right consistency.
  • One string consistency is a must, if you add the besan mixture before one string is formed mysore pak will be like halwa.
  • Stirring constantly is very important or the besan-sugar mixture will get a burnt smell.
  • Turn off the flame only when the color changes and it starts leaving the sides. Even if you turn off the flame few seconds before it is done, mysore pak will be sticky and you will not be able to make pieces out of it.
  • Make this sweet only when you find sufficient time. You cannot do any parallel works while preparing this sweet as you need both your hands for adding the ghee and stirring continuously.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dates Vanilla Smoothie

A Smoothie is a blended beverage which has a consistency thicker than a milkshake. They can be prepared using milk, yogurt or ice cream. This is a quick, easy and nutritious recipe that can be had for breakfast. I have used yogurt which gives a sour taste to the smoothie. You can omit yogurt and increase the quantity of milk and honey. If not diet conscious you can add ice cream too.

Ingredients

Seedless dates - 10 or 12
Milk - 1/2 cup
Curd - 1/2 cup
Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp
Honey - 1 tsp
Chocolate shavings - 1 tsp

Method
  1. Soak dates in boiling water for 10 minutes or until they become soft.
  2. Puree together all the ingredients until smooth. Transfer to drinking glass, sprinkle some chocolate shavings and enjoy!!

Butter cookie

This was the first time I tried my hands on baking. So I was not exactly sure if they were perfectly done. I removed them before the edges begin to brown, but still they were baked perfectly and tasted good! And the recipe is here..

Ingredients

All Purpose Flour (APF) - 1 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Baking powder - 1/4 tsp

Salt - 1/8 tsp
Unsalted butter - 1/ cup (1 stick)

Yields 12 biscuits

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
  2. Using a hand mixer, cream the butter until soft. Add the sugar little by little and beat until soft and fluffy. Add APF, baking powder and salt and knead well to a smooth dough. Do not add any water. 
  3. Divide the dough into equal balls. Take each dough ball, shape them to round and flaten slightly between palms. Arrange on a greased baking sheet and bake for 15-20 mins or until the cookies are lightly golden brown. Test if the cookies are done by inserting a tooth pick in the center of the cookie, if it comes out clean, perfect!
  4. Remove the cookies from the oven, allow to cool on the baking sheet for couple of minutes and then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.



Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake, a bright red colored cake with attractive white frosting tempts you to have a bite whenever I happen to see it. This cake is one of my favorite cakes. This cake has a mild chocolate flavor with a moist tender crumb, which is achieved by adding a small amount of cocoa powder and buttermilk. Traditionally, it is topped with cream cheese frosting. I too tried the same and the combination was heavenly. Now, here comes the recipe!

Ingredients

All Purpose Flour (APF) - 2 1/2 cups
Sugar - 1 1/2 cups

Cocoa powder - 2 tbsp
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp, skip if using salted butter
Unsalted butter - 1/2 cup
Eggs - 2
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Buttermilk - 1 cup
Red food coloring - 2 tbsp (liquid)
White distilled vinegar - 1 tsp

Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream cheese - 8 oz, room temperature
Mascarpone cheese - 8 oz, room temperature
Powdered sugar - 1 cup
Heavy whipping cream (double cream) - 1 1/2 cups
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Take two-9 inch round pans, butter and line with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, sift and stir together APF, cocoa powder and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the butter until soft, add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as and when needed.
  3. In a separate cup, whisk the buttermilk with red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed alternately add the flour and the colored buttermilk to the butter mixture. 
  4. In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda, allow to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.
  5. Divide the batter evenly to the two prepared pans, smooth the top with a spatula and bake for 25-30 mins or until the toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Cool down the cakes completely on a wire rack and then wrap them in a cling wrap and refrigerate atleast for an hour. This helps for easy frosting. Once cooled, do the frosting and enjoy every bit of it!!




Reference: JoyOfBaking

Cabbage Kootu

Cabbage kootu is one of the easiest kootu recipes. It doesn't take much of your time and can be had with both rice and chapati's. Kootu can always be mixed with rice or can be had as a side for any spicy kuzhambu varieties. Now, here comes the recipe.

Ingredients

Cabbage - 2 cups, chopped
Channa dal - less than 1 cup, soaked atleast for one hour. You can soak the previous night too
Onion - 1
Tomato - 1
Salt, turmeric powder and hing as per taste

To grind

Coconut - 2 tbsp, grated
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Green chilli - 1

Grind all these to a fine paste by adding little water.

To Temper
Oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, curry leaves and red chillies as per taste

Method

  1. Add all the ingredients mentioned under "Ingredients" to a pressure cooker, add water and cook for 3 whistles. If you want the cabbage to be cooked soft, reduce the flame to simmer after one whistle and allow to cook for 5 minutes and then turn off the flame
  2. After the steam releases, add the ground paste and allow to boil for 5 mins.
  3. You can also add brown/white channa or peas along with this kootu. Soak them overnight, pressure cook them separately and add it to the kootu along with the ground paste.
  4. In a seperate pan, do the tempering and add it to the kootu and stir well. Healthy and tasty cabbage kootu is ready to be served.


Nutritional Information

Cabbages are incredibly nutritious. They are very low in fat and calories and are a good source of multiple B Vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and many minerals. In particular, cabbage contains powerful anti-cancer compounds known as glucosinolates. Several varieties are cultivated worldwide including green, purple, red, and savoy (loose-wrinkled leaves). Cabbage also has lot of anti-cancer properties in it. It is always better to steam a cabbage rather than microwaving so as to maximize the health benefits. Avoid buying pre-cut cabbage, because once it is cut it starts losing its valuable vitamin C content. Once cut, consume the left over cabbage within two days to enjoy its nutrients.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Cream Cheese Brownies

When I found this recipe from JoyOfBaking I wanted to try this immediately. So I baked this the same week end. I have never tasted brownies till then and never knew the taste of brownies. But when I baked these, I was overwhelmed with the result though they were little too done. These cream cheese brownies are that finger licking good :-)

Though the name may look fancy it is such an easy dessert. This doesn't require any artificial leavening agent like baking powder or baking soda. The trick to make a dense and fudge like brownie is to reduce the amount of flour and to incorporate less air as possible while mixing the batter. So an electric mixer is not required for mixing the batter except for softening the cream cheese. Now, here comes the recipe.

Ingredients

Unsalted butter - 1/2 cup
Unsweetened chocolate - 4 oz
Sugar - 1 1/4 cup
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Eggs - 2
All Purpose Flour (APF) - 1/2 cup
Salt - 1/4 tsp (Skip this if using salted butter)

Cream Cheese Layer:

Cream cheese - 8 oz, at room temperature
Sugar - 1/3 cup
Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp
Egg - 1 

Method
  1. Preheat oven to  325F i.e 160C. Line a 9 inch square cake pan with aluminum foil. The foil should ideally cover the bottom and two sides of the pan, with a two inch over hang on the two sides. The over hang will help lifting the baked brownies from the pan easily.
  2. Take butter and the chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Place this bowl in a large sauce pan with simmering water. Heat stirring occasionally until smooth, this may take approximately 2-3 minutes. 
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla extract. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Stir in the flour and salt and beat vigorously until you get a smooth and glossy batter.
  4. Remove and reserve some, say 1/2 cup of the batter and set aside. Spread the remaining of the brownie batter evenly onto the prepared pan.
  5. Take another bowl and beat the cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. You can use your food processor or hand mixer for this purpose. Add the egg, sugar and vanilla extract and beat until smooth and creamy. 
  6. Spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the brownie layer. Spoon 16 small dollops (4 rows with 4 dollops of brownie batter in each row) of the reserved brownie batter evenly on top of the cream cheese filling.
  7. With a knife or a skewer gently swirl the brownie batter and the cream cheese filling to get a marble effect.
  8. Bake until the brownies are set and the cream cheese is just beginning to brown or a tooth pick inserted comes out with few moist crumbs. This might take around 45-50 mins. 
  9. Allow the brownies to cool for 10 minutes and then remove from the pan with the help of the overhangs and place in a wire rack to cool down completely. Cover and refrigerate until they are firm enough to cut into nice squares, that is for a minimum of 3 hours or upto overnight. 
  10. Once chilled remove the aluminum foil and transfer to a cutting board. Using a sharp knife cut into 16 equal squares. Wipe your knife with a damp cloth between cuts for a perfect square. However you serve, cold or at room temperature, these cream cheese brownies are to-die for!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients

Unsalted butter - 1/2 cup, melted
Eggs - 2
Milk - 2/3 cup
Vanilla extract - 1 1/2 tsp
Maida/All Purpose Flour (APF) - 2 cups
Granulated sugar - 2/3 cup
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp (Skip this if using salted butter)
Chocolate chips - 1 cup (Semi-sweet, bittersweet, milk or white chocolate chips, anything would go well with this)

Method
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F or 190C. Grease the muffin tray or line with paper liners.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla extract.
  3. In another bowl, sieve and stir together the dry ingredients. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. With a spatula fold the wet ingredients along with the melted butter into the dry ingredients. Do not over mix, stir only until ingredients are combined.
  5. Fill each muffin cup with 3/4th batter. Bake for 18-20 mins, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. 
** You can replace chocolate chips with blueberries or raspberries too.



Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chocolate Cake

This is the first cake I baked. My first cake was an eggless version and it did not turn out soft and moist. There after I started using in my cakes and drizzled some sugar syrup while frosting and this helped the cake to remain moist and soft.

Ingredients

Maida /All Purpose Flour (APF) - 1 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Unsweetened cocoa powder - 1/4 cup
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 3/4 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Unsalted Butter - 1/3 cup
Warm water - 1 cup
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Eggs - 2

Method
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C. Butter or spray with a non-stick spray a cake pan of your choice.
  2. In a bowl sieve and stir together all the dry ingredients starting from APF to Salt. If you are using salted butter you need not add salt seperately.
  3. In a separate bowl beat the butter till soft and fluffy using a electric hand mixer. Add the sugar and beat well. Now add the eggs one at a time and beat for few more minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract too. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and and when needed.
  4. Add the sifted dry ingredients slowly to the wet ingredients bowl and mix gently with a spatula and then beat using a hand mixer so that you can avoid flour sprinkling all around. Do not over mix, just beat until all the ingredients are mixed well.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 35-40 mins or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed or a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Remove from oven and place it in a wire rack to cool down completely. Decorate it as you wish and enjoy!

Black Forest Cake

Black forest cake is a popular German dessert which is loved by almost everyone who tastes it.  A typical black forest cake has several layers of chocolate cake with whipped cream and cherries in between each layer. I just tried this cake with two layers. Let us begin by baking a chocolate cake first.

Ingredients

Maida or All Purpose Flour (APF) - 1 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Unsweetened cocoa powder - 1/4 cup
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 3/4 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp (Skip this if you are using salted butter)
Unsalted butter - 1/3 cup
Warm water - 1 cup
Eggs - 2
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Chocolate - 1/2 cup, grated

Cherries

Powdered sugar - 1/4 cup
Tinned cherries - 1 tin

For Whipped cream

Heavy whipping cream - 600 ml or 2 1/2 cups
Granulated white sugar - 3 tbsp
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp

Method

Chocolate Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350F or 180C.
  2. Butter or spray with a non-stick spray a round 9 inch cake pan.
  3. In a bowl, sift and stir together all the dry ingredients (APF, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt) one by one.
  4. In a separate large bowl beat the butter until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract too. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as and when needed.
  5. Add the sifted dry ingredients and the milk to the butter, sugar mixture. Mix gently with a spatula first and then beat using the hand mixer. This way you can avoid flour sprinkling all around. Beat until you get a smooth batter.
  6. Pour the cake batter into the cake pan, smoothing the top with the help of a spatula or knife.
  7. Bake for 35-40 mins or until a skewer or toothpick inserted comes out clean. Start checking from 30 mins onwards.
  8. Cool on a wire rack before removing from the pan. 
Whipped Cream Frosting
In a large mixing bowl place the whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar and stir to combine. Cover and chill the bowl in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, then beat the mixture until stiff peaks form, apprx 5-6 mins. Place the whipped cream in the refrigerator meantime you assemble the cake.

Cherry Syrup
Open the tinned cherries and drain the liquid (cherry syrup). Measure 1 cup of syrup and add 3 tbsp of powdered sugar and mix. This is to reduce the tartness of the cherry syrup.

Assemble the cake
  1. Using a sharp knife cut the cake into two layers. Invert the cake so that the top of the cake becomes bottom. Place on your serving plate and place the plate in a turn table so that it is easy for frosting.
  2. Drizzle or brush the cake layer with 5-6 tbsp of cherry syrup covering the entire cake. Do not drizzle too much syrup as the cake might become soggy.
  3. Take a cup of whipped cream and spread a thick layer and spread some chopped cherries over the whipped cream.
  4. Place another layer of the cake with the flat side facing upwards and drizzle the cherry syrup topping up with a thin layer of whipped cream on top and along the sides of the cake.
  5. Place the cake in refrigerators for 1-2 hrs. The frosting should be dry enough to handle. 
  6. Place the remaining cream in a pastry bag with a star tip. Remove the cake from the fridge and pipe stars. Place cherries on top of each star. Sprinkle the grated chocolate all over the top and the sides of the cake. Refrigerate before serving and enjoy this D'licious cake!



Friday, October 11, 2013

Choco-Vanilla Cake/Marble Cake

Marble cake is a mixture of chocolate and vanilla batters swirled together to achieve a marble effect. This cake doesn't require any frosting and can be had as such because of the vanilla and chocolate flavors blended together. Here comes the recipe!

Ingredients

Unsalted butter - 1/2 cup or 100 gms
Sugar - 1 1/4 cup
Eggs - 2
Warm milk - 1 cup
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Maida/All Purpose Flour (APF) - 2 cups
Cocoa powder - 2 tbsp
Baking powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp (Skip this if you are using salted butter)

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350F or 180C.
  2. Butter or spray with a non-stick spray a cake pan of your choice.
  3. In a bowl, sift and stir together all the dry ingredients except cocoa powder(APF, baking powder, baking soda and salt) one by one.
  4. In a separate large bowl beat the butter until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract too. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as and when needed.
  5. Add the sifted dry ingredients and the milk to the butter, sugar mixture. Mix gently with a spatula first and then beat using the hand mixer. This way you can avoid flour sprinkling all around. Beat until you get a smooth batter.
  6. Remove half of the batter and place it in a separate bowl. Stir in the cocoa powder and whisk well to get a lump free chocolate batter. You can add cocoa to more of the batter depending on which flavor you want the most.
  7. Place the vanilla batter and chocolate batters alternately in the greased pan. Then with the end of the wooden skewer or a knife gently draw swirls through the batter to give an marble effect. 
  8. Bake for 30-40 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. 
  9. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool down completely. 
  10. That's it..the marvelous looking soft and spongy Chocolate-Vanilla marble cake is ready. Slice it and enjoy every bite of this yummylicious cake just on its own. 

My cake was all crumbled when my little one tried to have a bite before even I could give him his share :-) And the crumbled cake has to turn out to an Island, where Mickey and Minnie had so much fun!




Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Soft Chapathi

Initially I would struggle a lot for making soft chapathi's. More often my chapathi's will be hard. After lot of googling and trial and error methods found few tips to be helpful. Adding a little bit of oil while kneading the dough and using warm water for kneading the dough will help your dough to be soft which is one key thing for a softer chapathi. The other trick lies in the way you roll the dough. The dough should be rolled thin evenly so that they puff up fully. And yeah the chapathi will definitely be super soft. You would not need oil while cooking the chapati's if you are using a non-stick tawa.

Ingredients

Whole Wheat flour - 1 cup
Warm Water - 1/2 cup apprx.
Oil - 1 tsp
Salt as per taste

Method

  1. In a wide bowl add the whole wheat flour, salt and oil and mix well.
  2. Add the warm water little by little and knead to a soft pliable dough. You may need a little more or less water depending on the flour. Make sure the dough is not too hard or not sticky. It should be soft and smooth. Keep covered and set aside for 20-30 mins
  3. Open and knead it again and make equal sized balls and roll them evenly into thin circles dusting with little wheat flour when needed. Do not dust too much as this will make the chapathi's dry.
  4. Heat the tawa and place the rolled dough on it. Let it cook for few minutes. You will see small bubbles forming, now flip to the other side. Now use a damp cloth or a paper towel and press gently, it will puff.
  5. Keep the chapathi covered airtight so that it remains soft for hours.

Nutritional Information

Wheat is a cereal grain. Whole wheat products have increased fiber and nutrients compared to their refined wheat counterparts. Fiber is essential to our health because it has shown to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, lower blood cholesterol, control blood sugar levels and help relieve constipation. Whole wheat is rich in B vitamins, vitamin E and only has less fat content. Also whole wheat is a very good source of  minerals like Manganese and Selenium.

Mixed Vegetable Pakora

An easy to make starter prepared with vegetables of your choice. Who doesn't like a freshly fried fritter?

Ingredients

Vegetables of your choice - carrots, french beans, cabbage, onion, brinjal, potato etc.
Gram flour/kadalai maavu - 1/2 cup

Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves - few, finely chopped
Hing and salt as per taste
Oil for deep frying

Method
  1. Wash the vegetables and cut them into thin slices, preferably lengthwise.
  2. In a mixing bowl add all the ingredients except oil, one by one. Add little water to make a thick batter. The batter should be well coated over the vegetables but still not runny.
  3. Heat oil in a deep frying pan. Test if it is hot enough for making the pakoras by dropping a small ball of batter, if it sizzles and comes up immediately then start proceeding
  4. Take a spoonful of batter coated vegetables and carefully drop the hot oil and fry till golden brown in medium heat. Do not drop big dollops, then the vegetables will not be evenly cooked. Take them out once they turn golden brown and drain in a paper towel.
  5. Enjoy hot pakoras with ketchup or cilantro chutney or tamarind chutney.

Godhumai Rava Upma - Wheat Rava Upma

I haven't heard of wheat rava until I got married. Even after that I was not aware of the recipe and I did not take interest in learning that too. Once my sis was telling me the benefits of this wheat rava and only then I was attracted towards it. Then I learnt the recipe from her and now it is one of the regular breakfast recipes in our home. Pressure cooking this makes the work much easier and faster!

Ingredients

Wheat Rava - 1 cup
Onion - 1
Green chilli - 1 or 2, slit lengthwise
Vegetable of your choice - carrot, beans, green peas(soaked), cabbage etc
Water - 2 cups
Salt, hing as per taste

To temper

Oil, mustard seeds, channa dal and curry leaves as per taste

Method
  1. Heat oil in a pressure cooker, do the tempering and then add green chilli and then onion and saute until it turns translucent.
  2. Then add all the vegetables one by one, saute for a minute. Add hing, salt and water and allow bring it to a boil. 
  3. Then add the wheat rava, close the lid and pressure cook for one whistle and simmer for 2-3 mins. Once the pressure releases give a quick stir. Serve hot. 
  4. This doesn't require any side dish, can be had as such. Also tastes good with coconut chutney or any pickle of your choice.

Nutritional Information

Wheat is a cereal grain. Whole wheat products have increased fiber and nutrients compared to their refined wheat counterparts. Fiber is essential to our health because it has shown to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, lower blood cholesterol, control blood sugar levels and help relieve constipation. Whole wheat is rich in B vitamins, vitamin E and has less fat content. Also whole wheat is a very good source of  minerals like Manganese and Selenium. Hence when cooked along with the vegetables we get added nutrients

Monday, September 16, 2013

Potato Paneer Balls

A snack made out of potato is an all time favorite for everyone. How would it taste when you mix paneer along with potatoes? Potato-Paneer balls... A very rich, delicious and easy starter or snack for a party or just to treat your family on a weekend evening.

Ingredients

Medium sized potatoes - 3
Crumbled paneer - 1/2 cup
Green chillies - 2 thinly sliced
Curry leaves and onions - optional
Salt as per taste
Oil for deep frying

For Batter

Maida or All Purpose Flour - 2 tbsp
Water - 4 tbsp apprx



Method

  1. Make a smooth batter out of the flour and water and set aside. Make sure there aren't any lumps.
  2. Wash and peel the potatoes and then grate them in a grater.
  3. In a pan boil the water. After it comes to boil put the shredded potatoes and let it boil for two to three minutes until they are just tender. Note: do not over cook the potatoes or they will become mushy.
  4. Using a strainer drain the hot water and then pour some cold water over the potatoes and drain them too.
  5. Once the potatoes cool down, take a handful of them and gently squeeze to remove any water content. Take care that they don't turn mushy at any point of time. Do this for the entire quantity of potatoes.
  6. Mix together the potatoes, crumbled paneer, green chillies and salt. Add the onions and curry leaves too if including. 
  7. Make small balls out of it and set aside.
  8. Heat oil in a pan, test the oil temperature by dropping in a tiny piece of the potato mixture. If it sizzles and rises immediately to the surface that's the right temperature. 
  9. Now dip the potato-paneer balls in the all purpose flour batter one at a time and gently drop them in the hot oil. Make sure the heat is on medium. Fry until you see golden brown spots on both the sides. Turn them occasionally. Once done, remove them and drain in a paper towel.
  10. Serve hot with tomato ketchup.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Green Peas Curry

Green peas, one of my favorite legume.  I like to add them in curries, rice or even while preparing poriyal like carrot, cabbage or potato. They enhance the taste of your dish and ofcourse the nutritional value too. This green peas curry is a flavorful curry that goes well with chapati, naan, jeera rice etc.

Ingredients

Green Peas - 1 cup
Potato - 1
Onion - 2
Tomato - 1
Garlic - 3 or 4 cloves
Corriander leaves - handfull
Green chillies - 3 or 4
Cashew nuts - 5 or 6
Curd - 1 tbsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Oil and salt as per need

Method
  • If adding fresh peas, soak overnight and pressure cook until soft. Cube the potato and pressure cook along with the peas.
  • Soak the cashews in warm water for 10 mins and grind along with yogurt to a smooth paste.
  • Chop the onions, tomato, garlic, green chillies and the coriander leaves roughly.
  • In a pan add a tsp of oil and saute all the above ingredients for few mins. Set aside, allow to cool and grind to a fine paste.
  • Heat a pan, add 2 tsp of oil and add both ground pastes, add garam masala, mix well and saute until oil leaves on the sides.
  • Now add the cooked peas, potato and salt. Cover and cook for few minutes until all the ingredients blend together. If adding frozen peas, cook until peas gets cooked. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with chapati or poori.

Nutritional Information

Green peas are one of the most nutritious legume, rich in health benefiting phyto-nutrients, minerals such as calcium, iron, copper, zinc, and manganese, vitamin C,K,A and anti-oxidants. They are relatively low in calories when compared with other beans. They are also excellent source of folic acid, protein and fiber. Usually peas pairs well with vegetables like carrot, cabbage, potato, beets etc. Aren't they a boon for our health?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Aloo Paratha

Aloo paratha is a Punjabi recipe, one of the most popular dishes in which paratha is stuffed with aloo mixture. I needed lot of practice for getting this right. Initially when I used to make this all the stuffing would come out and the total process will be very messy. With lot of practice found the tricks and started getting it right.  But then with lot of practice and patience I started getting it right. One of the very important thing is the consistency of the chapati dough and the mashed aloo. Both of them should be very soft to handle.The chapati dough should be very very soft but still non-sticky. This can be achieved using oil and warm water for kneading the dough. Similarly, the potatoes has to be boiled well and mashed totally well without any bigger chunks. There should not even be any big piece. Else they will start coming out while rolling the parathas. These are the tips I learnt by practice. Hope this helps you. Now, to the recipe!!



Ingredients

Whole wheat flour - 1 cup
Salt as needed
Warm Water as needed to knead the dough
Oil - 1 tsp for kneading the dough
Ghee - for cooking the parathas.

Method

In a bowl, add the wheat flour, salt, oil and mix well. Now add the warm water little by little and knead into a soft dough. Note that the dough should be very soft, but should not stick to your fingers. Keep covered for 15 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the stuffing.

For the stuffing

Potatoes - 2 or 3 (medium sized, boiled and mashed well)
Green chillies - 2, very thinly sliced
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp
Salt a pinch
Corriander leaves finely chopped
  1. Mix all the stuffing ingredients together. Make equal size and equal number of balls as of the kneaded dough. 
  2. Roll the dough into small round shape, place the potato balls in the center. Seal by pulling the edges of the rolled dough together to make a ball.
  3. On a lightly floured surface roll the parathas to nice rounds keeping the sealed part on the top. Don't roll them too thin or the stuffing will come out.
  4. Remove the excess of dry flour from the rolled paratha. Gently pull it to the hot tawa, allow to get cooked on low flame. Add few drops of ghee and cook until golden brown spots appear on them.
  5. Delicious aloo parathas are ready. Enjoy them with curd and pickle
Nutritional Information

Wheat is a cereal grain. Whole wheat products have increased fiber and nutrients compared to their refined wheat counterparts. Fiber is essential to your health because it has shown to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, lower blood cholesterol, control blood sugar levels and help relieve constipation. Whole wheat is rich in B vitamins, vitamin E and only has approximately five percent fat. Also whole wheat is a very good source of  minerals like Manganese and Selenium.
Experts say that Potatoes provide the body with an essential source of fuel and energy, which you need even when dieting. Potatoes are also a rich source of Vitamin B, folate and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and iron. Needless to say that nutrients of a potato can be enjoyed when baked or boiled rather than from a fried potato.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ridge Gourd Chutney/Peerkangai Thuvayal

Ridge gourd poriyal is one of my favorites that my mom used to cook. But VJ was not very much interested in that. And so it has become a rarest make in my kitchen. When I came to know that we can make chutney with this nutritious vegetable, I wanted to give it a shot. Luckily this suited the taste buds of all the members in my family and now it has become a frequent visitor :) Prajju loves this a lot!! Check the "Nutritional Information" section for more info and now to the recipe.



Ingredients

Ridge gourd - 2
Onion - 1, chopped finely
Tomato - 1, chopped
Garlic - 2, chopped
Salt, hing and turmeric powder as per taste

Ingredients

Oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves

Method
  1. Wash and scrap the skin of the ridge gourd (you do not have to peel off the skin completely). Chop it into medium sized pieces
  2. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan. Add the chopped garlic and onions and saute until the onion turns translucent. Then add the chopped tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes turn mushy.
  3. Then add the chopped ridge gourd, salt, hing and turmeric powder. Keep covered and cook until the ridge gourd is fully cooked. This will not take much time as the vegetable gets cooked quickly. Also you may not have to add water as the vegetable itself will ooze out some water. Switch off the flame and set aside to cool down.
  4. Grind in a mixer to a smooth paste. Do the tempering and pour it in the ridge gourd chutney. Enjoy with Idly/dosa.
** You can also make it as a thuvayal, by altering the ingredients. Skip onion, tomatoes and garlic. Just cook the vegetable and grind it along with a small piece of tamarind and 2 tbsp of coconut. Then do the tempering. Ridge gourd thuvayal is ready to be enjoyed with hot rice!!

Nutritional Information

Vegetables of the "gourd" family are extremely advantageous through the health perspective. Of these the Ridge gourd is said to be extremely rich in fibre, quite lower in saturated fats and calories. It is abundant in Vitamin C, zinc, thiamin, iron, magnesium etc and boosts up your immune system. When included in your regular diet this vegetable acts as an excellent blood purifier. Also as this is a watery vegetable this helps in reducing your body weight. The best part is this veggie has a nice sweet taste that everyone will like. So include this in your regular diet as a stir fry or poriyal or chutney and enjoy its benefits.

    Tuesday, July 16, 2013

    Channa Rice

    Channa rice is a healthy and wholesome meal which is perfect for a lunch box too. This meal comes in handy when you do not have any vegetables handy. Cucumber raita pairs very well with this rice. The soft cooked channas and the crisp cucumbers make an ideal pair.

    Ingredients

    Rice - 1 cup
    Chick peas or Kabuli Channa - 1/4 cup
    Garlic - 4 cloves, chopped finely
    Onion - 1, cut lenghtwise
    Tomato - 1, small sized, cut lengthwise
    Capsicum - 2 tbsp, chopped lengthwise
    Mint leaves - 4 or 5 leaves
    Corriander leaves - 1 tbsp
    Dried Kasuri methi leaves - 1 tbsp
    Red Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
    Rice Mix Powder - 1 tsp (or) Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
    Salt and turmeric powder as per taste

    To Temper

    Mustard seeds, cumin seeds, channa dal and curry leaves as per taste
    Green chilli - 1 or 2 slit lengthwise



    Method
    1. Soak the channa overnight and pressure cook until soft. Cook the rice, allow to cool, fluff it with a fork and set aside.
    2. Heat oil in a pan, do the seasoning with ingredients  mentioned under "To Temper". Add the garlic and saute for few seconds.
    3. Then add the onions and fry them until they turn transparent. Adding a pinch of salt will speed up the process. Now, add the capsicum, tomatoes, mint leaves and coriander leaves and saute for 2 mins.
    4. Add cooked channa, turmeric powder, chilly powder, hing, rice mix powder or garam masala and salt. Now, crush the kasuri methi leaves in between your palms and sprinkle it to the channa mixture. Stir well.
    5. Mix the rice, check for salt and add if necessary. Turn off the stove. Garnish with coriander leaves. Close the lid and allow to sit for couple of minutes to let all the flavors blend together. Enjoy with any kind of raita or gravy!!
      Nutritional Information

      Whether you call them chickpeas or garbanzo beans, these little legumes are a tasty and healthy treat! This legume is low in Saturated Fat, very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein and Copper, and a very good source of minerals like Folate and Manganese. Chickpeas can be used in salads, soups, curries and stews


      Wheat Dosa

      Wheat dosa is one of the instant dosas you can prepare when you are in a hurry. I learnt this from my mom. She used to make it crispier like Rava dosas, ofcourse spooning some extra drops of oil. But I always prefer less oil, so I don't mind my dosas to be soft as they would still taste good. Soft or crisp is upto your choice..

      Ingredients

      Wheat flour - 1 cup
      Rice flour - 1 cup(optional)
      Water - 4 cups approximately
      Salt and hing as per taste

      To Temper

      Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
      Cumin seeds - 2 tsp
      Pepper - 1 tsp (optional)
      Curry leaves as per taste
      Green chillies -2 finely chopped
      Ginger - small piece finely chopped



      Method
      1. In a bowl mix together wheat flour and rice flour. Add salt and hing.
      2. Add water little at a time and mix well so that there are no lumps. Use a whisk or egg beater for a better result.
      3. Do the tempering and pour it into the dosa batter.The batter should be watery and thin for crispy dosas or you can prefer to keep it in medium spreading consistency, the dosas will not turn too crispy but still will taste good.
      4. Heat a skillet and pour a ladle full of batter and cook on both sides drizzling few drops of oil.
      ** Reduce the quantity of water to 2 cups if you are planning to omit rice flour.
      Nutritional Information

      Wheat is a cereal grain. Whole wheat products have increased fiber and nutrients compared to their refined wheat counterparts. Fiber is essential to your health because it has shown to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, lower blood cholesterol, control blood sugar levels and help relieve constipation. Whole wheat is rich in B vitamins, vitamin E and only has approximately five percent fat. Also whole wheat is a very good source of minerals like Manganese and Selenium.

      Friday, May 3, 2013

      Baingan/Eggplant/Brinjal Raita

      Ingredients

      Curd - 1 cup
      Brinjal - 1 medium size
      Onion - 1 tbsp apprx. finely chopped
      Garlic - 1 clove, minced finely or grated
      Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
      Corriander leaves - 1 tbsp, finely chopped
      Mint leaves - 2 or 3, finely chopped
      Oil, salt, chilli powder as per taste

      Cooking the Brinjal
      The brinjal can be cooked in the gas burner or microwave or in the conventional oven too.

      Oven - Preheat to 300 degrees and then put the brinjal in a baking sheet and turn sides till its skin shows sign of cracking and can be peeled off. Also check by putting through a knife or a spoon if it is cooked from inside.
      Gas Burner - Put the brinjal directly on the gas burner and let it cook, till the outer skin starts showing cracks. Change sides so that it is cooked uniformly.
      Microwave - Make slits all over the brinjal so the air can escape while it is microwaving. Else the brinjal will burst like an egg. Put the brinjal in a microwave safe bowl and cook till half cooked. Turn to the other side and cook, so it can evenly cooked all over. The brinjal will be extremely hot, so be cautious while handling it

      Once the brinjal is cooked, allow it to cool down completely. Peel off the outer skin and mash well using a fork or spoon.

      And now the recipe for Baingan Raita
      1. Beat/whisk the curd. Mash the cooked brinjal and add to the curd, also add salt and onion
      2. Heat oil in a pan just to do the tempering. Add the cumin seeds and allow to crackle, then add the garlic and saute for few seconds and turn off the flame and pour it to the curd-brinjal mixture
      3. Stir well. Garnish with red chilli powder, coriander leaves and mint leaves. Serve it at room temperature or cold, with chapati, roti or rice.

      Cucumber Raita

      Ingredients

      Cucumber - 1
      Onion - 2 tbsp, finely chopped
      Tomato - 1 tbsp, finely chopped
      Corriander leaves - 1 tbsp, finely chopped 
      Mint leaves - 3 or 4, finely chopped
      Curd - 1 cup
      Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
      Chilli powder - 1/4 tsp
      Salt as per taste



      Method
      • Wash the cucumber, peel off the skin and cut them into small cubes.
      • Beat or whisk the curd in a bowl. Add all the ingredients one by one and mix well
      Goes well with any kind of hot and spicy food, because cucumber mellows down the spicyness of the food. You can also try sprinkling a pinch of chat masala for added flavor.

      Thursday, May 2, 2013

      Murungaikkai Kaarakuzhambu

      The first vegetable that comes in mind for making kaarakuzhambu is drumstick. Brinjal and drumstick makes a wonderful pair for sambar or kaarakuzhambu. I have not used brinjal as I did not have them handy. Don't miss to add garlic and shallots for they enhance the taste of the kuzhambu.

      Ingredients

      Murungaikkai - 10 pieces, cooked
      Pearl onions/shallots - 10
      Tomato - 1 small size
      Garlic - 4 or 5 cloves
      Coriander powder - 2 tbsp
      Jaggery - 1 tsp
      Tamarind - lemon size, soaked and extracted
      Salt, turmeric powder, hing as per taste

      To Temper
      Oil, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves and dry chillies as per taste

      To Grind
      Grated coconut - 3-4 tbsp
      Pearl Onion/shallots -3
      Fennel seeds - 1 tsp

      Method
      1. Grind the coconut, onion and fennel seeds into a smooth paste adding required amount of water
      2. Heat oil, do the tempering, add the garlic and saute for a min. Add in the onions and fry for few minutes until they start turning translucent.Now add the tomato and saute till oil oozes out from the mixture
      3. Then add the tamarind paste, coriander powder, salt, hing, turmeric powder and the ground paste. Add the cooked drumstick and add about a cup of water, cover with a lid and cook for 10 mins over medium flame.
      4. Once the raw smell goes off add the jaggery and give a quick stir. Simmer for 5 mins and turn off the stove
      Note Can also be prepared using vegetables like brinjal, ladies finger or just with shallots (small onion)

      Vathakuzhambu

      Before my marriage I have tasted this vathakuzhambu only in restaurants. My mom never prepares this at home. But we all love this when we eat at restaurants. After marriage I started making it myself. During the initial attemps it won't turn perfect. Slowly I started learning the tricks. Just allow 
      the kuzhambu to boil well until oil oozes out the corners and adding a bit of jaggery at the end. Now to the most delicious recipe.

      Ingredients

      Onion - 1
      Tamarind paste - 1/2 tsp or lemon sized ball, soak and extract the juice
      Sambar powder - 2 tsp
      Sundakkai or manathakali vathal - 3 tbsp

      Jaggery - 1 tsp
      Salt, turmeric powder, hing as per taste

      To Temper
      Oil, mustard seed, fenugreek seeds, channa dal, cumin seeds, curry leaves and red chillies as per taste





        Method
      • Heat oil in a pan, do the tempering with the tempering ingredients. Add sundakkai/manathakali vathal and fry until they turn golden brown. 
      • Add the onions and saute till they turn translucent. Add the tamarind extract, sambar powder, salt, turmeric powder and hing and allow to boil until the raw smell goes off. 
      • Once the oil starts separating add the jaggery and allow the gravy to thicken. Switch off the flame and enjoy with hot rice and appalam or with any kootu.
       Note - You can also replace sundakkai with other vegetables like drumstick, brinjals, ladies finger, broad beans,butter beans etc to make this spicy South Indian kuzhambu. You can also prepare this with pearl onions too. Be cautious while adding salt, the vathal itself will have some salt. So add salt accordingly



      Cabbage Rice

      Who doesn't love to make a simple, quick yet healthy food. Here is one such simple version of cabbage rice. You can make variations by adding grated carrots or capsicum along with cabbage. To make it protein rich add any bean like channa or peas or corn.

      Ingredients

      Rice - 1 cup
      Cabbage - 1/2 cup (apprx.) finely chopped
      Garlic - 3 cloves, finely chopped
      Onion - 1 medium sized, chopped lengthwise
      Tomato - 1 small sized, chopped lengthwise
      Capsicum - 2 tbsp, chopped lenthwise
      Cooked Peas - 2 tbsp
      Mint leaves - 4 or 5 leaves
      Corriander leaves - 1 tbsp
      Dried Kasuri methi leaves - 1 tbsp
      Red Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
      Rice Mix Powder - 1 tsp (or) Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
      Salt as per taste

      To Temper

      Oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, channa dal, curry leaves, green chilli, hing as per taste



      Method
      1. Pressure cook the rice, fluff it up with a fork and allow to cool down.
      2. Heat oil in a pan, do the tempering with the ingredients given, add the garlic and saute for few seconds. Then add the onions and fry them until they turn transparent. Adding a pinch of salt will speed up the process. Now, add the capsicum, tomatoes, mint leaves and coriander leaves and saute for 2 mins.
      3. Then, add in the cabbage, salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, rice mix powder or garam masala and stir for few mins. Cabbage should be cooked but retain its crisp. Now, crush the kasuri methi leaves in between your palms and sprinkle it to the cabbage mixture. Stir well.
      4. Mix the rice, check for salt and add if necessary. Turn off the stove. Garnish with coriander leaves. Close the lid and allow to sit for couple of minutes to let all the flavors blend together. Enjoy with any kind of raita!!
      Nutritional Information

      Cabbages are incredibly nutritious. They are very low in fat and calories and are a good source of multiple B Vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and many minerals. In particular, cabbage contains powerful anti-cancer compounds known as glucosinolates. Several varieties are cultivated worldwide including green, purple, red, and savoy (loose-wrinkled leaves). Cabbage also has lot of anti-cancer properties in it. It is always better to steam a cabbage rather than microwaving so as to maximize the health benefits. Avoid buying pre-cut cabbage, because once it is cut it starts losing its valuable vitamin C content. Once cut, consume the left over cabbage within two days to enjoy its nutrients.

      Sunday, April 28, 2013

      Carrot Chutney

      Ingredients

      Carrot - 2 shredded
      Onion - 1 chopped
      Tomato - 1 chopped
      Ginger - 1" piece
      Garlic - 1 or 2 pods
      Dry Red Chillies - 2
      Channa Dal - 2 tsp
      Urad dal - 2 tsp
      Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
      Oil, Salt and hing as required

      To Temper

      Oil, Mustard Seeds, Curry leaves, Urad dal

      Method
      • Heat oil in a pan. Fry cumin seeds, channa dal, urad dal, red chillies, garlic and ginger
      • Add in the onions and saute till transparent and then add the tomatoes
      • Stir for couple of minutes and then add the grated carrots
      • Cook for 2-3 minutes and switch off the stove
      • Let it cool and grind to a smooth paste
      • Do the tempering and add it to the chutney
      • Goes well with idly, dosa, pongal, chapathi or even curd rice

      Thursday, April 25, 2013

      Adai Dosa

      I have tasted adai only in my college hostel. But I haven't liked the taste much. But VJ loves it. So I learned this recipe for him and started liking it, both for its actual taste and its nutritious contents. It is a protein packed wholesome breakfast which keeps you energetic throughout the day.

      Ingredients

      Raw Rice - 1/2 cup  
      Idli Rice - 1/2 cup  
      Channa dal - 1/4 cup  
      Urad dal - 1/8 cup  
      Toor dal - 1/8 cup
      Moong dal - 1/8 cup
      Red chillies - 3  
      Ginger, garlic, onion, green chillies, salt, hing, curry leaves, coriander leaves as per taste
      (Garlic and onion are optional)

      Method
      1. Wash and soak the rice,dals and red chillies together for 2-3 hours. Grind along with ginger and garlic into a coarse and thick batter. The batter need not be as smooth as the dosa batter.
      2. Add chopped onions, green chillies, curry leaves, coriander leaves, salt and hing and mix well.
      3. Heat a skillet, take a laddle of batter and prepare dosa's. Drizzle few drops of oil and cook on both sides. Healthy adai dosa is ready. 

      Goes well with any kind of chutney or Tomato Pickle. But the best combination for this dosa, as I am told is Avial.You can also grind the onion along with the batter instead of chopping and adding them. 

      Nutritional Information

      Adai is a savory pancake made with lentils and rice. Lentils are considered wholesome as they include all the beneficial nutrients like  fiber, protein, minerals (potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin) and vitamins, and are still low in calories and contain virtually no fat.

      Oats Uthappam

      Oats are considered a very healthy food. So how about a healthy and fiber rich oats dosa for breakfast?

      Ingredients

      Oats - 1/4 cup
      Rava - 1/4 cup
      Curd - 1/2 cup
      Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
      Onion - 1, chopped finely
      Green chilli - 1, chopped finely
      Grated carrots - 2 tbsp
      Grated ginger - 1 tsp, approximately
      Curry leaves - one full strand, chopped finely
      Coriander leaves - a handful, chopped finely
      Salt and hing as per taste

      Optionally you can also add fried cashew nuts to the batter as you do for rawa dosa.

      Method
      1. Powder the oats finely. Alternately, you can dry roast the oats, cool down and grind it to a coarse powder for added flavor.
      2. In a bowl mix oats, rawa, curd, cumin seeds and salt and set aside for half an hour. After half an hour add the other ingredients (onion, green chilli, grated carrots, ginger, curry leaves and coriander leaves) and mix well. Add water to make it to an adai batter consistency.
      3. Heat a tawa, once it is hot enough, take a laddle full of batter and spread it to a thick circle as you would do for uthappams. Drizzle some drops of oil, cook on both sides and enjoy with any tangy, spicy chutney or coconut chutney. Handle the uthappams very carefully while flipping on sides as they may break apart.



      Nutritional Information

      Researches reveals that including oats in your regular diet provides you a wide range of important health benefits.Oats have a high fiber content, well-balanced protein and essential fatty acids. They are also a good source of essential vitamins such as thiamin, folic acid, biotin, pantothenic acid,vitamin E and minerals like zinc, selenium, copper, iron, manganese and magnesium. Oats helps reduce hypertension or high blood pressure and have been linked with longevity and general good health. So EatMoreOats!



      Pesarattu or Moong Dal Dosa

      Pesarattu or moong dal dosa is a popular breakfast recipe of Andhra Pradesh. Pesarattu is prepared by soaking and grinding the green moong dal. Green moong is packed with proteins which makes it wholesome and a filling breakfast. You can make the batter thick or thin depending on your taste buds. Both ways the dosas tastes good.

      Ingredients

      Whole Green Moong Dal - 1 cup
      Rice Flour - 1 tbsp (Optional)
      Onion - 1
      Green Chilli, Curry leaves, Corriander leaves, salt and hing as per taste

      Method
      1. Wash and soak the moong dal for atleast 4-5 hours. Drain the water and grind it to dosa batter consistency
      2. Chop the onions, green chilli, curry leaves and corriander leaves to very small pieces and mix along with the batter. Add in the salt, hing and rice flour if desired. Batter is ready
      3. Heat a skillet, take a laddle full of batter, drizzle few drops of oil and cook on both sides. Healthy pesarattu is ready to serve with any kind of chutney!.

      Nutritional Information

      Green moong dal is a rich source of low-fat protein and fiber which helps one to lower the high cholesterol level in the blood system. Rich in minerals such as calcium,magnesium, potassium, B vitamins and an appreciable amount of Vitamin C. It fills you up, satisfying your appetite. Including this bean regularly in your food helps you stay healthy and resistant to common weaknesses.

      Idly Podi

      Ingredients

      Urad Dal - 1 cup
      Gram Dal - 1/2 cup
      Sesame Seeds - 2 tsp
      Garlic - 8 or 10 cloves
      Dry chillies - 3 (adjust as per taste)
      Salt and hing as per taste

      Method
      • Dry roast all the ingredients one by one separately and allow them to cool down completely. Add salt and hing and grind to a coarse powder. Enjoy with Idly or dosa!

      Vanilla Ice Cream - How to make Vanilla Ice Cream @ Home - Ice Cream without Ice Cream Maker

      IcE CrEAm... without an ice-cream maker? Whoa... thank God I found this recipe. This was the surprise treat for VJ's 2012 bday. I wanted to bake him a heart cake, but he would smell the baked flavor and there would be no surprise. So I had dropped the idea of cake and this Ice-Cream recipe came into my mind. Thankfully, I had the condensed milk and whip cream handy. So silently I made this while he was playing with Prajju and watching some movie :P

      Ingredients

      Sweetened Condensed Milk - 1 can (14 oz)
      Whip Cream - 600 ml
      Vanilla extract - 2 tsp
      Chopped nuts of your choice and chocolate chips/shavings

      Method
      1. Add the whip cream in a large bowl. Beat on high using a hand mixer until it turns firm. If you don't have a hand mixer use a whisk and whisk well.
      2. Add in the condensed milk and vanilla extract and beat for few more minutes.
      3. Now, add the chopped nuts and the chocolate chips and give it a good stir. If you are using chocolate shavings, sprinkle them at the time of serving or only when you are done with the stirring process.
      4. Transfer to a freezer safe bowl and freeze until done preferably whole night.
      ** If you don't have a hand mixture and not able to get a firm mixture of all the ingredients, do not worry. Whisk them all together as much as possible and transfer to freezer safe bowl. Freeze it. Take them out every 30 mins and mix them evenly. Do this 3-4 times and then allow to set down completely.



      Wednesday, April 24, 2013

      Phirni - How to make Phirni

      Phirni is a kashmiri rice dessert which is made with ground basmati rice cooked with milk, sugar and some saffron threads for flavoring. Traditionally this desert is chilled and served in earthen bowls. Though you can have this unchilled, you get the best taste only when refrigerated. When you have some unplanned guests at home you can surprise them with this new dessert. Hardly takes some 20 mins for the whole process and then the refrigerating time. Here is the recipe!



      Ingredients

      Basmati rice - 2 tbsp

      Milk -300 ml
      Sugar - 21/2 tbsp (adjust as per taste)
      Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
      Sliced almonds - 8 or 10
      Crushed Pistachios, Raisins and few strands of saffron for garnish

      Method

      1. Soak basmati rice for 1/2 an hour in water. Drain the water, blend it to a coarse paste.
      2. Soak almonds in hot water for 10 mins and peel of the skin. Slice into thin slices.
      3. Boil the milk in a broad bottomed pan, preferably non-stick. Stir in-between so that the milk doesn't stick to the bottom. Adding a teaspoon of water before pouring milk to the pan will help milk not to stick to the pan.
      4. Add little bit of water to the rice paste and liquify it. This way you can avoid forming lumps while adding it to the milk. Now add the rice paste and almonds to the boiling milk. Give a nice stir and cook on slow flame for 10-15 mins. You can also reserve few slices of almonds for garnishing at the end. Keep scraping the sides of the pan continuously so that the milk and rice mixture doesn't stict to the sides or bottom.
      5. Now, add sugar and cardamom powder, mix well and simmer for another 5-7 minutes while continuing the scraping process. By now it could have thicken. Switch off the flame and allow it to cool. Garnish with crushed nuts and saffron.
      6. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour and enjoy chilled.

      Milk Peda - Microwave Recipe - just 3 ingredients, 3 mins!

      I am a big fan of milk sweets, milk sweets alone. And that was the story before marriage. Now, I enjoy almost every sweet. But milk sweets holds the first place anytime. When I came through this recipe I wanted to give a try for its simplicity and easiness. Not a big challenge at all. Just 15-20 minutes was that all I needed, includes the time allowed for the mixture to cool down and I had those delicious pedas in hand. WOW! They look great when you decorate them with crushed pistachios. I just forgot to click them when I decorated with pistachios. So here is the version with almonds.

      Ingredients

      Milk Powder - 2 cups
      Sweetened Condensed Milk or Milkmaid - one 14 oz can
      Butter - 1 stick or 8 tablespoons
      Cardamom powder - a pinch (optional)
      Pistachios/Almonds or nuts of your choice. Crushed, for garnish .



      Method

      1. Take a big microwave safe bowl,add butter and melt it in the microwave. This might take a minute.
      2. Now add in the milk powder,condensed milk and cardamom powder. Give a nice mix with a spatula.
      3. Microwave for 3 minutes stirring every one minute.
      4. Allow the mixture to cool for few mins or until it is able to handle.
      5. Make pedas of your desired shape. Greasing your hands with butter will help obtain smooth texture. Garnish with nuts.
      6. Allow to cool down, store airtight and enjoy these delicious pedas.

      Mango Thokku

      Ingredients

      Medium Sized Mango - 1 (Grated)
      Sesame Oil - 6 + 2 tbsp
      Mustard Seeds, Salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder, hing - as per taste

      To Grind

      Mustard and Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp each

      Method
      1. Dry roast the mustard and fenugreek seeds in a pan and powder it. Keep it aside.
      2. Wash the mango and wipe it dry. Peel the skin and grate using a grater.
      3. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and hing, when mustard splutters, add the grated mango and turmeric powder and saute nicely for a few minutes.
      4. Add chilli powder and salt. Saute well until oil oozes out. Keep the flame low for the entire process, otherwise it may get burnt.
      5. Add the mustard+fenugreek powder and mix well. Cook for couple of minutes and turn off the stove. Allow to cool and transfer to an airtight container.                                  
          

      Tomato Pickle

      Ingredients

      Medium Sized Ripe Tomatoes - 6
      Sesame Oil - 3-4 tbsp
      Mustard Seeds, Salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder, hing - as per taste

      To Grind

      Mustard and Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp each

      Method
      1. Dry roast and grind the mustard and fenugreek seeds.
      2. Chop the tomatoes.
      3. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, allow to splutter and then add the hing.
      4. Add in the chopped tomatoes, salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder.
      5. Cook on medium flame until oil oozes out of the mixture.
      6. Add the mustard+fenugreek powder and cook for few more minutes.
      7. Turn off the stove, allow to cool and transfer to an airtight jar.