Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sweet Appams - Festival special

The sweet appams are prepared for many festivals in India. It is made during Ganesh Chaturthi, Krishna Janmashtami to name a few. You can prepare this on any day if you just feel like having something sweet and tasty. This is one of my all time favourites and I just find it very difficult to have a control on the count of appams I eat!!! Normally, when we plan for any deep fry dish at home, I kind of control the quantity made so that the cholestrol levels don't shoot up further. But, when we plan for appams, I am usually quite liberal and prefer to forget about the cholestrol levels....

Wheat flour - 2 cups
Rice flour - 2 tbspns
Jaggery - 1 1/2 cups powdered
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
Cashew nuts - a few
coconut grated - 2 tbspns
Ripe banana - 1 big
Oil for deep frying
1. Mix the jaggery in 2 cups of water and keep it in the microwave for 5 mins.
2. Mix it well and ensure that there are no lumps. You could strain the liquid if required.
3. Allow it to cool and mix it with all the other ingredients. The consistency of the batter should be like the Idli batter.
4. Set it aside for around 2 -3 hours.
5. In a kadai, add the oil and once it is hot, simmer it and pour the batter using a small ladle. Once it starts floating, add the next one. Depending on the size of the kadai and the amount of oil, you may add 5 to 6 appams in one batch. Turn it and remove it once it is golden brown on both sides. It takes a little patience to make appams as it takes a while to get done.
6. Enjoy the simple yet tasty sweet.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Paneer Shashlik

The first time I ate Paneer Shashlik in a restaurant, I was really excited... Grilled, crispy Paneer along with other grilled veggies decorated on a bed of aromatic basmati rice and the bright red sweetish tangy sauce. The whole thing was served on a beautiful fresh cabbage leaf....what a great sizzler it was! I never thought that I would make such recipes at home. Last week, I tried my best to make a homemade version of it. It tasted good though the sizzling sound was missing...
Rice - 2 cups
Onion sliced - 1
Cloves - 3 to 4
Bay leaves - 2
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 3 tbspn
Dip for the grilled paneer
Curd - 1 cup
Garam Masala - 2 tbspn
Ginger and Green chillies paste
For the sauce
Onions - 3 -4
Garlic- 5 flakes
Ginger- 1 small piece
Tomatoes- 3-4
Soya Sauce - 2 tsp
Tomato sauce - 2 -3 tbspn
Chilli Sauce - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 5 tbspns
Paneer - 200 g cut into cubes
Capsicum - 1 cut into 8
Tomato- 1 cut into 8
1. Soak the rice for 1/2 hour in cold water
2. Heat oil in a cooker and add onions, bay leaves and cloves and fry till golden brown.
3. Add salt, water and cook the rice till it is done.I add water in the proportion of 1: 1 for basmati rice and allow 2 whistles in the cooker.
4. Spread the cooked rice in a tray so that the rice is fluffed up and separated.
5. Grind onions, ginger and garlic to a paste.
6. Blend the tomatoes.
7. Heat oil in a kadai and add the onion paste and cook till golden brown.
8. Now add the tomato paste and fry till the oil separates.
9. Add some water to make the sauce into pouring consistency.
10. Add the readymade sauces and salt and mix well and cook for another 7 mins.
11. Mix all the ingredients for the dip and coat the paneer, capsicum and tomatoes with it and pierce it into the skewers and grill it in the oven for 10 mins.
12. To serve, spread the hot rice in a rice dish.
13. Decorate it with the sauce and the grilled paneer.
Enjoy the wonderful feast..!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Eggless chocolate cake with chocolate frosting

Last month we celebrated Pranav's 7th Birthday. We had a kids party at home. Since I have been baking various cakes for the past 1 year, I thought it would be great to make the birthday cake at home. I shared this idea with Srikanth and also told him that I need to practice one cake with the frosting a few days before the party so that I could feel better. But, he was not for the idea of "dress rehersal" and told me that it can't go wrong....."don't bother with the process twice".
My sister, Sree had also come 2 days before the party. So, I felt more confident and I must share that my friends gave me the required moral support.
After all the effort, I felt that someone was wispering that " hardwork always pays". Yes, the frosting eggless chocolate cake was definitely a hit especially among the kids and I was so happy to see Pranav telling his friends again and again that the cake was homemade..!
Definitely worth a try...
Eggless chocolate cake
Maida 3 cups
Sugar 5-6 tablespoons
Butter 100g
Milkmaid 1 tin
Baking powder 2 tsp
Baking Soda 1 1/2 tsp
Water 1/2 cup
Vanilla essence 1 1/2 tsp
Cocoa powder 3 tablespoons
1. Mix milkmaid, sugar and butter in a mixie and keep aside.
2. Sieve all the dry ingredients 3 times so that they mix well.
3. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the milkmaid mixture little by little and add water and vanilla essence.
4. Preheat the oven at 180 Degrees Farenheit.
5. Greese the baking tray and pour the cake mix and bake at 180 degrees Farenheit for 35 to 40 mins.
6. Switch off the oven and keep the cake in it for another 10 mins.
7. Remove the cake from the oven and allow the cake to cool completely.
8. Carefully remove the cake from the try.
For the Frosting
Butter 1/4 cup
Cocoa 1/2 - 1 cup
Milk 1/3 cup
Vanilla essence 1 tsp
Icing sugar 3 cups
Chocolate chips / Gems for decorations
1 Mix butter and cocoa into a smooth paste.
2 Add the milk and vanilla essence.
3 Finally add sugar and mix it into a creamy texture.
4 Arrange the cake on the tray and spread the frosting on all the sides of the cake.
5. Using a spatula, even out excess portions of the frosting.
6. Transfer the frosting to the piping bag and with your imagination, make the necessary borders and designs.
7. Try if the required shape in flowing in easily through the piping bag on a plate before doing it on the cake.
8 If the frosting for the border is too thick, add butter and if it is too thin add icing sugar.
9. I made a small frosting mixture without cocoa and added some contrast.
10 Decorate with chocolate chips and do the writing too in the contrast colour so that it is cleasrly visible.
11 Refrigerate it so that the frosting set propoerly. You could remove the cake from the fridge about 1 hour before serving so that it is perfect.
12 Enjoy your wonderful creation and don't forget to workout for the next one month!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Double Beans Pulao with Mirchi Ka Salan

I Know that its been a long time and some people are very good at giving excuses!!!! I thought that I've got some good reasons to start off again after the summer vacation...Pranav's school has started which means more time for myself and one more good reason is that we've a new and better camera. I'm sure the clarity of pictures are going to be much better...with the Cannon Digital camera.

I made this Double Beans pulao and Mirchi ka Salan for lunch and I can assure you that its a good combination. Try it out and give me your comments.

Double Beans Pulao
Basmati Rice / Jeera Rice 1 ½ cups
Whole Spices( Bay leaves, green cardamom, black cardamom, cloves, cinnamon)
Kasuri methi – 2 tablespoons
Fresh Double beans – 1 ½ cups
Onions – 2 sliced
Green chillies – 2 slit
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Beaten curd – ½ cup
Ghee /Oil – 3 tablespoons

Wash and soak the rice for 20 mins.
In a cooker, add ghee and oil and add the whole spices, kasuri methi, turmeric powder and onions and saute’ for 5 mins till the onions are translucent.
Add the beaten curd and stir for a few more mins.
Mix in the double beans, rice and water. I added 1 ½ cups of water, i.e in the proportion of 1:1. No extra water is required as no vegetables are added.
Close the cooker and switch off after 2 whistles.
Open after 15 mins and an aromatic Double Beans Pulao is ready!

Note: If you do not have fresh double beans, please soak them overnight.

Mirchi Ka Salan
This is a nice side dish for Pulao or Biryani if you are tired of the raitas. The gravy is also quite different from the normal onion tomato based gravies. There’s nothing to panic seeing the name as it is non spicy. Try it to believe it!!


Green Chillies – 10 slit slightly and deseeded –this takes away the spice. We can use the normal green chillies or the big ones based on availability.
Tamarind paste – 2 cups from lemon sized tamarind

For the masala
Groundnuts – one handful
White Til seeds – one handful
Corriander seeds – 1 ½ tablespoon
Jeera – ½ tsp
Coconut -1 handful
Onions – 2


Dry roast all the ingredients individually except onions, coconut and jeera.
Fry the onions in a little oil till light brown and grind all the masala ingredients into a smooth paste. There is no need to roast jeera and coconut.
Heat oil in a kadai and add the green chillies and fry for a while till they change colour.
Add the tamarind paste and allow it to boil for 5 mins.
Add the ground masala and stir continuously for another 3-5 mins.
The Mirchi ka Salan is ready to be served. You can garnish it with coriander leaves if you wish..

Enjoy this wonderful combination…!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Simple and Tasty Peas Pulao - Kids Special

Cooking for kids(My son Pranav is 6 years old) cannot be treated as a minor task. It should be tasty, less spicy and attractive according to them. If you ask the moms, they would say that it should be healthy and easy to cook!
Though we may not be able to satify all these criteria on a daily basis, we try to balance it as much as possible. Yesterday, I made this simple Peas pulao and I think it satisfied all the criteria!!!
But even after all this, the neighbour's simple food may be tastier for them!!! Can't blame the kids, we ourselves sometimes behave like that!
Basmati Rice – 1 ½ cups
Fresh / Frozen Peas – 1 ½ cups
Black Cardamom -1
Green Cardamom – 4
Cloves – 4-5
Cinnamon – 1 small piece
Green Chillies – 2
Garlic – 4 cloves
Onions – 2 chopped
Bay leaves – 2
Garam Masala powder – 1 tsp (optional)
Ghee – 2 tablespoons

1. Clean and then soak Basmati rice in water for 20 minutes.
2. Heat ½ spoon ghee in a cooker (I use Hawkins Handi cooker) and add bay leaf, black cardamom, rice and water and pressure cook the rice. I used 2 cups of water for the 1 ½ cups of rice and kept it for 2 whistles.
3. While the rice is cooking, cook the peas in microwave for 3 mins.
4. Add the remaining ghee in a big kadai and add all the spices, onions and fry well.
5. Add the peas and cooked rice, salt and garam masala powder.
6. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and fried cashew nuts.

You could grind the spices along with garlic, green chillies and coriander leaves for more spice instead of adding them as it is.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Raw Tomato dry Subji / Thakali Kai podi karameedu

I love raw tomatoes a lot and try out various dishes or curries with it. You will have to patiently pick out raw tomatoes from the load of tomatoes as it may not be sold as a vegetable in itself. I'm lucky because my father-in-law does the vegetable shopping at home!!!
This tangy and spicy dish is great with plain rice or curd rice. You can try this same procedure with brinjal, ladies finger and capsicum too.

Raw tomatoes - 1/2 kg
Oil - 2 tablespoons
Homemade Curry Powder - 4-5 tablespoons
Coconut - 4-5 tablespoons
Salt- to taste
Curry leaves- a few
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida/Hing - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp

For Curry powder
Channa Dhal - 1/2 cup
Urad dhal - 1/2 cup
Corriander seeds - 1 cup
Red chillies - 10
Dry roast all the ingredients and grind it into a coarse powder. It stays fresh for nearly 3 months if stored in an air tight container.

1. Cut the raw tomatoes into quarters and keep it aside.
2. Heat oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds, hing, turmeric and curry leaves.
3.Add the raw tomatoes and salt and saute' for a few mins till the tomatoes become soft. Please ensure that the tomotoes don't get mashed.
4. Add the homemade curry powder lavishly along with grated coconut and remove from the stove.
5. Serve hot with plain rice or curd rice.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kadai Dhokla

I saw this recipe in one of the TV programs and tried it out. All of us liked it a lot. In this kadai dhokla, the inside part is soft and the crust is crunchy. This crunchy and soft combination was a really different experience....

Rava - 1 1/2 cups
Carrot and capsicum chopped finely - 3 tablespoons
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Gn. chillies paste - 1 tsp
Curd - 1/2 cup
Eno fruit salt - 1 tablespoon
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Water - 1 cup
Oil - 3 spoons
Mustard - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
1. Mix all the ingredients except oil, mustard and curry leaves and keep it aside.
2. Heat oil in a kadai and add the mustard seeds and curry leaves.
3. Then add the prepared mixture and spread it evenly on the kadai and close it for 10 minutes.
4. Remove the lid and check if its cooked (you may use a fork or a knife and prick it. If it comes out smoothly, then the dhokla is done. )
5. Remove from the stove and allow it to cool. Use a laddle to slowly invert the dhokla on a tray.
6. You'll see the crunchy part of the dhokla on top now.
7. Serve the kadai dhokla with tomato sauce or corriander chutney.