Monday, October 31, 2011

Witches finger cookies baked for halloween-Spooky spooky

These witch finger cookies are simple cookies that I baked for this Halloween. We had a friends gathering and Halloween party over the Halloween weekend and I was suppose to make some snacks and any goodies of my choice. Since it was Halloween I wanted to give some creepy spooky effect for the dish I make and I found this recipe in Allrecipes website. After reading the recipe I knew it is a very basic simple cookie and thought of giving it a try. But must say I was a lot worried about the shape because I haven't done anything like this before and  it is just hand made and there is no cookie cutter way of making it. I decided to give it a try and planned moulding it into simple cookies if the finger cookie shape didn't work. Thankfully it came out good and I was really happy to take this for our Halloween party.

Blanched almonds act as the fingernails for this cookie and I used red food decorator writer to give the blood effect around the nails. Some almonds came off from the baked cookies, I just dipped them in jam and fixed it back on to the cookie. This helped me to keep them in-tact. So let me add this recipe for this cute scary witch finger cookies. Enjoy!!!



All purpose flour/Maida - 2 cups
Confectioner's Sugar - 3/4 cup(add or reduce according to ur taste)
Softened Butter - 1/2 cup(Not melted butter please)
Milk - 1/2 cup
Egg - 1
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt -1/2 tsp
Whole Almonds - 1/2 cup(Soak almond in water for 15 mins and peel off the skin)
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Red food decorator writer/color gel - 1

Preparation Method:-
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, salt into a wide mixing bowl. Add sugar to this and mix with clean hands or spoon to remove lumps if any in the sugar. 
  • To the above dry mix add butter, egg, vanilla extract and knead well with your hands to make a smooth dough.
  • Add milk little by little to the mix if it is dry till you get a smooth dough. You might need to add/reduce the quantity of the milk I mentioned.(You can do this process in a food processor as well which will make your task easier)                                 
  • Cover and refrigerate the dough for 30-45 mins.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 325 degree Fahrenheit. Layer a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Take out the dough from the refrigerator and make small cherry size balls. Roll each balls lengthwise with your hands on clean kitchen counter top to look like fingers. 
  • Now press one almond each at the end of the dough finger for the fingernail. Place them in the lined cookie sheet
  • With a knife make three crosswise slits in the middle and two slits in the front of the dough finger.

  • Press and work with your fingers on the middle and front part(place before the slits) to give a push up effect as of the real fingers(optional) 
  • Bake for 20 mins or until slightly browned. Remove from the oven and let it cool down completely.
  • Now with decorator writer, draw around the almond nails to give a blood effect(you can use color gel as well)
  • If the almond comes out of the cookie dip them in any jam and press them back again. 
  • Scary witch finger cookies are ready..
Sending this to the event hosted by Sravani of Srav's Culinary Concepts "CC Festive Food"


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sooji Halwa/Rava Kesari

Today is Diwali Festive Morning, and I wish all my fellow bloggers, friends, and the visitors of this page A Very Happy Diwali !!!!!!

I'm sure, being a weekday unlike in India almost everyone will be in their full swing to finish off the Pooja, prepare something quick and ezee and send the kids to school & their best half to office. Oh yea, you are ready to run to office as well? I'm sure most of the houses have this Sooji Halwa as the 'Sweets' today, Sooji Halwa being so ezee to make and the taste everyone loves have become the most popular sweets of Indians.

So did I, just made it real quick before my hubby and son left for office and school. So all my NRI friends, have a very Happy and prosperous Diwali!!! And my dear family and friends in India, Have a safe and Pattaka Diwali. I'm sure you guys are having all the fun with real festive mood. Enjoy!!!!


Rava/Semolina - 1 cup
Water - 2 1/2 cups(u can use 1 cup milk + 1 1/2 cup water, milk and nuts add richness and more taste to the halwa)
sugar- 1/2 cup(you can add or reduce according to the sweetness you need)
Ghee- 2 tbsp
Raisins, Cashews- 2 tbsp(optional, i haven't used it. I just garnished the halwa with sliced almonds)
Saffron- a pinch(optional)
cardamom powder -1/4 tsp
Food color - 1/2 tsp(optional, I used orange color)

Preparation Method:-

Add ghee to a thick bottom pan and fry the nuts in a med flame for 1 min. 
Add the Sooji/Rava to this and fry in low- med flame with out burning till it gives a nice aroma.
Add sugar, stir till Sooji/Rava and sugar mix well.
Mean while in another pan bring the water to boil by adding saffron and cardamom powder. Switch off the flame and set aside.(add the food color to the water if you are adding it)
Now pour the warm water slowly and stirring continuously, be careful since the Sooji will start spluttering when you add hot water to it. Keep your stove in medium heat when you do this process.
Switch of the stove when the water is almost absorbed. You do not have to wait till it is fully dry because halwa will become bit more thick even after taking off the flame.
Move to serving dish and cut into desired shapes. Garnish with sliced almonds or any nuts of your choice. Enjoy!!!!!

This goes to My Diwali My Way hosted by Khusi @ A Girl's Diary 


Food Palate Series Finale Rainbow Colors hosted by TorView

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Irachi Pathiri - Meat stuffed Roti

Irachi Pathiri is a very popular food snack in Malabar region and is a very important Ramadan dish. Me and my sister was a die-hard fan of this dish when we were kids. Achan(dad) used to get this for us from one of the Thalaserry bakery or 'Thattukada'(Street food stall). Having this spicy meat filled rotis with a hot cup of 'Chai'/Tea gives you a different experience which I really cannot put together in words, the spice and the hot is just a wonderful combination. I used to have slight wet eyes sometimes when I have it. The only complaint we had was we used to get very less bites of meat, onion always tried to outsmart the meat. I'm sure bakers were more interested in making money by putting less meat and more onion along with customer satisfaction. Guess what I hope now a days onion being costlier than meat they might be adding more meat and less onion for making this dish ;)

It was in my teen when I realized that these are just deep fried rotis stuffed with meat masala. Don't really remember when we started making this at home but these were made only over the weekends then. After coming to US I hardly made it once or twice, if you observe my menu I will have very less deep fried dishes. So this was made couple of days back when my sister who is in India for a vacation told me that she is having 'Chicken Pathiri' and I couldn't stop myself making it. I did not made it very spicy considering my two little ones, but still it simply tasted great. So friends lets go through the process of making this awesome Chicken masala stuffed Irachi Pathiri. Enjoy!!!!!

Ingredients used :-

For Chicken Masala Filling:

Chicken breast - 2 halves(if u can get minced chicken that's better)
Onion - 2 finely chopped
Garlic minced - 3 pods (a tbsp)
Ginger minced - 1 tbsp
Green Chilly - 2 finely chopped
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp
Curry leaves a sprig
Oil for deep frying + 2 tbsp for making masala
salt to taste

For Roti's:

Whole wheat flour - 2 cups
Salt - 2 tsp
Water as needed to knead the dough

Preparation Method:-
  • Knead the dough by adding water and salt as of for Chappathi/Puri. Cover and set aside till Chicken masala is done.
  • Wash and clean the chicken. Cut it into very small bite size pieces. Marinate with salt, turmeric powder, chilly powder and pepper. Set aside for 15-20 mins.
  • Cook the chicken in medium heat until soft without adding any water. Shred the chicken with your fingers if you feel they are bigger bites
  • Now heat up a frying pan, add 2 tbsp oil and saute onion, ginger, garlic, green chillies, curry leaves, salt and saute till onion turns translucent.
  • Add the chicken and saute well for a while, add garam masala and stir to mix everything evenly.
  • Cover and cook for another 5-7 mins in medium heat. Switch off the flame and let it cool.
  • Make small lemon size balls out of the dough and roll into small round rotis of puri size.
  • Top up with a tbsp of chicken masala, now place another roti on top of the masala and seal the edges by pressing with your fingers or folding a small portion of the edges of the bottom roti towards top and closing it. Repeat the process with rest of the rotis and masala.
  • Heat a wok or kadai, pour oil for deep frying and wait till the oil is hot enough. Add each pathiri in the oil and fry on both sides. Take out and place oin an absorbent paper and press to remove excess oil if any. Repeat the process with rest of the pathiris.
  • Serve warm with a hot cup of Chai/Tea. Enjoy!!!!!

1. Seal the edges properly, otherwise oil will go inside the stuffing and Pathiri will become very oily.
2. You can use mutton(lamb), beef or any meat of your choice to make the filling. I personally like mutton masala and feel thats the best for making Irachi Pathiri.

Ari Unda/Sweetened Rice Balls

This post comes after a small  break, I think almost after two weeks. Our internet was was fully down almost for two weeks. So I had been off browsing, getting a bit more time to cook and I had been making some of  my favorite typical 'Thalassery dishes' these days. I'm glad that my internet is up and running good and I can share some of those lovely recipes here. So here I'm sharing the 'Ari Unda' a very nice evening snack which kids and adults like to munch alike.

Ari Unda, ufff a lot of memories connected with this snack. Snack that is made with roasted rice, freshly grated coconut and dark brown Jaggery- just three ingredients and your snack is just yummy. This is one of my favorite snack, wait.. wait... my favorite snack?? What about my dear big bro then, the most naughty and loved fellow of our home. My grandma used to store the snacks in our little store room, till she figured out some of them missing by its own. She started moving them to her so thought to be 'more secure' places like kitchen, store room and even in the rice/lentil containers by digging  them inside the rice(Those containers used to be big Aluminium one's called -Chembu) but all were in vain. My bro who runs back home in the middle of his cricket matches/swimming/cycle racing and much more games just picks up some of them and munch it every time he passes that corridor. And Ari Unda was one of his favourite snack, even after being grown up I have seen him having it with the same passion.

Back in Kerala Ari Unda/Rice balls are made by roasting the rice and pounding them in 'Ural' - a wooden piece almost cylindrical in shape with a round opening on top with some depth to hold rice, with 'Ulakka' - a long piece of wood to crush the rice to powder. It is actually a bigger form of Mortar and Pestle which we use in our Kitchen. My grandma, Mom and aunts used to make it together by chit chatting, seeing them doing it is really a wonderful sight even though the process was hard and required lot of manual labor.

Those were childhood memories,now I still see them being prepared in the same way as then when my brother goes abroad and also when I start packing up my baggage to US. Without making Ari Unda before a day of my travel back from India is almost like an in-complete ritual and yea my grandma and mom makes two or three very big Unda/Balls, wrap them in banana leaves and again wrap it in newspaper taking utmost care and love not to break them or get spoiled till I reach here.

So friends those were some beautiful stories from my memories about Ari Unda/Rice balls. I have tried my best to match up with traditionally way of making it and give them the awesome authentic taste of Ari Unda. So lets Enjoyyyyyyy making this awesome snack!!!!

  • Parboiled Rice/Kerala Matta Rice - 2 Cups(I used parboiled rice)
  • Grated Cocomnut - 1 cup
  • Grated Jaggery - 3/4 cup
Preparation Method:-

Heat up a frying pan/Kadai/Wok. Dry roast the rice in medium heat till it is crisp and golden brown by taking care not to burn the rice. Set aside to cool. Grind it into a powder(it don't really have to be very fine powder, better of like 'Puttu Podi') and move into a big bowl.


Crush the grated coconut in the Mortar little by little with Pestle as much smooth and fine as possible and set aside(you can coarse grind the coconut in the mixer as well, but this gives you better taste)

Melt the jaggery with 2tsp of water and strain off the impurities and set aside(if you are sure the jaggery you get is very clean you do not have to melt the jaggery, normally jaggery is not melted-its just pounded with roasted rice and coconut. You can crush it in the mortar or mixer and add as well)

Now mix well the roasted rice powder and coconut with your hands. Pour the Jaggery syrup on top and mix well. Take a fistful of the mixture and make balls out of it by rolling it under the palm to make the surface as smooth as it can be.


Serve immediately with a cup of hot Tea or warm milk for kids.

Store them in air-tight container up-to two-three days. Since grated coconut is added it will not stay outside for long. You can refrigerate it in an air tight container for a long period of time but it surely taste better when served without being refrigerated as it is very soft and juicy.

Note:- You can add some roasted nuts as well if desired

Sending this to The Kerala Kitchen Event hosted by Khusi @ A girl's Diary

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Blog Event Awards

Received an 'Award Of Participation' award from Ramya of Ramyasrecipe for participating in ABC Series : A for Apple Event.

Thanks a lot Ramya for this cute little award.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Unakka Chemmeen Chammanthi(Dry Shrimp Chutney/Chammanthi)

Chammanthi or Chutneys are inevitable part of Indian Kitchen. My mom used to make different kinds of chutneys and we used to love them. I can still memorize that taste, each kind of chutney she used to make was very unique. This was my favorite, but never got a chance to making it here as I hardly find them in Indian stores.

I bought this small dry shrimp from Korean market sometime back and totally forgot about it. So this was on a long weekend in August, when we had a beach trip with our friends to Virginia beach. Heavy rain made our return drive hectic and all were very tired after five hours if drive. We didn't feel like to eat anything from outside and nobody wanted to eat anything heavy as well. So I thought of making 'Kanjhi'(Rice soup/Rice Gruel) which is quick to make and easy to digest for kids. So I just put par-boiled rice to make 'Kanjhi' in a cooker and 'Cherupayar Puzhukku'(Semi Dry Whole Moong) in another one. I wanted to serve some condiments with it, and was browsing for the pickles in the kitchen shelf and found this dry shrimp. I made this Dry shrimp chutney in a jiffy and to my surprise my son loved it having with 'Kanjhi'. I was really satisfied seeing him eating so well. I once again told to myself nothing is as healthy and as tasty as home made food, especially when it comes to  kids. So try it out friends and Enjoy!!!

  1. Dry s hrimp/Unakka Chemmeen - 3/4 cup
  2. Grated Coconut - 1 1/2 cups
  3. Shallots/Kunjulli - 3 small(1 big or a small piece of onion)
  4. Tamarind - small cherry size( or 1/2 tsp tamarind paste)
  5. Curry leaves a sprig
  6. Dry red chilly - 3(or to level up your spice level)
  7. Salt to taste
Preparation Method:-
  • Soak the dry shrimp in water for 5 mins. Wash and clean the shrimp to remove any extra salt. Drain off maximum water and set aside
  • Heat up a pan or kadai and dry roast the shrimp till crisp(don't get to to dark brown). Set aside and let it cool.
  • Coarse grind(Chathakkuka) together all the ingredients and roasted shrimp without adding any water.
  • Move to a serving bowl and serve with boiled rice/Rice Gruel/Kanjhi. Enjoy!!!!!

Note:- You can just crush all the ingredients with roasted dry shrimp in a mortar with a pestle and serve, that tastes better if compared . I coarse ground it in a mixer since my daughter is not even two, so was worried it might stuck in her throat.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pachakaaya Tholi Thoran/Plantain skin stir fry

I made this dish just because of the previous posted dish 'Sarkkara Upperi'. After making it the plantain skin was left out. Normally whenever I make curry or side dish with plantain banana I use the skin as well by slighly peeling of the edges of the skin. I didn't feel like to throw off the plantain skin, so I gave it a make-over and it resulted to be a yummy side dish in our dining table. So to those who like plantain skin and to those who do not know of it try out this plantain skin stir fry with whole moong. I'm sure you will enjoy the taste of this crunchy and tasty vegetable stir fry.

  1. Plantain Skin/Pachakkaya Tholi - From three plantains
  2. Whole Moong dal/Cherupayar - 1/2 cup
  3. Salt to taste
  4. Water - around 1 cup(to cook the moong)
  5. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  6. Dry red chilly - 2
  7. Curry leaves a sprig
  8. Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  9. Chilly powder - 1 tsp(you can add/reduce according to your spice level)
  10. Grated coconut - 3/4 cup
  11. Cumin(Jeera) - 1 tsp
Preparation Method:-
  • Soak the Moong(Cherupayar) for 10 - 15 mins if possible. Wash and cook the moong covered by adding 1 cup of water and salt(a bit more than half cook is good enough, it should not be sticky). Set aside.
  • Slightly peel the the outer skin of the plantain skin, finely chop it and soak in water for sometime to remove the stain. Wash well two to three times and remove the stain as much as possible. I got one and half cup of chopped and clean plantain skin.
  • Coarse grind(Chathkkuka) coconut and jeera and set aside.
  • Heat up a frying pan, pour oil and crackle mutard seeds. Add curry leaves, whole red chilly and add chopped plantain skin. Stir well for a minute to mix.
  • Add salt, turmeric powder, chilly powder and stir well. Add the cooked whole moong, ground coconut and stir everything well. Check for the salt and spice.
  • Cover and cook it on medium heat for another five to seven minutes till plantain do not have raw smell and it turns out to be crispy.
  • Switch off the flame and serve warm with Rice or Roti. Enjoy!!!!

Sending this again to Ramyasrecipe's ABC Series B for Banana Event   

Also to The Kerala Kitchen Event hosted by Khusi's A Girl's Diary

Sarkkara Upperi

Sarkkara Upperi is made with Plantain Banana fried and sauteed in Jaggery Syrup. Sarkkara upperi is one of the important side dish of Kerala Sadya and kids and adults love to munch it anytime. My son loves this a lot and whenever I go to India I used to get few packets of this 'Upperi'. For this Onam I didnn't have any Sarkkara Upperi left and so I made it at home. A few phone calls to Kerala helped me make this dish. So friends Enjoy making Sarkkara Upperi :)

  1. Plantain Banana/Pachakkaya - 3 Big
  2. Powdered Jaggery - 1/2 cup
  3. Sugar - 1/2 cup
  4. Oil for deep frying
  5. Cardamom powder - 1 tsp
  6. Cumin(Jeera) Powder - 1/2 tsp
  7. Dry Ginger Powder - 1 tsp
  8. salt a pinch
  9. Rice flour - 4tbsp(I used Nirapara putti podi)
  10. Water - 1/2 cup
Preparation Method:-
  • Cut the edges of the Plantain banana. Cut into into halves horizontally and vertically.
  • Put it in Luke warm water for sometime maybe five mins(this helps you remove the skin easily). Remove the skin completely.
  • Cut the plantain into small slices and soak in the water for 10 mins to remove the stain as much as possible. Wash thoroughly and drain off the water. Set aside.
  • Heat up oil in a frying pan or Kadai in medium-high flame and deep fry the plantain till they are slightly crisp( you don't have to frying it till deep brown, just need to cook till they loose the raw flavor).
  • Take out in an absorbent paper towel, pat dry and remove oil. Set aside.
  • Now in another pan melt the jaggery by adding half cup water and strain off the impurities if any to another non-stick pan.(Strain this into the pan  in which you are going to make 'sarkkara upperi', this will help the process easy)
  • Heat this Jaggery again and add Sugar and stir continuously in medium heat to melt the sugar and form a nice jaggery syrup.
  • Add the cardamom powder, dry ginger powder, jeera powder,salt to the syrup and stir to mix.
  • Add the chopped plantain and keep stirring till jaggery syrup starts to thicken. 
  • Add rice flour little by little and keep stirring everytime you add rice flour.
  • Keep stirring till all the jaggery syrup and rice mixture is well coated on the plantain pieces and it turns crisp with not more liquid in the pan.
  • Switch off the flame, stir well so that no plantain pieces stick together and move to platter to let it cool.
  • Once cool you can put it in air tight container and store for a very long period. Enjoy!!!!!!

 Sending this to Ramyasrecipe's ABC Series : B for Banana 

Also sending this to The Kerala Kitchen Event hosted by Khusi's A Girl's Diary


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dates and Nuts Stuffed Shahi Tukra

Shahi Tukra(Tukda) means Royal(Shahi) Piece(Tukda) and I believe it really is a royal piece of sweet treat that melts into your mouth with such an awesome taste. It is believed to be part of Mughlai Cuisine and is a simple dessert made with fried bread pieces and cardamom flavored milk. Sometimes I make the quicker version of this by adding corn flour or adding the condensed milk to the boiling milk to thicken it faster instead of cooking it for long to form the rabdi . But every time I taste it I feel something less than that perfect sweet treat without the rabdi(reduced thickened milk with cream) and I promise myself of making it the authentic way next time. I make the simple Shahi Tukra normally but the Idea of stuffing dates inside the bread pieces was from Sanjeev Kapoor's Recipes, so my whole hearted courtesy to our India's master chef Sanjeev Kapoor.

I made this Nuts and dates stuffed Shahi Tukra(e) sometime back and my son who do not eat dates at all ate it so well thinking it was chocolate with nuts stuffed inside the bread pieces. And few days back he was asking me for the same dessert saying 'Amma I want that bread, chocolate and cream thing' you made me the other day. I was so confused for what he was asking me for because I make quite a lot tricky stuffs to make him eat well. At last he cleared my thoughts saying 'Ammaaa I waited till you took the pictures of it the other day, the butterfly shaped one. I want that'. It was nothing but I used cookie cutter to give some cute little shapes to the bread pieces so that kids have the curiosity to come to the food rather than us walking behind them to feed them. So I made this again for him yesterday as well and thought of posting it at least now(my previous 'Shahi Tukra' picture had been posted in facebook quite sometime back  and is waiting for the post :) ) So friends Enjoy making Shahi Tukra(e) !!!!


Ingredients Used
Bread slices - 6(I used the multi grain bread)      
Milk- 5 cups
Sugar -1/2 cup    
Ghee - 2 tsp                                                                                     
Dates - 10 numbers
Chopped Almonds and Walnuts - 5 each(u can use nuts of your choice and numbers)
Green Cardamom pods - 2(crushed well in mortar with a pestle)

Preparation Method:-

  • In a thick bottomed pan bring the milk to boil stirring in between. Simmer the heat to medium, add sugar and let it reduce its quantity to half.
  • Keep stirring in between so that milk do not stick to the bottom of the pan. Set aside to let it cool. Pour into a bowl or any container, refrigerate it till the rest of the process is completed.
  • Meanwhile remove the crust of the bread and cut into desired shapes. You have to cut two pieces each of same size since you have to stuff the dates mix between two pieces of bread(keeping one bread pieces on top of each and cutting helps you get bread pieces of equal shape or just cut them in equal squares)
  • Heat a griddle or non-stick pan, spread some ghee and shallow fry the bread pieces till crisp or light brown and set aside(originally bread pieces are deep fried).
  • Chop the seedless dates, add the nuts and mash everything together and set aside
  • Take a fried bread piece and spread some dates mix on top of it, cover with another fried bread piece and press to secure. Repeat the process for the rest of the bread pieces.
  • Take out the chilled milk, dip both sides of the stuffed bread piece into the milk and arrange it in another flat container in which you can accomodate all the bread pieces. Repeat this with rest of the bread pieces and arrange. Pour the rest of the chilled milk on top of the arranged bread pieces and chill it again till served.
  • You can add some ghee fried nuts of your choice if desired. Serve chill, Enjoy!!!!!!


1.  Originally fried bread pieces are dipped in the sugar syrup and then immersed in the reduced milk to make it sweeter. Since I used a dates stuffing which already makes it sweet I skipped dipping it in the sugar syrup.

2.  If you have less time for the party or any other occassions make the reduced sweetened milk in advance and refridgerate it . Use it whenever you want to make the dessert by just shallow frying or deep frying the bread pieces and immersing them in the chilled milk and opt out any dates stuffing.

3. For quick process of thickening the milk, mix 2 tsp of corn flour in 2 tbsp of milk and add it to the boiling milk. Add 1 tin evaporated milk or condensed milk by adjusting the sugar according to the milk you use.

I am sending this to 'My Diwali My way' hosted by Khusi @ A Girl's Diary  
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