Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Mathanga Vanpayar Erissery/Yellow Pumpkin Red Moong Curry ~ A Kerala Sadya Recipe

Ingredients Used: -
  1. Vanpayar/Red Chori/Red Moong - ½ cup
  2. Mathanga/Yellow Pumpkin - 2 cups(Skin peeled and chopped into med size cubes)
  3. Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
  4. Green Chilies - 4
  5. Curry leaves
  6. Water ~ 2 Cups + 1 Cup
To Grind:-
  1. Grated Coconut - ¾ cup
  2. Jeera/Cumin - ¾ tsp
  3. Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
  4. Water - 4 tbsp + more if required
To Temper:-
  1. Coconut Oil/Veg Oil - 2tbsp
  2. Mustard seeds - 1tsp
  3. Dry Red Chilies - 4
  4. Curry leaves few
  5. Grated coconut - 3tbsp(generous amount)

How I made It:-
  • Wash Vanpayar/Red Moong for couple of times and soak in water for about four hours.
  • Add red moong, salt, water and pressure cook it for two whistles. (If you didn't get a chance to soak Vanpayar/Red moong, pressure cook for some more time in medium heat for five-seven whistles)
  • When the pressure subsides, open the cooker, stir well and mix the Vanpayar/Red Chori.
  • Add pumpkin, turmeric powder, slit green chilies, curry leaves and cook on stove top till pumpkin is soft and cooked. Stir well to mix and mash some pumpkin/Mathanga. Check for the salt and adjust.
  • Meanwhile grind the 'to grind' ingredients. Add the ground paste to Vanpayar-Pumpkin mix and stir well. Add salt and water if required(Erissery normally is not too thick but should not be runny as well) 
  • Put on the stove and get it to boil. Simmer the heat to medium and let it boil for another five minutes. Take it off the  stove and set aside.
  • Heat a small frying pan, pour coconut oil, add mustard seeds and let it crackle. Add curry leaves, dry red chilies and saute for few seconds. Add grated coconut and saute till it is brown(make sure not to get it to dark brown and burn)
  • Pour over the curry and give it a gentle mix. Serve warm with boiled rice and papads.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fish Biriyani With Tilapia Fish Fillet

I have not been consistent in blogging these days and have almost lost touch with many of my dear blogger buddies and wonderful readers lately. Blame it on me, even if I have excuses like not getting much time to post while managing work and household together, believe me I have missed all the fun being here and had been trying real hard to find some time to blog. It is not the laziness that kept me away from here but three pair of starving eyes which gives me a wierd look when they see my intention to click pictures when they are are waiting eagerly for having something from the the time they are back from school/office just dont let my motherly instict to click any pictures. The sun light is not helping me in anyway as well, by the time I leave office it is already dark. But yes, since I've moved to a new job which is pretty much close to where we live and I have started commuting daily rather than travelling over the weekends, I am getting sometime to cook and click pictures which I am really happy about. I hope I will be active with blogging from now and will definitely make time to hop onto all my blogger buddies post. I request all my wonderful readers and blogger friends to please stay connected and give me the same support and encouragement which you guys gave me before.

Coming onto today's recipe, its the again one of the most family favorite - Fish Biriyani. I have already posted a Fish Biriyani, but the procedure for making this Fish Masala is a lot different which gives this biriyani a very unique taste. I've used Tilapia Fish fillet for making this biriyani, but you can use fish of your choice but try to use fish with less bone and more meat. So make it home today and Enjoy with family and friends!!!

Ingredients Used:-

For making Rice:-
  1. Basmathi Rice or Kaima(Jeera) Rice - 4 Cups
  2. Water - 7 Cups
  3. Salt - 1 tsp(to taste)
  4. Cinnamon sticks - 2
  5. Cloves - 8
  6. Cardamom pods - 4
  7. Bay Leaves - 2
  8. Whole Black Pepper - few(10 counts)
  9. Ghee - 2 tsp(can add more ghee if desired)
For making Fish Masala:-
  1. Tilpia Fish Fillet - 6
  2. Turmeric powder - ¾ tsp + ½ tsp
  3. Chilly powder - 1 tsp + ½ tsp
  4. Salt -1 tsp(or more)
  5. Fennel Crushed - ½ tsp
  6. Coriander powder - 1 tsp
  7. Garam Masala - 1 tsp
  8. Coconut oil/Oil - 3 tbsp
  9. Onion Finely sliced - 3
  10. Tomato finely sliced - 3
  11. Green chilly - 8
  12. Ginger-Garlic crushed - 2 tbsp
  13. Curry leaves few sprigs
  14. Coriander leaves chopped - 3 tbsp
  15. Water - ½ cup to 1 cup(as required)
To Grind: -
  1. Cashews - ¼ cup
  2. Grated Coconut - 3 tbsp
For Garnishing:-
  1. Raisins few ghee roated
  2. Cashews few ghee roasted
  3. Onion sliced very thin and deep fried till light brown. 
  4. Can use some saffron milk( I did not use)

How I made It:-

Fish Masala:-
  1. Clean and cut tilapia into small bite size pieces. Wash once or twice. 
  2. Make a marinade with ¾ tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp chilly powder, crushed fennel and salt. Marinate the fish and set aside for an hour.
  3. Heat up a skillet/tawa, pour 1 tbsp oil, shallow fry the fish pieces on both side and keep aside.
  4. Grind the 'To Grind' ingredients to a smooth paste and set aside.
  5. Pour 2tbsp of oil in manchatti/earthern ware(or any non-stick pan), add crushed ginger-garlic, curry leaves and saute for a minute or two.
  6. Add onion, green chilly, salt and saute well in medium heat till the onion turns transkucent.
  7. Add tomato and saute well till the tomato is fully cooked mashed up.
  8. Add ½ tsp turmeric powder,½ tsp chilly powder, coriander powder and garam masala and saute well to mix.
  9. Add the ground paste and mix well. Add water to get required consistency, stir well and let it boil.
  10. Simmer the heat to medium and add fried fish pieces. Mix well with masala and let it boil for another ten minutes. Add coriander leaves and take off the stove.
For Making Ghee Rice:-
  1. Heat up a thick bottom pan, pour ghee. Add cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves, bay leaves and saute for a minute.
  2. Pour water, salt and whole pepper. Let it boil.
  3. Add rice, with a saptula stir well till the bottom of the pan. Simmer the heat to medium, cover with a air tight lid and let it cook till the water is absorbed. 
  4. Take it out of the stove and give it a gentle stir. Let it cool down for a while say let the steaming heat subside.
  5. Move to two-three platters so that rice do not stick to each other and will be nice and fluffy.
Dumming the Biriyani and Final Process:-
  1. Heat a wide vessel, keep in low heat, pour 2 tsp of oil, spread half the rice on the bottom of the vessel, top it with fish masala gravy, top with fried cashews, raisins, fried onions, coriander leaves and few drops of saffron milk.
  2. Repeat the process with remaing rice, masala, fried cashews, raisins, onions and saffron milk. Cover with an air tight lid and cook in low heat till steam starts to release from the sides of the pan.
  3. Take them out to individual serving plate, garnish with more raisins, cashews and fried onion. Serve warm with pappads, pickles, chutney and Raita.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins for Baking Partners # 3 and Halloween

Theme for this month's Baking Partner's Challenge was Muffins or Cupcakes with Pumpkin as star ingredient. Reshmi of Easy Cook, Priya of Cook Like Priya and Julie of Erivum Puliyumm suggested three recipes of muffins and cupcakes. I baked Pumpkin chocolate chips Muffin suggested by Reshmi from Joy of baking. They tasted way too good, very soft, moist and delicious. Kids here loved it. Try out these cupcakes to make the Halloween fun filled and interesting for your kids :-)

Ingredients Used:-

  1. 1½ cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  5. ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  6. ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  7. ½ teaspoon salt
  8. ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  9. 1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
  10. 2 large eggs
  11. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  12. ¾ cup (180 ml) solid packed, canned pumpkin puree
  13. 1 cup (175 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

How I made It:-
  • Preheat oven to 350 degree F (177 degrees C).
  • Place rack in the middle of the oven. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or spray each cup with a non stick vegetable spray.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ground spices, and salt.
  • In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 
  • With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and pumpkin puree, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Fill the muffin cups evenly with the batter using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Place in the oven and bake for about 18 - 20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean. 
  • Take out and place on a wire rack to cool.
  • Makes 12 regular-sized muffins.
Note: The batter can be baked in a 9-inch (23 cm) loaf pan. Butter or spray the loaf pan with a non stick vegetable spray. Bake the loaf in a 350 degree F (177 degree C) oven for about 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gulab Jamuns from Scratch for Cook-Ezee's 150th Post

Gulab Jamun is one of the most popular dessert in India and many countries in Indian Sub-continent. Traditionally, these are made with Khoya and flour together rolled into small balls and deep fried in low temperature then soaked in warm sugar syrup flavored with cardamom seeds and rose water. Here I have used  Milk powder available in Indian stores which is a great substitute for Khoya .The term Gulab Jamun comes from Gulab meaning  Rose referring to rose water scented syrup and Jamun a South Asian fruit with similar size and shape of that of Gulab Jamuns.

I wanted to do a dessert post on Cook-Ezee's 150th post and had been thinking of making something real quick which tastes fabulous as well. I got a perfect occasion to make these wonderful Gulab Jamuns last weekend as we planned for a friend's surprise baby shower party. Everyone relished the Jamuns which was very soft and melt-in mouth, dumplings perfectly sweetened by the syrup and well flavored with cardamom and rose water. And believe me it is not much of a labor, it is a very simple procedure, if you execute it with clear state of mind you are the winner and I'm sure the family will never want to eat the Jamun's from outside. :- ) So make them at home today and Enjoy !!!

The below recipe yields approx. 45 Gulab Jamuns, you can reduce the ingredients to half to make around 20- 25 Jamuns.

Ingredients Used:-
  1. Milk Powder - 2 Cups(Use low fat or high fat milk powder like Everyday available in Indian grocery stores, both works fine)
  2. All purpose powder/Maida - ½ Cup
  3. Baking Soda - ¼ tsp
  4. Unsalted Butter at room temperature -  5 tbsp
  5. Milk at room temperature - ¼ Cup(or just enough to knead the dough)
  6. Oil to deep fry
For Sugar Syrup
  1. Sugar - 2½ Cup
  2. Water - 3½ Cup
  3. Cardamom Pods coarsely ground - 4 or 5
  4. Rose Water - 2 tbsp(If you don't have them, opt out using it)
How I made It:-
  1. Combine milk powder, all purpose flour, baking soda and mix well with your clean, dry hand.
  2. Add butter and mix slowly with hands to get a crumbled flour mix for a while.
  3. Add milk little by little and knead well to form soft dough. If it crumbles add more milk and knead, if it  is very sticky add some flour and knead again. Set aside for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile make the sugar syrup. Add water and sugar in a wide vessel, stir well till sugar is dissolved  and bring it to boil.
  5. Add cardamom and rose water and stir again. Reduce the heat to medium and let boil for another five minutes and take off the flame. 
  6. Make small balls out of the dough and roll it to smooth balls. 
  7. Heat oil in a kadai, keep the heat in medium flame. Drop one ball to check for the appropriate temperature. If the balls sinks first and rises up eventually the temperature is just perfect.
  8. Deep fry the balls, couple of them together, keep rolling them well so that balls are evenly cooked. Take them out and drain off in paper towels(Don't get them to deep dark brown which will result in bitter taste)
  9. Let the fried balls cooled down for a while.Check for the sugar syrup, it should be hot but not boiling. If you feel the syrup is cold just heat it up to make it medium hot.
  10. Drop the balls one by one, gently pressing the balls with a spoon to immerse in the syrup. Leave it for couple of hours till Jamun absorbs the sweetness from the syrup. 
  11. Garnish with slivered almonds or pistachios when ready to serve. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature.
  12. I love to have them with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ultimate Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies ~ Baking Partners #2

Today's recipe is Ultimate chocolate cream cheese cookies, our second assignment for Baking partners - baking group started by Swathi . We were given three recipes of cookies from which we could choose any one or bake all the three. I obviously chose Chocolate Cream Cheese cookies, as my kids love the chocolate chip cookies. This recipe was suggested by our baking partner and  friend Tina, from baked owners Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Thanks a lot Tina for this awesome recipe. It tasted delicious, rich, chewy and they literally melt in mouth.

As per the rule we are suppose to post the recipe on 15th of every month, but due to many reasons I was unable to bake or post them on the particular day. I apologize for being late dear Swathi and all my baking partners but I really missed baking along with you all and missed my dear space as well. Things have changed for me and family, as I started travelling for work, unlike before I'm cooking very less these days. But I'm glad that I could bake these cookies last weekend, which my kids absolutely loved. The shelf life of these cookies is said to be less, so I refrigerated the left overs in an air-tight container. I microwave them for few seconds say 30 secs just before I served them with a glass of milk for my little ones and it tasted just the same. So here is the recipe for Ultimate Chocolate Cream Cookies, bake them today and Enjoy!!!!

  • 2 ¼ cups (255g) all purpose flour
  •  ¼ cup (32g)  unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. (8g) baking soda
  • ½ tsp. (3g) salt
  • 2 sticks (226g) unsalted butter, softened slightly
  •  4 oz (113g) Cream Cheese at room temperature
  • 1 cup (201g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (110g) dark brown sugar
  •  2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. (30ml) heavy cream(I used milk)
  • 1 tsp. (5ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 3 oz. (85g) bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 8 oz. (225g) of semi-sweet chocolate chips
How I made It:-
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  2. In a microwave safe bowl melt the bittersweet chocolate for 30 secs. Take it out and stir well, check if everything is melted and let it cool(If the chocolate is not melted fully, microwave again for 10 secs) 
  3. In a medium bowl, sift the flour with the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. 
  4. In a bowl combine the butter, cream cheese, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer beat them until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 
  5. Beat in the eggs, heavy cream(or milk) and vanilla until blended. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients.  Add the melted chocolate and chocolate chips and beat just until incorporated.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours.(I kept it for 2 hrs).
  6. Scoop heaping tablespoons of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them two inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes until the cookies are just set; shift the baking sheets for top to bottom and front to back half way through. 
  7. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Serve with a cup of milk/tea/coffee.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Aval Payasam and Thiruvonashamsakal!!!

എല്ലാവര്‍ക്കും എന്‍റെ ഹൃദയം നിറഞ്ഞ  തിരുവോണാശംസകള്‍ !!!

I Wish All A Very Happy Onam!!!!! 
Today's recipe a simple and very ezee Payasam/Kheer made with Aval or Poha. I've used Red Flattened Poha/Rose Matta Aval for making this Payasam but you can also use White Aval/Poha but make sure you use thick flattened aval/poha not the thin one's. I normally use White Poha for making Aval Payasam which we absolutely love and tastes excellent. Since my parents bought these beautiful Kerala red aval flakes which was locally made and less processed I gave it a quick rinse in a colander before making payasam. If using the store bought white aval/poha you don't have to rinse it as I always see it being finely processed, clean and not much powdery stuff around. So check, if you feel the Poha is very fine go ahead and make the payasam directly by roasting them in ghee and without any rinse. Make it for Onam and Enjoy with Family and Friends!!! Happy Onam!!!!

Ingredients Used:-
  1. Chemba Aval/Red Flattened Poha - 1 Cup(or white thick Poha/Aval)
  2. Full Fat Milk - 6 Cups
  3. Sugar - 1¼ Cup
  4. Ghee - 2 tbsp
  5. Cardamom pods - 1 (optional)

Preparation Method:-
  • Put the Aval/Poha in a colander and give a quick rinse to the Poha, drain to a paper towel if required. Make sure aval/poha don't become soggy.
  • Heat up a vessel preferably non-stick, pour the ghee. Add the poha and saute and roast for a minute or two till they absorb the aroma of ghee. Move it to plate and set aside.
  • Pour Milk to the same vessel and bring to boil stirring couple of times just to make sure milk don't stick to the bottom of the pan. Drop the sauteed aval/poha to the boiling milk and let it boil again. Reduce the heat to medium and let it cook for another five-ten minutes till poha become very soft and cooked.

  • Add the sugar now and stir well and let it cook and boil . Simmer the heat to low-medium and let it roll/boil for another 20-30 minutes stirring every now and then till the aval/poha absorbs the sweetness and the milk is reduced and thickened well to the payasam consistency.

  • Crush the cardamom pod and add it to the Payasam, give it a stir(It tastes awesome even without cardamom and any raisins/cashews so cardamom is purely optional). Switch off the stove. Serve it warm or chilled!!!! 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Oats Yogurt Porridge ~ Oats Thayir Saadam

How do you use Oats in your daily diet which is considered as healthful, nutritious, which also have cholesterol lowering properties, very fibrous and above all considered as great alternative for rice/rotis for people who are diabetic. Though we are not diabetic oats plays an important role in our day to day food, especially when it comes to dinner. There is one more reason(secret) behind my love for oats, it comes handy when I feel terribly lazy to roll Rotis in the evenings. Though we are Oat freaks, my hubby is not so fond of our normal Oats Milk Porridge, even if I mix n match with the addition of brown sugar, generous amount of his favorite nuts, fruits and many more in the name of adding flavor and taste. That is how I ended up making Oats Poha which is one of his favorite, to be more precise he like something with the blend of spices, more Indian than something bland.

And now since my parents are here and my mom don't eat rice at night, I'm always experimenting with oats, wheat flour, Quinoa, Raagi Flour and many more healthy alternative at nights. That is when my sister told me to try it with Yogurt/Curd which she tried once and liked. I was waiting for something new like this and end result of making it for the first time was an empty vessel which was relished by the whole family including my little teddies. I call it Oats Thayir Saadam/Yogurt Rice as they looks similar and the cooking process and taste resemble a lot. I believe may be because my little ones love Thayir Saadam they tend to love this Oats Porridge as well. So lemme stop blabbering and move on to this delicious and healthy oats recipe which is equally good for young and elderly people, Try it today and Enjoy with your loved ones !!!!!

Ingredients Used :- 

  1. Quaker Old Fashioned Oats - 1 Cup
  2. Water - 3 Cups(More if needed)
  3. Salt to taste(~ 1 tsp)
  4. Sour Yogurt/Curd - 1½ Cup(Add  ½ cup of water and dilute if the yogurt is very thick) 
  5. Cilantro/Coriander leaves chopped ~ 2tbsp
For Seasoning/Tempering:-
  1. Olive Oil/Oil - 2tbsp
  2. Mustard Seeds -1 tsp
  3. Jeera/Cumin - 1tsp
  4. Chopped Shallots - 1tbsp
  5. Ginger finely chopped - 1 tsp(optional, I add if I'm not in a hurry)
  6. Green chilies chopped - 1 tsp(optional, add it if you need to increase some spice)
  7. Urad Dal - 1 tsp
  8. Peanut - 2tbsp
  9. Curry leaves few 
  10. Dry Red Chilies -4
Preparation Method:-
  • In a wide vessel cook oats with water and salt stirring continuously. Once they start to boil simmer the heat to medium and let it cook for another four to five minutes. Take off the stove and let the heat come down from boiling hot to bearable.
  • Beat the yogurt gently with a fork, just to remove the lumps. Pour it over the cooked oats and give it a gentle stir to blend well.
  • For tempering heat up another small pan, pour oil, add mustard seeds. When they start to sizzle simmer the heat to medium, add jeera/cumin and let it pop. Add chopped shallots, red chilies, urad dal, peanut, curry leaves and saute till shallots turn golden brown. Pour over the Porridge and mix well. 
  • Serve warm with pickle and pappads/fryums or just plain.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tofu Manchurian Dry

Ingredients Used:-
  • Firm Tofu - 12Oz 
  • Onion - 1 Large(or 2 Med) cut into cubes
  • Green chilies - 3 to 4 chopped diagonally
  • Bell pepper/Capsicum - 1 big cubed(I used ½ red and ½ green bell pepper, you can use any color)
  • Garlic chopped fine - 1 tbsp
  • Spring onion/Green onion finely chopped - 2tbsp
  • Salt to taste(½ tsp, check and adjust)
  • Soy Sauce - 2 tbsp
  • Tomato Sauce or ketchup - 1 tbsp
  • Chili sauce(red or green chili) - 1 tbsp
  • Pepper powder - 1 tsp
  • Dry Red Chili flakes - 1 tsp(optional)
  • Oil- 1 tbsp + more for deep frying
  • Ajnamotto - ½ tsp(optional, I did not use it) 

Batter Ingredients:- 

***Corn flour-All purpose flour(Maida) ratio I use is 2:1, so if you increase the quantity of Tofu and other ingredients increase the batter ratio according to the ratio specified. 
  • Corn Flour - 4 tbsp
  • All purpose flour/Maida - 2 tbsp
  • Salt to taste(~ ½ tsp)
  • Pepper Powder - ½ tsp tsp
  • Egg - 1(optional, if not using egg add 2 tbsp of water)

How I made It:-
  • Chop the tofu into medium sized cubes and set aside. 
  • In a big bowl mix together the 'Batter Ingredients' to get a thick batter, the consistency should be thick and bit runny but not too dry. If you feel the batter is too thick add few drops of water.
  • Drop the tofu in the batter and mix gently with clean hands to coat the tofu with batter. Set aside for 15-30 minutes(if possible).
  • Heat up oil in a kadai/frying pan for deep frying the tofu. Mix the tofu pieces once again in the batter and deep fry them. Drain into paper towels to remove excess oil and set aside. 
  • Heat up another Kadai/frying pan, pour 1 tbsp of oil, add chopped onions, salt and saute till soft and translucent.
  • Add chopped garlic, green chilies and saute for two more minutes or till raw smell of garlic goes off. 
  • Add the bell pepper/capsicum and saute well for another four to six minutes till they becomes soft.
  • Add pepper powder, chili flakes and saute. Add soy sauce, tomato sauce, chili sauce and saute till they start to boil. 
  • Set the stove in high heat, add the fried tofu pieces and saute well till everything is combined properly and sauce is dried up.
  •  Take off the stove, add chopped spring onions and saute well to mix. Garnish with more spring onions when you are ready to serve.
  • Serve warm as a starter or side dish with Rotis/Naan/Rice.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Reine de Saba avec Glaçage au Chocolat: Chocolate Almond Cake ~ Baking Partners # 1

We the Baking Partners along with you all celebrates the 100th birthday of Julia Child with her Wonderful Cake 'Reine de Saba avec Glaçage au Chocolat' or in simple words 'Chocolate Almond Cake' as a tribute to this Culinary legend. I truly believe in her quote's "You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces -- just good food from fresh ingredients". She is recognized for bringing French cuisine to the American public with her debut cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and her subsequent television programs, the most notable of which was The French Chef.

I'm really happy and thankful to Swathi for choosing this awesome cake as our first assignment which I absolutely loved making and my family enjoyed every tiny bit of it. To be frank when I saw the recipe header it did scare me but when I went through the recipe thoroughly along with Swathi's Inputs and notes I felt there is nothing that I've to scratch my head. When I started making it I felt it is very simple and straight forward process, as for every bake you just have to pay proper attention. But I must thank all the wonderful ladies in our baking group who poured in with the suggestions and inputs after their bakes which made it more easier for many of us. Thanks a bunch girls, you guys are truly amazing.

Coming back to this cake, I felt its more fugdy kind, dense and moist. Very less flour is used in this cake and the almond meal(powdered/pulverized almond) added give it a rich texture which can be slurped even without any Icing.  The chocolate-butter Icing complimented the cake very well, I was delighted to see such a dense cake baked without using any enhancing agents like Baking Soda/baking powder. But just a word of caution at the end the calorie count in this cake may be high as it uses some generous amount of butter, but its worth every tiny bite. Now moving on to the recipe, though my final decoration is not great, it tasted fabulous!!!!!.

Ingredients Used for an 8" Cake Pan:-
  • Semi Sweet Chocolate - 4 ounce or 4 squares or113.4 grams 
  • Softened Butter - ¼  lb or 1 stick softened butter or 113g
  • Granulated Sugar - 2/3 cup/ 134g (add  ¼ cup mmore if you are on a sweeter side)  
  • Eggs - 3(Yolks and White Separated)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Almond extract  - ½ tsp. 
  • Cake flour - ½ cup or 57g(scooped and leveled, turned into a sifter)
  • Granulated sugar -  1 tbsp
  • 1/3 cup/ 65g pulverized  (ground) almonds(To pulverize almonds grind together Blanched or slivered Almonds with 1 tbsp of sugar)
Pulverized Almonds
Chocolate Icing:-
  • Semisweet Baking Chocolate -  2 Oz(2 squares)/ 56.7 g 
  • Rum or Coffee - 2 tbsp 
  • Unsalted butter - 5 to 6 tbsp

  • Preheat oven to 350F/ 180 C. Butter and flour the cake pan nd set aside.
  • Set the chocolate and rum or coffee in a small pan, cover and place (off heat-but boiling hot) in a larger pan of almost simmering water; let melt while you proceed with the recipe. 
  • Measure out the rest of the ingredients and keep handy.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture. Beat in the egg yolks until well blended.
  • Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed (gradually increase the speed of your mixer and for about 5 minutes); sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed (it should have peaks not deflate ones).
  • With a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in the ground almonds, and almond extract. Immediately stir in one-fourth ( ¼) of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter. 
  • Delicately fold in a third  (1/3rd) of the remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one-third  ( 1/3rd) of the flour and continue folding. Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated
  • Turn the batter into the cake pan, pushing the batter up to its rim with a rubber spatula. Bake in middle level of preheated oven for 25minutes. Cake is done when it has puffed, and 2 1/2 to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a needle plunged  into that area comes out clean; the center should move slightly if the pan is shaken, and a needle comes out oily
  • Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and reverse cake on the rack. Allow it to cool for an hour or two, it must be thoroughly cold if it is to be iced.
  • To serve, use the chocolate-butter icing recipe below, and then press a design of almonds over the icing.
How to make Icing:-
  • Put a bowl filled with a tray of ice cubes and water to cover them and set aside.
  • Place the chocolate and rum or coffee in a small pan, cover, and set in a larger pan of almost simmering water(heat off-but boiled water).  
  • Remove pans from heat and let chocolate melt for 5 minutes or so, until perfectly smooth. Lift chocolate pan out of the hot water, and beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time. Then beat over the ice and water until chocolate mixture has cooled to spreading consistency. At once spread it over your cake with spatula or knife.
  • Garnish with slivered almonds or according to your choice.

Some important Tips and Notes:-
*   Substitution for cake flour:- Add 1 tablespoon of corn flour/corn starch and then fill the rest of cup with all purpose flour(I did this instead of using cake flour)
** Reserve ¼ cup or more slivered almonds for decoration 
*** The cake is done when a cake tester inserted at the sides comes out clean where as when inserted in the center comes out with few moist crumbs.
*** Check out for the cake from 18 minutes as the baking time can vary according to different oven settings.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Happy Independence Day India

Dear All,

It is August 15th tomorrow, Indian Independence Day. So here I'm wishing all my fellow Indians A Very Happy Independence Day. This Tricolor Salad Flag is the same which I made for the last Republic Day :-)

Let my India emerge with Flying Colors, dynamic and Versatile In Every Manner.
Hope the spirit of Freedom, fills your life with joy, colors and Pride. 
Happy Independence Day!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Parippum Neyyum/Split Moong Dal Curry ~ A Kerala Sadya Recipe

Parippum Neyyum/Split Moong Dal Curry which is simply known as Parippu Curry is one of the simplest and  the modest Kerala Sadya dish. Now everyone has their own way of making this ethnic dish and may have regional differences. I normally make it in the simplest form by cooking Moong dal/Cherupayar Parippu with with two three green chilies, without ground coconut paste or tempering but just by seasoning them in the end with one or two tbsp of coconut oil and curry leaves. The flavor and aroma it imparts is really wonderful. Another reason of my love of it making this simple way is it is one of the best considered food for babies from 6 months to kids of any age, I used to make it a lot for my both kids and still make it this way. They love it with boiled rice and ghee which is really nutritious and so very simple, I hope you all agree with me.

But then these days when I've more than twenty-five to thirty guests for Onam/Vishu Sadya festivals here I go for this way of preparing Parippu Curry with Ground Coconut and Tempering. As I mentioned in the recipe the tempering is purely optional for this way of preparation also, instead you can just add few drops or two tbsp of coconut oil and some generous amount of curry leaves which will impart a lovely aroma and flavor. I sometimes add a clove of garlic while grinding the coconut paste as I have heard my granny and many elderly people saying its helps for digestion but its full on you as to how you want to make it.(I personally like to avoid using garlic but at the end of the festive days we tend to eat a lot and feel so heavy I believe its better to add some garlic in your sadya meals). Make sure for Sadya you serve it topped with a spoon of ghee and Pappadams which is the best combo. So make your parippu curry this way for this Onam and Enjoy with your loved ones :-)

Ingredients Used:- 
  1. Split Moong Dal - 1½ cup
  2. Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
  3. Split green chilies -3 to 4 split lengthwise 
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Water - 3 cups(more if required)
To Grind:-
  1. Grated Coconut - 1½ cup
  2. Jeera/Cumin - tsp
  3. Garlic - 1 clove(optional)
  4. Water - 3tbsp(or just enough to grind)
Tempering:-(Tempering is purely optional)
  1. Coconut oil/Ghee - 2 tbsp
  2. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  3. Jeera/Cumin - ½ tsp(optional)
  4. Shallots chopped - 1tbsp
  5. Curry leaves few
  6. Dry red chilies - 4

How I made It:-
  • Wash Moong Dal two-three times, put them in the pressure cooker, pour water, add turmeric and salt. Pressure cook it for just one whistle and take it off the stove.
  • Meanwhile grind the 'To Grind' ingredients into smooth paste and keep aside.
  • When the pressure releases fully, open the pressure cooker lid and stir well to mash the cooked dal. Add the slit green chilies and ground coconut paste to the dal stir well again. 
  • Put on the stove and cook the dal coconut mix again, stir for couple of times to make sure dal don't stick on to the botoom and get burned.
  • When it starts to boil reduce the heat to medium and let it boil again for another five minutes. Take them off the stove. 
  • For tempering-heat up a small pan, pour coconut oil or ghee, add mustard seeds. When they start to splutter add jeera/cumin. When they sizzle add chopped shallots, curry leaves, dry red chilies and saute till shallots turn golden brown color.
  • Pour over the Parippu Curry and give it a gentle mix. Serve with rice topped with a tsp of ghee/clarified butter and Pappadam.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chemmeen Pacha Manga Muringha Curry/Prawns Raw Mango Drumstick Curry

Another absolute family favorite recipe, Muringayum Pacha Mangayum chertha Chemmeen Curry or Prawns Curry made with Raw Mango and Drumsticks. If you have these simple ingredients handy it takes not more than 30 minutes to make this delicious meal companion. So without talking further let me move onto the recipe, make it today for a scrumptious meal :-)

Ingredients Used :-
  1. Prawns Big - 15 to 20 count(can use small prawns as well, increase the quantity as required)
  2. Chilly powder - 1 tbsp
  3. Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
  4. Salt to taste(~ 1 tsp)
  5. Drumstick - 2 long(~ 15 pieces when cut into long strips)
  6. Raw Mango - 1 Medium Size(~ 1 to 1½ cups)
  7. Green Chilies - 5(slit into halves)
  8. Ginger chopped fine - 1 tbsp(A small piece)
  9. Curry leaves few
  10. Water - 2 Cups(or more)

To Grind:-
  1. Grated Coconut - 1½ Cup
  2. Jeera/Cumin - 1 tsp
  3. Dry red chilies - 2 
  4. Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
For Tempering:- 
  1. Coconut Oil - 2 tsp
  2. Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
  3. Fenugreek seeds - ½ tsp
  4. Shallots chopped - 3
  5. Curry leaves few
  6. Dry Red Chilies - 4 
How I made It:-
  • Peel and deveine the Prawns, add some salt and mix well. Rinse two to three times in water, drain off completely.
  • Marinate the prawns the chilly powder, turmeric powder and salt. St aside for 30 minutes if possible.
  • Wash the drumstick, slightly scrape out the outer skin, cut lengthwise. 
  • Wash and peel the raw mango, cut into cubes. 
  • Grind the 'To Grind' ingredients to a fine smooth paste and set aside till ready to use. 
  • Add the marinated prawns, drumstick, raw mango, green chilies, ginger, curry leaves into the ManChatti/earthenware. Pour water and cook it covered till everything start to boil. Simmer to medium heat and let it cook for another five-seven minutes.
  • Now add the ground coconut paste and mix well, check for the salt and adjust. Add water if you feel more gravy is required. Increase the heat and bring it to boil with lid open.
  • Once the curry start to boil, simmer the heat again to medium and let it cook/boil again for another five-ten minutes. Take off the stove 
  • Now for seasoning/tempering, heat a small pan, pour coconut oil, add mustard seeds  and wait to sputter. When they start to crackle, reduce heat and add the fenugreek seeds, curry leaves , dry red chilies and chopped shallots.
  • Saute til the shallots turn golden brown color. Pour over the curry. Leave it for a while, Serve with boiled rice. Enjoy!!!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Kerala Kitchen Best Dish Award May 2012


I was so happy and excited when I came to know my Malabar Chicken Biriyani  have won the Best Dish Award in the The Kerala Kitchen contest held at Jehanne's wonderful space The Cooking Doctor. It is such an honor, I was really surprised and thrilled when I came to know about it. She is also sending 'Le Creuset Volcanic Stoneware soup bowl' to the winners which looks so cool and pretty. Thanks a lot Jehanne dear, that is so sweet of you.

Check out for the other winners of May at her space The Cooking Doctor. Also she has compiled all the recipes into an e-book which is just awesome. The e-book contains all the entries of the event for the month, which includes Best Dish, Best Picture and the top contribution list as well. 
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