Thursday, December 30, 2010

Papadam Curry (Papad ki Sabzi)

What I used:

Large papads : 3 (Masala papads taste best, but could use any type of papads)
Plain yogurt : 1 tbsp
Green chillies : 2 (slit lengthwise)
Red chilli powder : 1/2 tsp
Chopped coriander : 1 to 2 tbsp (chopped)
Cumin seeds : 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds : 1/4 tsp
Fennel seeds : 1 tbsp
Fenugreek seeds : 1 tsp
Turmeric : one big pinch
Aesofoetida : one big pinch
Coriander powder : 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala : 1/4 tsp
Ghee : 1 tbsp
Salt : as required
Water : 1 cup

How I did:
  • Break the papads into approximately 1" pieces and keep the aside.
  • Heat ghee in a sauce pan on medium heat, add aesofoetida, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric powder, green chillies, fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds.
  • When the seeds splutter, add red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala and yogurt.
  • When the yogurt is well mixed with other ingredients and nicely browned, add a cup of water and salt.
  • Bring it a boil and add the papad pieces.
  • Cook for 2 minutes or until the papads are soft and all the water is almost evaporated.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with any roti.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Masala Chai

What I used:

Tea Leaves : 2 tsp
Cinnamon Stick : 1" piece
Cloves : 4 nos.
Cardamom : 4 nos.
Ground ginger : 1/2 tsp (or can use fresh grated ginger)
Fennel seeds : 1 to 2 tsp
Water : 1/2 cup
Milk : 1 1/2 cup
Sugar : as required

How I did:
  • Using a mixer grinder, grind all the spices except tea leaves to a coarse powder. This powder can be made in large quantities and stored for future use.
  • Bring water to boil in a saucepan,  add the spice powder, tea leaves and sugar to taste and lower the flame. Allow it to simmer for about 2 minutes and strain.
  • Serve hot.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kattu Pongali (Rice Pongal)

What I used:

Rice : 1 cup
Split green gram dal : 1/2 cup
Cashews : 2 to 3 tbsp
Ginger : 1/2 inch (finely chopped)
Pepper corns : 1 tsp
Cumin seeds : 1/2 tsp
Mustard Seeds: 1/2 tsp
Ground pepper : 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves : a few (I didn't put them, 'cause I didn't have them)
Salt : as required
Ghee : 2 tbsp

How I did:
  • Wash rice and dal together and keep aside.
  • Heat two tbsp of ghee in a pressure cooker, add cashews, pepper corns, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, chopped ginger and curry leaves.
  • Saute till the seeds splutter and cashews are nicely browned.
  • Pour 4 cups of water and add salt and ground pepper.
  • When the water comes to boil, add rice and dal and put the lid on with the whistle.
  • Cook for upto three whistles and switch off the stove.
  • Wait for ten minutes, open the lid and mix thoroughly.
  • Serve hot with Sambar or Split yellow dal chutney.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ravva Palakura Garelu (Sooji and Spinach Fritters)

What I used:

Bombai Ravva (Sooji) : 1 cup
Urad dal : 1/2 cup
Spinach leaves : a handful (chopped)
Baking soda : 1/4 tsp
Salt : as required
Oil : for deep frying

How I did:
  • Soak urad dal for 2 hours or more and grind into a smooth paste.  This doesn't have to be tight as we do for normal garelu, so add little water while grinding, 
  • Mix ravva to urad dal batter and let rest for half-hour.  Add salt, baking soda and chopped spinach and mix thoroughly.
  • Apply little water to your palms, take a big lemon sized batter, shape it in the form of donut, make a hole in the center and deep fry.
  • When they turn golden brown on both sides transfer them to paper napkin which absorbs excess oil. 
  • Serve hot with any chutney.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Egg Chettinad

What I used:

Hard boiled eggs : 4
Plain yogurt : 1/4 cup
Tomato : 1 (chopped)
Pepper corns : 1/4 tsp
Garlic cloves : 2 to 3 (chopped)
Pepper powder : 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder : 1 pinch
Salt : as required
Chopped coriander : 1 tsp
Oil : 1 tbsp

How I did:

  • Cut the boiled eggs into 6 to 8 pieces each.
  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan, add chopped garlic cloves and pepper corns.
  • Saute till garlic is nicely browned and add egg pieces and chopped tomatoes.
  • Stir fry till tomatoes are cooked and add yogurt, salt, turmeric powder and pepper powder.
  • Cook till the mixture comes together and egg pieces are coated well with yogurt and spices.
  • Garnish with coriander and serve hot with rice or roti.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Gingerbread House and Merry Christmas

We had a play date for kids and I've planned Gingerbread house activity for them.  Everybody had fun assembling their own houses and decorating them.  I got a gingerbread mix from Michaels but I could make only three houses out of that mix.  I had to bake a total of 7 houses and so again I made the cookies from scratch.  I found this recipe in Joy of Baking but substituted molasses with honey and completely omitted nutmeg 'cause I didn't have it.  When I mixed the dough I felt it is too liquidy to roll out immediately, so mixed a little flour and refrigerated for an hour. I made paper cuttings of walls and roof proportionately for a house and used those as stencils for the cookies.  After I've finished with the houses, I made a few Snowmen and Gingerbread Men with the remaining dough.

What I used:

For the Gingerbread House:

All purpose flour : 3 cups (an extra 2 tbs if its too loose)
White granulated sugar : 1/2 cup
Butter : 1/2 cup
Honey : 2/3 cup
Egg : 1
Ground ginger : 2 tsp
Ground cinnamon : 1 tsp
Ground cloves : 1/4 tsp
Salt : 1/4 tsp
Baking soda : 3/4 tsp

For the Frosting:

Powdered sugar : 2 1/4 cups
Egg whites : 3 eggs
Cream of Tarter : 1 tsp

For the Decoration:

M & Ms
Candy canes
Jelly Beans

How I did:

Gingerbread House:
  • Sift together the flour, spices, salt and baking soda and keep it aside.
  • Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy with an hand mixer or electric mixer.
  • Add honey and egg and beat until blended. 
  • Add the flour mixture gradually and beat until the dough comes together.  Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour.
  • Preheat oven to 400 deg F.  
  • Directly roll out the dough on the back of the cookies sheet, which makes it easier.  Use a damp towel underneath the cookie sheet which holds the sheet in place while rolling. Lightly flour a cookie sheet from the bottom, unwrap the dough from the wrap, take a big ball sized dough and roll out on the floured cookie sheet to 1/8 inch thickness.
  • Place the paper templates on the rolled dough and cut the shapes with a pizza cutter or you could even use a knife.
  • Carefully remove all the extra dough from the cookie sheet.  This can be used again.
  • Put the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges turn to brown.
  • Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest for about 10 minutes and then transfer to another surface to cool completely.
  • Combine the powdered sugar, egg whites and cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed for about 4 to 5 minutes till stiff peaks form.
Use the frosting as the glue and assemble the house and decorate it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Coffee Fizzle

What I used :

Vanilla Ice cream : 2 scoops
Black coffee : 1/4 cup (Mix some instant coffee powder in warm water and add sugar if desired)
Sprite or plain soda : 1/2 cup
Chocolate syrup : 1 tbsp

How I did:
  • Blend vanilla ice cream, black coffee and chocolate syrup together.
  • Transfer to a serving glass or cup and pour chilled soda or sprite.

Crispy Sesame Cookies

What I used:

All purpose flour : 1 1/4 cups 
Egg : 1
Butter : 1 stick (1/2 cup)
White granulated sugar : 1/2 cup
Brown sugar : 1/2 cup
Sesame seeds : 1 cup
Vanilla extract : 1 tsp
Salt : 1/4 tsp
Baking powder : 1/2 tsp

How I did:

  • Heat a pan on medium heat and roast the sesame seeds until lightly brown.   Keep them aside to cool.
  • Heat the oven to 350 deg F.  
  • Sift all purpose flour, baking powder and salt and keep aside.
  • Take butter, white sugar and brown sugar in a mixing bowl and cream them together for about 2 minutes.
  • Add egg and vanilla extract and beat till combined.  
  • Add the flour mixture and mix thoroughly.
  • Fold in 1/3 cup of roasted sesame seeds.
  • Take a tea spoon sized dough, shape into a ball and roll in the sesame seeds to coat.  Similarly make the remaining cookies and place them on a greased cookie sheet leaving 1 inch space between each cookie. Slightly press the balls with a spatula to flatten.
  • Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or edges turn golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring from the cookie sheet.
  • Let cool completely before storage.
  • Makes about 80 cookies.
Sending this to Dr. Sameena's Cookies and Cakes for X-Mas Event

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Challa Pindi

    This is a type of upma made with rice flour and sour curds. Mom prepares this for breakfast whenever curd is leftover at home. Challa Pindi doesn't taste good if the curds are not sour enough.  Here in US usually the curds won't turn that sour because we keep it in the refrigerator . Even if we leave it outside, it won't turn sour because of the cool weather.  As usual I add little lemon juice to fill up that sourness.

    What I used:

    Rice flour : 1 cup
    Sour curd : 1 cups (well whisked)
    Water : 1 cup
    Green chillies : 4 to 5 (slit lengthwise)
    Onions : 1/2 (chopped)
    Mustard seeds : 1/ 2 tsp 
    Bengal gram : 1 tbsp
    Urad dal : 1/2 tsp 
    Cumin : 1/2 tsp 
    Turmeric : a big pinch 
    Curry leaves : a few
    Red Chilli : 1 (broken) 
    Lemon juice : 1 tsp or as required (optional)
    Salt : as required
    Cooking Oil : 1 tbsp

    How I did:
    • To 1 cup of curd add 1 cup of water and whisk well. To this mix rice flour, salt and turmeric powder and keep it aside.
    • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds, bengal gram, urad dal, cumin and red chilli pieces.
    • When the seeds start spluttering, add slit green chillies and curry leaves.
    • Saute for a while and add chopped onions.  Cook till they turn translucent.
    • While stirring, add the rice flour mixture slowly and keep stirring till it starts bubbling. Adjust the salt if any and switch off the stove when the rice flour is cooked.  Add lemon juice and mix.
    • Serve hot as breakfast.

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    My Son's Birthday Cake

    Recently we've celebrated our little son's 2nd birthday at Chuck E Cheese and I made this two layered cake for the celebration. He's very fond of Barney and from the beginning I've been planning for a Barney cake. I worked out on various options to create figurines of Barney, BJ and Baby Bop and finally sticked to marshmallow fondant (MMF). But never wanted to cover the entire cake with fondant, and planned to use whipped cream as a frosting. And for the cake, I used chocolate cake for one layer and sour cream cake for another. 

    But by the time the cake is cut, the fondant circles which I used to decorate the sides of the cake started to slide down slowly. The combination of whipped cream frosting and marshmallow fondant didn't work as I expected (a lesson learnt). Except that, the cake was a hit on the big day.

    Barney and Friends figurines with Marshmallow Fondant:

    16 oz packate of Mini Marshmallows
    2 lbs Confectioner's Sugar 
    Vegetable Shortening as required
    Purple (Red + Blue), Yellow and Green colors (of course edible)
    • First step is to melt marshmallows in a microwave. Grease a microwave safe bowl well with generous amount of vegetable shortening, place the marshmallows in the bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Take the bowl out and stir once and microwave for another 30 seconds more, continue doing this until all the marshmallows are melted. You should even grease the spoon you are using to stir the marshmallows.
    • Sprinkle 3/4 of the powdered sugar into the melted marshmallows and mix with spoon.
    • Now grease your hands then heavily grease the counter you will be using to knead the fondant.  Transfer the fondant mixture to the greased counter and start kneading it.  
    • At this stage it would be real sticky.  Keep kneading by adding confectioner's sugar until you feel it won't accept any more sugar into it.
    • As I've used this fondant to make figurines and not to cover the cake, I wanted this to be much stiffer than normal fondant.  Because when I made figurines with regular fondant recipe, the figures fell flat.
    • For that, when you think it won't accept any more sugar, microwave the dough for about 10 to 15 secs.  It will melt the dough and more sugar can be added to it.  Apply shortening in between to you palms and knead into a smooth dough.
    • Double wrap the entire fondant in cling wrap, and let rest overnight.
    • The next day, divide the dough into portions you like for each color.  Take an individual portion, melt in microwave for 10 seconds and knead the color into it.  Dark colors darken when the fondant sits for a night.   I knew this by experience.  I kneaded red and blue colors to get exact purple color of barney, but by the next day the fondant turned to much darker shade.
    • If you have any excess fondant, double wrap it, put in a ziploc and refrigerate.  Stays good for almost a month.

    One advantage with this marshmallow fondant is that this can be made ahead almost a month earlier. I made the figures four days before the party and this way there is enough time for them to dry.  I shaped all the parts of the figures separately and glued them with betty crocker decorating gel.  I mixed all the colors except black, as I didn't have it handy.  I  have these ready to stick eyes which are generally used on dolls and I used them instead of running to the store to buy black food coloring.

    Chocolate Cake:

    This recipe is from my friend Sridevi who always bakes yummy cakes. 

    2 cups all purpose flour
    2 cups sugar
    2 sticks butter
    8 eggs
    2/3 cup chocolate syrup - Hershey or anything (if you don't have chocolate syrup you can use same amt of milk with cocoa powder of 12 table spoons)
    2/3 cup cocoa powder 
    4 tsp baking powder
    • Sift all purpose flour and baking powder together.
    • Beat butter and sugar till fluffy.
    • Add an egg at a time and keep mixing till frothy and well mixed.
    • Add chocolate syrup and cocoa and mix for another 2 minutes.
    • Then fold in the dry ingredients.
    • Grease and dust a  13x9 inch baking pan 
    • Pour the batter and bake at 350 deg F for around 45 to 50 mins or until tooth pic inserted comes out clean.

    Sour Cream Cake: 

    I found this recipe on Cake Central which calls for almond extract.  But I've added vanilla extract instead of almond in my cake. 

    1 box white cake mix (Betty crocker or pillsbury)
    1 cups all-purpose flour
    1 cups granulated sugar
    3/4 tsp salt
    4 egg whites
    1 1/3 cups water
    2 Tbls. vegetable oil
    1 cup sour cream
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    • This recipes makes a 13x9 " cake.
    • Grease the cake pan and preheat oven to 325 deg F.
    • Place all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir together with a wire whisk.  Add the remaining wet ingredients and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
    • Pour into greased pan a little over half full. Tap the pan on the counter to level and to remove any air bubbles.
    • Bake in the oven for about 45 to 50 minutes or till a tooth pic inserted comes out clean.

    Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting:

    6 cups Heavy whipping cream
    4 tsps Unflavored Gelatin
    1 cup of water
    1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
    3 tsps vanilla extract
    • Chill the mixing bowl and the whisk atleast for half an hour before you start whipping.  The cake should be chilled too. 
    • Take a cup of water and sprinkle the gelatin on the top.  Let it rest and dissolve for 5 minutes.  Put it in the microwave to warm just or 10 secs.  Stir and microwave again or 10 more secs.  Let the gelatin cool down at room temperature or 10 minutes.
    • Take the heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla in the mixing bowl and start whisking at low speed for 5 minutes or until soft peak forms.   Pour in the cooled gelatin and whisk until firm peaks are formed.  
    • Use immediately to frost the cake as desired but refrigerate until used.

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Ridge gourd Dip

    What I used:

    1/2 cup chopped Ridge gourd with skin
    1 chopped Tomato
    2 cloves Garlic
    3 tbsp Sesame seeds
    1 to 1 1/2 cups Sour Cream
    Salt to taste
    4 to 5 chopped Green chillies
    1 tbsp Cumin seeds
    1 tbsp Coriander seeds
    1 tbsp Cooking Oil

    How I did:

    • On a medium flame, heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds, coriander seeds and sesame seeds to it.
    • When sesame seeds start spluttering, puff up and lightly browned, add chopped ridge gourd and cook uncovered for about 2 minutes.
    • Add chopped tomato, little salt and cook it covered till the vegetables are completely cooked.
    • When cooled grind all the cooked mixture along with garlic pods into a smooth paste adding required amount of salt.  Finally add sour cream and run on pulse till combined.
    • Serve chilled with any chips.

    Semiya Payasam

    What I used:

    Vermicelli : 1 1/2 cup
    Milk : 3 cups
    Water : 2 cups
    Condensed Milk : 1/2 can
    Sugar : 1/3 cup or as required
    Nuts : as you wish (I used cashews, almonds, raisins)
    Ghee : 1 tbsp

    How I did:
    • Take a sauce pan and boil 2 cups of water in it on medium high flame.
    • Reduce the flame to medium and add vermicelli to it.  You can also use roasted vermicelli if you wish.
    • Cook for about two minutes and pour 3 cups of milk.
    • Once the milk comes to boil add condensed milk and sugar.
    • Switch off the stove once it comes to boil and leave it on the same stove for 10 minutes.
    • Heat ghee in another pan, add all the nuts and fry till nicely browned.
    • Pour into the payasam.
    • Serve warm as a dessert.
    Note:  When the stove is switched off, the payasam will be in liquid consistency and thickens after 10 to 15 minutes.

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Tomato Celery Soup

    What I used:

    Tomatoes : 3
    Celery Stick : 1 (chopped into cubes)
    Onion : 1/4 (chopped)
    Cumin seeds : 1/4 tsp
    Garlic cloves : 3
    Ginger piece : 1/2" piece
    Salt : as required
    Sugar : 1 tsp
    Pepper Powder : 1/4 tsp or as per your spice level
    Green Chillies : 1
    Bay leaf : 1
    Sour cream : 3 to 4 tbsp
    Olive oil : 1 tbsp

    How I did:

    • Blanch the tomatoes and peel off the skin.  
    • In a saucepan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and add cumin, chopped onion and chopped celery and cook till the onions are done.
    • When cooled take all the cooked ingredients, peeled tomatoes, garlic, ginger and green chilli in a blender and blend until smooth.
    • Strain the puree through a strainer into a saucepan.  Add water as required to make it thinner.
    • Add bay leaf and boil the soup on low to medium heat.  Add salt, sugar, pepper powder and sour cream.  Let it boil for 5 to 7 minutes.  Check the consistency in between.
    • Serve hot.

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Phool Makhana Laddoo

    What I used:

    Phool Makhana : 1 cup
    Whole wheat flour : 1 cup
    Powdered sugar : 3/4 cup or as u need
    Ghee : 6 to 7 tbsp

    How I did:
    • Roast the phool makhana on low to medium flame for about 5 minutes which will make them crisp.  Transfer them to a mixing bowl.
    • In the same pan, roast whole wheat flour for 5 minutes. Pour into the phool makhana.  
    • Add powdered sugar and combine well.
    • Add melted ghee and shape them into laddoos.

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Spinach Garelu (Spinach and Urad dal fritters)

    What I used:

    Urad dal : 2 cups
    Spinach : 3 fistfuls or more (chopped finely)
    green chillies : 5 (very finely chopped)
    Onion : 1/2 (finely chopped)
    Salt : as required
    ginger : one inch piece (very finely chopped)
    Oil : for frying

    How to:
    • Grind urad dal and salt to a thick paste without adding water. (Can sprinkle some water in between but try to avoid that.)
    • Mix chopped onion, chopped spinach, chopped chillies and chopped ginger to the batter.
    • Using oil/water shape the thick paste in the form of donut, make a hole in the center and deep fry.
    • When they turn golden brown on both sides transfer them to paper napkin which absorbs excess oil. 
    • Serve hot with allam chutney or any other chutney.

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    Idli Manchurian

    What I used:

    Cooked Idlis : 8
    Onion : 1/2 (chopped)
    Green Chillies : 1 or 2 (finely chopped)
    Ginger garlic paste : 1/4 tsp
    Garlic pods : 3 to 4 (finely diced)
    Tomato ketchup : 3 to 4 tbsp
    Sri Racha hot sauce : as needed
    Soy sauce : 1 tsp
    Salt : as required
    Chopped coriander : 2 tbsp

    How I did:
    • Cut each idli into 4 pieces. Take a tbsp of oil in a pan and roast the idli pieces until light brown on all sides and transfer to a plate.
    • Take 1 more tbsp of oil add onions and fry till golden brown.
    • Add ginger garlic paste, chopped garlic and green chillies and saute for few seconds.
    • Add soy sauce, tomato ketchup, sri racha sauce and salt. Mix well.
    • Bring to a boil and add the idlis and mix so as to coat them well with the sauce.
    • Serve hot garnished with coriander.

    Thai Fried Rice with Basil

    What I used:

    Cooked rice : 2 cups
    Garlic : 3 cloves (finely chopped)
    Thai red chillies : 5 to 6 (sliced vertically)
    Red Onion : 1/2 (sliced thinly)
    Beans : 10 to 12 (cut into 1" pieces)
    Carrots : 1/2 (julienned)
    Button mushrooms : 12 to 15 (chopped)
    Cooking oil : 2 tbsp
    Soy sauce : 3 tbsp
    Lime juice : 1 tbsp
    Ground white pepper : 1/2 tsp
    Salt : as required
    Sugar : 1/2 tsp
    Roasted peanuts : for garnish
    Basil leaves : 20 to 25

    How I did:
    • In a wok, heat oil over medium heat and fry chopped garlic and thai red chillies until garlic is light brown. 
    • Add onions, beans, carrot, and mushrooms and stir. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until all the veggies are done and add rice. Stir to combine and fry 1 minute. 
    • Add soy sauce, lime juice, white pepper powder, salt and sugar and stir until evenly distributed. 
    • Add basil leaves, stir, and remove from heat. Garnish with a few basil leaves and roasted peanuts and serve hot.

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Diamond Kajalu

    What I used:

    All purpose flour(Maida) : 1 cup
    Green chillies : 3 to 4
    Cumin seeds : 1 tbsp
    Salt : to taste
    Water : 1/2 cup
    Oil : for frying

    How I did:
    • In a food processor, grind green chillies and cumin seeds to a smooth paste.
    • Mix all purpose flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add chilli paste and water and knead till it turns into firm and soft dough.
    • Take a large lemon sized ball of the dough and roll into a flat chapatis flouring in between. While doing this cover the remaining dough with a moist cloth.  Cut the chapati into small diamonds using a knife.  Finish the rest of the dough.
    • Heat oil in kadai on medium flame and deep fry the diamonds in oil till golden brown on both sides.

    Thursday, October 28, 2010

    Bite Sized Candy Corn Biscuits

    What I used:

    All purpose flour : 1 1/2 cups
    Unsalted butter : 1/2 cup
    Sugar : 1/2 cup
    Vanilla extract : 1 tsp
    Salt : 1/8 tsp
    Orange and yellow food colors : as needed

    How I did:
    • Heat oven tot 350 degrees F. 
    • In large bowl beat butter with an electric or hand mixer on medium until smooth. Add sugar and beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Add vanilla and beat until combined.
    • Sift flour and salt into the creamed butter and beat until combined, scraping down side of bowl occasionally.
    • Divide the dough into three equal parts.  Fold in a few drops of orange color into one portion and knead the dough thoroughly until combined properly.  Repeat the same by adding yellow color to another portion of the dough. Leave one portion as it is.
    • Take a small loaf pan or a small square bowl and line it up with plastic wrap.  The wrap should be extra sized than the bowl you are using which helps in taking out the dough from the bowl.  Take yellow colored dough and press and spread it evenly at the bottom of the bowl. Layer on the top with white colored and followed with orange colored dough.  Cover with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for about half an hour.
    • Take out the dough from the bowl carefully, unwrap it and place it on the cutting board.  Cut the dough from the top into 1 cm slices.  Cut each slice into small triangles.  
    • Arrange on a parchment paper covered baking sheet spacing evenly and bake for 15 to 20 minutes,depending on the size of the cookies, or until the edges are lightly browned.
    • Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheet 5 minutes. Let the biscuits cool completely before storing.

    Kharbooja Payasam (Cantaloupe Kheer)

    What I used:

    Cantaloupe : 1/2 (Peel the skin, cut into half, remove the seeds and grate)
    Whole milk : 2 cups
    Non fat milk powder : 1/2 cup
    Sugar : as required
    Cashews : a few for garnishing

    How I did:
    • Mix milk powder in milk in a saucepan and bring to boil stirring in bestween.
    • Add sugar to the boiling milk and cook until all the sugar is melted and it comes to a boil stirring continuously.
    • You can completely avoid milk powder and add 1 or 2 more tablespoons of sugar for the sweetness which it gives but the milk has to be boiled for quite a long time to thicken.
    • Add grated cantaloupe and let boil for 2 more minuts.
    • Switch off the stove and transfer to the serving dish.
    • In a pan heat a little ghee and toss the cashews in it for a while.
    • Sprinkle these cashews on to the payasam.
    • Serve as a dessert.

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    Parsley Cumin Rice

    What I used:

    Cooked rice : 5 cups
    Fresh parsley : 1 bunch (finely chopped)
    Onion : 1/2 (slice thinly)
    Cumin seeds : 2 tbsp
    Cardamom : 6
    Cloves : 6
    Cinnamon : 1" stick
    Black pepper seeds : 1/4 tsp
    Ginger garlic paste : 1 tbsp
    Green chillies : 7 to 8 (slit lengthwise)
    Salt : as required
    Oil : 2 to3 tbsp

    How I did:
    • Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan on medium high flame and add cloves, cinnamon, black pepper seeds, cardamom and cumin seeds.
    • When the spices splutter, add green chillies and toss for a few seconds.
    • Add chopped onions and ginger garlic paste and saute till the onions are nicely caramelized.
    • Add finely chopped parsley and saute for two minutes.  Parsley takes very minimum time to cook.  
    • When the parsley is cooked add rice and combine till all the ingredients are mixed well. 
    • Sprinkle salt and stir till combined.  Cook for two minutes or so for the rice to absorb the flavours.
    • Transfer the contents to a serving dish and serve hot with raita. 

    Friday, October 22, 2010

    Macaroni Fritters

    What I used:

    Any small shaped pasta : 1 cup (I used Estrellas - a star shaped)
    Medium sized Potatoes : 2
    Green chillies : 4 to 5 (finely chopped)
    Onions : 1/2 (Chopped)
    Bread crumbs : 1/2 cup
    Grated cheese : 4 tbsp (Used for kids recipe. Picture below)
    Chopped Coriander :  2 tbsp
    Salt : as required
    Coriander powder : 1 tsp
    Oil : for deep frying

    How I did:
    • Boil pasta in water until soft.  Drain in a colander and run under cold water.
    • Boil the potatoes, peel off the skin when cooled and mash them.
    • Combine both pasta and mashed potatoes in a bowl.  Add chopped green chillies, chopped onions, chopped coriander, coriander powder and salt.  When preparing for kids just add grated cheese. Mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are combined properly. 
    • Take bread crumbs in a bowl and keep ready.
    • On a medium flame heat oil in a kadai.  Take a lemon sized mixture and using your palms make patties, roll them in the bread crumbs and drop one by one in the oil when it is sizzling hot.  At a time, you could fry about 5 to 7 fritters, depending on the size of the kadai used.
    • Fry till they are turned golden brown color on the lower side then flip over the fritters to fry on the other sides.
    • Best when served hot.  For a more healthier version, try shallow frying like cutlets instead of deep frying.
    Torview and Harini of Tamalapaku passed on this beautiful award to me and I'm very thankful to them for choosing me.

    I would like to pass on this award to the following blogger friends.
    1. Sangi of Simply Delicious
    2. Sandhya of Sandhya's Kitchen
    3. Deesha of Vegetable Platter
    4. Deepa of Cooking Blog Indexer
    5. Gayathri of Gayathri's Cook Spot
    6. Reshmi of Rookie Qookie
    7. Priya of Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes
    8. Aipi of US Masala
    9. Satya of Super Yummy Recipes
    10. Sailaja of Sailaja's Kitchen
    11. Rachana of Veggie Fare
    12. Padhu ofo Padhu's Kitchen
    13. Paaka Shaale
    14. Sarah Naveen of Vazhayila
    15. Ramya of Veg Delicacies
    Hey friends, grab this award and pass on to other blogger friends.

      Wednesday, October 20, 2010

      Oats Rawa Dosa

      What I used:

      Quick cooking oats : 2 cups
      All purpose flour / Maida : 1 cup
      Rice flour : 1 cup
      Sooji : 1 cup
      Salt : as required
      Green chillies :  4 to 5 (Chopped finely)
      Cumin seeds : 1 tbs
      Water : 6 1/2 cups (approximately)
      Oil : as required

      How I did:
      • Take maida, rice flour, sooji and quick cooking oats in a mixing bowl and mix water little by little without forming any lumps until you get the consistency of normal dosa batter. You could use a hand blender to mix the batter without any lumps. Let the batter rest for 15 mins to half hour.
      • Add salt, chopped green chillies and cumin seeds and combine well. 
      • Heat a non stick pan on medium high flame, grease some cooking oil to it.
      • Reduce the flame to medium. Using a ladle or a cupe, pour the batter starting from the outer edge of the pan, covering the entire circumference in the form of a circle.  Fill the gaps in between, quickly and evenly.  Every time you pour the dosas, mix the batter thoroughly.
      • Pour a tsp of oil or two on and around the dosa.
      • Let cook for a minute and when it turns to golden color flip over.
      • Cook for few more seconds and serve with any chutney.

        Monday, October 18, 2010

        Chocolate chip muffins with cake mix

        I had this Pillsbury cake mix for quite a long time.  For some reason, I bought two packages of this and when I baked a cake with one of them, I felt the sugar content is very high in these cakes.  The second package was sitting in my pantry from then on.  Nowadays my elder son is in fond of chocolate muffins and very often he's been asking me to bake them.  I decided to use this cake mix to make some chocolate muffins and you know what, they turned out just yummilicious.

        What I used:

        Pillsbury Classic Yellow Cake mix : 1 package
        Hershey's chocolate syrup : 2 tbs
        Cocoa powder : 1/4 cup
        All purpose flour : 4 tbs
        Milk : 1 cup
        Oil : 1/3 c
        Eggs : 3
        Baking powder : 1 tsp
        Semisweet chocolate chips : 1/3 cup

        How I did:
        • Preheat your conventional oven to 350 deg F and prepare the muffin pan with liners or grease with some butter.
        • In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (cake mix, cocoa powder, baking powder and flour).
        • In another mixing bowl beat eggs and add oil, milk, chocolate syrup.  Beat for a while just till blended.
        • Incorporate the dry ingredients into this wet mixture and beat for two minutes.
        • Fold in the chocolate chips and fill the mixture into the muffin pan until 2/3 level.
        • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
        • Serve warm.

        Friday, October 15, 2010

        French Vanilla Frappe

        What I used:

        French Vanilla Ice cream : 3 to 4 scoops
        French Vanilla Cafe Coffee Powder : 4 to 5 tsps
        Ice cubes : 1 cup
        Milk : 1 to 1/2 cup
        Sugar : 3 tsps or as required
        Whipped cream : as required
        Caramel syrup : as required

        How I did:

        • In a blender take ice cubes, ice cream, milk, sugar and french vanilla coffee powder and blend together until the ice cubes are crushed.
        • Pour into serving glasses and top up with whipped cream and caramel syrup.

        Tuesday, October 12, 2010

        Cranberry Pickle

        What I used:

        Fresh Cranberries : 1 cup
        Tamarind : 1 big marble sized (soak in a very little amount of water)
        Red chilli powder :  tbsp
        Salt : 1 tbsp
        Mustard Powder : 1/2 tbsp
        Oil : 3 tbsp
        Ginger garlic paste : 1 tsp
        Mustard seeds : 1/2 tsp
        Cumin seeds : 1/2 tsp
        Urad dal : 1/2 tsp
        Curry leaves : a few
        Red chillies : 1 or 2 broken into bits
        Fenugreek seeds : 1/2 tsp

        How I did:
        • Wash cranberries and pat them dry with a paper towel.
        • Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a saucepan or kadai, add ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute.
        • Add cranberries and soaked tamarind and cook for about 2 minutes.  They cook real fast.
        • Switch off the stove and let cool for a while.  Mix in the red chilli powder, salt and mustard powder.
        • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan, do the tadka (fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, red chillies and curry leaves)
        • When the seeds splutter, switch off and pour into the pickle.
        • Mix thoroughly and let cool completely before storing in an air tight container. 

        Saturday, October 9, 2010

        Almond Cookies

        What I used:

        All purpose flour (Maida) : 2 1/4 cup
        Unsalted butter : 1 cup 
        Sugar : 3/4 cup
        Light brown sugar : 3/4 (firmly packed)
        Eggs : 2
        Almond extract : 1 1/2 tsp
        Baking soda : 1 tsp
        salt : 1/2 tsp
        Sliced Almonds: : 1 cup or as required

        Makes approx 40 cookies

        How I did:
        • Preheat oven to 350 deg F with rack in center of oven.  
        • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Alternatively you can grease with butter.
        • In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until smooth and creamy with a hand mixer or an electric mixer.
        • Add the white sugar and brown sugar and beat for atleast 2 minutes or till fluffy.
        • Break the eggs and pour in.  Beat well and add the Almond extract.
        • When combines, sieve in the flour along with baking soda and salt.
        • Beat till all the ingredients are combined properly.
        • Scoop a tablespoonful of batter and drop onto the baking sheet leaving about two inch space between each cookie.  Sprinkle almond slices on the cookie drops.
        • Bake for about 10 to 11 minutes or until the edges turn to golden brown.
        • Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 more minutes on the same baking sheet.  Remove and let cool completely before storing.

        Friday, October 8, 2010

        Jeedipappu Payasam (Kaju Kheer)

        What I used:

        Milk : 1 1/4 cup
        Unsalted Cashews : 1/2 cup
        Sugar : 1/3 cup
        Non fat milk powder : 3 tbs
        Water : 1 to 2 tbs
        Sliced almonds : few
        Ghee : 1 tsp

        How I did:
        • Soak cashews in water for an hour or more. Drain and grind them into smooth paste.
        • Combine cashew paste and milk in a saucepan and bring it to boil stirring in between.
        • Make a paste by dissolve milk powder in 1 or 2 tbs of water. Add sugar and milk powder paste to the boiling milk and cook until all the sugar is melted and it comes to a boil stirring continuously.
        • You can completely avoid milk powder and add 1 or 2 more tablespoons of sugar for the sweetness which it gives but the milk has to be boiled for quite a long time to thicken.
        • Switch off the stove and transfer to the serving dish.
        • In a pan heat a little ghee and toss the almond slices in it for a while.
        • Sprinkle these almond slices on to the payasam.
        • Serve as a dessert.
        Sending this recipe to "Celebrate Sweets - Kheer" event hosted by Ayeesha of Taste of Pearl City started by Nivedita.

        Wednesday, October 6, 2010

        Tomato Nilava Pachadi (Tomato Pickle)

        What I used:

        Tomatoes : 3 lbs
        Tamarind : 1 lemon sized
        Ginger garlic paste : 1 tbsp
        Red Chilli Powder : 1/2 cup or as required
        Salt : as required : 1/3 cup or as required
        Mustard seeds powder : 1 tsp
        Mustard seeds : 1 tsp
        Cumin seeds : 1 tsp
        Oil : 3/4 cup
        Curry leaves : a few
        Red chillies : 2  to 3 broken into bits
        Asafoetida : a big pinch
        Turmeric powder : 1/4 tsp

        How I did:
        • Wash tomatoes and wipe them dry. Chop them into medium sized cubes.
        • Heat 4 tbs of oil in a kadai on medium flame, add chopped tomatoes, tamarind and turmeric powder to it.
        • Cook covered until the tomatoes are completely cooked.  Add some salt and cook uncovered until all the water is evaporated and mixture starts leaving the kadai.  Switch off the stove.
        • In a pan heat the rest of the oil and add the tadka (asafoetida, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, ginger garlic paste, curry leaves and red chillies)
        • When the seeds splutter switch off the stove and pour into the tomato mixture.
        • Mix thoroughly.  When the mixture is completely cooled, add red chilli powder, mustard powder and any salt if required.
        • Store in an air tight container. Refrigerate for longer shelf life.
        Sending this recipe to Nivedita's  "Complete My Thali( CMT ) - PICKLE" event started by Jagruti

          Monday, October 4, 2010

          Pesara Sunnundalu (Moong dal laddoo)

          What I used:

          Split green gram dal : 1 cup
          Sugar : 3/4 cup
          Ghee : 4 1/2 to 5 tbsp

          How I did:
          • Heat a heavy bottomed pan or any non-stick pan on medium flame and roast green gram dal till golden brown.
          • When cooled grind them in a mixer grinder into a coarse powder.  Not too coarse, should resemble a fine powder but when you touch it, you must still feel the grain.
          • Grind the sugar too into a fine powder.
          • Sieve both the powders together into a large mixing bowl.  
          • Fold in the ghee and with the help of your hands roll them into small lemon sized balls.  The gram and sugar powder mix can be made ahead and preserved.  Make laddoos whenever you want by adding ghee to it.
          • Serve as a dessert or a snack.
          Sending this recipe to "Only" Festive event started by Pari of Foodelicious and now hosted by Preeti of Khaugiri and also to "Celebrate Sweets - Laddoo" event started by Nivedita of Nivedita's Kitchen and hosted by Nithu of Nithu's Kitchen .  They all have a lovely space, do check their blogs.

            Wednesday, September 29, 2010

            Pineapple Almond Muffins

            What I used:

            1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
            1 egg
            1/4 cup melted butter
            1/2 cup granulated white sugar
            1/2 cup crushed pineapple juice
            1/2 teaspoon almond extract
            2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
            1/4 teaspoon baking soda
            1/2 teaspoon salt
            1/2 cup sliced almonds

            How I did:
            • Preheat oven to 350 deg F (175 deg C). Grease muffin pan with butter or line up with muffin liners.
            • In a bowl, beat eggs along with butter and sugar until smooth. Stir in pineapple juice and almond extract.
            • In separate bowl put all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and half of the sliced almonds.  Stir well and pour into pineapple mixture. Stir to moisten. 
            • Pour into prepared muffin pan upto 2/3 level full and sprinkle rest of the almonds over the top.
            • Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 
            • Let stand 10 minutes. Remove from pan.
            • Serve warm.  Can also be stored in an air tight container upto a week in the refrigerator.

            Saturday, September 25, 2010

            Sour Cream Red Bell Pepper Dip

            What I used:

            Red Bell Pepper : 1
            Fat free sour cream : 1 cup
            Ground pepper : 1/2 tsp or as required
            Garlic cloves : 3 to 4
            Salt : as required
            Oil : 1 tbsp

            How I did:
            • On a low gas flame, roast the bell pepper.   Turn frequently with the help of tongs until it is roasted completely (almost turned black) on all the sides.  Put it in a vessel and cover it with lid for 5 minutes.  This will do the rest of the steaming process.
            • You can even roast the bell pepper in an oven.  Preheat the oven to 400 deg F.  Brush the bell pepper with some oil and place it in an oven safe container.  Bake it for more than half-hour turning every 10 minutes.
            • When cooled, cut it into half, remove the seeds, and chop into small chunks.
            • Process bell pepper chunks and garlic cloves in a food processor until smooth. Add sour cream along with salt and ground pepper and process until mixed.
            • Store in the refrigerator until served.
            • This dip is great on fresh veggies, pita chips, crackers or potato chips.

            Friday, September 24, 2010

            Nethi Mysore Pak

            What I used:

            Besan : 1 cup
            Sugar : 1 3/4 cup
            Ghee : 1 3/4 cup
            Water : 1 cup

            How I did:
            • Sieve the besan to remove lumps and roast it in a nonstick pan until you smell the aroma of besan being roasted.
            • Take a thick and a little bottomed vessel or kadai, add sugar and water into it.  Bring to boil until sugar dissolves and continue boiling till it reaches a thread like consistency.  To test it, take a little of the syrup with a spoon, pinch a drop of syrup with your index finger and thumb (be careful it will be too hot) and open up the fingers (not very wide, just a centimeter).  If the syrup forms a thread like shape between your fingers the sugar syrup is ready.
            • Meanwhile, melt ghee completely in a vessel on another stove, switch off and let stay on the stove.
            • When the syrup is ready, add 2 tbsps of besan in a sprinkling manner while mixing with a spatula.  When the besan is completely dissolved and starts foaming, add 4 tbsps of ghee.  Mix thoroughly until the ghee is combined.
            • Keep on stirring and repeat the above step until you finish off all the besan and ghee. 
            • Cook stirring till the mixture separates the vessel.
            • Pour in a greased plate and let settle for 5 to 10 minutes.
            • Cut into desired shapes at this stage and let cool completely before breaking into your cut shapes.
            • Serve or store in an air tight container.

            Thursday, September 23, 2010

            Neyyi (Ghee / Clarified Butter)

            You all might be aware that GHEE is used in almost every Indian cuisine.  It is also often used in various religious ceremonies.  Because of its medicinal and healing properties Ghee is also used in several ayurvedic medicines.  Ghee is the richest source of milk fat of all Indian dairy products. It is the Indian counterpart of western butter. Coming to the nutritional value, it is rich in fat-soluble vitamins, especially, vitamin A and D.

            The traditional way of preparing butter (the raw material for ghee) is to churn the curd / yogurt made by whole milk in an earthen pot with a wooden churn and collect all the froth formed  on the top.  After a sufficient amount of butter is accumulated this butter is melted and boiled on heat for several minutes until all the moisture is evaporated and the milk solids get separated and settled down at the bottom.  After cooling for a while, it is filtered to get the resultant ghee.  Today's commercial ghee manufacturers use cream separators to separate cream directly from the milk instead of curdling it.   

            Ghee prepared in the northern parts of the India will be  very light yellow colored and usually has higher moisture content due to under heat treatment while that produced in the southern parts is almost closer to golden color and is slightly over heated. The over heating and under heating depends upon the individual taste and preferences. Both have different flavors. 

             We, in our family, all like the light golden colored ghee with a grainy texture and in this method which I use, the milk solids turn almost black or dark coffee brown color.  We call it godavari.  Even that can be eaten by adding little sugar to it.  It's one of my favorite.  In my post I'm showing you both the pictures  light yellow colored ghee and golden colored ghee.

            Ours is a ghee business in India.  I can say it's a family business. Wholesale and retail suppliers of ghee to any part in India.  Initially my hub's grandfather started a very small home based ghee business.  They used to go to individual house to collect the butter people make in their homes.  Later on, my Father-in-Law improved this business in a commercial way.  Then my Brother-in-Law (hub's elder brother) too joined him.  They buy cream in bulk from various dairies, prepare ghee and supply to the sellers.  Also local milk-men bring their milk daily, get the cream separated and take away the milk.

            What I used:

            Just the Unsalted Butter : 16 oz (450 gms)

            How I did:
            • There are chances that butter may overflow when you boil it.  To avoid that, you need a very deep and wide vessel, preferably non-stick saucepan with high sides, to make ghee.   Make sure that the vessel can fit atleast almost double the quantity of butter you are using.
            • It can be boiled on any level of flame from high to low.  Whatever flame you use, it has be the same during the entire process of boiling the butter.  Do not the increase or decrease the flame at any point of boiling.  I prefer boiling it on a medium low flame. When it is boiled on high flame, there are chances of overflowing and get burnt easily and when it is boiled on very low flame it take a long time.  And hence the medium flame.  Make sure that your presence is absolutely necessary during boiling the butter to obtain the desired color and texture.  So try to avoid distractions.
            • Melt butter in the saucepan on medium low flame uncovered.  It takes almost two to three minutes for the butter to melt and start boiling. Small white curd like things start separating from the butter. 
            • Then gradually it starts spluttering and crackling.  When this is subsided, ghee starts foaming.  In the northern parts of India, ghee is now taken off the heat.  To obtain a darker color and reduce the moisture content, continue boiling. Keep stirring in between with a wooden spatula until the foam reduces to minimum.

            • Once you see a change in the color of the foam, try to see the bottom by siding the foam with the spatula.  You can observe the milk solids turn to golden brown at the bottom.  Now the ghee is ready. At this point you have to be very attentive, as it may get burnt easily.
            • Take the saucepan off the stove and transfer to another vessel to let cool for a while.  Transfer it to air tight container by filtering it through a very fine sieve or alternatively any sieve lined with two layers of cheesecloth.  Once filtered, leave it untouched until it is completely cooled.  This is required if you want the texture of your ghee to be grainy.
            Note:  Once the ghee is completely cooled and solidified, it would be in semi-solid state.  Most of the people remelt ghee as it makes the serving easier.  One important thing to remember is never remelt the ghee else it will loose its texture and hardens when cooled.  


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