Friday, January 29, 2010

Bagara Baingan-Hyderabad style/Stuffed Brinjals in a rich gravy

I was never a fan of brinjals/egg plant/ baingan until I landed in Hyderabad. The city of the famous Charminar. You have heard us (both Sunitha and I have lived in Hyderabad at different times) rant about this city and it's cuisine endlessly. Being from the south of India, even if we were not in Hyderabad, I think a mention for Telangana and Hyderabadi cuisine is inevitable. They top the charts with their myriad dishes. They have used every leaf and spice culminating into their fascinating cuisine.
Biriyani, Mughalai dish, in Hyderabad is the best. And the best side dish is bagara baingan ("Gutti vankaya kura")or michi ka salan. The former, our topic of conversation today, is a gravy made with sesame seeds, peanuts, dessicated coconut, cilantro, mint leaves and a host of other spices ground to a smooth paste with stuffed, fried baingan floating.

The smooth blend of ingredients is fiery, mellow and bursting with flavor. A quintessential party dish.  Pair it with rotis, nans, parathas, or any rice and you can never disappoint your guests. On your next visit to India be sure to visit Hyderabad.  If you are already in India make a trip there and look Charminar, Biriyani and bagara baingan in pretty much this order.  If you are a lady get a mehandi design there as well.

Bagara baingan


For stuffing and gravy:

Peanuts(dry roasted and skinned)- 3/4 cup
Sesame seeds-white(dry roasted)- 1/4 cup
Coconut(frozen, fresh or dried)-1/4 cup
Red chilli powder- 2 Tsp
Cumin powder- 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 Tbsp
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Cloves- 2-3
Cinnamon- A small piece

For the gravy:

Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Onion(finely chopped)- 1/4 cup
Ginger-garlic paste- 1 tsp
Tamarind pulp- 1/3 cup
Small brinjals- 8-9
Oil- 2 Tbsp


1.Grind together everything listed under stuffing, without adding any water.Add a couple of tspns of tamarind pulp and mix it.
2.Wash and clean the brinjals. If it is really fresh keep the stalks intact.(What we get here is not so fresh , so I had to remove them !)
3.Keep the side of stalk intact and make 2 cuts ; one horizontally, and the second one vertically , making a + sign when you look from the top.
4.Immerse this in salted water for 10 minutes and wash and pat dry them before stuffing them.
5.Carefully stuff each brinjal with the ground paste.Do not break them into pieces.
6.Heat oil in a pan, splutter the mustard seeds. Saute the onion in this.
7.once the onion is done add the ginger-garlic paste and saute till the raw smell goes.
8.Meanwhile in another pan, pour some oil and saute the stuffed brinjals. Be careful and use a tong to turn them around.This should be done on low heat and it takes 10-12 mintes.
9.Once the ginger-garlic paste is cooked add the remaining stuffing and the tamarind pulp into this. Add a little water to make it bit thinner.
10.Cook it slowly on low heat. It takes almost 15 minutes for the peanut to be cooked.
11.Towards the end, add the fried brinjals into this, and cook covered for another 5-6 minutes.
12.Garnish with coriander leaves and serve warm with roti, naan or biryani.

Bagara baingan

We would like to send this off to Priya's event

Thanks for hosting this fun event Priya :-)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cherry Winks / Awards

   We would like to share some awards and celebrate with a recipe for cherry winks. Please accept the awards and spot them on your sites. We thank you all for stopping by, leaving your comments and sharing your token of appreciations through awards.

      The recipe for the day, cherry winks were made during Christmas. I am still sticking to my no sweets regimen and please pray with me I keep it that way for a while. Blogging has gotten me into a sweet binge and I am trying to cut down for a while. Coming back to the topic of discussion the recipe is from my friend who instead got it from her mother. These were collected in a cook book, brought out by the ladies of her neighborhood in Kansas City, in the ‘40’s. They are crunchy and very pretty spiffed up with the maraschino cherries. I hope you enjoy this time tested cookies as much as I do.
  Kreative blogger comes with some rules.  Namitha and I have shared it with you before.  We request everyone who receives the award to follow the rules. 

  Namitha and I am would like to especially thank you guys who gave us these awards.

From Namitha:
Here is the 7 things that people may not know about me :-)
1. Have a love-hate relationship with rain.
2. Love Photography as much as I love cooking.
3. Get nervous about silly things (sometimes) but I face all the extreme situations confidently
4. Value friendships and glad that I have many friends whom I could count on :-)
5.A dessert maniac, and love almost anything that is sweet.
6.All through my life ,this is one sentence I've heard n number of times "you are getting thinner " :D
7.Love shopping for my kids

We were awarded by:
Renuka from love of cooking has shared the creative blogger award
S from Art, Food and Travel Chronicles Also shared the same award
Kitchen queen (Indu) and Soumya has awarded "happy 101"
Kalai of recipes diary shared Kreativ blogger
Spice of Spicebuds has shared Kreative blogger and beautiful blogger awards
Siddhi from cooked dil se has awarded us 'Happy 101' and Beautiful Blogger

Today's Recipe.

Cherry Winks:

Cherry Wink

Flour - 2 Cups
Baking Soda - 1/2 tspn
Shortening - 2/3 cup
Eggs - 2
Vanilla Essence - 1 tspn
Dates - 1 Cup chopped
Baking Powder - 1 tspn
Salt - 1/2 tspn
Sugar - 1 Cup
Milk - 3 Tbspn (add less to start with)
Pecans - 1 Cup chopped
Corn Flakes crushed - 2 Cups


1. Sift flour, baking powder, soad and salt together
2. Cream shortening, sugar
3. Add eggs in and beat followed by milk and vanilla essence
4. Fold in the dry ingredients and mix
5. Add pecans and dates mix
6. Drop a tablespoon each into corn flakes and roll till the doubh is coated. 
7. Place on greased cookie sheet and top with 1/4 or 1/2 cherry
8. Bake in moderate over (350 D F) for 10-12 min
9. Cool and tin the cookies

Cherry Wink

Notes:  The dough is sticky.  Rolling in the flakes may seem hard, but if you use the spoon and lightly using your finger tip maneuver, you will be fine.

Contributor: Sunitha

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sarkkaravaratti/Banana chips sweetened with Jaggery

Just like the regular banana chips this one is also related to festival cooking in Kerala.  Infact, you must eat both the salted chips and this one together, yes the normal "khatta meetta" way. When I was younger I used to grab more sarkkaravaratti than the upperi (banana chips-salted).  My DH is not very keen on this one, but loves the upperi. So invariably my mom will pack both the varieties for us when we visit.

It's been a while since I had sarkkaravaratti and hence decided to make some to quench my craving.  Of course I made some banana chips too, to please my DH :D. You can find the recipe here. The recipe is very simple, the only trick is to get the chips perfectly fried. Hope this recipe, yet another one from my father, will help you achieve the perfect result :-)



Raw Banana (preferably Nendran)- 3
Jaggery (melted) - 1/2 cup
Roasted rice(grains)- 1/3 cup
Cumin Powder- 2 Tsp
Ginger Powder- 2 Tsp
Oil- For deep frying


1.Skin the banana completely and cut it into 2 equal halves length wise.  Cut them into small pieces that are ~1/4 inch thick.
2.Heat the oil and fry this until they are done.This should be done at medium high for the first 5-6 minutes and then on medium heat for 16-18 minutes or until the inside also becomes crispy.
3.If you do not fry them properly the chips become soft once you put them in the jaggery syrup.
4.Cool the chips by spreading on a kitchen tissue paper.
5.Dry roast the raw rice till it gets puffed up a bit and start turning golden brown in color. Dry grind it to get the powder and mix this with cumin and ginger powders.
6.Melt the jaggery in a thick bottom pan (preferably a uruli) and keep stirring. You can check for consistency by taking a drop on your index finger and pressing with your thumb and releasing. If you see more than 3 threads, pour little more water(do this very carefully, it will splutter , and may cause serious burns and injuries! and stir to boil it again to get the desired consistency.Switch off the heat.
7.Throw in the fried and cooled banana chips to this. Also sprinkle mixture of powders to this and mix well.This is bit hard, since you have to do this faster and also the jaggery is sticky. It would be great if someone is there to help you sprinkle the powders while you mix the things. This will help to get the chips evenly coated .
8.Let it sit for sometime and cool.Store in an airtight container (if you have some leftovers :-) !)


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chana dal Chutney with Egg Dosa

I wonder where dosas originated. It did in the south of India for sure.  Which state, however? Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Karnataka or Kerala is what I wonder. While you ponder over that let me share a spicy chutney that goes with dosas. If you do not know about dosas it looks like crepes.  The batter is made with  lentils and rice soaked separately and ground to a smooth paste. Left overnight in a warm place it ferments and is ready to be ladled on a hot griddle to make crisp dosas.  Please check our post on dosas here for measurements and exact process.
Chickpea Chutney
  Just like pancakes are served for breakfast in the U.S. Anywhere in the south of India you will find restaurants serving dosas.  If its IHOP or waffle house  in America to serve pancakes you have Shanthi Sagar, Udipi Restaurant, Sukh Sagar, Anand Bhavan and myriad other names in south India for dosas.  Folded in banana leaves with the chutney pressed between the folds is how it is served when you order a 'to go.'  This chutney is difficult to find in Kerala but common in all the other southern states.  Having been fortunate to move around a lot in the south I have always enjoyed the different chutneys.  This is spicy, rich in proteins and very filling.  


Chick pea grams (Chana Dal)    - 1/2 cup
Grated coconut                         - 1/4 cup
Thai Chilli                                 - 3 nos
Dry Red Chilli                          - 2 nos
Coarsely chopped ginger          - 1 tbspn
Garlic                                       - 1 or 2 cloves
Curry Leaves                           - 1 sprig
Coriander Leaves                    - 1/2 a bunch
Salt                                         - 1 tspn
Tamarind                                - 1 marble sized ball
Onions                                    - 1/2 of  a medium size
Dosa and Chutney

1. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a skillet and on medium flame or temperature on your stove fry the chickpea for a while.  You will see them puff up or slightly turn color when you can add the next ingredient
2. Add red chillies and saute
3. Followed by ginger, onions, garlic, curry leaves and coriander leaves.  Once you add the coriander leaves  toss it around and then switch off the stove.  We are only trying to incorporate the coriander leaves to exude some some of it is aroma and yet not lose its fresh taste completely. 
4. Remove mixture from pan and transfer the ingredients into another vessel to cool off 
5. In a blender grind all the fried ingredients, coconut, green chillies, tamarind and salt.
6. I added around 1/4 cup of water while grinding but the lesser water you can add while grinding the better your chutney will taste

Egg Dosa

To make dosas follow instructions here.

Once you have ladled the batter and whirled the batter to make crepe shaped dosas beat an egg and pour it over.  Cover the girdle with a lid and and cook on medium heat.  Flip the dosa over making sure the egg is thoroughly cooked.

Server with sambar and chutney or only the chutney mentioned above.

Serving Size for chutney
Serves 4 - 6 people

     The photo of the eggs are because I got carried away with some farm fresh eggs I got last week.  They are eggs from chickens raised on a friends farm. There are two lovely light green shelled eggs that you see with the beautiful brown eggs.  Apparently, the green eggs come from a different breed/stock of hens.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Egg Puffs

Hope you had a great weekend. Since we were discussing teatime snacks in the last post, I decided to continue on that vein and share another popular snack. I have enjoyed puffs all my life. My mom used to get them from the bakeries on her way back from work and my sis and I devoured them.

It's inevitable that I talk about college days because they taught me the value of home made food. Another reason is unsatisfactory food in the hostel sometimes drive you for options outside. And these experiences get etched in your memory never to be forgotten. I cannot forget the puffs from college canteens either. They were life savers especially during my last hostel days where the food was intolerable. My friends and I, we would have one egg/veg puffs for breakfast which took good care of us till lunch time. Inspite of having them everyday I have to say I never got tired of them :-)

Flaky leaf like layers with spicy masala within is a deadly combination. Maybe we should call it 'death by pastry.' There are many variations you can do with the filling like meat, chicken, vegetables and egg.

Egg Puffs


Puff pastry sheets-2(this will give you 12 puffs!)
Hard boiled Eggs-6
Onion- 1 small
Green chillies- 2-3
Coriander powder- 2 Tsp
Red chilli powder- 1/2 tsp
Garam masala/Meat masala- 1/2 Tsp
Salt- A pinch

Method :

1.Thaw the pastry sheets as per the directions on the packet. (for about 40 minutes)
2.Meanwhile cut the onion into very small pieces and saute it till it starts turning golden brown.
3.Throw in the chopped green chillies and saute for 2-3 minutes.
4.Add all the spices and mix well and saute for a minute.Switch off the heat.
5.Cut each pastry sheets into 6 equal pieces.First cut though the folds on it and then, cut the 3 big pieces into 2.
6.Divide the onion mix into 12 equal parts, or take 1 tsp of it and keep on the middle of each pastry slice.
7.Cut the boiled eggs into halves and place each half on the top of onion mix on the pastry sheets.
8.Fold each pastry slice to press and join the opposite ends. You could use the edge of a fork or use your hands.
9.Some of you may like to see the egg peeking through the sides, then you do not press it firmly :-)
10.Arrange them on a greased baking tray or baking tray lined with parchment paper.
11.Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degree F for 30 minutes or till the top turns golden brown in color.
12.Serve warm with tomato sauce/as it is and enjoy with a cuppa !

Egg Puffs


1.Before baking you could brush the top with egg white, then you get the shiny and smooth top, unlike mine :-).
2.Vegetarians could replace eggs with some cooked and mashed veggies.
3.If you want only 6 puffs take only one pastry sheet and use half of all the other ingredients .

Friday, January 22, 2010


Tea time is bakery goody time. Most families in Kerala have this tradition. I suppose its the more laid back lifestyle in our state that helps us enjoy these simple pleasures even today. Around 4 in the evening the family gets together and drink a cup of tea with some fried, baked or cooked snacks. Like we have mentioned in one of our earlier posts the bakery goods are an integral part of life in Kottayam, Kerala. Puffs, samosas, meat rolls etc to name a few are enjoyed during this time.

Bakery Bun

Another favorite way to enjoy your evening is with black coffee and bun (a.k.a. rolls). This combination is sometimes thought of as a quick fix or fast snack for an evening. Grab a dozen or half of them from the bakeries and the family enjoys it with a sugary black coffee. I remember my grandmother adding some ghee (clarified butter) on top of the coffee.

Todays recipe is one of these rich rolls closely resembling the buns we get to buy in the bakeries. I remember walking past bakeries in the evening around 2.30 or 3.00 P.M and the aroma of fresh baked bread permeating the dusty roads luring the passerby. Most people give in and you will see mothers returning from office work, children, fathers, uncles and aunts or some others who make a short walk to the bakeries closest to their homes to pack away a few. The bakery goods come packed in little brown bags and I can so clearly remember them sitting on counter tops with the brown bags now dappled with the fat from whatever is inside.

There are a lot of things we can do with this same recipe as given below like make potato bun or khari bun (khari meaning spicy). Either ways, if you are bun fan like me and enjoy it dipped in black coffee, tea or soup or just cut them and spread some jam or butter, todays recipe will make you content. Its soft, rich and tasty. If you do two proofings like I have mentioned you can get quite a light airy texture.

Enjoy the experience of kneading the dough and baking these yummy buns. Let me know if you have any questions regarding the recipe or way I made it. I used Lily's light bleached flour for this batch of buns.

Flour – 4 -5 cups
Dry yeast - 2 packages (1 package is 2 1/4 tsp)
Milk – 1 ½ cups 2% reduced fat milk
Water – ¼ cup
Vegetable oil - ½ cup
Granulated sugar – ¼ cup
Salt - 1 tspn

Rolls out of the oven

1. Mix ¼ cup warm water, 1/2 tspn sugar and the yeast. Make sure the temperature of water is not more than 110 D F. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes and make sure it froths before you use. This is the test to make sure you have active yeast
2. Mix together milk, oil, sugar and salt in a large bowl in which you can knead your dough. Make sure everything is at room temperature. If you are taking milk out of the refrigerator warm in microwave making sure its not too hot or it will kill the yeast.
3. Add a cup of flour and mix and the frothy yeast
4. Stirring to mix the ingredients keep adding the flour a cup at a time till you have added all 4 cups
5. If the flour is gooey and you are unable to knead with your hand add some a couple of spoons of flour at a time
6. Flour your counter top or a clean surface where you can knead your dough
7. Drop your dough on the floured surface and incorporate the flour slowly into the dough kneading well
8. Kneading will make your dough to come together. If you find the dough sticky and not manageable its ok that’s how the bread dough is.
9. The reason for asking to add dough post 4 cups is because the lesser you can add flour and get a soft dough the tastier, fluffy rolls you make
10. Test to make sure your dough is done by indenting impressions using your index finger and middle finger. If the indentation stays your dough is kneaded well
11. Take a good look at the size of your dough and leave to rise for an hour
12. Test the dough to make sure It has risen by touching it lightly on the surface. If your finger impression stays then you know it has.
13. Punch down the dough when fully risen and take the dough in your hand and slowly round it to look like a mushroom. Smooth top and the dough tucked under.
14. Leave it to rise once more around 20 minutes or until dough has doubled in size
15. You May punch down the dough at this time and round it or cut it using a knife and shape to desired shape. Round rolls or hot dog buns. Lay it on a greased cookie sheet or tray and leave it covered to double around 20 minutes
16. Bake in a 400D F preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes

Bun Collage

Never add more flour than is called for
Beat an egg and once you have shaped the dough brush it on top (egg wash)
If you do not eat eggs you may brush it with milk or olive oil
To get a nice thin and shiny crust spread butter on the top while the rolls are still hot, fresh from the oven

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Puttum Kadalayum/Steamed Rice cake and Black Channa curry

Black chickpea in a delicious onion and coconut milk based gravy paired with steamed rice flour is the dish of the day. It is one of the most popular breakfast combos in Kerala. We are a rice people, as you might have guessed, so much so that we have some version of it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Incidentally, things have changed. Roti's and partha's (Indian breads) have taken it's place either for breakfast or dinner in most families.

These age old dishes are a hearty fare reminiscent of holidays and good times spent with grandparents and cousins for holidays. The steaming puttu (steamed rice flour) spreads it aroma at home transforming me to the cool early mornings in my home town. Bustle of activity outside where the yard is being swept clean and distant music of 'naama jabam' and whistle of boiling milk in our neighbours home. In short, some of these dishes are synonymous with life in kerala.

Some other combinations for the steam rice is boiled green gram and grated coconut with sugar or papad, ghee, sugar and boiled eggs. Some also eat it with spicy fish curry. Needless to say, make your own combinations as you go and make an entree of this steamed rice flour with a soupy side dish of your choice.

This recipe has been lying in my draft for a long time and I think thursday is a good time to share it with you. Make this treat at home over the weekend and help your children experience the aroma and taste of a Kerala home while you revoke some memories of old that bring a smile to your face.




Rice flour (dry roasted)- 1 cup
Water- ~1/2 cup
Salt- 1/4 tspn
Grated coconut- 8-10 Tbsp

A puttu maker(if you don't have one, don't worry, you can make this in a steamer too. But you do not get the shape,though the taste is the same.Read more on this in the notes!)


1.Making the flour ready , is the most trickiest part in this simple preparation.
2.Take the rice flour in a wide mixing bowl , add salt.
3.Slwly start adding water, mixing the flour with your hand and breaking the small dough balls with your finger tips.
4.You could stop adding water when you hold a fistful of dough, it stays together, making a lump with the shape of your fist.
5.The longer the time you take to reach this, the better and softer will be the puttu :-)
6.Keep the dough covered for at least 15 minutes.
7.Boil water in a puttu maker, or the pressure cooker, if you are using one that can be fixed on the top of it.
8.When the steam starts coming , take the puttu maker(puttukutti) and spoon in a tablespoon of grated coconut, followed by 2-3 tablespoon of prepared dough.Repeat with coconut and rice dough(flour!) till you reach the top, finishing it with a tablespoon of coconut.
9.Keep this on the pot/ pressure cooker and let the staem come through the top.
10.Reduce the heat and cook till it is done. This takes 5-6 minutes.
11. Serve warm with black channa curry, plantain , moond daal and paappad or chicken curry.

Puttum kadalayum



Black channa/Kabuli chickpeas- 1/2 cup
Onion- 1/2 of a small one
Coconut oil/cooking oil- 1 Tbsp
Coconut Milk- 1/4 cup
Turmeric Powder- 1/4 Tsp
Coriander powder- 1 Tbsp
Red chilli powder- 1 1/2 Tsp
Garam Masala (optional)- 1/4 Tsp

For seasoning:

Mustard- 1/2 Tsp
Curry leaves- 1 Sprig
Red chillies- 2
Shallots- 2-3
Coconut oil- 2 Tsp


1.Soak the channa overnight or for 8 hours.
2.Pressure cook the soaked channa with enough water, salt and turmeric powder.
3.Meanwhile saute the onion till it turns translucent and start turning golden brown color.
4.To this mix in the criander, chilli powders and garam masala and saute till the raw smell leaves. Switch off the heat.
5.When the channa is cooked , take a ladle full and grind it well.
6.Add this to the channa with the onion mixture.
7.Boil the mixture well.Cook it covered on low heat for 10-15 minutes.
8.Add coconut milk and heat it.Switch off the heat.
9.Do the normal seasoning and mix in to the curry.Enjoy :-)

black channa /kadala curry


1.If you do not have a puttu maker you could use a steamer. But the dough should have more water content and you must mix in the grated coconut also into this. Have to add more coconut compared to this method.
2.For channa curry, you could use coconut paste instead of coconut milk.
3.You could use either the white rice flour or red rice flour for making puttu.I have used the red variety here.

Contributors :Sunitha and Namitha

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kovakka thoran/ Ivygourd sauteed with coconut

The vegetable is cooked in its own moisture and then stired to a dry consistency to make 'thoran.' An accompaniment with rice, it's nourishing and tasty. The addition of coconut adds to the flavour of the vegetable without taking away the vegetable goodness.

This is hopefully a beginning of more salads on our blog. We desperately needed a break from baked goodies, you will understand! Hopefully a leaner but colorful series will follow with a few refreshing cracks into the world of baking and sweets mottled along the way.

kovakka thoran


Ivygourd(julienned)- 1 cup
Coconut (grated)- 1/3 cup
Green chillies-2
Turmeric powder- a pinch

For seasoning:
Mustard- 1/4 tsp
Red chillies- 2
Curry leaves- 1 sprig
Shallot slices- 2tsp
Oil- 2Tsp


1.Grind the coconut with turmeric, green chillies and shallot, coarsely.
2.Heat oil in a pan and do the seasoning, by first spluttering the mustard and then adding shallots, red chillies and curry leaves, sauting one by one.
3.To this mix in the ivygourd julienne and pour 1/4 cup water .
4.Mix everything well and cover with a lid.
5.Cook on medium low heat.
6.Cook till the ivygourd is done but still a bit crispy.

kovakka thoran

Monday, January 18, 2010

Blueberry Muffins

You get all sorts of berries and cherries in US and Europe unlike in India, and I never got a chance to taste any of these, there.It's interesting to note that fresh blueberries has most antioxidant activity when compared to most other fruits and vegetables.

Blueberry muffins are my daughter's favorite and I wanted to try them at home. Eventually my hubby also started liking it, who doesn't like the sugar packed store bought ones.It's a family favorite now.Hope you will also enjoy this :-)

BB muffin


Flour- 1 1/2 cup
White sugar- 3/4 cup
Salt- a pinch
Baking powder- 1 1/2 Tsp
Vegetable Oil- 1/3 cup
Egg- 1
Milk/buttermilk- 1/3 cup
Blueberries(fresh)- 1 Cup

For streusel topping:

Brown Sugar- 2/3 cup
Flour- 1/4 cup
Cinnamon- 1/4 Tsp
Butter- 2Tbsp

BB muffin


1.Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl.
2.In a separate bowl beat the egg and mix in milk and oil by beating.
3.Fold in the wet mixture into the dry mixture along with blue berries.Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin tray or muffin tray with paper liners.(This makes 12 std. size muffins)
4.Meanwhile prepare the topping by melting the butter and mix in other ingredients with a fork to get the coarse texture. Sprinkle this over the muffin mix in the muffin tray.
5.Bake at 375 degree F in a preheated oven for ~18-20 minutes or till a skewer inserted comes out clean.
6.Cool on a wire rack and enjoy !

BB muffin

Recipe adapted from : All
Contributor : Namitha

Friday, January 15, 2010

Semiya/Vermicelli payasam aka Kheer

Hello everyone ! Thanks a ton for the birthday wishes !! I had a great day (but a busy one !) I wasn't sure what to treat myself with on my birthday until I talked to Sunitha :-) Thanks a lot buddy ! She convinced me it has to be payasam especially since we do not have one on our blog. Either ways, for all the four birthdays at home I make this payasam, 99 % ! This is a favorite and even the lil imp will finish off a bowl full.

Semiya payasam

There is one more reason for sharing this sweet dish with you..Our site has crossed 10K hits in less than 4 months. We can't tell you how happy we are.Thanks for the support and encouragement.

I have made this umpteen times, but this is the first time that I measured each and every ingredient,wanting to share it with you. My recipe is slightly different from what I have seen around and I hope you will love it as much as my family and I do .


Vermicelli/Semiya- 1/2 cup
Ghee-2 Tsp+ 2 Tsp
Milk- 1 1/2 cup + 2 1/2 cup
Water- 1/2 cup
Sugar- 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder- 1/2 Tsp
Cashews- 2 Tbsp
Raisins -1 Tbsp

Semiya payasam

Method :

1.Heat 2 Tsp ghee in a deep and thick bottom pan.Throw in the vermicelli anf fry till it is golden brown in color.
2. Pour in 1 1/2 cups of milk and 1/2 cup of water and allow to boil.
3.Lower the heat and let the vermicelli get cooked well.Stir in between. It takes almost 10-12 minutes.
4.By this time almost all the water content will be dried, do not add more water or milk at this point.
5.Add sugar and start stirring continuously, on low heat.Continue this till all the water gets evaporated and the mixture gets thickened.While stirring if you are able to see the path of the spoon/spatula without the mixture running over there immediately, it is done. This takes ~10- 12 minutes on medium low heat.
6.Slowly add the milk into it. The point is that the boiling shouldn't get stopped while you pour the cold milk.This can be done on high heat and stirring continuously, while you add around 1/3 cup of milk at a time.
7.Once you added the milk, it should be boiled well.Pour more milk to get the desired consistency.Add the cardamom powder. Switch off the heat.
8.Heat 2 tsp ghee ina pan and fry the cahsews and raisins till golden brown, one after the other and garnish the payasam with this. Serve warm or cold.

1.The sugar I've used will give you a moderately sweet payasam, you may add if you want your payasam more sweeter.
2.You may have to add more milk to get a desired consistency, if you are serving it later. Semiya gets thickened as it cools down.

Semiya payasam

Contributor :Namitha

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Truffles
I need a chocolate fix like I need a bullet in my brain. I have no idea what is happening to me but blogging. Since blogging on this page there is an insurgence of sweets in my house which is adding layers around my middle. I keep promising myself to go on a goat’s diet (vegetarian, the last time I heard of it) but the day evades me like a smart repartee when it’s most needed. I lust over all the red radish, artichoke, broccoli and some other exotic vegetables neatly stacked in the fresh market. However, I came away empty handed blaming the prices.
Well, the only solace is that chocolates have antioxidants. I am going to turn a blind eye on the heavy cream and sugar which is meager. Anyways, marketing a health product is not my idea today but to bring to you some pictures of the truffles I whipped up.
The best reason for me to show you the truffles today is the birthday girl. Happy Birthday Nami, and may the Lord bless you with many more. I forgive myself for indulging in all the sweets this once because the truffles are in honor of your birthday.
Chocolate Truffles
I used:
2 packs 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate (Ghirardelli) which amounts to 226 gms or 8 oz
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbspn butter
1 tspn vanilla essence
2 tspn sugar
1 tbspn of brandy
Chocolate Truffles
1. Break cacao and place in a heat proof bowl. I used a glass bowl which I knew can take the heat of boiling cream on it.
2. Bring the cream, butter and sugar to a boil. Take it off when it starts bubbling
3. Pour over the cacao and let it stand for a while. (It is important to let mixture stand because this helps to bring down the temperature to the optimum required for emulsification of cacao and cream to happen)
4. Whisk till creamy stirring from the inside out without creating any air bubbles . No heavy beating is required just stir using the whip to blend both into a smooth mixture
5. Refrigerate for 3-6 hours
6. Once they have set scoop out spoon fulls and make a ball of it with you fingers
7. Roll in confectioners sugar or cacao powder and use it and refrigerate the remaining.

I found that that the cacao was sticking to the hand and decided to refrigerte the truffles overnight before eating them.

Recipe: Adapted from Joy of Baking

Contributor: Sunitha

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lemon Rice

Lemon rice always reminds me of one of my college friends. While most of my classmates lived with me in the hostel this one was lucky to stay with grandparents. She would always bring delicious home made food and her tiffin (lunch box) was wiped clean by the food depraved hostelites. We had a win-win situation in this case because while we loathed eating cafeteria food everyday she was fed up of home made food. Nonetheless, she also had to finish her tiffin or granny wouldn’t be a happy camper. She generously let us gobble down the lemon rice while she enjoyed the coke and puffs form the cafeteria. Win-win situation, you will agree?

Lemon Rice

Lemon rice is also synonymous with long train journeys. They keep so well that we would take them on our long train journeys. The lemon and oil in the preparation acts like preservatives and stays good even in the hot and humid weather.

Food and music always makes me nostalgic and takes me back to a different time. I am sure you have your own stories and memories surrounding some food. I hope while you enjoy my recipe today beautiful memories conjure up flooding you with happiness.


Cooked Rice-3 Cups
Cooking Oil- 3 tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 Tsp
Channa Daal- 2Tbsp
Peanuts(raw)- 4 Tbsp
Urad daal-1 Tsp
Curry leaves- 1 Sprig
Red chillies- 4-5
Asafoetida- a pinch(optional)
Lemon juice- 1/3 cup(depending on the sourness of lemon)



1.Heat oil in a wide pan
2.Fry the peanuts till it is done, take out and keep aside.Fry the channa daal and keep that aside as well.
3.Splutter the mustard seeds and urad daal and throw in the red chillies, saute for a minute.
4.Add salt(if you have added salt while cooking the rice, be careful), turmeic and asafoetida and mix well (should be done on low heat, or else you will be burning the powders)
5.Add the rice (cooked) and mix well.
6.Switch off the heat. Add lemon juice and mix well. Check the taste and add more lemon juice if required.(It should be on the higher side,if you are eating later, since the rice will absorb it if you keep it longer.)
7.Mix in the fried peanuts and channa daal
8.Serve warm or cold with a pickle of your choice, yogurt or as it is.Enjoy !


1.The rice must cool down well, if you do not have the prepared rice from previous day.The rice grains should be separated and lumps should be avoided.
2.If you are preparing rice for this dish, you could add salt while cooking the rice.
3.If you are planning to pack this for later, let it cool down completely before doing so.

Lemon rice

Contributor : Namitha

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Easy Veggie masala with Cauliflower and Bell Pepper

After a month of snow we are seeing a rise in mercury level today. Though I don't believe that 2012 is the end of the world, the erratic weather had me wondering for a while. Global warming has been the hot topic for ages, and now the world is worried about the cold spells. I have no clue, whether it is kaliyuga, or the El Nino, one of the scientific reasons, what do you think?

Whatever comes in 2012 or whatever happens tomorrow, we need to deal with the present, right? So far no controversies on that bit, I hope. Since food is an essential and we are on a food blog, let’s get back to the obvious. Ever since Oraphan announced her giveaway, I have been thinking of sharing this recipe, but got delayed with the holiday season and the recipes thereof.

CB curry

This Cauliflower-Bellpepper masala is an easy dish. I make this as a side dish for chappathi, whenever I am not in a mood to saute onions, or in a time crunch.


Cauliflower- 1 small/half of a big
Broccoli- 1medium
Bell pepper- 1/2 of a big
Tomato- 1
Garlic(crushed)- 9-10 cloves
Coriander powder- 1 Tbsp
Red chilli powder- 1 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala- 1/2 tsp(optional)
Chaat masala- 1 Tsp
Coriander leaves- For garnishing
Cooking oil- 2-3 tbsp
Butter/Oil-1 1/2 Tbsp


1.Cut the cauliflower and broccoli into bite sized equal pieces.
2.Heat oil in a wide pan and add crushed garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes.
3.Add salt and all the powders except chaat masala and mix well
4.Throw in the cauliflower and broccoli pieces and mix well to coat with masala.
5.Pour 2-3 Tbsp of water, cover and cook till the veggies are 3/4 done on medium low heat..
6.Meanwhile slice bell pepper and tomato into juliennes
7.Heat another pan and add butter/oil and saute bell pepper followed by tomato till they are almost cooked.This is done separately to mainain the crispiness of bell pepper
8.Add this to the cauliflower masala,mix and cover to cook for almost 4-5 minutes or till the veggies are done. Do not overcook ,as it will make it mushy.
9.Switch off the heat and add the chat masala and mix well.
10.Serve warm with roti or naan after garnishing with coriander leaves.


1.Cooking the bell pepper and tomato is optional and so is cooking in butter.
2.This is a dry preparation, so try to use minimal water.

Contributor :Namitha

Monday, January 11, 2010

Orange Bread

The recipe today has been adapted from a cook book by 'Puffy Muffins.' It's easy to put this bread together. Nevertheless, there is much to speak of the texture and moist quality. Nice and closely grained texture soaked in the oranger flavor where every bite bursts with its orangy tang. It's a housewives dream where effortless preparation renders tasteful treats.

The first time I heard bread and saw cakes lined up instead I was confused to say the least. Apparently, there are a lot of breads which are made with ingredients for a cake. Baking powder instead of yeast in these breads are the difference. Also, like in the banana bread recipe the important fact to remember is not to beat the ingredients. Only mix them till they are blend together.

The recipe has been adapted as aforementioned from a cook bookowever. I changed some of the ingredients to my liking and it works well.


Flour - 1 1/2 cups
Granulated Sugar - 1 cup + 2 tbspn
Baking Powder - 3/4 tspn
Salt - 3/4 tspn
Eggs - 1 large or 2 small
Milk - 3/4 cups
Vegetable oil - 3/4 cups
Vanilla essence - 3/4 tspn
ornage essence - 3/4 tspn
butter flavouring - 3/4 tspn

Orange bread
Granulated sugar - 1/4 cup + 2 tbspn
Orange juice - 2 tbspn
All essence as above - 1/4 tspn each

1. Take all the ingredients above in a large bowl and mix for two minutes on medium speed. Bake in a bread loaf pan in a preheated oven at 350 D F for an hour.

2. Once the bread is cooked transfer it to a cooling rack and while hot pour the glaze on top of the bread.

P.S: Please remember not to beat the batter just mix at a low speed till all the ingredients come together. This is important to keep the softness of the bread

Banana Bread

Good morning. Its a new week starting off nice and bright. The snow has melted away and the earth looks washed clean. I decided its time for me to clean my slate clean and start afresh too. I have made my most needed 'to do' list to get through this day. Cleaned my house where the laundry was looking like it will walk up to me. There is something about pattern and discipline I love, maybe its the fact that its so hard to get. But today is different I am loving it. Laundry is in the washer and carpets are cleaned soft and plumped. I feel like I am walking on air. With a song on my lips and happy flutter in my heart I am feeling generous. Here is a easy peezy recipe to get you into the zing of things.

The following recipe is an easy to make banana bread. There is no heavy beating once you have creamed your butter and sugar. Easy to do and gobbled down as easily. Its quite tasty. I have no flowery words to describe its taste. However, the matter of fact recipe is easy and if you have banana thats gone too dark that it will jump into the trash can on its own accord, salvage it. Peel off the black spotted banana peel and mash it up to whip up a quick bread. Now, you can use fresh bananas too it will work just fine. What I am trying to tell you is any reason is good engouh to bake this bread. Dig in it won't disappoint.

With wishes that you have a great day as I am having, I am signing off.
Banana Bread

Butter - 1 Stick/ 113 gms 4 oz
All purpose flour- 2cps
Sugar - 1 cup
Bananas - 3 mashed
Eggs - 2
Baking soda - 1 tspn
Vanilla essence - 1 tspn

Mix baking soda in 1 - 1 1/2 tbpn water
2. Cream butter and sugar
3. Add all the other ingredients and blend together. You will only fold in no more beating to give a soft and moist texture
4. Bake at 375 D F for 35 - 40 minutes
Banana Bread
Contributor: Sunitha

Friday, January 8, 2010

Beef Fry/Irachi ulathiyathu- Kottayam Style

     Kottayam is a town in central Kerala where I come from.  Today I am sharing beef fry, a favorite among  people from my state, made in the Kottayam style.  Some of the best versions of this dish I hear is served in toddy shops. Toddy is the liquor from coconut tree/Palm Tree. There is an interesting read on toddy in Wikipedia. It's also interesting to note how these small shops considered taboo at one time is gaining popularity.

 Disclaimer: if you are travelling to our state make sure a local person helps you buy things from the toddy shop or only go in after checking its okay to do so.  I cannot gaurantee the safety of these places but only say that the food is excellent.  In some of the popular tourist locations these place are safe but always use your judgment before making the decision

Beef Fry


Beef- 1lbs
Shallots/ Onion- 1/2 cup+1/2 cup
Red Chilli powder-1tsp
Ginger-Garlic Paste-1 1/2 Tbsp
Curry leaves- 1- 2 Sprigs
Vinegar- 1tsp
Oil-3 Tbsp

For Garam Masala
Tejpatta/Bay leaf- 1
Cinnamon -1 small piece
Fennel seeds- 1 Tsp
Black Pepper corns- 5-6

For seasoning and frying:
Mustard seeds-1/4 tsp
Garlic sliced- 1/4 cup
Green chillies(slit)-2
Curry leaves-1 Sprig
Coconut Oil- 3 Tbsp


1.Grind everything listed under Garam masala, together.
2.Heat oil in a pressure cooker/ the pan you are planning to cook beef.Saute the 1/2 cup onion till it turns translucent.
3.Add the ginger-garlic paste and saute till the raw smell leaves.Add the chillipowder and masala and saute for 2-3 minutes.
4.Throw in the beef pieces along with a sprig of curry leaves and vinegar.Add a few tablespoon of water and cook well.(I do it till 2 whistles come )
5.Heat coconut oil in a frying pan,splutter the mustard and saute the remaining shallots, till it turns translucent.
6.Add the garlic slices and green chillies and saute for 3-4 minutes.
7.Add the curry leaves and cooked beef into this and fry till the beef turns dark brown in color.This will take 45 mins to 1 hour, on low heat.
8.Switch off the flame and wait for at least 1/2 an hour before you serve.

Whenever I make this, half the dish will be gone towards the end of the frying because some of the family will be snacking on it, and never wait for 30 minutes before serving :D)

Beef Fry

1.The recipe I have given is less spicy (for kids)
2.If you want to taste the authentic one, just add more peppercorns and chilli powder
3.Use coconut oil for the authentic taste :-)
4.You might be surprised to see that coriander powder is missing ;it's not a mistake :-)
5.You could add coconut pieces (thengakothu) while cooking the beef.
6. You could replace beef with lamb or mutton, if you do not take beef.

Contributor: Namitha

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bran Rolls

We have a light snow fall today that is dressing the naked braches of trees and carpeting the lawns. The asphalt pavement flanked on both sides with the white cottony snow strikes out brilliantly in the scenary. On a cold day like this I love hot rolls dipped in soup and watch the snow flakes gently make its way to the ground.
Two years back, for the first time, I braved the daunting task of making bread and have enjoyed it ever since. Having made dough for the Indian roti’s/ chapatthi’s I don’t find getting the dough together for bread cumbersome. Today’s recipe is even better since it does not call for any kneading. As you enjoy the recipe and read about some awards friends have generously given, I am going to try and stay warm. Curl up on my sofa, read a book and sneek peek out the french window to make sure the picturesque landscape doesn't change. Yes, thats what I will do today.
You be good and bake those rolls to keep you and your family warm. It must be the snow I feel like rhyming.
Bran Rolls
Active dry yeast - 1 package
Water - 1/2 cup
Shortening - 1/2 cup
sugar - 2/3 cup
whole bran - 1/2 cup
salt - 1 tspn
boiling water - 1/2 cup
sifted all-purpose flour - 3 1/4 cups
beaten eggs - 1


Mixing the dough
1. Dissolve dry yeast in luke warm water (110 ⁰ F) and set aside
2. Take shortening, sugar, bran, and salt in a mixing bowl and add the boiling water
3. Stir the mixture till shortening is well mixed with other ingredients and melted
4. Set aside to cool to lukewarm
5. Add the ½ cup flour, the beaten egg and yeast mix and stir with the spatula
6. Gradually add the flour and beat well (You are trying to bring all the mixture together though not kneading)
7. Once all of it comes together place it in a greased bowl and roll it around so the dough is greased all around
8. Cover and chill in refrigerator till ready to use (this can be refrigerated for a couple of days and rolled our to make rolls when necessary)
Making clover leaf roll:
1. Make 3 one inch balls of the refrigerated dough and place in a greased muffin pan.
2. Allow it to double in size around 1 ½ to 2 hours

Clover Leaf

Bake in a preheated oven at 400⁰ F for approximately 15 minutes. Please check after 8-10 minutes the first time since oven temperatures may vary. Adjust the temperature if required the next time.

1. If you want to bake the rolls the same day chill the dough for an hour and make your desired shape of the dough and bake

Makes – About 18 – 20 rolls

Awards: We are happy to receive this award from our blogger friend Simply life .  We appreciate your generosity, Simply life

Now we would like to share it with some of our friends:
Sangeetha - Kothiyavunu
Priya -Priya's Recipes
Sonia- Nasilemak Lover
Anncoo-Anncoo's Hobby Oraphan-Easy Veggie
Three hungry Tummies
Priya of Priya's easy and Tasty recipes
Oraphan- Easy veggie
Faiza-Faiza Ali's Kitchen
Malar- Kitchen Tantra
Meeso-For the love of food

We have also been awarded by Mausi, Priya and Saju the 'kreative blogger' award.  We would like to share it with

Latha from culinary delights
Cham of Spice club
3 Hungry Tummies
Vineetha of Malabar Ruchi
Sharmilee -In my passionate world

Rules for accepting this award:

1) Thank the person giving the award
2) Copy the award to your blog
3) Place a link to their blog
4) Name 7 things people don't know about you
5) Nominate 7 bloggers
6) Place a link to those bloggers
7) Leave a comment letting those bloggers know about the award

Keeping my end of the bargain
Name 7 things people don't know about you

1. Hate folding clothes
2. Love the smell of fresh earth
3. Like to walk in the rain
4. Love the idyllic pastoral scenes and enjoy a crowded musical concert with the same passion
5. Collect pine cones like they are precious stones. My husband has forbidden my bringing anymore home but I continue to sneak them in
6. Only like casual clothes
7. Not a fan of the short black dress

Contributor: Sunitha

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Fish Fry-Kerala style/Naadan meen varuthathu

Kerala is a southern state in India bound by the Arabian Sea on its west. The sea coast historically brought the state traders and invaders.  When one enriched the other plundered. All the same, the coastline dotted with tall coconut trees and the blue waters beyond lend to our culture and cuisine. Every bit of the coconut tree its leaves and fruit are all used for food and shelter. The variety of fish we enjoy from the sea are myriad and obviously holds an important part in cuisine. It is not my intention to expound further on the subject but I hope you see why our food has so much coconut gravy and seafood. This will also help you understand why 84 % of the population is non-vegetarian, unlike most of the other states in India.

Talking about being vegetarian reminds me how I stopped eating meat and fish listening to some weird stories from our maid. She made such an impact with her stories that I stayed a vegetarian for almost 8 years of my life. When I left for college and had to stay in a hostel; I realized that it is hard to remain a vegetarian in a hostel run by nuns. There I decided to try non-veg dishes. I am so glad about the decision now. The food in that hostel was the best I had compared to the hostels I would stay later in my life during degree and post graduation. The fish fries, chicken curry, beef fry, beef curry, beef cutlet, everything was fantastic. Thereafter I have remained a non-vegetarian till date :-)

Today I want to share one of my favorite fish recipes; the fry. Its crispy outside and juicy inside will leave you wanting more. Fish ,like I said, holds pride and a very important place in our cuisine. I know some of you are vegetarians and may not want to switch places like I did but you can try the marination as explained below on brinjal sliced in one inch rounds and shallow fried. Hope the taste will transport you to the breezy, coconut swaying coastlines of Kerala.

Fish Fry


Fish pieces(Preferably big fishes like, Kingfish (neymeen)) - 1lbs
Chilli powder- 3 Tsp
Pepper Powder- 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek Powder- a pinch
Ginger- Garlic paste- 1 tsp
Curry leaves- 1 sprig
Coconut oil/any other cooking oil- 3-4Tbsp


1.Make a thick paste of all the powders with salt and ginger-garlic.
2.Mix well with fish pieces, by taking each piece and applying the marinade on it and marinate for at least 30 minutes in refrigerator.
3.Heat oil in a non stick frying pan.
4.Throw in the fish pieces along with curry leaves and fry until fish is cooked well and the pieces turn brown in color.If you cover this with a lid, it will reduce the mess in the kitchen and also avoids the smell from frying to certain extend.
5.Serve warm with rice and curry or mashed tapioca.

Fish Fry


1.You could add lemon juice/vinegar if you like the tanginess. I do not add these.
2.For those who want it more spicier can add more pepper powder and chilli powder.
3.Coconut oil gives the authentic taste :-), but you could use any other oil.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pin Wheel Cookies

Here is one more cookie from my Christmas baking. Another recipe from M; taken from her old cook book put together by her mother and friends in the 50's. Its is a community cookbook where the neighbors each give their own recipes and then compile it.

My husband and I liked this cookie the best, of all the other cookies I baked this holiday season. They crumble in your mouth and works in mysterious ways speeding you to eat more. Something like Lays ad that says “no one can eat just one.” The nuts and dates creating the swirling path within are chewy and delectable. The chewy inside is made by cooking the dates and nuts down with sugar forming this caramelized gooey mixture. Yes, I meant it when I said delectable. They are the kind of cookies one will carefully bite into, ensuring every morsel goes into the mouth and not the carpet.

I think I have said enough on the matter to help you understand. Now the pitfall or flip side of things is, the dough is not the easiest to work with. But chilling them well, as directed and carefully sawing the loaf into slices will all payoff when you finally bite into the baked goodies. Lets put on our aprons and get to work.

Pinwheel cookies

Chopped pitted dates – 2 C
Chopped nut meats – 1 C
Brown Sugar – 2 C
All purpose flour – 4 C
Sugar – 1 C
Water – 1 C
Shortening – 1 C
Eggs – 3 beaten
Salt – ½ tspn
Baking Powder – ½ tspn


For cooking the dates and nuts:
1. Mix dates, white sugar and water in a saucepan
2. Cook till the mixture thickens and the mix is not watery
3. Add the nut meat to the hot mixture stir and set aside to cool

For the dough:
1. Cream the shortening with a hand blender and add brown sugar gradually
2. Add the eggs to the mix and beat well
3. Add the flour sifted with salt and baking powder to the above mixture and mix well
4. Chill the dough thoroughly (3-6 hrs)(I had them transferred onto butter paper, wrapped well and refrigerated)

For making the cookies:
1. Divide the chilled dough into two parts and roll into rectangle a little less than ¼ inch thick
2. Spread each with the date filling and roll up as in a jelly roll
3. Chill both the rolls thoroughly overnight.
4. Using a sharp knife cut into slices and ¼ inch thick
5. Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes

Dates pinwheel
Contributor: Sunitha