Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Kesari Bath



The weather here is getting better & this week we see sunshine everyday. It feels good to see the Sun after a long time. However the fluctuating weather has made all of us sick. Zion is home this week as he is down with fever. When he is home, I cant do anything. He is full time around me & doesn't let me do anything.

Today I will be sharing Kesari Bath Recipe. This is one easy Indian sweet recipe. When I crave for Indian Ghee sweets, this is the one I make it as it can be done is less than 30 minutes. It was Pongal 2 weeks ago & I decided to celebrate it at home by making the traditional South Indian Tamil food. I made Khara Pongal, Medu Vada, sambar, chutney & Kesari Bath. Since my friend was getting Sweet Pongal, I decided to make Kesari Bath for sweet instead. It is also called as Rava Kesari, Suji ka Halwa in Hindi. This sweet is made in all parts of India & is given different names. There are also different recipes for this but this is how I make it & is the best.


Serves: 5 people
Making time: 30 minutes


Ingredients:
  • 1 cup Semolina
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Ghee (Clarified Butter)
  • 1/4 tspn Elachi powder
  • 1 tspn Orange color
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1/4 tspn Salt
  • Handful of chopped cashew nuts or Almonds

Method:
  1. Dry roast semolina on medium flame for about 3 to 5 minutes, until you smell a nice aroma & the semolina becomes crispy.
  2. In a heavy bottom Pan, add water sugar, elachi powder, salt & bring this to a boil. Reduce the flame to medium. While the water is boiling, add the color & dry roasted semolina slowly while continuously stirring. The semolina will start to bubble but keep stirring.
  3. Now cover a lid & allow the semolina to cook for 2- 3 minutes on low flame. Now give it a good mix with a spoon. By this time the semolina will be fully cooked.
  4. Finally add in the Ghee into the semolina & give a good mix. Cover the lid & continue to simmer for another minute. Turn of the flame & let Kesari Bath rest in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes. Garnish the Kesari Bath with chopped nuts & its ready to serve.


 

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Banofee Cake



From today my lill boy is going for full day school. All these while I knew that I had to pick him by 2 & then he is at home troubling me & talking non stop. Today its noon time & I am already missing him. Hope he does better in school & enjoys the full day. Now that I have a lot of time alone, I really have to utilize it very well. Currently I am watching this series "Switched at Birth" & whenever I am bored I watch this on Netflix. Currently I am watching it too:) Today I am sharing with you all a very tasty & my favorite cake recipe "Banoffe Cake" Its a simple Vanilla sponge cake with Banana, toffee & whipped cream filling. I had made this cake couple of months ago for one of my friends Birthday celebration. This is how it is made..


Makes: 8 inch 2 layered cake
Serves: 15-20 people
Making time: 60-90 minutes

Ingredients:
  • For the Basic sponge cake recipe click here
  • For the toffee sauce click here
  • 3 cups Heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 tspn Vanilla Extract
  • 3 medium riped Bananas cut into small rings.
Method:
  1. Whip the cream along with sugar & Vanilla until stiff peaks. You will need t use an electric beater or whisk attachment for the stand mixer. This process will take about 4 to 6 minutes. Once the cream reaches stiff peaks, just refrigerate it.
  2. Once the cake has been cooled down, cut them into 2 half's or just one depending on the height of your cake.
  3. Apply a layer of Toffee sauce (Dulce de leche) on top of the cake, now layer the chopped Bananas on top & then the whipped cream with a spatula.
  4. If you have another layer of cake, then continue the same process of layering, sauce, banana & cream. Once the layering is done, cover the whole cake with whipped cream.
  5. I used a star tip, colored the whipped cream with shades of pink & designed the cake.
 
 


 

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Medu Vada


I have started my daily Gym routine from today. Its been almost a month since I have worked out. Its time to get back in shape & also get fit. I used to feel so energized & active when I used to exercise daily. I don't do too much, but just the treadmill & cycling. My legs are hurting very badly  today, coz every time I start after a break its like this for a week. I need to somehow keep myself motivated & workout regularly.  

Today is Pongal & I thought I will make some Tamil special for Dinner. I have made Ven Pongal, Sweet Kesari, Vada, Sambar & chutney for dinner Well, why  not sweet Pongal? coz one of my good friends is dropping by this evening to give me sweet Pongal:). I am so blessed to have wonderful friends in my life.  Today I am sharing Medu Vada recipe. This is called Uddina Vada in Karnataka & many other names in different parts of south India. Its a very simply recipe but you need to get the technique right. These are also called as Indian savory Doughnuts. You need to make sure that you grind the Urad dal thick & add very less water. This is how its made


 
Makes: 8 to 10 Vadas
Making time: 30 mins
soaking time: 4 - 6 hours
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup Urad Dal(Soak in water for 4 to 5 hours) and grind to a semi smooth paste (don't add water. add very little if required)
  • 1 tspn finely chopped Ginger
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 finely chopped green chili
  • 4 to 6 chopped curry leaves chopped
  • 2 tbspn finely chopped coconut pieces (I used frozen)
  • 1 tbspn whole Black pepper
  • Salt as per taste
  • Oil for deep frying
 Method:
 
  1. Grind the soaked Urad Dal in a Mixer into a smooth paste. Make sure you do it in small quantity. Add very little water if required. If you feel the batter is watery, just put it in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. This will help the batter to thicken.
  2. Now mix rest of the ingredients mentioned above into the batter.
  3. Heat Oil in a pan, take small size batter with greased hands (or wet hands) make a shape of doughnut & immediately drop it in hot oil. Fry for 2 to 4 minutes until golden brown on medium heat. You can also make round Vadas. Just use a tablespoon, pick the batter and drop it in the oil. Now the Vadas are ready.
 
Note:
  1. If you are making these for the first time, you will find it hard to get the shape right. Practice will make it perfect. The shape depends on the batter consistency too.
  2. Be careful when you drop in the Vadas in the oil, sometimes the oil will splutter & you will end up burning your hands. I have had many accidents in the past :)
  3. This goes very well with Sambar & Chutney. I will post my Sambar recipe some other time.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Stuffed Gobhi Mussallam

 

 
(Please note that the Olive oil in the picture was added to make the picture look more presentable. In real, you will not have so much oil. I have also presented only a small portion of the dish in the picture with just 3 florets)

 I have now decided that I will at least post 2 or more recipes in a week in my blog. This morning I have been thinking of making something new & different. I had heard about this dish "Gobhi Mussallam" for the first time a month ago, when my friend mentioned about it. She said it was made during Diwali & other occasions at her home. That is when I started my research for this recipe. Finally I found one which I felt could be good. Well traditionally the whole Cauliflower is baked/tandoored & added into the masala. I decided to cut mine into big florets & add them. Somehow I am not very comfortable to have a big vegetable:) Upon checking the Mussalam recipe, I felt it was very similar to the regular masala recipe. That is why I tweaked in the recipe to make it more tastier. This turned out super delicious & a must must try recipe. My hubby kept licking his fingers... This is how I made it.



Serves: 3 - 4 people
Making time: 1 hour
Preparation time: 10 mins

Ingredients
  • 1 Medium Cauliflower cut into big flowers
  • 3/4th cup Chenna (Soft cottage cheese)
  • 2 tbspn of olive oil for baking cauliflower
  • 1 Tspn Chili Powder
  • 1 cup organic Tomato puree
  • 1 Tspn Coriander powder
  • 1/4 Tspn Turmeric power
  • 1 Tspn Cumin powder
  • 1/4 Tspn Cumin seeds
  • 1 Tspn Ginger Garlic paste
  • 1 medium Onion (Around 2 cups roughly chopped)
  • 2 Tsp Kasoori Methi
  • 3 Tbspn Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 tspn cardamom powder
  • 4 Tbsp olive Oil
  • Curdled milk (Chenna) from 1 Ltr whole Milk
  • Salt as per taste
Direction:
  1. Make a marinade with cottage cheese, cardamom powder, kasoori methi & salt. Stuff the washed Cauliflower florets with this marinade. Make sure it is well coated.
  2. Pre heat the oven to 380 degrees & bake the stuffed cauliflower for about 15- 20 mins. Make sure you sprinkle some olive oil on top of the cauliflower. Once they are cooked set it aside.
For the Mussalam gravy
  1. Grind onions along with ginger & garlic to a fine paste.
  2. In a heavy bottom deep pan add oil. Once its hot add cumin seeds & ground onion paste. Cook this for about 6 to 8 minutes until it starts to stick & fat separates . Make sure you keep sautéing in between.
  3. Now add in the tomato puree, cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder, salt & cook it on medium flame for about 5 to 7 minutes. Keep stirring in between.
  4. Now add in 2 cups of water, cover the lid & cook this on medium flame for about 10 - 15 mins or until fat separation & all the raw smell goes off. Make sure you sauté in between.
  5. Now add in 3 tbspn of greek yogurt & mix well. Now the Mussalam gravy is ready.
  6. Add in the baked cauliflower in the gravy. Either mix it with gravy or just place it on top of the gravy.
  7. If you feel the gravy is very thick add in some more water. I made mine thick, as I was having them with Rotis.


How to make Chenna:
  • 1 Ltr whole Milk
  • 1 juice of a lemon
  • 1/4 cup of water
Direction: Bring the milk to rolling boil. Into the 1/4 cup of water squeeze in the lemon juice & add this to the milk. Let the milk keep boiling for another minute on low flame. This process will curdle the milk better. Now turn off the flame & drain off the water on a muslin/ cheese cloth. keep this under running water for few seconds so that the tanginess from lemon goes off. Once the water is drained off , which takes about 10 mins, the Chenna will be ready to use. Since its fresh it tastes really creamy & tasty. You can also make this ahead of time & store it in the refrigerator
 
 
Here is the step by step picture to show how to bake the Cauliflower & make the gravy
 

 
 

Spicy Macaroni



Hello guys.... I have been asked by so many people that I have not been very active blogging. Yes, I have been very busy with some other stuff & hence got lazy. However my kitchen is always busy & I have been cooking all the time. The parties at my place are always on & I have been having friends come over for dinners at least once a month. I love inviting friends for dinner as much as I love cooking.

The weather here is Austin is bad now & it goes to - degrees most often.  This weather also makes me hungry all the time. You already know that I love other cusines apart from Indian & one of my favorites is (Italian) Pastas. I make them at least once a week. Mostly these are Indianised to suit our taste buds at home, But trust me... these are better than the restaurant bland ones. I mostly use the same sauce & just alter here & there to get a different taste. This is how I made these.



Making time: 30 mins
Preparation time: 20 mins
Serves: 3- 4 people

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups macaroni or any pasta you like
  • 1 cup Tomato puree
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tspn coriander powder
  • 1 tspn cumin powder
  • 1 tspn Red Chili powder (Skip it if you don't want it spicy)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 250 gms beef minced. (Alternate with chicken or any meat of your choice)
  • 3 tbspn extra virgin olive oil
  • water for boiling the pastas
  • salt as per taste
Method:

  1. Boil Pasta in a pot full of hot water for about 10 mins or until its cooked. Once they are cooked, drain them & set it aside
  2. In the mean time, add oil to a big pot & fry the garlic until fragrant. Now add in the onions & fry them until they are pink.
  3. Once the onions turn pink which will take about 4 to 5 mins, add in the minced meat to uit & give it a good mix.
  4. Brown the meat for about 5 to 6 minutes in the pan. Now its time to add the Tomato puree & give it a good mix.
  5. turn the flame to medium heat & add in the spices into the pan along with salt. Now add a cup of chicken stock, cover the lid of the pan & cook this for about 10 mins stirring in between. You need to be careful at this stage as the tomato sauce splutters all over. So make sure you are using a big deep sauce pan.
  6. Generally in 10 - 12 mins the sauce is ready. Just taste the sauce and add in salt if required. The sauce will reduce in quantity & it get thicker. Incase the sauce is very thick add some water to get it to the right consistency.
  7. Finally add in the cooked macaroni & give it a good mix.
  8. Garnish the dish with Parmesan cheese before serving.
  9. You would also add in basil leaves or even coriander for garnish

 

Friday, 19 December 2014

Gulio


I am so happy that I am able to make Kuswar for the first time all by myself. I am already one with making 5 items & I have another 3 more to go. Like I mentioned before, all the Kuswar recipes are my Mother's recipe. My Mom makes the best Kuswar & I am glad that I am able to share here yummy recipes to my followers. Today I am sharing Gulio recipe, Gulio in Konkani means round. since this snack is round in shape  its called as Gulio. This snack is sweet & you can alter the sweetness of this snack by adding more or less Jaggery. This is how it is made



Makes: 6 cups of Gulio
Making time: 1 - 2 hours
Total time: 15 hours

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups boiled rice (brown or white any variety is fine but I used brown)
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 1 cup white Jaggery
  • 1/2 tspn Cardamom powder
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • Oil for deep frying
Method
  1. Soak the rice in water for at least 6 to 8 hours. Overnight is better.
  2. Now grind the rice along with coconut, salt & cardamom powder to a smooth paste
  3. Now in an nonstick Pan or any other big pan, add the rice paste & keep stirring to form a stiff dough. Once the dough is formed, turn off the heat & set aside to cool down a little.
  4. Now start making small balls with this dough & place them in a greased plate.
  5. Heat the oil & fry these gulios on medium heat until they are dark brown.
  6. Once they are fried store them in an airtight container.
 
Here is the step by step process to show how to make the Gulio dough,
 
 
 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Chakli



Chakli/ Murukku & many names this Indian savory snack has. I already have one Chakli recipe on my blog. This one which I am posting today is my Mom's recipe & the best Chakli recipe you will ever find or have tasted. When you bite a piece it so crispy & melt in your mouth types. This is a recipe to keep & share. I made around 60 of these yesterday & have stored them in an airtight box. This recipe is very easy to make & can be done under  2 - 3 hours. This is how I made them,



Makes: 50 - 60 chaklis
Making time: 1-3 hours
fry time: 2- 4 mins
Equipment: Chakli making press with star tip

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of semolina (200 gms)
  • 5 cups Rice flour (1 kg)
  • 100 Gms Butter
  • 100 gms melted hot Vegetable shortening (Crisco or Dalda)
  • salt as per taste
  • Chili Powder optional
  • 3 tspn cumin seeds
  • 1-2 cups water for mixing
Method:
  1. Dry roast the semolina & Rice flower separately & set aside.
  2. Now boil 2 cups of water in a pan, add butter & salt to it.
  3. When the water reaches rolling boil, turn the heat to medium & add the semolina slowly into the water stirring continuously.(Like the way we make upma)
  4. Now allow the semolina to cook in this water which will take just a minute or 2. Make sure you keep stirring. You will notice that the water is all drained & the semolina has become like a pudding. Just turn off the heat & set this aside.
  5. Now in a big bowl add this cooked semolina, rice flour, hot shortening, cumin seeds & water as much as needed to make a soft dough.
  6. The dough should neither be very soft nor very thick.
  7. Prepare the Murukku making press with a star tip.
  8. Now take a large ball size of dough & fill the Murrukku maker with this. Make spiral shapes or just loose Murrukus. I made some large spiral Murukus & some small ones.
  9. I piped the Spiral Murrukus on a Parchment paper first.
  10. Now fry them in hot oil for about 2 to 3 minutes. I fried 5 Murukkus at a time in the oil. Depending on your Pan size you can decide on how many will fit in. When the Murukku starts sinking, that's when you know it is done.
  11. Once they are cooled, store them in an airtight container.


Note:
  1. If you want you can skip adding the vegetable shortening & just butter instead.
  2. If the Murukku is breaking off while piping, just add some water to the dough to make it a little soft. This process will help the piping process easy.
  3. I divided the dough into 2 batch & added chili powder to one batch of dough to make spicy Murukku.
  4. To drop Murukku into oil, just lift the murukku with your hands & slip them into the oil. The another method is to slowly bring the parchment paper closer to the oil & slip them into the oil from the paper.

 

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Nevri

 
 
 
"Deck the halls with boughs of holly, 
Fa la la la la, la la la la. 
Tis the season to be jolly, 
Fa la la la la, la la la la. "
 

 Yeah........ just another 9 days for "Christmas" I am so excited & looking forward for a grand fun filled Xmas.  Last year there was no celebration for us as we had just moved to Austin & were settling. I really cried last Christmas because we dint do anything  at all & I had decided that next year it is going to be a grand Christmas celebration. Yes, Xmas is grand this year in my home here in Austin. My tree is already up & I am yet to decorate my full house this week.
 
 
 
Well we Mangalore Christians make "Kuswar" for Xmas. Kuswar means set of sweets that is made during Xmas. One of the items that goes into Kuswar is "Nevri" , which is in todays post. This is similar to Gujiya, a sweet Puffs/ samosa, but the filling is very different. This sweet is my husbands favorite. I just made this today & I am totally exhausted, as this is very labor intensive job. In total I made 54 of these & they are all stored in the airtight box. I will be giving it as Christmas goodies to all my friends once I am done making all the items. This sweet is my Mom's recipe & there are various versions people make.  This is how I made it.
 
 
Makes: 60 Nevriyo
Making time: 3- 5 hours
Cooking time: 5 to 8 mins
 
Ingredients:
 
For the Dough
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 5 Tbsp melted & warm Vegetable shortening (I used Crisco) (In India Dalda is used)
  • 1 tspn Salt
  • 1.5 cups Water (As much as required to form a dough) 
For the filling
  • 4 cups grated coconut (I used slightly sweetened coconut)
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted Kuskus (White Poppy seeds)
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted Cashews
  • 1 Tspn powdered cardamom/ Elachi
  • 1.5 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tspn salt
Method:
  1. Make a soft dough with flour, shortening, salt & water. Make sure you knead it well. Now rest it for 1/2 hour by covering it with a kitchen towel. I used my Kitchen aid stand mixer to make the dough, as its easy & fast. If you don't have kitchen aid, mixing it with hands works fine too but it can be a little tiring.
  2. Now mix all the ingredients in a big bowl that is mentioned under filling.
  3. You will need a mold to make this sweet. These are available in Indian store.
 
Assembling the Nevri
  1. Make small lime size balls out of the dough, dust with a little flour and roll them into very thin flat circles, the size of Puris. (If you don't make it very thin, they will not be crispy)
  2. Now place this puri in the center of the Mold & now place about 1 tsp of the filling mixture right in the centre of the puri .
  3. Wet your fingers & run it around the sides of the dough where exactly it seals. Now close the mold & press it tightly so that the dough seals in well.
  4. Remove any excess dough from around & place the Nevri on a parchment paper a greased plate.
  5. Repeat the steps until all the filling/ dough has been used up.
  6. Now heat about 1 ltrs of oil in a heavy bottom frying pan, Once the oil is hot, fry 5 Nevri at a time on medium heat. Make sure you rotate the Nevri for even cooking. Once they are golden brown, remove from oil & place them on top of paper towel.


 

 

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Basic sponge cake



           ( The cake in the above picture is upside down & you can see the flower nail on top)

I lately realized that I haven't uploaded a basic Vanilla sponge cake recipe in my blog. This is a basic cake recipe that I use for all kind of cakes as a base. You can use the same recipe & add different flavors .  For example: Add instant coffee powder to make a mocha sponge cake, Strawberry essence or puree for Strawberry sponge cake.

Long time ago I had read in a cake form that, adding a flower nail in the center of a round pan will rise the cake much taller than the regular height. That's why I decided to try it myself & see. I was so happy to see my cake taller & I could cut them into 2 layers & make a tall cake. This is a great tip for all bakers. Here is a very simple recipe & I am sure you will never go wrong.


Makes 1, 7  inch  or 8 inch round tall cake
Total Time required: 45 mins to an hour
Baking time: 30- 45 mins

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 70 gms butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tspn Vanilla essence
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 4 Tbsp curd/ Yogurt (Full fat)
  • 1 Tspn Baking powder
  • 1/2  tspn baking soda
Utensils:
  • 8 Inch baking pan
  • Parchment paper
  • OTG Baking oven
  • 1 large cake mixing bowl
  • Electric beater
  • sifter
  • flower nail 
Method:
  1. Sieve the dry ingredients & keep aside.
  2. seperate the eggs yolks from glare
  3. Cream the butter, egg yolks & powdered sugar for about 2 to 3 mins. Untill its fluffy
  4. Add in salt, Vanilla essence, curd, 3 tbsp water & all the dry ingredients to this mixture & mix well.
  5. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks in a separate bowl.
  6. Now fold in the egg white into the cake batter with a spatula & give it a gentle good mix, so everything is combined. Do not over mix. You can do this with a spoon or a spatula.
  7. Prepare the baking Pan by greasing it with butter & line the parchment paper at  the bottom of the pan.
  8. Now place the flower nail in the center of the baking pan.
  9. Now pour the cake batter into the pan & pat the cake pan on the counter top to release any air bubbles.  
  10. Bake this in a preheated oven for about 35- 45 mins at 180 degree. Or until toothpick insert comes out clean.
  11. Remove the pan outside & allow it to cool down for about 20 mins. Now slowly invert the pan & remove the cake from the pan gently. Once the cake is completely cooled, pull out the flower nail carefully & set aside


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Witch finger cookie

 
I know this Halloween post is coming really late... well I have been having a really busy schedule which has not given me time to blog. The last 3 months, I have been busy with dance choreography, performance & cake baking business, I have started a home baking business here in Austin Tx. I make theme based cakes for all occasions. I have named my business "Sweet Zions Bake house". You can find me on face book page here. I love dancing & I have been into stage shows right from my childhood days. Now I am performing on stage after almost 6 yrs. I feel really nice to get back into choreography & performing.

Coming back to todays post, I made these spicy witch finger cookies during the Halloween week. The spicy cookie recipe is here. In the recipe post you will see that I have made round shaped cookie. for this shape, you need to just roll them in the shape of fingers & bake them. Once they are cooled, Just add some Jam/jelly or ketchup on the tip of the finger & stick the almond on top.