Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Vanilla Cupcakes

     Guess the picture pretty much explains my total absence from the blogging world for the past few months.Our home is again filled with the coos of a new born,We have a new little one who's entered our life to make us complete.My hubby is thrilled,despite being clearly outnumbered ;),the big sister is very proud and excited .I am content and happy ,nothing beats the feeling of cradling a new born in your arms.Sometimes I think the day you become a mother is when you transition from being a girl to a woman.Overnight you are expected to become responsible enough to nurture and raise a tender helpless soul.Everybody around tells you that it comes naturally and it's a beautiful feeling.But nobody mentions about the fear that constantly tugs at your heart,asking you if you are doing the right thing for them.With my first one I lived the first year in a state of shock,well I was naive enough to believe that raising a child would be just like taking care of a pet :).I always thought that it'll be a breeze ,like in our movies where the heroine happily goes through her pregnancy (no discomforts at all),birthing and raising a child in one happy melodious song filled with smiling energetic faces,with no trace of sleepless nights :)I believe babies fall into two categories the easy happy ones and the not so easy,sensitive ones.And the first time mothers of both the groups do not believe that the other group exists.My first one was born a Teenager,3 months going on fifteen.She never liked to sleep(never hit the bed before 1 in the morning and it was even more dangerous if she slept by 10,cause I knew that she'd be up and playing between 2- 5 in the morning ),eat (every meal lasted at least an  hour) and was constantly bored(screamed the moment I stopped playing with her or set her down).I used to be one of those rare mothers who complained about her child,while the others looked happy and content.On the rare occasion when I happened  to meet a mother who could relate to me,we would bond in no time. I still remember the  first time I travelled to India,I very bravely decided to travel alone with my just over a year baby.Well  I ended up spending the whole journey walking up and down the aisle on the plane with the baby,because a baby screaming on the plane can get you a few sympathetic and  unpleasant looks.The walking was the only thing that pacified my little one.Walking down the aisle in a plane is just like tight rope walking ,you wouldn't want to bump on the elbows of people who are already struggling with their food and get some more angry looks :).As I walked,I noticed these babies who were sleeping peacefully on their mother's laps.I was looking at them with this bewildered look which said 'Can they really sleep like that' and the mothers were looking at me with a look which said 'Has she lost it ' :)Well the only upside to walking around was I knew exactly where the emergency fire exits on the plane were ;) Time flies , now my little girl is this beautiful, mature,loving 5 year old who I wouldn't trade for anything in this world:))I guess the baby's first baby celebrations are so special not just because it marks a major milestone in their lives,but its also a silent pat on our backs.Not that it gets any easier after that,but you are a seasoned parent now :) 
Found this funny cartoon which pretty much sums up everything :)

       Coming to this recipe,I made a bunch of these cupcakes for my daughter's Kindergarten.They are pretty easy to make and taste real yum,especially if your making a lot of them.They keep well for 3 days when stored in an airtight container.I have a lot of catching up to do,hope I get to blog more frequently :)

Makes about 6
Egg - 1 large(room temperature)
All Purpose Flour - 1 cup - 100 g
Butter(At room temperature) - 85g - 1/3 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup - 100 g
Yoghurt(full fat) - 1/3 cup - 80 g
Baking Powder - 1/4 tsp
Baking Soda - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Vanilla essence -1/2 tsp
For the Icing:
Whole Milk - 1 tbsp
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Powderer sugar or Icing sugar - 1 and 1/4 cups
Glitter sugar or any deco stuff

-Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan.
-Sift the flour with the baking powder,salt,sugar and baking soda.
-In a bowl slightly beat the egg,4 tsp of yoghurt and the vanilla essence lightly.
-Add the butter and the remaining yoghurt and beat on low speed until everything is just mixed.Beat on medium speed for another 2 minutes.
-Add the egg mixture in two batches to the batter ,beating for 30 seconds after each addition,
-Fill 3/4th of each mold of the muffin pan with the batter and bake for 25 - 30 minutes.
-For the icing:Whisk the milk and the essence slightly.Add the sugar and whisk until it's smooth and has no lumps.
-Dip the top of the cupcake in the icing and sprinkle the decoration,wait till it dries.

Thanks for stopping by ! Have a lovely day !

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Baked Sweet Diamond Cuts

 As a kid this was one of my favourite snacks.It always reminds me of summer holidays during my school days.My mom used to take a week or two off from work during holidays,the other days were  usually spent at the day care or I was packed off to my Grandmas place down south.My mom used to make lots of these and fill big ever-silver boxes with these.She would roll the dough while I would cut it into shapes.Back then we always fried them and they definitely taste better when deep fried.I wanted to try a healthier version so ended up baking them.Most fried snacks don't taste well when baked but these turned out real yum !

    Cutting them into diamonds is the easiest way of making them,but my daughter wanted to cut flowers with her cookie cutter.We are so different me and my daughter,I was so tom boyish as a kid while she's into all kind of girlish flowery stuff :)

  What you'll need:
   Wheat flour/Atta - 1.5 - 2 cups
   Sugar - 4 tbsp
   Ghee or Butter - 3 tbsp (melted) or oil and ghee each 1.5 tbsp
   Baking powder - 3/4 tsp
   Cardamom or nutmeg powder - 1/2 tsp

   Method :
  •  Sieve the Flour with baking powder.Then add the sugar and cardamom powder and mix well. 
  •  Add the ghee or oil and mix with your fingers so that it comes to the consistency of bread crumbs.
  •  Add cold water little by little to the mixture and knead to make a soft dough.Cover and let the dough sit for at least 30 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 5 or 6 balls.Dust the work surface with flour and roll the dough balls into thin sheets. Then cut into diamond shapes.Arrange them on a baking tray lined with baking sheets.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/150° C and bake for 15 minutes.Rotate the baking tray in the middle of  the baking time to ensure even baking.It tends to burn easily so it's better to keep an eye.My first batch was almost blackish brown :)
  • Remove from the tray and let it cool.Then store in airtight containers. Done !

-You could also replace half of the whole wheat flour with All purpose flour.
-To make  a spicy version of it replace the sugar with 1 tsp Chilli powder and 1/2 tsp crushed cumin and carom seeds.
-If your want to indulge,just fry them instead of baking them :P

Thanks for stopping by ! Have a nice day !

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Pepper Chicken Gravy - Dry

   The winter this year's been a little harsh when compared to last year.We usually escape the winter by running away to warm India for a month's vacation .I really miss the sun and its warmth this year and the winter here is '50 shades of Gray'.I was checking the best sellers (fiction)of all time list and was surprised to see 50 Shades of Grey on it for such a long time,not to mention that it's been made into a movie too.That book clearly belongs to the list of 'over-rated' things along with 'why this kolaveri di ?" song.I found Alchemist on the list and I really did feel that the book belongs on the list. I'm yet to meet a person who wasn't moved by the book,you wouldn't believe that such a tiny book would change your perspective of life(at least for  a few days :)).The next book I found was' Gone Girl' by 'Gillian Flynn' .I looked for it in the library and couldn't find it,so ended up borrowing another book by the same author 'Dark Places',the cover claimed that the book was even better than her previous ones. I'm only 20 pages through the book and it's too early to pass a judgement on the book.But the book doesn't really give me a good feeling.Why are books and movies that leave you with a bad or sad feeling critically acclaimed.Don't we read books and watch movies to escape from the harsh reality of life.I do respect and appreciate the effort behind these books and movies,but I rarely find them enjoyable.I recently watched a malayalam movie 'Artist',the movie had some wonderful acting skills and it's share of tragedies,but in the end it left me with a feeling of depression.Some times I feel movies with not so good a plot, but full of comedy like 'Happy New Year' are way better :)
  I hardly post regularly and when I do ,I end up rambling :) Coming to today's recipe,with the winter comes our regular share of cold and cough.And this peppery dish is real comfort food,I prepare this on weekends when it's real cold outside. It pairs up well with anything.So off to the recipe !

You'll Need:
Chicken - 400 - 500 g(with bone,cleaned and cut into small pieces)
Onion - 1 real big(finely chopped)
Tomato - 1 big(finely chopped)
Garlic - 4 - 6 medium sized cloves
Ginger - the equal amount as garlic - one 1 -2 " piece,scraped and chopped
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder - 3/4 tsp
Curry Leaves Powder - 1 tsp(optional)
Turmeric Powder -1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - leaves from a sprig
Oil - 2 -3 tbsp
Salt - as needed

To Dry Roast and Powder :
Whole Pepper Corns - 1 - 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon - 1 1" piece
Cloves,Cardamom - 1 each
Fennel - 3/4 tsp

-In a pan of slow heat,dry roast the ingredients to be dry roasted and ground to a semi coarse powder.
-Grind the Ginger and garlic to a fine paste - about 2 tsps.
-In a pan add the oil and when it heats up splutter the curry leaves.Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until they turn sightly brown.
-Add the Ginger Garlic paste and sauté for 3 -4 minutes, until well browned.
-Add the Tomatoes and mix well.Add the Turmeric powder,Red Chilli powder,Curry leaves powder and Coriander powder.And mix well.Cover and simmer on low heat for 3 -4 minute or until the mixture starts to ooze out oil.
-Add the chicken pieces and mix well.Add very little water if needed.Cover and simmer on low heat until it its 3/4 done.Keep removing the lid and stirring it as it tends to burn.Sprinkle water when needed.When it is 3/4 done add the dry roasted powder and mix well .Let it cook until the chicken is fully cooked.
-This is a thick gravy,to make it more thinner add required water before adding the dry roasted powder  and mix well. Done !

Thanks for stopping by ! Have a nice day !

Mango Bhapa Doi - Mango Curd Dessert

  Long long ago I made a few mango desserts out of a big tin of mango pulp.I posted the other ones ,but this one's been lying in my drafts for quite some time.If you asked me why I made this dessert there are two reason,firstly it's extremely easy to make and secondly,I fell for it's name.I have this weakness for dishes with fancy names :) This is a simple Bengali dessert that can be prepared in no time.I love all kinds of Bengali milk sweets and this one's no exception.So off to the recipe !

You'll Need:
Condensed milk - 350 g( I used unsweetened condensed milk)
Quark -Hung Yoghurt - Greek Yoghurt - 250 g
Whole Milk - 100 ml
Mango Pulp - 1 1 /2 cups
Nuts (mixed) - 2 -3 tbsp
Sugar - 1 tbsp or as needed (Depends upon the sweetness of the mango)
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp


Quicker Version:
Condensed Milk - 400g (sweetened) - one tin
Quark - 250 g
Milk- 125 ml
Mango Puree- 125 ml
Any chopped nuts - 2 -4 tbsp
Almond powder - 1 tbsp(optional)


-In a blender,blend the condensed milk,the yoghur,milk,mango pulp,sugar and cardamon powder.
-.Add the nuts and mix well.Check for sugar.
-This can be steamed in pressure cooker(without the whistle) or baked in an oven:
   -In a steamer or pressure cooker:
     Fill the vessel with a little water .Add the contents of the blender to another vessel and cover a lid        or aluminium foil.Place the vessel in the steamer and cover  and steam for 30 - 40 minutes or until      it's set.
 -In an oven:
     -Preheat the oven to 350°F/162.5°C

      -Fill small ramekins with the mixture until they are almost full.Place them in an oven tray half        filled with water.
    -Bake in the oven for 25 to 35 minutes.Check after the 25th minute to see if it is set,a knife inserted comes out almost clean,the mixture would be harder and not wobbly.Done !

Thanks for stopping by !Have a nice day !

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Pazha Paniyaram - Banana Paniyaram

  I had a few Nendram Pazhams/Malabar Bananas lying around for quite some time.I had bought to them to make one of my favourite evening snacks "Pazham Pori",but as always forgot about them totally .They had gotten very ripe and I decided to make paniyarams out of them.Ever since I brought my little paniyaram pan I exploit the poor thing to the fullest.It lets you make so many fried snacks without actually having to deep fry them.Preparing healthy evening snacks can be a real challenge,and this Paniyaram is a regular and favourite snack at home.Usually Paniyarams are made with more flour,but I like it when the banana flavour dominates.So I use very little flour and lots of bananas,this works perfectly well with any big banana.And I love making them with ghee,it simply enhances the taste.Oil works fine too,but nothing beats ghee :)I haven't stopped at your blogs for a very long time,will soon stop by :)So off to the recipe.....

You'll Need:
Bananas (ripe big ones) - 2 ( I used Kerala NendramPazham/Malabar Bananas)
Jaggery - 3/4 cup
All purpose flour or Wheat Flour - 1/4 cup
Rice Flour - 1/4 cup
Water - 1.5 cups(or more as needed)
Coconut - 4 - 5 tbsp (Finely grated)
Ghee or oil - as needed
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
Raisins - 1 - 2 tbsp(optional)

-Peel,chop and grind the bananas to a fine paste.
-In a small vessel boil the jaggery with 1. 5 cups water till it is is melted.Then filter it.
-Mix the Banana,coconut,flours and Jaggery syrup.Mix well with a Whisk.Add the cardamom powder and give another good whisk.The batter will not be runny like idli or dosa batter ,will be more like a thick paste.Add a little water if you feel that the batter is too thick and sticky.
-Heat a paniyaram pan and fill all the molds with a little ghee. Add about 1 tbsp of batter to each mold and let it cook.Drizzle a little  ghee on top of each mold.
-Once you feel the underside is cooked, flip the paniyarams over and drizzle some more ghee.When they are fully cooked on both sides,remove them from the pan.Repeat the same process for the left over batter.Since the batter doesn't have a lot of flour flipping it can be a little difficult,

-If you like a floury version double the quantity of the rice flour and wheat flour.

Thanks for stopping by ! Have a nice day !

Friday, 9 January 2015

Vegetable Cutlet

   I heard a funny program on the radio on the day after New Year's day "The fastest resolution breaker" and I could relate so much to it :)It's been a week since New Year's day and this time I made it a point to make no resolutions.The resolutions have remained almost the same for the past few years,be more organised,stop eating sweets,be more patient.But the speed at which I break the resolutions is usually more than the speed at which I make them.So this year I made a resolution to not make a resolution, and I did manage to keep this resolution :P
  Coming to today's recipe,this is one fried food that I simply love.love. I've tasted cutlets at many places,but believe me nothing beats the taste of  the cutlets ,that I've tasted as a kid when we used to travel by trains,chair cars to be more specific.The tomato soup and cutlets that could be bought on trains those days used to be simply yummy.A long train journey was the most exciting adventure for us as kids.It used to be a rare occasion and much awaited.Sleeping on a train berth with the gentle (or not so genlte)rocking of the train was such a wonderful feeling.And not to forget the loud announcements with the standard ting,ting,ting sound as the train stopped at every possible station,and getting up in the mornings to the sound of 'tea,kaappi,kaappi'.The trains are faster today and the journeys shorter .I miss those days when we used to eat everything without wondering about whether it was hygienic,healthy and so many other factors.Simpler days ,simpler thoughts and lots of fun which the current generation will never experience ! 

You'll need :
Potatoes - 2 -3 (big)
Carrots - 2
Beans - 15 - 20
Boiled Peas - 2 handfuls
Green Chilli - 1(finely chopped)
Coriander leaves - 2 - 3 sprigs(chopped finely)
Ginger & Garlic (grated) - 1 tsp
Onions - 1 (small)(chopped finely)
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Red Chilli Powder - 3/4 tsp
Garam Masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/4 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp(optional)
salt as needed
oil - 1 tbsp
Lemon Juice - 1 -2 tsp

Egg white - from 1 egg or a tbsp of Flour mixed with water to a thin lump free batter.
Bread Crumbs - as needed
oil - for deep frying

-Boil,peel and mash the potatoes.
-Grate the carrots and chop the beans finely.
-Beat the egg whites with a fork a little.
-In a pan on medium heat,add 1 tbsp oil.When it heats up add the Ginger,Garlic,Green chilli,coriander leaves and turmeric powder .Sauté for a minute until the Ginger and garlic are slightly browned.Add all the powders and mix well for a few seconds.Add the onions and a pinch of salt and sauté for a minute or two until the onions turn soft.
-Add the carrots,beans and peas and mix well.Add salt as needed.Sprinkle a little water and cover and cook on low heat until it's 3/4th cooked.When it's 3/4th done remove the lid and sauté on high heat till the mixture becomes dry.The mixture should be very dry ,be careful to not brown it.
-If the mixture has a lot of mixture then the cutlets might break on frying.You could also let the mixture cool and squeeze it to remain any extra moisture if present.
-Mix the mashed potatoes and the vegetable mixture well.Add the lemon juice and mix well.Check for salt and add some if needed.Let it stay in the Fridge for an hour or two.You can also make it a day ahead and let it stay in the Fridge overnight.
-Shape the mixture into any shape of your choice.Dip the cutlets in the egg whites and roll them on the bread crumbs,so that they are fully coated with the bread crumbs.
-Heat the oil and when they are hot,add the cutlets and fry them on medium heat until they are well cooked. Done !

-If you feel that the mixture is not firm enough and tends to break,add 1 - 2 tbsp of Cornflour and mix again.
-If you want to make them ahead for a party:Fry each of the cutlets just for a few seconds and let them cool.Arrange them in an airtight container with each layer separated by a plastic sheets or baking paper and freeze them.When needed,take them out and fry them.You don't have to defrost them.
-You could add other vegetables like Cauliflowers too.
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