Monday, August 27, 2012


Paal payasam/Palpayasam

Happy Onam to all my friends and readers!
Wish you all a very happy and prosperous Onam!!!

Onam is finally here and no celebration is complete without a sweet dessert. I am sure no Malayali can think of a sadhya without a payasam. Pal payasam is definitely a star,my all time favorite :) This is a rich delicious payasam where the rice is cooked in milk till it attains a creamy texture. The milk gets reduced and the flavor and taste is very much  like palkova. It has very little ingredients, but it is time consuming and  needs a little patience to prepare this dessert. Here I have used basmathi rice but it is best if we use payasam ari (rice) or rose matta rice.Try this you will surely love it.

Basmathi Rice- 2 hand full
( or rose matta rice)
Milk- 5 cup
Sugar- 1/2 cup
Cardamon crushed-4-5
Cashew nut- 8-10

Wash and soak rice for one hour. In a heavy bottom pan pour milk and bring it to a boil and allow it to reduce a bit.
Now add  rice and  and cook in low medium flame. Keep stirring occasionally till the rice is cooked completely. Add sugar and stir continuously for about 15 minutes till the payasam thickens and attains a creamy consistency.Add cardamon and  chopped cashew nuts and mix.
If you have tulsi leaves you can add two or three to give an extra flavor. The whole process will take about and hour. Serve warm.

Try this,
Hope you will all enjoy!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Kadumanga/Mango Pickle

Kadumanga/Mango Pickle

Kadumanga is indispensable in Kerala Sadhya and it is hard to resist this spicy condiment. We rarely get raw mangoes here and last week I was so glad to come across raw mangoes in our grocery store. I took a few and planned mango pickle and a batch of kadumanga for Onam Sadhya. I am not sure about the authentic version. This is how my mom makes at home,so sharing her recipe. This is quick and instant and spicy relish made with green mangoes.

Raw mango chopped- 3cup
Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
Green chilly chopped- 4
Chilly powder- 4 tsp
(Or according to your spice tolerance)
Asafoetida- 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Gingerly oil- 1/3 cup
Curry leaves-2 springs

Wash and wipe the mangoes dry and chop into small pieces. Mix in salt and keep aside for 2-3 hours.
Boil 1/2 cup water and keep aside to cool.
Heat a pan and dry roast 1/2 of the mustard seeds. When it just begins to splutter switch off the flame and grind this into a coarse mixture and keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan and add the rest of the mustard seeds. When it splutters add green chilly and curry leaves and after a minute reduce the flame to low and add chilly powder,fenugreek powder and asafoetida. Add 1/2 cup of the boiled water and also strain the water from the mangoes and mix in. Bring this mixture to a boil and allow to reduce. 
Next add the chopped mangoes and coarsely grounded mustard seeds and mix well. After a minute switch off the flame. At this stage the mangoes will be crunchy. If you like it softer continue to simmer in medium flame for three minute. Allow it to cool down and keep in air tight containers.

Try this,
Hope you will all enjoy.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms is a quick appetizer or snack. It is a perfect addition to an appetizer tray for a get together. I have used a very simple stuffing but there are endless options both vegetarian and non vegetarian that can be used for the filling.

Mushrooms- 12 medium sized
Cream cheese- 2 tbs
Grated  cheese- 1/3 cup
I used both Parmesan and mozzarella cheese) 
Italian style bread crumbs- 1/3 cup
Shallot finely chopped- 2
garlic- 2 cloves
Pepper powder-a pinch
Cajun spice mix- a dash (optional)
Chopped parsley/coriander- 2 tbs
salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degree F.
Hold mushrooms under running water and using a damp cloth gently scrub the  top and snap out the stem (do not discard,chop finely and add to the filling) and using a spoon gently scrap and make it a perfect cavity for the filling.
Heat one tsp of oil and saute garlic, shallot and mushroom stems till it is soft.
In a bowl mix well cream cheese, cheese,bread crumbs, coriander and parsley leaves,pepper, salt and the saute mushroom stems along with the seasoning. Drizzle a few drops of olive oil and mix till well combined.
Grease baking sheet with olive oil. Take spoon full of mixture and fill into the mushroom cavities. Arrange on the baking sheet,with the filling facing upwards and drizzle a few drops of olive oil on each mushroom. Bake till you attain the golden crust for about 20 minutes. Serve warm

Sending this to Radhika's event Let's Cook #18 Starters/ Appetizers

Try this
Hope you will all enjoy.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Alli Pidi /Paal Kozhukatta

Alli Pidi/Pal Kozhukatta

Alli Pidi or is it mani puttu or paal Kozhukatta, I am not exactly sure what the name of this breakfast/snack recipe.If my grandmother(mom's mother) see this recipe she will call it a slightly different version of maniputtu. Maniputtu is actually steamed rice balls soaked in coconut milk. I feel that there is no cooking process involved in the second stage. Mani puttu in South Kerala is a totally different recipe.It is steamed thicker  string hoppers/idiyappam and coconut. ( will post that version some other time).
Now what ever be its name this recipe is worth trying. It is really quick and delicious treat and was one of my favorite after school snack. At home it was usually prepared with left over idiyappam dough and it was relished by every one. It is steamed rice balls stewed in sweetened and flavored coconut milk sauce. You can shape the dough into balls or cylindrical.

Roasted Rice flour ( idiyappam flour)- 1 cup
Roasted cumin powder- 1/3 tsp(optional)
Grated coconut- 1/3 cup
salt to taste
Hot water- 3/4 cup
(Between 3/4 and one cup)
ghee a few drops

Thin coconut milk- 1 1/2 cup
Thick coconut milk- 3/4 cup
Sugar- 3 Tbs
( according to your taste)
Rice flour- 1/2 tsp
Dry ginger powder- 1/3 tsp (chukku)
Cardamon- 4-5

Bring water and salt to a boil. Mix rice flour with roasted cumin powder and grated coconut ( you can also make a paste of these two ingredients and add). Pour over boiling water and mix well with a spoon and bring it together as a dough. Cover and keep aside till it is warm enough to touch knead into a dough similar to idiyappam dough. Grease hand with a little ghee and roll into small balls and steam in a idly cooker or a pressure cooker( without putting its weight or whistle). Steam for around three to four minutes. Allow it to cool down.
Heat thin coconut and add the steamed balls. Allow this to simmer in medium flame for about three minutes.Add sugar, cardamom powder and dry ginger powder and mix well. Mix 1/2 tsp of rice flour( only if necessary to thicken a bit) in thick coconut milk and allow to warm up and thicken. Enjoy when it is slightly warm.

Try this
Hope you will all enjoy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Reine de Saba avec Glaçage au Chocolat: Julia Child's Chocolate Almond Cake and 300th post !!!

Reine de Saba avec Glaçage au Chocolat: Chocolate Almond cake

Hi all,
Welcome to our Baking Partners first challenge post. Baking Partners is a group of enthusiastic bloggers  who are passionate about baking. Main purpose of this group is to learn new techniques and help each other perfect baking and have fun.
 Our first post is a tribute to the legendary Julia Child the renowned chef,author and television personality. It is her 100th Birthday( August 15) and this recipe is adapted from her book " Mastering the Art of French Cooking" ( two volumes). Her book is loved by both professional cooks and by home cooks alike- a treasure  for all those who love good food. It is also considered as the most influential works in American cookbook history.
Julia Child was a great cook and a wonderful instructor.Who will not love Julia when she said "..careful cooking is love". She taught a wide range of audience the magic of home made food and sharing with those you love. Her words are always  inspiring  "Learn how to cook -- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun." (Huff Post)

This is exactly what I felt when I made and tasted this delicious cake- The Reine de Saba or The Queen of Sheba Cake. Even though mine was not perfect I understand why she called this as her favorite dessert. It was learning something new and above all having fun. I would like to thank Swathi for suggesting this cake and for the detailed instruction as to how to make the cake.When I first heard about this cake I had a doubt whether I could do it but Swathi's notes plus all the tips from other baking partners proved helpful.
This is a moist dense cake and I felt it was the ultimate chocolate cake that I ever tasted. It is rich chocolaty,almond flavored cake. This cake tastes best when it is a little undercooked and if over done it will loose its creamy rich texture. If I need to describe the  texture of the cake that I made,it is somewhere between a cheese cake and a brownie. I did make some mistakes. I pulsed almonds only for a few seconds and it ended a little chunkier. I baked it for 27 minutes. When I took it out at 23 minutes it looked very shaky and was uncooked in the center. When I took out at 25 minutes I was still in doubt. So I understand that to bring it to perfection I need to try again and also a little more understanding of my oven.

This is my 300th post and dedicating this post to the cooking legend Julia Child.

Ingredients for Cake for an 8" pan.

Semi-sweet chocolate- 4 ounce/113.4 grams
Cake flour- 1/2 cup leveled
Butter softened-1 stick (1/4 lb)
Rum/ Coffee- 2 Tbs
( I used coffee 1 1/2 tbs and 1/2 tbs of Rum essence)
 Granulated Sugar- 2/3 cup (134g)
3 Eggs ( Yolks and White Separated)

Pinch of salt+ 1 Tbs of Sugar
Almonds- 1/3 cup pulverized( ground)
Vanilla essence- a few drops
(original recipe calls for 1/2 tsp almond extract)

Chocolate Icing

Semisweet baking Chocolate- 2 ounces
Coffee- 2 tsp
(or you can use rum)
Butter unsalted- 6 tsp

Sliced Almonds for decoration- 1/3 cup

To make the cake
Preheat oven to 375 Degree F. Grease 8" baking pan with butter and dust with flour and keep aside.
Brew coffee( or rum) and add chocolate and 2 tsp of coffee in a double boiler or cover and place off heat in a large pan of simmering water. Wait for five minutes till the chocolate melts completely.
Measure out the rest of the ingredient and shift flour two to three times and keep aside. Separate egg whites and egg yolks.
Cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture. Beat in the egg yolks until well blended and changes into pale color.
Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl  for about about a minute. Add salt and sugar and beat gradually increasing speed for three to four minutes or until soft peaks are formed.
Into the butter sugar mixture add ground almonds,melted chocolate, one or two tsp of cake flour,rum extract and almond extract and 1/3 of egg whites and blend well. This will help lighten the mixture and the chocolate to mix well.
With a rubber spatula fold in 1/3 of flour and next 1/3 of the egg whites Alternately add flour and egg whites till all flour and egg whites are fully incorporated.

Pour the batter into cake pan, bake in middle rack in a 375 degree oven. Bake for  25 minutes( my oven took 27 minutes). Check after the first 15 minutes and then again after 20 minutes of baking. When the cake is done when it has puffed, and toothpick inserted at the outer circumference comes out clean while the center
should move slightly if the pan is shaken, and the toothpick comes out oily.

Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and reverse the cake onto a cooling rack. Allow it to cool for an hour or two before icing.

Icing the cake and making the frosting

Make the frosting only just before the cake is ready for frosting.
Place chocolate and coffee(rum) in a double boiler or in a small pan and set in a larger pan of simmering water and let it stand for five minutes until it melts and becomes perfectly smooth.
Keep a  bowl filled with a tray of ice cubes and water ready.
Lift chocolate pan out of the hot water, and beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time till all the butter melts.  Place this on the ice bowl and beat until chocolate mixture has cooled and reached spreading consistency. Place cake on a platter.Scrape icing on the top of the cake and using an offset spatula at once spread it over and the sides of the cake. Decorate with sliced almonds or as you desire.

If you wish to join the Baking Partners contact Swathi @ Zesty South Indian Kitchen

Try this
Hope you will all enjoy.

Happy Independence Day

India is celebrating 66th Independence Day.
Wishing all my friends and readers Happy Independence Day!

On this occasion I salute all those great men and women of India who cherished,dreamed, visualized and dared to act!
I salute all those who were the first to lead the movement and all those who followed their lead.
I salute the father who inspired his sons and daughters to follow his footsteps of sacrifice and courage.
I salute the mother who cheerfully sacrificed sons and daughters knowing very well that she will have to spent the rest of her life in misery and loneliness.
I salute those who left lucrative post,titles and kingdoms and all those men and women who gave their daily wages knowing well that their kids will have to remain hungry.
I salute all those men who marched peacefully with leaders in large groups during the day time but many times had to spent painful nights suffering and lonely in prisons.Their agony was unknown, their wounds unattended,their stories were never written down, but they still dared to dream,not for themselves but for the millions of their future generation.

All their cherished dreams and visions became a reality on 15 August 1947 or at least let's say that their dream for a free India became a reality.

Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ellu unda/Sesame Seeds(Til) Ladoos

Ellu unda/Sesame Seeds Ladoos

Today's recipe is a simple guilt free sweet- the crunchy and tasty ellu unda/sesame seeds balls. As a kid I used to love this and I love it even now. You can make these in batches and store it and it can a healthy treat for kids. I have used a little coconut in my ellu unda/til ladoo but it is optional.The most important part of this recipe is making the jaggery syrup and its consistency. You can either melt jaggery and water and thicken the syrup or add powdered jaggery to little ghee and melt it.The former will give you soft ladoos and the latter harder crispy ones. You can also add peanuts for extra crunch.

Sesame seeds- 1 1/2 cup
Powdered Jaggery- 1 1/2 cup
Grated coconut- 3/4 cup
Ghee- 2 Tbs
Cardamon powder-  1/2 tsp
Dry ginger powder/Chukku podi- 1/2 tsp

Dry roast sesame seeds till it starts popping up and there is a nice aroma. Allow this to cool down.
Dry roast coconut till it is golden brown and the water evaporates and becomes dry.

Heat ghee in a pan and add the powdered jaggery and mix in medium flame.Allow this to melt and it will start bubbling and add cardamon powder and dry ginger powder. It will have tendency to burn at this stage so keep in low flame.

Add the sesame seeds and the coconut and mix well till it gets a little thickened. Allow this to cool down a bit. Grease hands with ghee,take spoon full and roll into balls. At this stage it will be like a warm sticky glue style mixture and after you form the balls it will harden. Note that this mixture will harden quickly so you need to work on it fast when it is slightly warm itself. If you find it difficult to make balls spread on a greased plate and cut into desired shapes. Store in air tight containers.

Try this
Hope you will all enjoy

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dil Pasand (Sweet Puffs)

Dil Pasand (Sweet Puffs)

Dilpasand/Dilkush is a snack made with puff pastry and has a sweet filling.This sweet puff is found bakeries and food stalls all over South India.Back in my home town the bakeries sell two versions of this. It had the same filling of sweet coconut,nuts and tutti-fruit. The only difference was the crust It can be either flaky crispy puff pastry or a sort of rough pasty dough sometimes very close to sweet bun.If you are craving for something sweet as a tea time snack try this simple and yummy snack.

Pastry dough sheets-2
Egg white-1 (for the glaze)

For the filling
Shredded coconut-3/4 cup
Cashew nuts-  8-10
Raisins- a few
Glazed cherries- 1/2 cup
Tutti fruit- 2 tbs
Sugar- 2 tbs
( adjust according to your taste
 I used more of glazed cherry which was sweet)
Cardamon powder- 1/2 tsp
Ghee- 1/2 tsp

To make the filling
Heat ghee in a pan and slightly fry cashews and raisins and keep aside. Next slightly roast coconut for about a minute and add sugar. Mix sugar well and allow it to caramelize and slightly sticky . Add cardamon powder and switch off the flame. Allow the mixture to cool down completely. Add in chopped glazed cherries,tutti fruit, cashew nuts and raisins and mix well.
Preheat over to 400 degree F and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Prepare the pasty dough as per instruction. Roll it out on a flat surface and using a pasty cutter cut one circle out of each sheet. Try cutting the second circle a little smaller than the first.
To assemble place the bigger circle pastry dough on a baking pan spread the filling and place the smaller circle on top. Slightly wet the edges and seal the two layers.Gently roll the edges inwards to give decorative edges and also helps to secure it. Beat egg white with one tsp of water. With this brush lightly on top and bake for about 15 minutes or till you get a good golden color on the top. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Try this
Hope you will all enjoy

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Green Masala Chicken Roast

Green Masala Chicken Roast

Green masala chicken roast is delicious chicken busting with flavor.The masala is inspired by the Goan green chicken curry and is cooked  like the Kerala chicken roast.Chicken is marinated and cooked in a fresh green masala  paste of coriander,mint, green chilly and is shallow fried. It is a dry version and is great accompaniment with rice, chapathi or fried rice. Try this,you will surely love it.

1)Chicken - 1 1/2 lb
 Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
 Thin coconut milk- 1/2 cup
Salt to taste

To make the green masala paste
Coriander leaves- chopped- 1 1/2 cup
Mint leaves- a hand full
Ginger - 2 inch thick peice
Garlic- 8-10 pods
Green chilly- 5-6
( adjust according to taste)
Black pepper whole- 1 tsp

Powdered Garam masala
Fennel seeds- 2 tsp
Cinnamon - 2 peices
Star aniseed- 2
Cardamon- 3

To saute

Thinly sliced Onion- 2 medium
Ginger thinly sliced- 1 inch thick piece
Garlic- 4-5
Coriander powder- 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder- 1/3 tsp(optional)
Thick coconut milk- 1/2 cup
Lemon juice- 1/2 lemon
Coriander leaves
Salt to taste

Dry roast the ingredients under garam masala and make a fine powder.

Make a fine paste of all ingredients listed under 'green masala'.Clean and cut chicken and marinate with this green masala,turmeric powder and salt and keep aside for about an hour.

Cook this marinated chicken with half cup of thin coconut milk till the chicken is cooked and all the water gets absorbed . Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the chicken pieces till it is slightly crispy in the outer and set aside.

Heat oil in a pan and saute ginger and garlic till there is a nice aroma followed by onions and fry till the onions become golden brown. Add  coriander powder and pepper powder and the roasted garam masala and fry for a minute. Now add the  fried chicken and stir till all the masala is well coated. Add the thick coconut milk and mix well. Fry for three till it is completely dry and the masala gets well coated over the chicken. Squeeze lemon juice and garnish with some fresh coriander leaves.Serve with rice, appam or chapati.

Try this...

Hope you will all enjoy..
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