Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Lazy Afternoon

I have no clue
what to do
not that there arent things to be done
chores are many but will is none
hands are glued to the keyboard, eyes to the screen
no motivation to get up and even scream.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Soya Dum Biriyani

Dum is a cooking method that has always sent shivers down me spine!!!
I could think of a zillion things that could go wrong if I tried it and was therefore more than happy with my cooker Biryani's (can you even call them that?).
Then this site happened to me :
The array of mouthwatreing dishes there had me drooling for at least a couple of hours (how jobless am I @ office, hope non of my colleagues see this :D) 
She had some fantastic recipes for Biryani's here and I just coudnt resist, I just had to try this method now.
I knew I could do it (seems so now) !!!!

This was a ercipe for a keema Biryani, so I have adpapted that to a vegetarian version.
Here's how its done
Biryani’s Masala
In a bowl add:
½ tsp. red chili powder
1 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
1 tbsp. coriander powder
salt to taste
1 tsp. black jeera/cumin (did not have,so did not use)
1 tsp., 3-4 green cardamoms
1 bay leaf 1
¼ tsp. turmeric powder
¼ tsp. cumin/jeera powder
6-8 black pepper

1/2 a cup of Soya Chunks cooked as per pack instruction,drained and chopped.
1/2 bunch of pudhina leaves - chopped finely
1/2 bunch of spring onions - white and green separately chopped

Add enough water to mix well and form a thick paste
Heat about quarter cup of oil (i only used 3 TBSP), add the spring onion whites and saute for 1-3 mins, then add 3 big finely chopped tomatoes chopped and the masala mixed in the bowl. Stir well till oil separates ..Adding some water if needed until the tomatoes are well cooked. Then add 2 fried onion and 1/4 cup curd and mix well …add chopped Soya chunks. Keep adding water a little at a time if needed and mix by moving/swirling the pan, do not dry the gravy , it should be little wet. Before switching off the flame add half the chopped pudhina(mint) and the spring onion greens.
Cover and keep aside.

Make biryani rice as follows:
Wash then soak 3 cups of rice in water for about 20-30 mins.
Soak a few saffron strands in some water and set aside.
Bring a big pot of water to boil, add salt, 4 cardamom pods, 2-3 cinnamon sticks and 2-3 cloves and rest of teh pudhina leaves plus about 2 tbsp. of oil.
Drain the soaked rice and add it to this water when it is boiling. Cook until the rice is about 3/4 done, remove and strain out all the water.
Now layer the rice in a big pot, placing the biryani masala in the between layers of rice then drizzle 2 tbsp. of oil, some soaked saffron water and some orange/yellow color on the rice. Seal the pot and put on dum/steam it on the stove….or bake in the oven for about 10 minutes. Serve!!

Crunchy Peanut Buttons

I just LOVE Ria's blog, Ria's Collection.
She has a great collection of recipes in her blog which i am sure all are familiar with after all she is our Vanitha Pachakarani 2011 :).
I have also tried her Biscuit Pudding and that's a keeper for sure....yummmmm .. do check it out.
Super simple to make and super duper tasty!!!

Also what I really liked were her prompt replies to my queries. When I first tried these out it was not a smooth ride and she really helped me lot!!!!! Thank you so much for that
These are my first ever home baked cookies ,so they very special :)

I followed Ria's recipe with just some minor adjustments for the benefit of baby S.
Also used lesser quantity as me n cookies do not have such a good history :D ... but I guess that's changing now...
Next time planning to follow Ria's measurements and maybe store half the dough in the fridge and use when required? Not sure, will post if I ever try that.

Adapted from Ria's Collection


Wheat flour-1/2 C
Butter -1/2 C (make sure it's at room temperature) or enough to bind the ingredients together
Powdered sugar- 1/2 C
Peanuts ( without the skin) -1/2C -- i roasted them in M/W for around 3 minutes before using them
please excuse the poor picture quality - taken from my phone :(
  • Roughly powder the nuts in a mixer.This makes it crunchier, but as I was making them for the baby i powdered them a little finely.
  • Mix all the ingredients together and form 1/2 lime sized balls and flatten lightly with your hands or with a fork.
  • Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 180 degrees for 15 mins.(mine took around 20 mins, will depend on the oven temperatures i guess)
  • They might be soft, but will harden once cooled.
  • Store in airtight tins.
And as she promises these are highly addictive.
Im afraid i will have to bake a fresh batch for my lil one as all the grown up kids(us) are finding it really hard to keep their hands off this :D 
Maybe i will finally find my misplaced camera's connection cable and be able to take decent pictures of them.... Wish me luck.

Microwave Carrot Cake

If I said this was the tastiest carrot cake I've ever had, i wouldn't be wrong (not only because this was my first and only ;)) , and that too in the microwave in just 12 minutes!!!! Can you beat that!
I tried this out during the winter when lovely fresh carrots were available.
The oven was a relatively new attachment back then and I did not have much knowledge on how to use it in any other mode ,like the conventional,grill etc.
It was only after the food blogs happened to me that I started to utilize the oven more adequately (which shows in our monthly electricity bills much to S's dismay, but now noone can complain that the oven it just sitting there gathering dust and taking up space :D . I am sure he is eating his words now(literally) :D)

Recipe adapted from
3 eggs  (I used only 2)
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves (I did not use this)
2 1/2 c. grated carrots (4-5)
3/4 c. chopped nuts  (I toasted the nuts for about a minute and half ,till they were golder before adding them. Oh BTW i used cashews. Used a mixture of cashews and raisins.)
close up view. you can see the lovely specks of carrot,raisins and nuts
In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla. Blend in flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves. Fold in carrots and nuts. Pour into 12 cup microwave bundt pan. Microwave high (100%) 12 to 14 minutes, rotating 1/4 turn every four minutes. Rest 10 minutes.Loosen sides and center; invert on serving plate.
I server it as it is without any frosting.
If you live in a country with access to cream cheese you can try the frosting given in the site.

MW Carrot Cake

All in all it was a lovely cake and no-one can tell that it was baked in MW. The texture is just right and its carroty and nutty.
We didn't find the offensive eggy smell either , i think the Cinnamon did the trick, if I had added the cloves as well it would have given it a very nice christmassy feel, like Christmas plum cakes.
This is just PERFECT with a nice hot cup of tea/coffee, curl up on the sofa with a nice book in hand...aaahhh life is good!

Next time will take decent blog worthy pics :).

Since Cinnamon is not a commonly used spice in desserts at home so I did not have cinnamon powder handy.
I placed a 1/2" piece cinnamon stick in the blender/mixer jar along with sugar and powdered it.Adjust the cinnamon according to your liking as it has a very strong flavor and can be unpleasant if gone overboard.

Gobi Manchurian ....M@nju Shtyle!!!

Gobi Manchurian is in-arguably the most devoured dish in India (though it passes off as a Chinese dish , I seriously doubt if the Chinese even know of its existence.)
I am very much addicted to Food channels on TV and undoubtedly TLC was/is my favourite.
I love watching Nigella, Rachel Allen, Kylie Kwong and others preparing and presenting their dishes.
In all of Kylies shows that I have followed ,never once have I seen or heard her prepare anything manchurian (did I miss it , if anyone out there has please let me know).
But authentic Chinese or not this dish has captured the heart of every Indian, and we were no exceptions.

Now Sundays are generally meant to be feasting days as its a holiday and as S assumes that I have rested enough on Saturdays(as if!! Is there any rest for a working mom of a 2 year old???  Not exactly but yeah i do manage to get my beauty sleep :D).
So on Sundays I usually prepare some Biryani/Fried rice and a curry to go with it (If im up to it) .
After looking here and there and everywhere and not finding any recipe suited to our tastes(was looking for eggless, as I have seen many using egg whites) i dicided to do an experiment on my own after some basic lessons on it from some shows on TV.

Gobhi (Cauliflower) --- 1 . Cut into florets and cleaned. Keep the size small as its easier to handle and looks aesthetic
Onion -- 2 . finely chopped
Ginger/Garlic -- finely chopped/or paste (I prefer freshly chopped/ground than the packed one's) -- 5-6 tsp
I love garlic so i tend to go overboard with it .. you can use 2-3 tsp for a mild flavor.
Spring Onions  -- 1/2 bunch - White and green chopped fine separately
Capsicum -- diced - 1 (i used a small one as I'm not a fan)
Soy Sauce -- 3 tsp
Green Chilly sause -- 2 tsp
Vinegar - 1 tsp (optional)
Tomato sauce - 2-3 tsp

For the Batter:
 1/4 C Maida  (I mostly use Besan/Kadala Maavu to avoid maida, it wont be as crisp but we don't mind)
2-3 tbsp Cornflour
2 tsp Chilly powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt according to taste
Water as needed

Chop the white and green part of the spring onion separately.
Mix all the ingrediants for the batter till there are no lumps and its a thick paste, which just coats the back of the spoon,
Dip the cauliflower florets in the batter and deep fry till golden brown. Keep aside.
In kadai (non-stick or otherwise) heat about 1 tbsp of oil.

Add the ginger garlic and spring onion whites, saute for one minute , do not brown.
Add the chopped onions and fry for 2-3 minutes on mediam flame, till they turn transparent and are just about to brown.
Stir in the capsicum pieces and saute for anthr 3 minutes.
I like to add half of the spring onion greens at this stage and reserve the other half for garnish.
Now time to add the sauces.
First reduce the flame to low (we dont want to burn the sauces do we).
Now in goes the soy, mix well.
Next comes the chilly, followed by the tomato sauce.
Mix everything together, taste and then add salt accordingly as soy is salty.
If you feel it needs a little more chilly kick feel free to add anthr tsp of it.
Keep tasting it and adjust the sauces to your taste.
Now if  you want a dry manchurian just put the fried floret at this stage and mix well till it coats the pieces.
Else mix 2tsp of cornflour in about 1/4 C of water and dissolve completely.
Add this to the kadai to form a semi gravy and let it come to a boil.
once its nice and thick (about 1-2 mins) we are done!
You can either add the fried florets now or only at serving time.

I prefer to add it now coz then it soaks the gravy up which makes it yum.
But it will make it a little soggy though so if your serving guests better mix just before serving.
And dont forget to garnish with the remaining spring onion greens!! 
Now this is an Indo-Chinese Twist..Or so I call it!

Simple Veg Pulao ~~~ Quick and Easy Dinner for a Working Day

Back home after a long long day in Office and feel like having something tasty and nutritious but without any extra effort. No kneading atta, and rolling out chappathis and then breaking your head on what dish to pair it up with.
This is it. A substantial filling meal that dances on your taste buds and allows you to freshen up and relax while its cooking.
So simple to make and absolutely yummy.


Rice - 1C (I used normal sona masuri. can use Basmati as well)
Onion - 1 chopped finely
Garlic - 5-6 cloves (can use a Tsp of ginger-garlic paste instead . Easier!!!)
Green chillie - 2 chopped finely
Carrot - 1 small
Potatoe - 1/2
Corriander for garnishing
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Saunf Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cinnamon - a very small piece (roughly 1/2" piece)
Bay Leaf - 1
Cloves - 1-2
Elaichi/Cardamom - 1
Oil - 2 tsp

Soak the rice for 1/2 hour before preparation.
Wash and keep aside.
In a pressure cooker add oil or Ghee for more flavor.
Splutter the cumin and saunf(fennel) seeds, add bay leaf,cardamom and cloves and fry for a minute. Keep sharp watch as it will heat up quickly and burn.
One they are aromatic add the garlic and chillies and stir.
Add the onions and fry till golden brown.
Put the vegetables and fry for 2-3 minutes
Add the washed rice and fry for a minute or 2.
Add the appropriate amount of water (refer notes) and pressure cook.
Viola serve with a simple raita and some papads and we're done!!
For a lavish weekend meal pair it with some nice side dishes or curries.
These to follow soon!!!


Sona Masuri needs twice the measure of rice + 1 cup of water - 4 whistles on high flame
Basmati rice needs 1 1/2 C of water for 1C rice -- 1 whistle on high flame
There are so many variations that can be achieved with this, you can add sweet corn, capsicum,mushrooms, baby corns anything of your choice and customize!!!!

Eggless Coconut Macaroons

I never though that I would ever post or make a coconut dish coz I do not like them much.
Used to hate them when I was a kid  ,but now take a more tolerant approach to it because my husband has his taste buds rooted deep in our Gods own country and hence most of the curries he likes are coconut based (ehhhh!!!) .
People find it hard to digest that being a Keralite I have not taken a liking to coconuts?? . Friends give me a weird look, its as though evryone form Kerala must and should eat fish and love coconuts!! Else they are not fit to be called a Malayalee.
I  beg to differ, I may not eat or like them but at heart I am hardcore Mallu :) .....

So coming to the recipe, I came across this on one of my usual visits to Ria's blog and they instantly appealed to me.
Could be because recently a friend of ours had got these from Kerala , its very common there in all the local bakeries, and i for the lack of nothing better to eat gobbled it and surprisingly liked it.
With that taste on my tongue this recipe instantly beckoned me and I had to give it a try.
But there was a small hiccup, i did not want to use eggs and this recipe looked too easy to go searching for another egg-less one.
So with Ria's blessings I decided to use some condensed milk instead of the egg whites in mine.
And was I pleased with the result.
these macaroons are just like Ria promises , crispy and crunchy on the outside and nice and soft on the inside.
So what are you waiting are not getting anything simpler esp if you have access to dessicated coconut.
Dig in!!

Recipe Adapted from : Ria's Collection

1 1/3 c dessicated/flaked unsweetened coconut
1/3 c sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/8 tsp salt
2-3 tsp MilkMaid/Condensed milk -- enough to bind the ingredients together
1/2 tsp vanilla

Method: Pre-heat the oven to 325F(170C - 180C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper(don't get parchment paper here so didn't use that, just the baking paper).
In a small bowl, whisk together coconut, sugar,flour & salt. Add the milkmaid and vanilla to it and mix well. You will have a nice soft dough. Spoon them onto the baking sheet using a teaspoon and bake for 20 mins or until golden brown (I wanted little conical macaroons and hence the shape). Let them cool completely on a cooling rack and then ,store in airtight tins.
Copy cat that I am , I too tried the conical shape :).
Will try the flattened cookie types next.

There were more ,but by the time I grabbed the camera only these many were left :).

Thank you so much Ria for sharing such a wonderful recipe!!

I did not have or coudnt find any dessicated coconut , so I followed Ria's instructions in one of her comments.Scraped some fresh coconut and dried it in the oven at a low temperature, 160 degree C, for 15-20 minutes.
Take care that it doesnt change colour, it should only become dry not brown.
Mine didn't dry out much but I ran out of patience and used then anyways and they turned out just great!!!
Go ahead and make this...and the malayalees out there how many of you share my aversion to coconut?Please assure me Im not alone!!!