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Dec 28, 2008

Puttu with kadalai curry

puttu with kadali curry I saw this popular Kerala breakfast puttu and kadala curry/saalan in many blogs. I was eager to make this when I bought a packet of puttu flour in the supermarket . After almost a month or two , I finally made it today for sunday brunch. We all loved it. I did not have a puttu maker(the mould for making puttu). So initially I followed the instructions in the puttu packet by keeping the processed puttu flour in a plate and then steaming it in bowl containing boiling water. Then steaming it in a idli cooker seemed a good idea and it came really good. But anyway as I loved puttu , I am planning to buy the mould when I visit India next time.

Puttu-
Puttu flour/rice flour- 250g
Water- 105ml
Salt- to taste(add if not already added)
Grated coconut
Method-
Sprinkle water little at a time to the puttu flour. Mix till it looks like crumbs. Place this in the mould or idli stand and steam for 10 minutes. Add grated coconut on the top.

Kadalai curry-
Black chick peas-1 cup
Onion- 1(chopped)
Tomato- 1 chopped
Ginger garlic paste- 1tsp
Green chillies-2
Dried red chillies- 3
Coriander seeds- 1tsp
Coconut grated- 1tbsp
Cumin seed powder- 1tsp
garam masala- 1tsp
Turmeric powder- 1tsp
Salt- 2tsp/to taste
Oil- 1tsp+1tsp
Method-
Soak the peas overnight. Next day, pressure cook them till it turns soft.
Heat oil in a pan. Add dried red chillies ,grated coconut and coriander seeds. Saute for sometime. Grind it well. Add onions,tomatoes, ginger, garlic and green chillies. Grind it to a smooth paste. Heat oil in a pan. Add the ground paste. Then add turmeric powder, cumin seed powder,garam masala and salt. Mix well. Add the cooked peas. Cook for around 15 minutes adding a little water. Serve the puttu hot with the curry.

My sister made puttu with readymade puttu flour and steamed it in a puttu mould. She send some photos for Creative saga. You can see the pictures of the mould steamed by fixing it on a pressure cooker and also the picture of the delicious puttu.
puttu maker I am sending my puttu to lubna(kitchen flavours) who is hosting Fic - white in her blog Yummy food. The event was started by sunshine mom of tongue ticklers.

Dec 24, 2008

Baked vegetables with cheese

Merry Christmas to all the readers of Creative saga!!!
baked veges with cheese After making this one, I have decided to put my oven to use for many other things instead of just restricting to cakes and cookies. Baking is definitely an healthy option and there is lots to try and lots to learn.
I made some small mistakes in making this one. So it tasted a bit bland and less spicy. After cooking the vegetables, the water should be completely drained. It is better to add more of pepper to the vegetables itself to make it more spicy. If you want it a more spicy, consider adding red chilly flakes.

Ingredients-
Broccoli- 1cup(florets)
Cauliflower-1cup(florets)
Carrots- 1 chopped into chunks
Beans- 1 cup (cut into long pieces)
Salt- 1tsp
Pepper- 1tsp

White sauce-
Plain flour- 1tsp
Milk- 1cup
Butter- 1tsp
Cheese- 1tsp
Salt- 1tsp(to taste. If the butter is salted,add little or no salt)
Pepper- 1tsp

Grated cheese- 1cup

Method-

Cook the vegetables (add a little salt and pepper to it)in microwave adding little water till it is tender. Drain the water completely.
For the white sauce, heat butter in a pan. Add the flour and mix well. Then stir in the milk. Add salt(if required)and pepper to it. Mix well it it is little thick. Add the cheese.
Put the vegetables in a oven proof dish. Pour the white sauce over it. Mix it slightly. Bake this in a pre heated oven at 180c for 15 to 20 minutes. Then add the grated cheese over it. Bake for 5 more minutes till the cheese melts.

Dec 22, 2008

Cheese cake - From sanjeev kapoor sweets and desserts book

cheese cake Cheese cake was something which was in my to-do list for sometime now. I got the cream cheese couple of days ago , but never found time for this. Morever as I had never tasted this before, I was not sure what was expected regarding the texture and taste. But then last week, I got the chance to taste walnut cheesecake at a nearby coffee shop and I liked it. Though,I found it very sweet compared to the other cakes.
So,yesterday I baked a plain cheese cake for the first time and I got the similar taste and texture. It was good. I am planning to bake more of these with more ingredients. Also , I would love to try the cheese cakes which does not require baking.
This recipe is adapted from Sanjeev kapoor's sweets and desserts book.

Ingredients-
Crust
Cashewnut powder- 1/2cup
Sugar- 1/3cup
Butter- 1/4 cup
Cake
Cream cheese-11/2cup
Castor sugar- 1cup
Eggs- 3
Vanilla essence- 1/2cup

Method-
Preheat the oven to 180c. For the crust ,mix together all the ingredients with hand and spread in a baking dish covering bottom and one inch up the sides. Set aside.
Cream together cream cheese and sugar till smooth taking care that no lumps remain. Seperate yolks and whites of eggs carefully.Lightly beat egg yolks and mix into the cream cheese and sugar mixture. Stir in the essence. Using a whisk or hand blender , beat egg whites till they form soft peaks. Fold in the beaten egg whites into the mixture. Pour this mixture over the crust lined in the baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven at 180c for 20 to 30 minutes or till the centre is firm.
Cool and refrigerate. Serve chilled with fresh fruits or glaced cherries.

Dec 17, 2008

Microwave chocolate cake- in 5 minutes

microwave chocolate cake Long time since I baked a cake in my microwave. When I bought the microwave in the beginning of his year, I had tried many cakes including the carrot apple cake and eggless chocolate cake. And then when we shifted to a new house, I got an in built oven. So I started baking using the oven and got good results. I got addicted to the oven and forgot all about baking in the microwave. Later some friends wanted to know about baking in the microwave and so requested recipe for it. So I made a small cake in a bowl. It tasted nice. But as I said before, it is not as spongy as it comes in the convectional oven. Its kind of chewy like that of brownie. But is definitely soft and moist. And the whole preperation as well as the baking was over in 20 minutes.I got this recipe from Nita mehta's cookbook. I modified a little according to my taste.

Ingredients-
Self raising flour- 1/2 cup
Egg- 2
Milk- 1/4cup
Oil- 1/2 cup
Granulated sugar- 1 cup(you can add powdered sugar also, but not sugar crystals)
Cocoa powder-1tbsp
Instant coffee powder-1tsp(optional)

Method-
Beat the egg and sugar till its creamy. Add oil and mix well. Then add the flour.Mix and then add the milk. Now add cocoa powder and coffee powder(optional). Mix well. Pour this batter in a greased microwave safe deep bowl. Microwave for 4 minutes. Allow to stand for 4-5 minutes. Then cool the cake and remove from the bowl.microwave chocolate cake

Dec 16, 2008

Sabudana wada

sabudana wada Sabudana khichdi and sabudana wada are very popular snacks in Maharastra. I remember having them in college canteen and they used to taste great with curds.
This is the first time I made at home for a small get together we people in the apartment have every week. It was liked by everyone,especially the ones who had tasted this delicacy for the first time.

Ingredients-
Sabudana/sago- 1cup
Potato-2 boiled and mashed
Groundnuts- 1/2 cup- roasted and ground to a coarse powder
Green chilly- 1 finely chopped
Red chilly powder- 1tsp
Salt- to taste
Oil for deep frying

Method-
Soak the sabudana for 3-4 hours in little water. It will absorb the water and swell and soften. Now add the mashed potatoes ,ground nut powder,green chillies, red chilly powder and salt.Now shape them into balls and flatten them.
Deep fry them in hot oil till they appear crunchy and light brown. It takes around 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot. It will be soft in the inside and crisp on the outside.
Serve with curds.
Notes-
1.You can just whip the curd ,add sugar and mix well.
2.Otherwise you can make spicy curds as follows.
Heat little oil . Add jeera/cumin seeds,salt,red chilly powder and roasted groundnut powder. Add this in the curd and mix well.

Dec 15, 2008

Lemon/lime rice - Tamilnadu's popular rice variety

Lemon rice or Elumicham Sadam is a popular rice variety in tamil nadu and is a perfect comfort food. Its very easy and quick to make and can be very easily carried in tiffin box for your lunch.
I have come across two versions of the preperation of this rice variety. Though I use the first version more.
      Now I have updated the post with a third version of making it when you are in a hurry.
Ingredients-
Rice- 1cup (you can use any raw rice or basmati also works well here.)
Mustard- 1tsp
Udid dal- 1tsp
Channa dal- 1tsp
Dried red chillies- 3-4
Curry leaves- 1stem
Groundnuts- 3/4 cup
Asafoetida- a pinch
Juice of one lemon
Sesame oil- 1tsp
Turmeric powder- 1tsp
Salt to taste
Method-
Version 1
Cook the rice till it is soft and grains are seperate.
Heat oil in a pan.
Add mustard, udid dal,channa dal,dried red chillies,asafoetida and then add curry leaves and groundnuts. Mix well.
Add the turmeric powder and salt.
Then add the cooked rice. Stir and mix well.
Switch off the flame.
Squeeze out the juice of the lime into the rice.
Mix well.
Version2
Cook the rice.
Heat oil in a pan and add mustard, udid dal ,channa dal, asafoetida ,dried red chillies ,groundnuts and curry leaves.
Add the cooked rice and mix well with seasoning.
In a small vessel squeeze out the lime juice. Add tumeric powder and salt to it and heat it for few seconds. (don't heat for too long , otherwise it will turn bitter).
Add this to the rice. Mix well.
Updated- Version 3
 This is my own version which I do nowadays when I am in a real hurry!!!
Wash the rice well. Drain the water. Keep it aside.
Heat a pressure cooker pan.
Add mustard seeds, udid dal, channa dal dried red chillies and peanuts.
Add the curry leaves. Saute for a minute.
Add turmeric powder and salt.
Add the soaked rice.
Mix everything well together.
Close the lid along with the whistle.
Cook till the rice is soft and the grains are seperate.
When it depressurises, open the lid.
Mix with a spoon or just fluff it up with a fork.
Squeeze the lemon juice.
Mix well.
Serve immediately with fried papads or onion tomato chutney or potato curry is the best combo with lemon rice.

Dec 12, 2008

Appam for karthikai- low fat

low fat karthigai appam Karthikai deepam is celebrated by hindu Tamilians in the karthikai month of Tamil calender. If you are interested , you can read about it here.
Lot of sweets and savories are made on this day. It includes ladoos made of puffed rice and jaggery called karthikai pori(a special kind of puffed flaked rice).
I did not have this rice. So I made appams for the festival. Traditionally the appams are deep fried. But I made them on the kuzhipaniyaaram pan . So this one can be consumed without any guilt.I took the idea from laavanya as I have seen her trying out so many dishes with the paniyaaram pan. My one year old loved the appams.

Ingredients-
Rice- 1cup
Jaggery- 1/2 cup
Banana-1
Grated coconut- 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder- 1.2tsp
Ghee-1tsp

Method-
Soak the rice for 2 hours. Drain the water and grind it to a smooth paste. Now add banana,jaggery,grated coconut and cardamom powder and grind to a smooth paste.
Leave the batter for a couple of hours.This resting time is important for soft appams. Now coat the paniyaaram pan with very little ghee. Add the batter in the pan. After a few minutes, flip them and cook on the other side. Remove from the pan.low fat janmashtami appam
I am sending them to srilekha's Efm- sweet event.

Dec 10, 2008

Thumbprint cookies- Jam filled cookies

thumbprint cookies/jam cookies Atlast I got the perfect cookies. During my previous attempts, while baking the cookies, thye used to puff up and drop down flat. I think I know what went wrong. I corrected the ingredients I used and finally got it right. Anyway, we learn from mistakes.Right??
I made this thumbprint cookies yesterday. They looked as well tasted great. They are called thumbprint because a dent is made on the dough before baking with a thumb to put the jam in. I got the recipe from here.
The cookies were also rolled on powdered nuts which also enhances the taste. I used almonds and cashews, but you can use hazelnuts or pecans, whatever you prefer. So here's how I made them.

Ingredients-
Plain flour- 1and 1/4 cup
Butter-1/2 cup
Egg-1
Sugar-1/4cup
Vanilla essence- 1tsp
Cashews- 10- 12
Almonds- 10-12
Any jam- to top on the cookies

Method-
Roast the almonds and cashews on stovetop till they are brown. Grind it to a coarse powder.
Beat sugar and butter till it is light and fluffy with a electric mixer. Then add the egg yolk and vanilla essence and beat further. Then add the flour and mix to form a smooth dough.
Roll the dough into small balls.If you find the dough the loose, refrigerate for half an hour.
Now beat the egg white till it is frothy. Dip the ball into the frothy egg mixture and then roll over the cashew almond powder. Make a indent with your thumb on the cookie ball. Fill it with your favourite jam.
Now bake them on a cookie tray lined with baking paper in a preheated oven at 180c for 15 minutes. Cool on a metal rack.thumbprint cookies/jam cookiesThese cookies are on their way to the following events
1.Happycook's homemade gift event.
2.Purva's christmas feast event.
3.JZ's santa's holiday challenge.
4.Sharmi's cookie baking event
5.Susan's eat christmas cookies

Dec 9, 2008

Stuffed karela/bittergourd- spicy side dish for chapati

bittergourd stuffed One of my best friends M used to bring this in her tiffin box to office and we loved it. I asked her for the recipe and then made it once at home. It became a frequent thing after that. After a long time, I made it again and decided to blog about it as some friends requested for the recipe.I am not sure whether I have followed "M's"exact recipe as I made it almost after a gap of two years. But this was equally tasty and was finished in no time with phulkas. Thank you 'M'.

Ingredients-
Karela/bittergourd- 5 to 6 small ones
Onions- 1 finely chopped
Garlic- 2 cloves- finely chopped
Green chillies-1 finely choped
Ginger- a small piece chopped fine or grated
Turmeric powder- 1tsp
Red chilly powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Fennel seeds- 1tsp
Cumin seeds- 1tsp
Coriander powder- 1tsp
Garam masala- 1tsp
Groundnuts- 1/2 cup roasted and powdered
Oil- a few teaspoons as needed

Method-
Slit one portion of the gourd vertically and remove all the seeds. Boil them in water for 5 minutes so that the skin becomes slightly tender. Dry them.Rub them with salt and turmeric and keep for sometime. Later gently squeeze out the water. This step will reduce the bitterness.Keep it aside.
For the stuffing
Heat little oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and fennel seeds. Then add ginger , garlic, green chillies
and then the onion and saute for few seconds. Then add turmeric powder, red chilly powder, coriander powder and garam masala and salt. Mix well. Add the powdered ground nuts. At this point, the onions should be crispy.(Dont cook for a long time)
Now fill the treated gourds with this stuffing. Rub little oil on them.
Arrange them on a shallow saucepan. Add little oil on the sides and close with a lid. Cook till the skin becomes dark brown. Keep turning them in between so that they cook on all sides.
bittergourd stuffed Serve hot with chapatis/phulkas.

Dec 6, 2008

Sabudana khichdi- javvarisi upma

sabudana khichdi This is something which is liked by everyone at my place. I do try to make this quite often. But I find this snack very tricky. Sometimes, it comes really nice, sometimes it gets mushy and squished..kind of yielding.But if it comes good, its the tastiest and best tiffin item ever. One has to be careful about soaking the sabudana/sago which mainly decides the result. It has to be soft and dry when you are going to start making it. I will give the detailed method below.

Ingredients
Sabudana/sago- 2 cups
Groundnut- 1/2 cup
Potatoes- 2 grated
Ghee- 1tbsp
Cumin seeds- 1tsp
Asafoetida- a pinch
Green chilly- 2 chopped fine
Coriander - a small stem chopped fine for garnishing

Method- If you are using the regular sabudana, soak them in water for half an hour. Later drain the water. Just allow a little water to be at the bottom of the vessel. Keep it for a couple of hours. Before you start, ensure that the grains are soft in the core too. It should be completely dry.
You get the instant sabudana too. They are comparitively tinier in size. You have to soak them in water for 15 minutes. Drain the water completly. Allow it to dry. You can use them in within one hour.
Roast the groundnuts and grind them coarsely. Dont grind it to a fine powder. It will be nice to bite into small pieces of groundnut.
Grate the potatoes and squeeze out the water completely out of it. Mix the sabudana and the grated potatoes just before you start the preperation.
Heat ghee in a pan. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida. Add green chillies and salt. Then add the mixture of sabudana and potatoes. Keep stirring and take care that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. After it mixes well and cooked. Add the groundnuts. Mix well and keep stirring for another 2 to 3 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve hot with kadi or curds(spicy).

Dec 4, 2008

Cheese bread for a good cause

cheese bread
I think I can finally pat my back for baking a soft spongy bread. When I baked a bread the first time, I was thrilled. And then baked many after that. This one shows a significant improvement on my bread baking abilities. Everything went off well right from the beginning and I knew this was going to be atleast almost close to perfect.
cheese bread
A couple of days back, Pearls of east had tagged me for a worthy cause ,a cause that is raised for alleviating poverty in Africa, a very thoughtful cause and is open to every one. Anyone can participate and there are quite a number of ways one can contribute.There are various ways for you to get involved:
Join our campaign.
Submit your bread baking recipe.
Make a donation to Breadline Africa.
Vote for your favourite recipe.
Bake a loaf of bread and blog about it.
Bake many loaves of bread and host a bake sale.
Checkout this to find out more on The world wide blogger bake off challenge.
So this bread is for the noble cause.
Ingredients-

Bread flour -2 cups
Wheat flour- 1 cup
Semolina- 1 cup
Active dry yeast- 1tbsp
Grated cheese- 1 cup
Pepper(freshly ground)- 1tsp
Egg- 1
Salt- 1tsp
Sugar- 2tsp
Water- 3/4 cup

Method-
Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water and leave it for 5 minutes.It will froth. Then add wheat flour, semolina flour and one cup of bread flourinto it and mix. Then add egg, grated cheese and pepper and salt.Knead it into a smooth and elastic dough.Add more flour if required. Coat it with oil. Cover and rest the dough for 2 hours.It will double in volume.
Punch the dough. On a floured surface,knead the dough again for 5 to 10 minutes. Then set in a loaf pan and let it rise for 1 or 2 hours. It should rise till the edges of the loaf pan.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180c for 40 minutes. Tap to check whether it sounds hollow for doneness. Cool and cut into slices.

Dec 3, 2008

How to make restaurant style rich Paneer butter masala - Paneer recipes

        As I have always said, paneer is an all time favourite. I love anything and everything made with paneer. I always think of making paneer at home, but end up buying a huge packet of frozen amul paneer whenever I visit the Indian stores. It is so convinient that way!!!But if you make at home, nothing better than that!!
        My hubby had got really bored eating bread almost everyday during his one month official trip overseas and he wanted me to make something  spicy and Indian. Thats when I made this and he simply loved it.
Ingredients
Paneer/cottage cheese- 1 cup (thawed)
Onions- 1 chopped
Ginger- a small piece chopped
Garlic- 1 or 2 cloves chopped
Tomato- 1 big (you can use store bought tomato puree for the red colour of the gravy)
Garam Masala- 1tsp
Cashews- 4
Turmeric powder- 1tsp
Red chilly powder- 2tsp
Coriander powder- 1tsp
Kasuri methi-1/2tsp
Cumin powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Butter- 1tbsp
Cream-1-2tbsp
 Method
Put the tomatoes in hot water for a minute and then peel of the skin. Blend to make a puree or use the readymade store bought tomato puree or paste.
 Soak the cashew in hot water or milk for 10 minutes. Grind it to a smooth paste.
Grind the onion,ginger and garlic together to a smooth paste.
Melt the butter in a pan.
Now add the ground paste to it along with the tomato puree. Mix well.
Add the turmeric powder, red chilly powder, cumin powder ,garam masala ,kasuri methi and coriander powder and salt .
Saute and cook for 5-7 minutes.
Add the cashew paste. 
Then add around half a glass of water to it if it is too thick.
Add the paneer pieces.
Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes till paneer mixes well and is coated well with the spices and gravy(masala).
Add the cream. Mix well.
Remove from flame in next 3-4 minutes.
Serve hot with rotis or even jeera rice.

Dec 1, 2008

Chocolate christmas cake-SSB challenge

chocolate christmas cake One of the best cakes I baked and one of the best I tasted,thanks to Sweet and simple bakes. I was doubtful whether I could do the challenge this month. It was a "no" till saturday. But then I did not want to miss this month too. So saturday, when I went for shopping, I wanted to get the vegeterian minced meat because there was no time to make one now. I searched all over the place and finally found some packets of christmas puddings and the ingredients were almost the same as Maria had mentioned in the recipe. So I bought it.
And then I baked the cake yesterday. First I was baking this at the last minute and second I was not sure whether I had all the ingredients( was in a hurry). So I made a little changes to the quantity of the ingredients. But the cake tasted great. The meat definitely imparts a great taste to the cake as the ingredients of the meat was soaked in brandy and then adding lots of other nuts , the cake had an authentic taste of that of the christmas cake.
Next time ,I do this, I am going to make the Vegeterian minced meat at home.
I did not have much time for decorating the cake. I just did whatever I could do at that moment. But I was happy with the result.
You can refer the recipe here too. Worth trying friends, you will love it.
chocolate christmas cake Ingredients-
Soft butter- 1 cup
Soft brown sugar- 1 cup
Eggs- 2
Self raising flour- 1 1/2 cup
Cocoa powder- 2tbsp
Raisins- 1tbsp
Blanched almonds- 10
Luxury Minced meat(vegeterian)- 150 gm
Chocochips- 1tbsp
chocolate christmas cake Method-
Mix the butter and sugar till it is creamy. Beat the eggs and mix it to the mixture. Then add the flour and mix well. Now mix rest of the ingredients. Mix everything together.
Spray the cake pan with a non stick spray and then line with a baking paper. Now pour the batter in the cake tin. Bake in a preheated oven at 180c for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
chocolate christmas cake For the decoration
I mixed equal amount(a tbsp) of butter and icing sugar and a tablespoon of cocoa powder and a pinch of coffee powder (for dark colour and flavour). I spread this over the cake. Finally I decorated with pink dots with readymade pink icing I bought from the stores.

If you would like to make the vegeterian minced meat at home, heres the recipe for it as given by Maria.
To make 2 Ib mincemeat
Ingredients
450g (1 Ib) mixed dried fruit
100g (4oz) melted butter
100g (4oz) cooking apples or apple of choice - peeled and grated (weight when prepared)
100g (4oz) soft brown sugar
50g -100g (2-4 oz) of chopped nuts of choice
100g (4oz) glace cherries
100g (4oz) chopped candied peel
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
4 tablespoons brandy

Method
Add all the ingredients into a large bowl and soak overnight covering with a clean cloth. Mix thoroughly through together either with a large spoon or clean hands. Cover over with a clean tea towel and leave to stand for 24 hours giving the mixture a good stir as you pass by. Next day pack the mincemeat into sterilised jars, and top with greaseproof paper jam covers. Seal the jars tightly and store in a cool place.
*Note*: if you choose not to use glace cherries make the weight up with mixed dried fruit instead. If you wish not to add alcohol use apple juice or orange juice instead. We have given a recipe here for mincemeat without suet, but should you wish to use either beef or vegetable suet in this recipe omit the melted butter.

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