May 30, 2011

Banana chocolate loaf and an interesting food!!

             This cake was a result of a ripe banana which is not a frequent thing at our place as we all love bananas and it gets over before it even starts riping. So this time, when I had one I decided to bake  a cake as it was a long time I made a banana cake. I have tried an eggless cake and one with eggs before. So this time, I decided to combine banana and chocolate. I have used an egg and also flax seeds powder and the result was beyond expectations. The cake was soft and chewy like all banana cakes and  moist to a very proper extent and had a very nice banana flavour. The combination of chocolate and banana was just awesome. So do try this one when you have a ripe banana , you will love it!!!

Wholewheat flour /atta- 1 1/2 cup
Baking powder- 2tsp
Flax seeds powder- 1/4cup
Cocoa powder- 2tsp
Sugar- 1  cup
Banana- 1 big mashed
Oil- 1/2 cup

banana chocolate cake
   Combine flour, flax seed powder , cocoa powder and baking powder in a bowl and keep aside.
   Now in another bowl , whisk together the egg and sugar.
   Add the mashed banana followed by the oil and mix well.
   Now fold in the flour mixture and combine to form a uniform batter. Pour the batter in well greased loaf pan, preferably lined with parchment paper. Bake this in a preheated oven at 180c for 40 -45 minutes. Cool the cake well in the pan itself and then invert it on a serving plate. Slice the cake and serve.

     Yesterday, we had twist potatoes at an exhibition. I am not sure if everyone is aware of this but it was quite interesting and so I thought of sharing with you all in case  you have not seen this before. The potato is sliced with a special cutter and twisted around a skewer. This is  fried and then sprinkled with cheese or some other flavour. 
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May 25, 2011

Corn fritters / makai ke pakode

         This is a signature dish of a good friend of mine!!She has made this for several potlucks and get togethers and has always been a hit among our friends. I have brought corns many times to make this particular fritters, but it has  always ended up in something else. But this time, I had reserved just one cob to make this fritters which made around eight pieces. But it tasted so good and I wish I had made more of them.
        And before we go to the recipe here is small note on microwaved corn which is a instant snack for kids. I usually place the corn on microwave safe dish along with some water and microwave this at 100% for 4-5 minutes until the kernels becomes soft. Then rub some salt and lemon juice over this and serve it whole. My kid loves this!!
corn pakoda
Corn/makai/butte- 3-4 cobs with kernels
Ginger garlic green chillies paste- 2tsp
Besan/chickpea flour/kadali maavu- 1/2 cup or more
Salt to taste
Red chilly powder- 1tsp (only if you feel the heat of green chillies is insufficient for your taste buds)
Garam masala- 1tsp(optional)
Cinnamon clove powder- 1/2tsp(optional)
Oil for deep frying
Coriander leaves- 1tbsp (finely chopped)

makai ke pakode
      Grate the corn. Then add the besan or chick pea flour. ( When you grate the corn, there is lot of water present in it, so add equal amount of the chick pea flour so that you obtain a semi solid paste.) Now add the ginger garlic paste, spice powders(whichever you prefer to add according to your taste) and salt. Last add the coriander leaves and mix well. Heat oil in a pan. When the oil is very hot, pick a small blob of batter with your fingers and place it in the oil slowly. Deep fry them till they turn a golden brown.
       Serve hot with green chutney or just tomato ketchup.
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May 23, 2011

Aamras of the popular puri -aamras combo

        Aamras with pooris is one of my most favourite combo. Infact I just love mangoes and I miss them a  little here in Singapore. Yes, only a little because I do manage to get a few mangoes from the Indian shops here.So I should not be really complaining. But not like how it used to be in India when we used to recieve a box full of  alphonso variety of mangoes from Kolhapur(place in Maharahtra famous for mangoes). We used to enjoy the season to the fullest completely satisfied with the mango bliss.
       Its almost end of may this year and I just realized that I had not had a single mango this year and so rushed to the Indian shop and bought a few mangoes for myself. Thats when I made aamras to have with the pooris along with some dum aloo. Wow, it just made an awesome meal one weekend.

aamras poori
Mangoes-2 big ones
Milk- 1 glass
Powdered sugar- 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder- 1tsp

       Press the mango with your palms and squeeze it to extract the juice from it into a bowl. Add the milk ,sugar and cardamom powder and stir it well. Use a hand blender or a whipper to blend it to a uniform mixture.
      Just have it as a dessert or as a side dish with pooris.
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May 21, 2011

Dum aloo recipe

         I am sure everyone loves potatoes and there are infinite ways of consuming this particular vegetable. How versatile it is!!Whichever way you make it, its always tasty.Infact it makes even boring vegetables edible when combined with them.
        But believe it or not , potato is something which I don't use too frequently. I do try to make a veggie , say twice or thrice a month.But I sure am attracted with the baby sized potatoes and buy them whenever I find them. So this time, I made the ever famous dum aloo and everyone just loved them. I served them with some pooris and it was a awesome meal.

dum aloo
Baby potatoes- 12-15 nos
Ginger garlic paste-1tsp
Onions-1 big
Tomato- 1big
Cashews and almonds- 1/4 cup
Turmeric powder-1tsp
Red chilly powder-1tsp
Coriander powder-1tsp
Salt to taste
Garam masala -1tsp
Kasuri methi- 1tsp
Yogurt/curd- 1/4cup

      Boil or microwave the potatoes till it becomes soft. You can also deep fry them. I did not peel the potatoes, but if you dont prefer it that way, peel them. Poke holes on them with a fork and leave them aside.
     Meanwhile get your other things ready.
Boil the onion for around 10 minutes(blanch) and grind it to a smooth paste.
Blanch and peel the almonds. Keep the peeled almonds and cashews in hot water for around 20 minutes and grind them to a paste.
Next, place the tomato in hot water for a few minutes. Peel the skin and puree it. You can use readymade tomato puree too.
Now heat oil in a pan. Add the ginger garlic paste followed by the onion paste and saute for a few minutes. Then add the turmeric powder, red chilly powder and coriander powder. Mix well. Add the tomato puree and the nuts paste followed by the kasuri methi , garam masala and salt. Keep stirring till it becomes thick for around 5 minutes and the raw smell of onions and tomatoes should completely disappear. Now add the cooked potatoes. Mix it well with the gravy.Add around half a glass of water and cook for further 7 to 10 minutes so that the spices combine well with the potatoes. Last, add the yogurt. Mix well. Remove from flame after 2-3 minutes.
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May 18, 2011

Strawberry mini muffins

        My kid loves strawberries and always picks them up when he comes to shopping with us.  And baking something with strawberries was in my mind for sometime though I had something else in my mind about making it eggless and using flax seeds etc. I casually mentioned it to my son and he asked me to bake small muffins like the chocolate ones I had baked few days ago. Yes, he has started demanding different kinds of snacks nowadays as if he has just realised that his mom can cook!!!So not wanting to waste more time on deciding an eggless recipe and all, I went ahead with the basic recipes used for most of the cakes. They did turn out delicious and the kid especially loved the bite sized pieces a lot!!!
strawberry mini muffins
Whole wheat flour- 1 1/2 cup (you can use APF also or a combination of whole wheat flour and APF)
Butter-1/2 cup
Granulated sugar-1 cup
Egg- 1
Vanilla essence-1/2tsp
Baking powder-1tsp
Fresh Strawberries- 10-12 nos

   Puree the strawberrries in a blender.
Beat the butter and sugar well till fluffy.
Add the egg and essence and mix well.
Combine the flour and baking powder and add it slowly to the wet mixture mixing to a uniform batter without any lumps.
Now fold in the strawbeery puree in the batter and mix well.
Spoon in the batter in small muffin cases.Bake in a preheated oven at 180c for 15 minutes or till a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove them immediately. Do not overbake them.
Allow them to cool well. You can pipe some cream on the top. It does makes it more delicious and attractive.
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May 16, 2011

Chocolate heart cake - Simple cake on our Anniversary

     Yes it was our wedding anniversary last week. This time I planned the cake a little in advance and got the things on time and decided the recipe. Thats most unlike me because I do most of my cooking or baking at the last minute. I realise that I have run out of sugar or flour when I have almost started with the preperations. I wish I am more organised in this aspect.
     Okay now to the recipe, I finalised on the simple fatless chocolate sponge recipe from Tarla dalal's the joys of vegetarian cooking .I had my own silly doubts and fear regarding  the recipe as I had never tried this kind of sponge and also the recipe did not demand butter and baking powder. But I followed all the steps very carefully and got the perfect sponge. Infact,the second one was even more spongy and better than the first one.So practice does makes you perfect!!
      I really loved the recipe and I am sure I am going to make this as my base for many more cakes.
 We really loved the cake!!The strawberry filling was delicious and the almonds flakes lended a nice taste to the cake. I am sure you can be even more creative and decorate your cake in your own way!

chocolate sponge with strawberry filling and chocolate cream
For the fatless chocolate sponge
Flour- 85g
Eggs- 3
Cocoa powder- 1tbsp
Powdered sugar- 85 to 110 g(I used around 95g)

Soaking syrup
Powdered sugar- 1/3 cup
Warm water- 1/3cup
Vanilla essence-1tsp

Chocolate ganache/cream
Heavy cream- 200ml(can use low fat also)
Dark chocolate-200g

Strawberry filling
Strawberry (fresh)- 6 numbers
Brown sugar- 1tbsp

Almond flakes- 1tbsp to place on the sides of the cake(optional)
Strawberries -2 to decorate on the top(optional)

chocolate sponge with strawberry filling and chocolate cream
     For the fatless chcocolate sponge
     Sieve the flour. Combine the flour and cocoa powder. Line the base of a heart shaped tin with a parchment paper. Beat the eggs and sugar very well with a hand blender until thick and double in quantity. Fold in the flour mixture carefully and mix very gently with a metal spoon or a spatula. Take care the air does not escape and the quantity should not reduce. Pour the batter in the cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180c for 20 minutes.The cake is ready when it springy to touch and leaves the sides of the tin. Insert a knife in the center to ensure whether the cake is done. Cool the cake well and turn on wire rack. Allow it to cool.
      I made 2 sponges with the same recipe.

Chocolate ganache - Pour the cream in a saucepan and allow it to boil. Keep the chocolate ready by chopping them into small pieces. Pour the boiling cream into the chocolate and stir till the chocolate melts and combines well with the cream. Allow it to stand for 10 minutes. Then stir it using a whisk till it thickens. Refrigerate for a couple of hours so that it thickens and makes easier to frost.Its best to make it one day before and store in refrigerator till use.
     You can  beat the ganache with a hand blender to make it more fluffy for frosting. I did not do this and used it directly.

Soaking syrup- Dissolve the sugar in warm water and mix in the essence. Keep it refrigerated until use.

Strawberry filling- Chop the strawberries. Put them in a saucepan. Add the brown sugar with few drops of water. Allow it to cook for around 10 minutes till it resembles a strawberry jam.
chocolate sponge with strawberry filling and chocolate cream
Assembing the cake-
      When the cake is cooled well, poke holes on them with a fork or skewer.
Pour the soaking syrup on the cake you are placing at the base.
Apply some chocolate ganache on the cake.
Then spread the strawberry filling all over it.
Place the other layer on this. Pour rest of the sugar syrup on the top cake.
After 10 minutes, apply the ganache all over the cake.
Place the cake on refrigerator for atleast an hour till the frosting sets. Then stick the almond flakes to the sides of the cake. Chop the strawberries to heart shaped pieces. Place on the cake as you wish. Refrigerate the cake till use.
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May 14, 2011

Spinach(palak) and chickpea flour (besan)dry curry

          I have had this or atleast something similar to this at a friend's place back in India a couple of years ago. I bought a spinach to make a salad with it for dinner. But ended up making this one as I really felt like having something spicy along with my chapatis that day. I am glad I remembered this recipe as we all loved it and went very well with chapatis and dal. I think I am going to make this often.
palak(spinach)besan(chick pea flour)curry
Spinach or palak-  a big bunch cleaned and chopped
Besan/chickpea flour/kadalai maavu- 3/4 cup
Onion- 1 big finely chopped
Green chillies- 4-5 slit or you can chop them into fine pieces
Garlic- 2-3 cloves minced
Turmeric powder- 1tsp
Salt to taste
Oil- 2tsp
Mustard seeds-1tsp
Cumin seeds-1tsp

       Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds.When it splutters, add the garlic and the onions and saute till the onions turns slightly brown in colour. Now add the chick pea flour and mix. Saute this mixture till the raw smell of the flour goes off. Add the turmeric powder and salt. Mix well. Now add the chopped spinach and  mix well. Cook till the spinach wilts completely and is properly mixed with the flour mixture.
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May 10, 2011

Peanut butter bars with strawberry jam and muesli!!

        There are days, okay, its almost everyday when I get the urge to bake something. But then I refrain myself from baking thinking of the calories involved in it and  after all who is going to consume all the bakes everyday!! But then there are some baking recipes which I keep bookmarking each day when I browse your lovely food blogs and then try them on a regular basis. I try to keep them more on the healthier side, and which involves less of fats and calories.
         So one of these days, I had an unopened bottle of peanut butter and then this recipe which required only a few ingredients. So I made the base with slight modifications from the original one which is a vegan recipe. To make it more interesting , I also added some strawberry jam and some muesli on the top and made them into breakfast bars. We loved it and is a good option for snacking during the odd hours.

Recipe Courtesy- Bakin' Bitz  (with some modifications.)

Peanut butter bars with strawberry jam and muesli
Smooth Peanut butter-3/4 cup
Oil- 1/3 cup
Brown Sugar- 1 cup
Milk- 1/4 cup
Baking Powder-1/2 tsp
Whole wheat flour-1 cup
2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Strawberry jam- 2 Tbsp(Store bought or home made)
Muesli- 1/2 cup (you can use granola)
Peanut butter bars with strawberry jam and muesli
    Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a small baking pan
   Mix peanut butter, oil, and sugar vigorously in mixing bowl with a spatula. Add vanilla & milk and mix well.
    Mix in flour, salt, and baking powder. You may knead it with your hands if it’s easier. It will hold together and not spread.
    Place in pan and pat to fit evenly.  Now spread some strawberry jam on the surface. Sprinkle the muesli all over the jam.
   Bake for 25 minutes till you see the browning of the edges. I allowed it to bake for 5 more minutes. As a result, the texture was like that of a cookie, that is soft and had a slight crunch to it.
Set on rack and let cool completely before attempting to cut and serve.They may crumble a lot while cutting, so give it ample time to set properly.
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May 7, 2011

How to make khoya/khoa at home?

    Khoya or khoa is made by reducing and thickening milk in an open pan by repeatedly stirring for a couple of hours. It is widely used in Indian cuisine mostly in sweets , and also in some savouries. Pedas, gulab jamuns and gujiyas are few examples where khoya is used. I would say its something similar to ricotta cheese.
      It usually takes a long time to make khoya , but is really worth the efforts and is  uncomparable to the store bought ones. The process is not  diffcult at all. The only thing is to ensure that the milk does not gets burnt at the bottom. So stirring repeatedly is very important.
       Do come back to see some recipes with khoa soon!!
See recipe for khoya made with evapoated milk or creamer in 30 minutes.

Whole milk- 2 liters
Ghee- 1tsp

     Use a heavy bottomed pan for making khoya. Rub some ghee at the base of the pan.This will help in preventing the milk getting burnt. You can also use a heavy non stick pan instead. Pour the milk in the pan and allow it to boil. When it boils, start stirring in medium flame. Keep stirring at regular intervals until the milk thickens and the solid portion that is the khoya remains in the end. It will take around 2.5 to 3 hours.
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May 4, 2011

Hot milk sponge cake

         My son and I love chocolate cakes the most while my hubby is fond of any kind of cakes. I had seen this recipe in a cake book I got from the library long time ago.Unfortunately I did not note down the recipe. I then browsed the net and saw this cake in several blogs. Everyone had made this cake in their own way and each of those cakes looked so spongy and perfect. I then followed  the basic recipe most of them had used and the cake turned out to be spongy and delicious. My son initially did not like the white colour of the cake and said he wanted  a brown chocolate cake and not this. But when he tasted, he just loved it and gobbled a few pieces rightaway. My hubby loved it to and asked me to bake some more of this. Its a easy one and the cake is ready within an hour.
hot milk sponge
Cake flour- 1 cup
Baking powder-1 1/2tsp
Milk-1/2 cup
Butter- 4tbsp
Granulated sugar-1cup
Vanilla essence- 1tsp

       Heat the milk and butter together in a saucepan. The butter should melt. Switch of the flame.
Combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the eggs into a bowl and beat well. Add the vanilla essence and then the sugar and beat the mixture. Now add the flour mixture gradually and combine to form a uniform batter. Now add the hot milk mixture. Heat the milk again if it has cooled by this time.
Add this to the above batter. Pour the batter in the prepared tin.bake it for 25 minutes at 180c or till a knife inserted in center of the cake comes out clean.
       Cool the cake properly and invert it on a plate. Slice and serve.
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May 3, 2011

Ulundu,udid dal vadai / medhu vada

       I have made this ulundu(in tamil) or udid dal vadais  a couple of times, but I never managed to get the proper shape because the batter used to be quite watery. Then my friend suggested me to use wet grinder for grinding the batter as you can use very minimal amount of water during the grinding process and the batter remains quite thick.So after a long time, I made them for the tamil new year. They turned out to be really crisp and delicious.
ulundu vadai/medhu vada
Udid dal- 1cup
Whole peppercorns- 1tsp
Curry leaves- few
Salt- 1tsp
Oil for deep frying

           Soak the dal for 3 to 4 hours. Drain the water completely. Now grind the dal to a smooth paste using a wet grinder preferably. If you dont have one, use a blender/mixer. Please try not to add any water while grinding. Just add a few teaspoons of water if you find it very thick and is difficult for grinding. The batter should be thick and smooth. Try touching the batter with your fingers to ensure that there are no grains.Now add the peppercorns, salt and some pinched curry leaves into the batter and mix well.
           Heat the oil for deep frying .Now take a small ball of the batter on your palms(wet your palms so that the batter does not stick to your palms. Flatten it with your fingers and make a hole in the center. You can also make this discs on a wet plastic/polythene sheet. Carefully put this dumplings in hot oil.Fry them on the medium flame so that its well cooked from inside too, till they turn a golden brown.
          Serve them hot with some coconut chutney.     
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May 2, 2011

Poli or is it boli?- Tamil style

        Being in Maharashtra for so many years , I have always loved their pooran poli and even tried it a few times. The South Indian style polis or bolis was rarely prepared at our place. But then I made it a point to make them during the Tamil new year this year.Well, there is a slight difference in the both the versions. The only major difference is that in Tamil nadu, the cover of the boli is made with maida and in Maharashtra,whole wheat flour/atta is used. The sweet filling remains the same. The tamil polis are thinner in contrast to the thick pooran polis made in Maharashtra.
      The polis can be stored for a couple of days even in a air tight container kept outside. Heat on a tava with some ghee before you serve them. Due to the humid climate in Singapore, I store them in refrigerator and microwave for a few seconds before serving them.
Tamil poli
For the cover
Maida/All purpose flour- 1 cup
Salt- a small pinch
Yellow colour- 1/4tsp(or use turmeric powder)

For the stuffing-
Channa dal- 1/2 cup
Jaggery 1/2 cup or more if you prefer it more sweet
Cardamom powder- 1tsp


           Combine all the ingredients (under for the cover) and make a soft , smooth and firm dough using water.  knead using oil at the end to prevent it from becoming sticky.
           Cook the channa dal in cooker till it becomes soft , but not very mushy. Allow it to cool, drain the water. Grind it in a mixer till it becomes a paste. Now heat jaggery in a pan with a 1/4 cup water. When the jaggery dissolves and boils,add the ground dal along with cardamom powder and mix. Keep stirring till it becomes a thick paste. Your stuffing is ready.

How to assemble-
          Pinch of a lemon sized portion of the dough. Roll it to a circle. Place a small ball of the stuffing in the center. Seal the ball. Now roll it again with a rolling pin to a thin circle.
          Heat a tava. Place the circle on the hot tava. Allow it to cook. Now flip and cook on the other side. When small dark brown spots appears on it, it is cooked.Brush generous amount of ghee on both sides. Serve warm.

See step by step preperation of pooran poli here.
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