Thursday 31 January 2013

Bittergourd Pitla | Pavakkai Pitla

Bitter Gourd & chickpeas cooked in mashed lentils and ground masala

I am not a big fan of bitter gourd unlike Deeps. But I do feel the need to eat it coz of its benefits to health viz good for the stomach and skin, reduces diabetes etc etc .. Yea, I am sounding boring. So does the sight of bitter gourd to me. So I make all efforts to look and taste as interesting as possible. That was when I remembered that my mom used to make this 'Pavakkai Pitla' and how I used to lick my fingers after eating that without any complaints of the bitterness of 'bitter gourd'. So here is the recipe for the gravy 'Pitla' to all those who would wanna enjoy the benefits of bitter gourd without much credit for its bitterness part :D Some other recipes with bitter gourd that are there in the blog are Pavakka Puli KuzhambuPavakya Pulin CurryBitter Gourd Fry & Khatta Meeta Karela..

Recipe Source: Ma's Cookbook

I Took:

Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Cooking Time : 25 minutes

I Used:

Tur Dal                 - ½ cup
Channa                 - ½ cup - boiled
Bitter Gourd         - 1 no - medium sized
Tamarind              - 20 gm or small lemon sized
Turmeric powder  - ½ tsp
Salt                      - As needed
Oil                       - As needed
Mustard seeds        - To temper

Roast & Grind:

Red Chilly                             - 6 nos
Coriander seeds                    - 4 tsp
Urd Dal                                 - 2 tsp
Roasted gram/Pottu Kadalai/Udacha Kadalai - 2 tsp 
Coconut                               - ¼ cup
Asafoetida                            - ½ tsp
Curry leaves                         - A sprig

The Way:

  1. Heat 2 tsp oil in a kadai and fry the bitter gourd in it for a few minutes and keep aside
  2. In the same kadai roast all the ingredients under the Roast & Grind section. Grind them with a little water and keep aside
  3. Soak the tamarind in water for about 15-20 minutes and extract the juice
  4. Heat tamarind juice in a pan and add the bitter gourd pieces to it
  5. Add salt, turmeric and allow it to come to a boil
  6. Now add the boiled and smashed tur dal and boiled channa 
  7. Add the ground paste and cook in slow fire for another 10 minutes
  8. Temper mustard seeds and add it to the gravy
Serve it with boiled rice and raita.


The actual recipe doesn't call for garlic. But I added 2 pods while boiling tur dal for gastronomical reasons winking


Wednesday 30 January 2013

Ultra Moist Chocolate Cake

I had been thinking for quite a while now to post a cake recipe. But the main reason I didn't do so far was because, I hadn't baked one for about a month now. Not because of anything else.. But with the New Year and all, I was thinking on reducing the calorie intake. You know !! 

But I couldn't hold out for long. As always, New Year resolutions are meant to be broken ;). So I just found out the perfect excuse and the apt reason for me to bake one :D It was the birthday of three of my darling friends Iman, Pallavi and Lavanya on yesterday, day before and last Saturday.. Yes, we all are part of the same gang who used to hang out together for every breakfast, lunch and tea on weekdays. Quite a co-incidence na that the birthdays are so close !! And yes, we all love foooooodd... So here is it, a dedication from me to you guys ;) So here is my all time favorite dessert, moist chocolate cake which I had with a scoop of ice cream. Trust me, they tasted heavenly thumbs up

Recipe Source : Maria's Menu

I Took: 

Preparation Time : 15 minutes

Cooking Time : 50 minutes

I Used:

    Milk                           - 1½ cups
    Butter                        - 100 gm
    Oil                            - ¼ cup 
    Cocoa Powder              - ½ cup
    Self Raising Flour        - 1 cup (refer notes below)
    Egg                            - 1 beaten (room temp)
    Baking Soda                - ½ tsp
    Sugar                         - 250 gm

    The Way:

    1. Preheat the oven @ 180 C for 10 minutes before baking
    2. Grease your cake mould with butter and keep aside
    3. In a pan mix together milk, butter, oil & coco powder and heat in a medium flame till the butter melts. Then allow it cool to room temperature
    4. In another bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and sugar
    5. Add the beaten egg followed by the cooled wet ingredients to the flour mix
    6. Beat it using a beater till its mixed well
    7. Pour the batter into the greased cake mould and bake for 35-40 minutes @ 180 C or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean


    Substitution for Self Raising flour
            All purpose flour - 1 cup
            Baking powder   - 1 ½ tsp
            Salt                   - ¼ tsp


    Tuesday 29 January 2013

    Oreo Milkshake

    Milkshake with Oreo biscuits

    This one had been bookmarked for quite a long time now. Actually I wanted to make this when we had some kiddo guests the other day. I got the inspiration from my niece who loves the Oreo biscuits like anything. Even if she doesn't get any food, she will be more than happy to adjust (winks) with the Oreo biscuits. So I knew that my kiddo guests would love the drink. But somehow it didn't materialise that day !! 

      And I was in a mood for a chilled chocolaty drink after my lunch one fine day. So here it goes, tada... Happy drinking guys !! Hope you too will enjoy this :-)

    I took: 10 minutes

    Serves: 2 glasses

    I Used:

    Oreo biscuits      -  4 nos
    Ice Cream          -  1 cup
    Milk                   -  2 cups             
    Chocolate          -  4 cubes
    Vanilla Essence   -  1 tsp

    The Way:

    Blend together all the ingredients in a blender. Refrigerate the shake and have a chilly treat :-)


    Wednesday 23 January 2013

    Pineapple Delight

    Pineapple Biscuit Pudding

    Colorful, cheery looking dessert :D, rite ?? This was yet another favorite childhood snack of mine. I was not much a fan of biscuits or fruits back then. But this pudding used to set my spirits high. And I still don't remember where my mom got this recipe from, but her making them and me and my sis ogling at it is still etched in my memory. My mom used to save the cream which she got from boiling milk everyday. And when it was of a considerable amount for the pudding, we would have a pudding day !! Wow.. I simply love those days. 

    This one is definitely easy to make and requires no cooking. So if you want to try out some  new dessert for your weekend party, here goes the recipe.

    I Took: 30 minutes

    Serves: 4-5 servings

    I Used:

    Pineapple         -  ½ a medium sized one 
    Sugar               - ¼ cup
    Marie Biscuits   -  16 nos
    Cream             -  300 ml
    Cashew nuts     -  15-20 nos               
    Almond            -  15-20 nos
    Pista                -  15-20 nos
    Glazed Cherry  -  To decorate

    The Way:

    Prep Part:

    1. Cut pineapple into square pieces, preferably around the same width as that of the biscuits.
    2. Mix the sugar and water in a pan and boil till the sugar melts. Add the pineapple pieces to the sugar solution and keep for a while for the pineapple to absorb in the sweetness.  
    3. You can ignore the above 2 steps and use tinned/preserved pineapples
    4. Chop the nuts finely using a knife or a blender.

    Assembling Part:

    1. In a pudding dish, line the pineapple pieces. 
    2. On top of it, line the biscuits after dipping them in the sugar solution. Use the sugar solution used for the pineapple or the sugar syrup in the tinned pineapples.
    3. Add cream on top of that and sprinkle in the nuts.
    4. Repeat the above order and decorate with chopped cherries on top.
    Refrigerate the pudding for about 2 hours. Serve cold :-)
    Slice out a full portion of pineapple-biscuit-creamy nuts and enjoy the treat.


    Thursday 17 January 2013

    Dosha/Dosa Podi | Idly/Idli Podi

    Ground lentils with red chilly & pepper corns

    It's been almost two weeks since the 'podi' I got from India has been over. I have to tell you it's been a great relief for me not to make side dishes for morning breakfasts during weekdays. Primary thing is I wake up just in nick of time and I will be racking my brain for ideas. And I don't get any !!! So when this podi got over, I was at a loss. So that's when I got the recipe from my Mil and decided to make it. So here's a side dish with a punch for your busy weekday mornings. You can make this over a weekend and store it over for over two months, if it lasts that long ;)

    Recipe Source : Mil

    I took : 20 minutes

    I Used:

    Urd Dal            -  1 cup
    Channa Dal       -  ½ cup
    Red Chilly        -  15-20 nos                                         
    Pepper Corns   -  2 tsp
    Curry leaves    -  10 sprigs
    Asafoetida       -  ¼ tsp
    Salt                 -  As needed

    The Way:

    Dry roast all the ingredients separately and allow them to cool. Coarse grind them together and yo-ho !! Dosha podi is ready to be served with oil for steaming idlys or doshas :-)


    Friday 11 January 2013

    Fish Currywali | Meen Curry | Meen Kuzhambu | Microwave Fish Curry

    Fish cooked in tamarind pulp and curd

    'I am running out of recipes. I don't know what to cook today'. There goes my usual ranting to my mom. I don't like to repeat the dishes quite often. So I always feel I am out of ideas when I decide on what to cook. That's when mom told me what they had for lunch that day. It was this new but old fish curry. New but old coz mom used to make it regularly some years back and then stopped, but now has revived back on the menu as she is on a health plan and cutting low on tamarind (Curd gets her the tangy flavour she needs) !!

    Actually she got this recipe from a microwave recipe book. But neither she nor I did this on microwave :-P (But if somebody else is interested to cook on microwave, do go ahead :-) ) So now I am happy that I have yet another new recipe and here it goes for you guys..

    Recipe Source : Ma's Cookbook

    I took:

    Preparation Time: 15 minutes

    Cooking Time : 30 minutes

    I Used:    

    Fish  -  250 gm
    Onion  -  100 gm or 1 medium
    Tomato  -  100 gm or 1 medium
    Ginger-Garlic paste  -  2 tsp
    Tamarind  -  Small Lemon sized 
    Curd  -  150 gm
    Mustard  -  1 tsp
    Fenugreek seeds  -  1 tsp
    Turmeric powder  -  ¼ tsp
    Red Chilly powder  -  3 tsp
    Coriander powder  -  4 tsp
    Cumin seed powder  -  1 tsp
    Curry leaves  -  1 sprig
    Coriander leaves  -  2 sprig
    Oil  -  As needed
    Salt  -  As needed

    The Way:

    Prep part

    1. Grind the onion and tomatoes separately in a mixer and keep aside
    2. Soak the tamarind in water and extract the pulp
    3. Beat the curd and keep aside

    Cooking part

    1. Heat oil. Add mustard, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves.
    2. When the mustard begins to splutter, add the onion paste followed by the ginger-garlic paste and saute well until the raw smell goes. Add the tomato paste and fry well.
    3. Now add turmeric powder, red chilly powder, coriander powder and cumin seed powder and saute.
    4. Add the tamarind pulp. When it comes to a slow boil, add the cleaned fish pieces and cook in medium flame for 10 mins or until the fish is half done. Add water as required.
    5. Add the beaten curd and coriander leaves and cook on low flame until the fish is well done :-)
    Treat it with rice or dosas :-)


    Adjust the tamarind and curd to suit your taste buds. Add a green chilly in the end if you want to adjust the taste.


    Monday 7 January 2013

    Pineapple Cheese Sticks

    'Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise'. But what if you are not an early bird? Now obviously I am not one. And that comes with serious consequences for my food timings :-( Yeah, I don't like to skip a meal.. But at times weekends make me do that. And that's one lazy eve, I was struck with the idea of making these pineapple cheese sticks.

    I remember having them as starters in an eat-in (forgot the name, maybe I should ask my mom, she will know!!) in Trivandrum, when I was a child.. I loved to wriggle them in my mouth for the perfect blend of the sourness of the pineapple, the salt of the cheese and the sweetness of the cherry.. Oooh.. That was quite a feast those days :-) 

    So here is the recipe of the starter that did make me hungry after a while and lo, I was set off cooking the dinner :)

    I Took: 10 minutes

    I Used:

    Pineapple (Canned or Normal)
    Glazed Cherry
    Tooth Picks

    The Way :

    Cut pineapple into small cubes. I used the middle portion of the pineapple as they are more stiff and less sour. Cut the cheese also in the same shape as that of the pineapple. Cut the cherries into half. Onto each toothpick, insert the pineapple, followed by the cheese and then the cherry.

    The sticks are now ready to be served :-)


    Wednesday 2 January 2013

    Rava Kesari | Sooji Halwa | Semolina Halwa

    Sweet of semolina cooked in ghee and sugar

    And come here begins a new year with aspirations, expectations and of course resolutions !!! As like every other time, I had no intentions of taking resolutions as I know there wouldn't be justice served ;) Then suddenly a thought struck me today morn... Why not challenge myself into taking one or two resolutions that I would love to keep up?? So here is the result, a half year long wish to start a blog. And what better way to start a cookbook blog other than with a sweet. So here I begin with my all time favorite 'Kesari' - supple, ready to melt in mouth and easy to make sweet. Wishing you all a Happy New Year :) :)

    Recipe Source: Ma

    I Took : 30 minutes

    Serves: 30-35 pieces

    I Used :

    Rava/Semolina  -  1 cup 
    Sugar                -  1 ½ cup
    Water               -  2 ½ cups
    Ghee                -  8 tbsp
    Cashew nuts      -  6-8 no
    Cardamom        -  2-3 no
    Food Colour      -  2 pinch

    The Way :

    1. Powder sugar along with cardamom in a mixer. Sieve off the pods of cardamom from the powdered sugar & keep aside
    2. Mix the food colour in 2 tbsp water and keep aside
    3. Heat ghee in a flat bottomed vessel or pan. Fry the cashews in it till golden brown and keep aside
    4. In the same ghee fry the semolina in a medium flame until it turns light golden brown in colour. Keep it aside
    5. Add water to the pan. When it starts to boil add the roasted semolina, the food colour and reduce the flame . Stir continuously to make sure that no lumps are formed. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until the semolina is cooked well
    6. Add the powdered sugar and mix well. Adding sugar will make the mixture  a little moist. So stir well & continuously, leaving no lumps
    7. Keep stirring until it becomes a mass & starts to leave the sides of the vessel. Add the roasted nuts, give a quick stir & switch off
    8. Transfer to a ghee greased bowl or container of the desired shape. Cut into square or diamond shapes before serving

    Notes :

    • Always take care to add sugar only after the semolina is cooked well, else it can compromise the taste & texture of the kesari
    • This semolina-sugar ratio is of good sweetness. Adjust sugar according to your preference
    • Do not compromise on ghee as it is what makes the dish special. Feel free to add more if you prefer !
    • Adding milk instead of water gives a more rich flavour and aroma. In that case, increase the quantity of food colour for a darker look
    • Common food colours used are saffron and yellow !!
    • Kesari can be refrigerated & relished for 1 or 2 days. Then heat it for a minute or two in microwave before serving 
    • Addition of milk decreases shelf life
    • You can also add essence to the kesari, pineapple being the most commonly used one



    *Updated with new pics on 07/09/2013