Sunday, January 29, 2012

Chakka Varatti / Jackfruit Halwa

Chakka varatti is a speciality of Kerala. Typically these are made during the summer season when the Jackfruits are in abundance as a way of preserving the fruit.  During the summers my mom's kitchen would have at least one uruli (thick bottomed bell metal cookware) bubbling with chakka varatti in progress. I was such a lover of this that on some days I would have just this alone for break fast. Though it may sound a bit weird to some, if you were a jackfruit and sweet lover like me, you won't mind having it as breakfast yourself. As a fruit preserve, this can be stored for months altogether and can be converted into the chakka pradhaman (the jackfruit payasam) in a jiffy. This way you can enjoy the goodness of jackfruit, year round, even when jackfruits are not in season.
Jackfruit - 7 cups
Jaggery - 1 kg
Dry ginger powder - 1 tsp
Cardamom powder - 1 tsp
Ghee -  2 to 3 tbsp or as required
Cashews - 2 tbsp optional
Take a heavy bottom pan and add ghee, melted and starined jaggery, and pureed jackfruit.  Stir continuously until it becomes thick and the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and roll to form a soft ball. Add dry ginger powder, cardamom powder and ghee roasted cashew.Transfer it to a greased plate.Cut into desired shapes when it cools.
Sending this to Kerala Kitchen hosted by Kaveri 
Kerala Kitchen - Jan 1st to 31st 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Vangi Bhath /Spicy Eggplant Rice

Literally translated "Vangi Bhath" would be, eggplant rice. This spicy rice preparation is from South India, but surprisingly it is not popular in Kerala, the southern most state. I got introduced to this dish during my college days in Bangalore, the present day Bengaluru. Being an eggplant lover, I loved it the first time I tried this. If you love eggplants and hasn't tried this yet, this is a must try for you. I am sure you will love this.

Cooked Jasmine or Basmati rice- 2cups
For Vangi Bhath Masala:
Cinnamon sticks -1" piece
Cloves -5
Chana dal -1 tbsp
Coriander seeds-1 tbsp
Urad dal -1 tbsp
Dry Red Chillies -to taste
Sesame-1 tsp
Dry roast the following in low flame on a heavy bottomed skillet: Cinnamon Stick, Cloves and Channa Daal. After a minute or two, add in Coriander Seeds, Urad Daal and Red Chillies and roast till you get a color and aroma. Add the sesame and toss well before removing from fire. Once done, transfer to a plate or a bowl and allow it to cool down. Once the spices have cooled down, grind to a fine powder and set aside till ready to use.
Rest of the ingredients:
Eggplant/Brinjal -2 medium sized (cut into big chunks)
Mustard seeds -1 tsp
Chana dal -1 tbsp
Raw Peanuts -2 tbsp
Curry leaves -1 sprig
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Potatoes-1/2 cup(1"piece)
Green Beans -1/2 cup (1" piece)
Garlic-2 cloves
Tamarind Pulp- 1/4 cup or soak a small lime sized tamarind in warm water for 15 mins and extract the juice
Dry Coconut Powder -1 tbsp
Jaggery -1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Cilantro-to garnish

Heat oil in a pan.Once hot, add mustard Seeds and allow them to pop. Add the chana daal and saute for a few seconds. Add the raw peanuts and fry them till the daal and the peanuts turns golden brown. Remove all this and set aside. Now in the same pan add 2 tbs more or so of oil and fry the eggplant,potatoes and beans along with turmeric powder,curry leaves and garlic.When the veggies are three-fourth done, add the Vangibhath masala,tamarind juice,salt, jaggery,dry coconut powder and cooked rice along with the fried seasoning. Mix well and serve hot after garnishing with cilantro along with raitha.
Sending this over to Radhika's Let's Cook Sereis # 11 ~ Rice

to Cooking Challenge - Flavors of Tamilnadu by Vidhya and also  to Dish out-Brinjal & Garlic  hosted by Sangeetha's, an event by Vardhini  along with Eggplant Parmesanand Eggplant in Plum Sauce

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hot Cranberry Drink

We had a mild winter until last week. But now the temperatures have dropped down and it has become windy and rainy.  What this means is that, no one at home, including me, doesn't like to have our daily fruits. Even the fluid intake has gone down drastically  from a minimum of 8 cups to barely 5 cups or so. I  was searching for a drink that is warm and has fruit in it and here it was.. An ideal drink for those cold and wet days. Also, it being loaded with the goodness of vitamin C and warm spices, would be a good cold remedy too.
Recipe adapted from
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
6 cups water, divided
1 cup sugar
3 (3 inch) cinnamon sticks
7 whole cloves
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

In a large saucepan, bring cranberries and 2 cups water to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 5-7 minutes or until berries pop. Stir in  sugar, cinnamon and cloves, return to a boil.Simmer till the sugar is dissoloved for about 5 minutes. Strain; discard pulp ,cloves and cinnamon sticks.Add orange,lemon juices and rest of the water  heat though. Serve hot.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Idlli Manchurian

I  have a little princess   at home who doesn't like to eat leftovers. So on those days that I have leftovers I make it a point to rejuvenate and present it as a new dish to satisfy my little one.This is one such dish which is a hot favorite of us all.
A day old refrigerated Idlli-8
Garlic cloves-3
Onion -1
Carrot sliced-1/2 cup
Bell pepper-1/2
Chilli paste/Sambal paste-1tbs
Green onion-1/2 cup
Soy sauce-1 tbs
Tomato ketchup-2tbs
Sweet chilli sauce-1/2 tsp
Pepper -1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Cut the idilli into 4 to 5 pieces and deep fry till lightly golden and crisp on the outside.Heat another pan with 2 tablespoon of oil and add garlic and ginger cut finely.After about 10 seconds add sliced onion and carrots, when  onion turns translucent add bell peppers and saute for 2 minutes. Add all the sauces along with pepper and salt to this.Add the fried idlli and coat them well with the sauce and the green onion, stir for another 10 seconds and remove from stove.Serve hot.
Sending this over to Lets Cook With Left Overs event at Simply.Food 

and  Cooking with left overs an event by Kalyani  hosted  by Veena

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Kerala Boli

Boli is a sweet delicacy which always brings sweet memories of my childhood; that of me and my brothers having packet-fulls of this. I could never stop at one or two; my minimum always is 5. And still whenever I am at my parent's place, my mom sees to it that there is enough of boli on the table to satisfy my craving. Though I like this so much, I had never tried making this myself since we always could get good quality ones in Kerala; even though I make a good Obattu/Pooranpoli,a close relative of boli. As the last time I had boli was about 6 months back during my last trip to India, I was really craving for some nice,soft and yummy boli. So I decided to give this a try and here is the result for all to see.

One mistake I made was that I made the balls a little too big; and as my skillet was not that big, I couldn't really go for the thinnest boli possible, even though the dough turned out to be so stretchable that I could have made these bolies much more thinner than it turned out to be. Yet it was so soft and yummy not just the same day, but even after a day.

Chana Dal (split black-chickpeas) - 2 cups
Sugar - 1 1/2 cup (or to individual taste)
All purpose flour - 2 cups
Ghee - 1 cup
Gingilly oil - 1/2 cup
Cardamom (powdered) - 3/4 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp


In a mixing bowl add all purpose flour, ghee, salt and oil; add water slowly while mixing and kneading to make a soft dough.  The dough should be soft and almost like slipping through your fingers. Cover and set dough aside for at least ten minutes.

Cook the dal in 3 cups of water till about 3/4 th done. Drain the water and puree this. Put this in a thick bottom vessel and add  the sugar and cook till it becomes dry. Now add cardomom to this and once it has cooled down, make small balls the size of a small lime with this paste.
Make the dough into small balls (equal in number as above).  Take the dough ball in your hand and spread it with your fingers to form a disc. Now put the dal ball in the middle and seal the edges by wrapping the dough around to form a ball. Now roll this ball to a circle (the thinnest you can), using a rolling pin, and sprinkling enough of all purpose flour so that the dough doesn't stick. Cook this on a skillet, heated to medium heat, on either side, just like you make roti or chapatti.
Serve a such or along with payasam.
Sending this to Kerala Kitchen hosted by Kaveri 

and to Kid's Delight :Something Sweet an event by Srivalli hosted by Kavi

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pav Bhaji

For this week's  Blog Hop Wednesday  I am paired with Shree. As Jai was on a business trip this week I was not in a mood to try anything new, yet waned to make something that I haven't blogged so far. My search ended when I saw this recipe. As usual I adapted it  a bit to our taste. It was just  wonderful to dig into this  while  listening to  Aishwarya's update on school and friends.
Recipe adapted from shreezexperiments
For the bhaji:
Cauliflower /Beetroot - 1 cup chopped or grated
Peas - 1/2 cup
Bell peppers - 1/2  thinly sliced
carrot - 1 grated
Potato - 3 medium
Onion - 1 cup finely chopped
Tomato - 1 1/2 cup finely chopped
Garlic paste-1tsp
Pav bhaji masala - 1 1/2 tbsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tbsp (reduce if you do not like the bhaji hot!)
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Kasuri methi-1 tsp
Black salt -1/2 tsp optional
Salt to taste
Pav or dinner rolls

For Garnishing / Serving:
Cilantro - 3 tbsp
lemon wedges

Steam cauliflower/ beetroot, peas, carrot and potato and keep aside. Heat a pan with 2 tablespoons of  butter or oil,add onion and ginger garlic paste,saute till onion turns transparent and  ginger garlic paste gives a cooked smell. Now add the bell peppers and fry for a minute,then add tomatoes,salt,pav bhaji masala and red chilli powder. Saute this till tomatoes turns soft and mushy and then add all the veggies, along with 1/2  a cup of water and stir well.
Simmer for 5 min and mash with a potato masher so that all the veggies get mixed well, add butter if desired.
Add a bit of water, if you feel the bhaaji is too thick.
Simmer the bhaji  for a few mins (10 mins should do). Towards the end of 10 minutes add kasuri methi, black salt and cilatro.
Serve this along with butter toasted dinner rolls or pav, a dollop of butter,few onion slices and a squeeze of lemon
Sending this over to Radhika's

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mediterranean Pizza

Friday nights are pizza nights for us. But the last Friday,  when I checked my refrigerator, I realized that I had so much of left-overs from the New Year celebrations that I decided to make it a left-over Friday instead! So to make up for that (and owing to the persistent demands of the pizza lovers in my family), I ended up making this pizza today. As it was a Sunday, I wanted to make something simple, easy, yet delicious; and this was the perfect choice.

Serves: 3-4
Crust Ingredients:
3/4 cup water (110-115 degrees, preferably)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons butter, melted or very softened
2 1/2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon yeast
Crumbled feta cheese
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Minced Parsley
Red onion, sliced
Black olives, chopped
Sliced tomato
Chilli flakes
Dried oregano
Olive oil, to top

Proof the yeast by mixing with lukewarm water and sugar.Add butter and flour,knead for  6-8 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Set dough in  a bowl and grease the top. Cover with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for about 45 minutes. After dough has risen the first time, punch down and knead until air bubbles are removed.
Liberally butter a 16-inch round pizza pan, and press dough onto pan.  Then top with veggies and cheeses of your choice. Let the dough rise for 15-20 minutes (as the oven heats up).
Place pizza in oven and turn heat to 400 degrees. Bake for 10 minutes; rotate crust and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until top is browned. (Be sure to watch so it doesn't burn; every oven is different!)
 When pizza is browned, turn off heat and open oven door. Leave pizza in oven until ready to serve.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Curried Zucchini 'N Potato Soup

I am a soup lover. Many of my friends find this hard to believe as they all think that I only eat ,drink and dream of desserts. I came up with  this recipe today and believe me, it was real good. We enjoyed this soup to the last drop. Friends, do give this a try and I am sure you will love this simple soup in this cold weather. 
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1tablespoon butter
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon curry powder
salt to taste
2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1 inch slices
2 potatoes cooked and cubed
4 cups chicken stock/vegetable stock
1tablespoon allpurpose flour
Heat the oil and butter in a large pot. Saute the onion, and season with curry powder and salt. Saute until onions are translucent. Add  zucchini, and cook until tender. Stir in the flour. Pour in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and  simmer 10 minutes. Remove soup from heat. Use a hand blender, or transfer in batches to a blender, and blend until almost smooth. Add the cubed potatoes and simmer for another 10 mintues.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


HAPPY 2012!!  
I can't imagine any new beginning without chocolate and cake. So to celebrate the start of 2012, I thought of making these delicious and cute lamingtons, which is an Australian delicacy. Talking about Australia, today is also the birthday of my one and only SIL, who is settled in Australia - one more reason for me to have this cake on this special day! Dedicating these lamingtons to my SIL and all you wonderful friends of mine, who visit my blog and keeps me motivated to make the whole year a  reason for celebration.
Recipe adapted from Ria's Collection & What'sCookingAmerica
For the cake:
All purpose flour-2cup
Baking powder-2 heaped tsp
Baking Soda-1/2 tsp
Salt-1/4 tsp
Butter-125 g
Sugar-7 tbsp, powdered
Milk-1 1/4 cup
Vanilla extract-1/2-1 tsp

Raspberry preserve-3 tbs (for layering)

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Beat butter and sugar together till light and fluffy.Add in the eggs one by one and beat it well after each addition.Add flour and milk alternately starting and ending with flour. Add in the vanilla extract.If the batter is thick, add more milk and make it to the right consistency. Pour into a prepared cookie sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 C/350 F for 15 mins. Cool and cut the cake into small 2x2 inch squares.I coated half of my squares with raspberry preserve and stacked the uncoated ones on top of them.

For the chocolate coating
4 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
2 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut


Place the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, butter, and milk in a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir the mixture until it is smooth and of pouring consistency. Remove from heat.  NOTE: You don't want the liquid to get too thin as the cake won't absorb the frosting properly.

To assemble the Lamingtons:

Place some paper or plastic wrap under the wire racks to catch any dripping frosting. Place the cake squares on the racks and have your warm Chocolate Frosting and coconut ready. NOTE: If the frosting starts to set while using, stand bowl in hot water until frosting thins down.
Quickly spoon or ladle the warm Chocolate Frosting over the chocolate squares, and then let the cake drain. Coat each cake square on all sides in the Chocolate Frosting. NOTE: It is best to just do a few cake squares as a time.
Using a small knife or spatula, gently roll each coated cake square in the coconut. Repeat with remaining cake squares. Set the cakes aside to dry before serving.
Once the Lamingtons have set, store in an airtight container for several days.
Sending this over to Chocolate Fest event at Srav's Culinary Concepts
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