Thursday, March 28, 2013


Kozhukkatta is a traditional south Indian snack, which is basically a steamed rice dumpling. There are different versions of Kozhukkatta, depending on the type of the filling. The filling can be either sweet or savory.  For this particular version, I have used coconut and jaggery mix as the filling.
The Christian population of Kerala traditionally makes this for Easter. I found some references that say that this is to commemorate the stoning of Jesus Christ on his way to the cross - and that these represent the stones. But being the peace loving person that I am,  I prefer to believe that this is a local version of the Easter eggs. Hence I shaped them like Easter eggs and not like rocks.

Rice flour - 1 cup
Grated coconut - 1 cup
Jaggery - 150 gm
Crushed Cardamom - 2
Water - 1 &1/4  to 1 &1/2cup
Salt to taste
Heat a pan and melt the jaggery with 1/4 cup of water and strain the jaggery with a strainer.
Reheat the jaggery. Add grated coconut and keep stirring until it turns to thick consistency. Add crushed cardamom and remove from fire.Keep this aside
Boil 1 1/2 cup of water with salt. Pour the boiled water to the rice flour little by little and mix it with a spoon. Keep it aside till it is warm enough to handle
Knead the dough and make it into a soft ball. Make medium size balls out of the dough. Take one ball at a time and place it in your greased  palm and  flatten it gently to a circle, and keep about  1 tbs filling and bring all  together and seal it by pressing ends.Now roll it back it into a ball or an egg as I did.
Repeat this with the rest of the dough and filling.
Steam the balls or kozhukatta for 10 minutes on a medium flame. Keep it covered for 2 more minutes.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Kashmiri Dum Aloo

Almost a decade ago, when I was not into the internet in a big way, the primary sources of good recipes for me used to be my mother, my grand-mother or MIL. Other than these direct sources, I also used to collect recipes from TV shows or magazines.I used to note down the ones that I found good in a notebook and used to refer to those when I wanted to make it again. This recipe of Kashmiri Dum aloo is one such recipe that I had in my recipe book. All of us used to like this dish quite a lot and it was a good one to serve for a dinner or to take to a potluck, as it is quite an eye-pleaser. I used to make it quite often during those days.
How the times have changed! Now a days I rarely ever need to refer a book for recipes. It is all just a click away. With so many wonderful new things to try out from around the globe, I hardly ever made this dish in the last many years. By chance I was flipping through my recipe book the other day and since I had some nice Idaho baby potatoes with me, wanted to try it out. And as always it turned out to be wonderful both in taste and in presentation.

For Aloo:
Medium potatoes - 5-6 numbers
Raisins - 1 tbs
Cashews - 1tbs, powdered coarsely
Cream - 1 tbs
Salt - to taste

For Gravy:
Tomatoes pureed and strained -3
Capsicum finely chopped - 1
Onions chopped into strips - 1
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Cardamoms -2
Cloves - 3
Peppercones - 3
Cinnamon piece - 1/2 inch
Ba:y leaf -1
Kasoori methi-1 tsp
Water -1 1/2 cups
Cream -2 tbs
Coriander leaves, chopped - 1/2 tbsp
Refined oil - 2 tbs
Salt - to taste

Onion Paste:
Onions - 2, medium
Ginger piece - 1/2 inch.
Red Kashmiri Chillies  or  Paprika - 4-5
Mint leaves - 8-10
Cloves and garlic - 5 (optional)

For Aloo:
Peel and boil potatoes till they are half done. Cool and core with a potato scoop. Mix raisins, potato scooping, cashew, cream and salt. Stuff this mix into the potato hollows and keep them aside.

For Gravy:
Heat oil, add onions and stir-fry till brown. Drain and keep aside. Stir-fry capsicum till done, drain and keep aside. Add whole spices to the oil, allow to splutter and then add the onion paste and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato puree, masalas and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add water, sugar,kasoori methi, salt and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.Add the cream and give a nice stir
Now put the potatoes in a casserole and pour the gravy over them. Sprinkle the stir-fried onions and capsicum over this and cover with aluminium foil. Bake in the oven at 200 degree C for 20 minutes. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mulaku Baji/Mirchi Baji

When I was pregnant with Aishwarya I didn't have any cravings as such. But one day almost into my 8th month while out shopping  I saw a street vendor selling Mulaku/Mirchi baji outside the mall. So I asked my hubby dear if I could have it. My friends, can you guess what Jai did. No he didn't get me that. Instead  he gave me a big lecture on how unhygienically  it is being prepared and what it would do to me and the baby. To this day I hold this against him and poor fellow he is still looking for a way to compensate for that.
So if you or any one in your family is longing for some fiery mulaku baji  here ends your search.
Ingredients :
Banana peppers-5/8
1 cup  Besan/ chickpea flour
2tbs Rice flour
1/2 teaspoon Asafoetida
1/2 to 1/4 teaspoon Red chili powder
1/8teaspoon Baking soda
Salt to taste
Cooking oil to deep fry
Method  :
Make lengthwise slits on the sides of the peppers without splitting the pepper,remove the seeds see that you do not split the peppers while deseeding.If you are a person who has very little tolerance to hot peppers soak the peppers in hot salted water for 15 minutes.Meanwhile mix rest of the ingredients to a smooth batter the consistency should be that of dosa batter. Dip each pepper in the batter to coat well on all sides. Deep fry them in hot oil on medium heat until crisp and cooked. Once cooked remove from the oil and drain them in kitchen towel. Serve hot.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Homemade Shamrock Shake

Today being Sunday and it being the St.Patrick's day, I thought of making all things green. We had green eggs for breakfast, spinach rice for lunch and I made this Shamrock Shake as a dessert/drink. Shamrock Shake is a seasonal drink that McDonald's introduced to celebrate St.Patrick's Day. I have never tasted the real one but Aishwarya had and she thinks this is very close to the real one,though mintier and yummier by her standards.
Happy St.Patrick's Day!
Recipe source:Cupcakes & Cashmere
3 cups vanilla ice cream
1½ cups whole milk
½ teaspoon mint extract
Green food coloring
Salt a pinch

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 In a large bowl, beat cream until medium peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.Set this aside.Or you can skip this and use a store bought whipped cream.
 In a blender, combine all shake ingredients and process until thick and fully incorporated. Pour into glasses .Top with whipped cream, and garnish with mint sprigs.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

French Coconut Pie

Today being the Pi Day (3/14), Aishwarya wanted a pie. As it was not a holiday, I didn't have much time to work on anything complicated. So I searched for the simplest recipe possible and came up with this one.I could whip this up in no time as the filling was super easy and I used a store brought pie crust. I  would definitely make this easy and tasty pie again.

Recipe Source:Tasty Kitchen
3 whole Eggs, Beaten
1-½ cup Sugar
1 cup Flaked Coconut (unsweetened)
1 stick Butter, Melted
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 pinch Salt
1 whole 9" Uncooked Pie Shell / Homemade crust
Mix filling ingredients well and pour into the pie shell. Bake at 350F for 1 hour.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Ja Jiang Mein

This is an original recipe of Martin Yan, our Chinese cooking guru, slightly modified to suit our taste. As per the chef, Chinese men cook this easy dish when they invites dates over. As today was a very tiring day for me, I was not in a mood to cook.  Jai wanted to impress me with his culinary skills and went over some recipes he had saved to try. He made this in under 15 minutes.. And he did a fairly good job of impressing me with this easy and delicious dish
For the Sauce:
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup sweet bean paste
1 tbsp chile garlic sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp oil

Rest of the ingredients:
10 oz. dried wheat noodles
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup diced onion
1 cup soy granules, soaked and drained (or ground meat)
2 cup chopped spinach

Make a sauce by combining all the ingredients listed under sauce. Cook the noodles as per the package directions, rinse with cold water and drain.
In a hot wok, add oil, swirl to coat the sides, add the garlic and cook stirring for about 10 sec. Add the onion, stir-fry until almost translucent. Add the soy granules and cook for about 1 min. Add the spinach along with the sauce and cook until the sauce boils and thickens slightly. Now toss the noodles with the sauce.
Serving suggestion:
Serve with  thinnely julienned cucumber and carrots.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Buttermilk Cornbread

It had been quite cold for the last couple of days. Ideal for some hot chili. Even though chili itself is a complete meal, we like to have something solid to go along with that. So I made these cornbread to go along with this. It tastes like freshly baked pound cake, though with a grainier texture. The sweetness of the cornbread nicely complements the spiciness of the chili. You could have this as a stand alone snack also if you like to.
Recipe Source: Allrecipes
 1/2 cup butter
 2/3 cup white sugar
 2 eggs
 1 cup buttermilk
 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
 1 cup cornmeal
 1 cup all-purpose flour
 1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Apple Pie Chimichangas

When it comes to food and nutrition, I am very paranoid - especially if it concerns Aishwarya's diet. I become so restless if she doesn't get her daily dose of fruits and veggies. Some of this seems to have rubbed off Jay also. These days even when I tend to go a little bit easy on things once a while, he would be the one to become so concerned.
During the weekends and holidays since we spend more time at home we tend to snack more and end up not having the normal helping of fruits. One way to overcome this problem is to have the fruit itself made up as a snack or a light meal or dessert. This way I don't have to worry about the daily intake of fruits any more.
And this recipe for Chimichangas is an excellent one that serves this purpose. Chimichangas are fried burritos - you can have it with sweet or savory filling. Here I have used the apple pie filling for making Chimichangas

Recipe Source:

For the Apple Pie Filling
4 baking apples, chopped ( used a mix of granny smith and gala apples)
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbs. lemon juice
1tbs butter

For the Chimichangas
8-10 small tortillas
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs. cinnamon
Oil for frying

For the Apple Pie Filling
Combine the water, cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for approximately 3 minutes, or until the mixture becomes very thick.
Add the chopped apples and reduce to a simmer along with butter. Allow the apple mixture to simmer until the apples become just tender (approximately 10 minutes). Allow the mixture to cool.

For the Chimichangas
Mix cinnamon and sugar in a shallow bowl and set aside.
Spoon apple pie filling across the bottom 1/3 of the tortilla.Roll in both sides of the tortilla before rolling up the bottom of the tortilla over the filling, and then continue to roll the tortilla up like a burrito.

Meanwhile, heat a small skillet with 1/2 an inch of oil or 1 tablespoon. Once oil is hot, fry the chimichangas on all sides until the tortilla turns golden brown. (approximately 30 seconds on each side) or you can spray the chimichangas with oil and bake it at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove the chimichangas to a paper towel-lined plate and allow to drain briefly. Immediately roll the warm chimichanga in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat and serve.
You can serve the chimichangas drizzled with caramel sauce if you desire.
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