Sunday, October 27, 2013


I am yet to find a place in the Bay Area where you can get fresh Jangiris. When we travel to India also, it is difficult to bring this back as all the syrup would get leaked out of the jangiris, spoiling the rest of the luggage.
When we were back from India this summer, I had brought loads of laddu, peda and other dry sweets back to US with me and been having those to my heart's content. But with Diwali approaching, I wanted to make something fresh and as I was fed up with all those dry sweets, thought of making this for a change.As you can see anyone can make these if you have a little time and some patience.

Whole de-skinned urad dal-1 cup
Rice flour - 1 tsp
Orange food color- 1/2 pinch
Salt A pinch
For Sugar syrup
Sugar-4 cups
water-2 cups
Lemon juice 1/2 tsp
Rose essence 4 drops
Clove - 4 (optional)
Soak urad dal for 2 hrs and grind with very little water (Approximately  1/ 4 cup). Batter should be thick as a cake batter, fluffy and smooth. Mix a pinch of salt, food color and rice flour and mix well.
Make the sugar syrup using water, clove and listed amount of sugar. Syrup should be one string consistency. Add lemon juice, food color and lastly essence, mix well. Now take a zip lock bag and make a hole with a heated nail.or you can use a piping bag and use the smallest piping circle tip. Fill the bag with batter and practice making a few on a plate.
Start with a circle and over it, draw small swirl like circles.
Then heat a flat bottomed pan with  oil always keep the heat at medium.When the oil is hot squeeze the batter directly into the oil in the same manner you have practiced.
Repeat the same to make more to fill  the pan.
Once the jangris gets cooked and becomes light,turn over and cook till crisp and then take out carefully and transfer to the sugar syrup. Leave fried jangris in hot sugar syrup for 2-3 minutes.Take out and leave  to rest for a while say 1/2 hour. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mexican -Style Pasta (Fideo Seco)

Since the beginning of fall I am in the mood for spicy food. So in order  to satisfy my craving I wanted to make something really, really spicy yet easy to make. Then I remembered this Mexican style pasta which I hadn't made for a while. Previously I used to make it from scratch, but this time around, I tweaked it a bit to make it even easier to make on a working day. On the final count, I think it tasted even better than how I used to make it earlier and I couldn't help sharing it with you all.
8 oz. spaghetti,broken
1 jar good quality pasta sauce with onion and garlic
1/2 cup  white onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth/vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chipotle chile plus 1-2 tbs adobo sauce (optional)
3 tbs vegetable oil
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup feta cheese or  queso fresco
1/2 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
1 ripe Hass avocado
Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Saute the noodles, stirring constantly (to prevent the noodles from burning), until the noodles turn a deep golden brown. Add  onion, garlic, and  chilies; continue to saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add the tomatao sauce  it is going to sizzle cook until the puree thickens and darkens,5 to 6 minutes Slowly pour in the chicken broth and bay leaves .  Stir to combine; season lightly with pepper.  (You can substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.) Cook stirring occasionally  for 10 to 12 minutes till pasta is done.Serve with cream ,cheese and avocado on top.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Classic Chocolate Layer Cake

Today is my birthday! For this birthday, Jay and Aishwarya asked me what sort of cake I would like them to make for me; and I wanted something loaded with chocolate. I had seen this recipe at Annie's Eats sometime back and had bookmarked it. So all it needed from me was to direct them to this. They made this chocolate wonder and which surely made my special day even more special.
Recipe source: Annies eats
1¼ cups (6¼ oz.) all-purpose flour
1 cup (3 oz.) unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting the pans
2 tsp. instant espresso or coffee powder
1 cup boiling water
½ cup sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¾ cups (12¼ oz.) sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
For the frosting:
9.5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
4 tbsp. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. sour cream
To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.  In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa powder, espresso powder, and boiling water.  Whisk until smooth; set aside to cool slightly.  When cooled down a bit, whisk in the sour cream and vanilla.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.  Gradually blend in the sugar and whip on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes more.  Blend in the eggs one at a time.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; whisk to blend.

With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the sour cream mixture, beating each addition just until incorporated.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.  Bake the cake layers for about 23-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans during halfway through to ensure even baking.  Transfer the baked cake layers to a wire rack and let cool in the pans at least 30 minutes before inverting onto the rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water or microwave the chocolate for 30 seconds give a stir and microwave for another 30 seconds.Stir and now microwave at 10 second intervals till the chocolate melts.  Set aside to cool until just barely warm.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Gradually mix in the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder and salt.  Beat in the melted and cooled chocolate and then the sour cream.  Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and well blended.

To assemble the cake, place one of the cake layers on a cake board or serving platter.  Spread an even layer of the frosting over the top of the cake.  Top with the second cake layer.  Frost the top and sides of the cake again using an offset spatula or spoon for a soft, billowy appearance.  Slice and serve.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Kappa Puzhukku

Kappa (kasava/tapioca), is something that brings about nostalgic memories of Kerala for most Malayalees.
So whenever I miss a piece of Kerala, I pick this out at the supermarket, but most of the time I pick up the frozen ones as these are easier to work with. There are different ways of cooking Kappa, but this one is the preparation that we make most often.
 Kappa (tapioca) - 500gm
 Grated coconut - 1 to 2 cups ( If you love more coconut add 2 cups)
 Turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon
 Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp
 Green chillies - 3 to 4
 Garlic-2 cloves
 Small onions - 1
 Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
 Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
 Coconut oil - 1 table spoon
 Cut the tapioca into small pieces. Bring a big pot of water to a boil.. Add tapioca pieces and close with a lid. When the tapioca is 3/4th done, drain the water. Dissolve 1/4 tea spoon turmeric powder in 1/4 cup of ware and pour into the tapioca Mix and cook for 1-2 minutes,
 Grind coconut, 1/4 tea spoon turmeric powder, cumin seeds,garlic and chillies in a grinder for 10-15 seconds. add this to the tapioca. Cover and cook on low flame for 3-4 minutes. Mix with a spoon.
 Heat oil in a pan. Splutter mustard seeds. Fry thinly sliced onion and curry leaves . Add this into the tapioca and mix well.
 Recipe source: Paakam
Ingredients for onion chamanthi
Red chilli-6
Tamarind-1 tsp
Coconut oil-1tsp
Salt to taste
Crush onion and chillis in a mortar or a food processor. Add salt and mix. Keep half of this aside
Add tamarind to one half of onion- chilli mix, add coconut oil and mix well. One chammanthi is ready.To the other portion add curd and mix you have another delicious chamanthi ready.
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