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Friday, November 8, 2013

Simple Tomato soup

This is very easy and simple soup with clean flavors also known as Tomato Shorba. This is my favorite.Pair it with a nice spicy rice or a Sandwich and you have a handsome dinner in hand. Yumm!

Here goes the recipe.

Ingredients :

Tomato - 5 medium (chopped)
Carrot - 1 chopped
Red Onion - 1 small
Garlic - 2 cloves
Ginger - 1/2 piece
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Cilantro for garnish

Method :

In a vessel take around 2 cups water and add the whole tomatoes, carrots and let it cook well. In another pan sauté the onions, garlic and ginger well. Peel the tomatoes and put it in a mixer grinder along with the sautéed onions, garlic, ginger and make a fine paste by adding water.

Strain this paste adding a cup of water. Pour it in a vessel and heat again on gas until the soup boils. Add salt, pepper and garnish with cilantro and serve hot.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Zebra Cake

This is a beautiful looking cake...without any icing or decoration. When u cut into this cake the alternate paterrns of black and white look so beautiful and it is tasty too. Now,  I think u all know now why this is called a Zebra cake. This recipe  was lying in my draft for a long time. I wanted to post this a long time back, but someow missed it. I have followed this recipe from the AZ Cook book blog. This is one super interesting blog for bakers. They have some amazing baking recipes... do Check it out. This is the recipe I followed. I will be anyways I will write it down again here as I always do..:) I didn't make any changes to the actual recipe. I just use 1/4 tsp vanilla essence instead of the powder...:)

These measurements are for a 9" Round cake pan.

Ingredients :

Eggs - 4 (Large)
Sugar - 1 cup
Milk - 1 cup
Vegetable / Canola Oil - 1 cup
All Purpose flour - 2 cups
Vanilla Essence - 1/4 Tsp
Baking Powder - 1 Tbsp
Dark Cocoa Powder - 2 Tbsp

Things needed :

Electric Hand mixer / OR stand mixer
Few mixing bowls
A wire whisk
9"  Cake pan
Cake release / or butter/ oil to grease the pan

Method :

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).

Lightly grease your cake pan with cake release or plain butter and flour method. You can even line your pan with a parchment sheet. I vouch by Cake release by wilton. It works like a wonder.

Start with taking 2 separate mixing bowls. One for the dry and one for the wet mixture. Let us start with the wet mixture first.

In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, vanilla essence and sugar. Beat the mixture until it turns creamy and light in color
Now, add the milk and oil to it and continue beating until its well blended.
In a separate bowl, combine all the dry items. Sieve the flour and baking powder together into the bowl. I normally sieve my flour n other dry ingredients so that they mix in properly and also there r no lumps of any sort in the mixture. Now using a whisk mix the dry mix so that the baking powder is mixed in well into the flour.
Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients mixing in between every addition of dry mixture to wet...and beat just until the batter is smooth and the dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.  (DO NOT OVERBEAT to prevent air pockets from forming in the batter.

The consistency of the batter should neither be too thick nor too loose. If the mixture is too thin, add a little more flour and mix well.

Divide the mixture into 2 equal portions. Keep one portion plain. Add cocoa powder to the other and mix well.

The most important part is assembling the cake batter in a baking pan. Start with the plain batter first. Use 2 big ladles. One for the plain batter and other for the chocolate one. First pour 1 big ladle of plain batter in the center of the greased cake pan. Now immediately take a ladle full or if the chocolate batter and pour in the center of the plain batter. Keep alternating between the plain and chocolate batter until both your batter r over. U can play with how many chocolate n plain rings you want in your cake.

Some tips from the actual recipe :  IMPORTANT! Do not stop and wait until the previous batter spreads - KEEP GOING! Do not spread the batter or tilt the pan to distribute the mixture. It will spread by itself and fill the pan gradually. Continue alternating the batters until you finish them. The pictures below will guide you through

Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes. Do not open the oven door at least the first 20 minutes or the cake will shrink and will not rise.
To check your cake for doneness insert a toothpick into the center of your cake. It should come out clean when ready.

Remove from the oven. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 mins. Now run a small thin knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake, then invert the cake onto a cooking rack. Turn the cake back over and let cool. You can sprinkle the top of the cake with some powdered sugar or just leave it plain and Enjoy !!

Hope you Enjoy making and eating this cake. I don't have step by step pictures of this cake... But you can check the actual recipe for the assembly pictures. Enjoy !

Monday, May 23, 2011

Like Lasagna or Rice Lasagna?? Inspirations from Aditi

Okie this casserole is inspired from my friend Aditi's recipe for leftover rice. This has been lying in my drafts for like 3 yrs now.... I know... I know this is the limit hmm. Anyways, I loved it so much that I made some changes and made it like a rice lasagna casserole dish. Hope you all enjoy the recipe. Do post ur valuable comments..:D

Ingredients :

Leftover rice - 2 cup (cooked..preferably basmat)
Onion - 1 medium chopped
Red Bell pepper - 1/4 cup chopped
Green bell Pepper - 1/4 cup chopped
Pasta sauce / marinara sauce - 1 medium can
Mushrooms - 1/3 cup chopped
Garlic - 2tsp finely chopped
Fresh/dried Oregano or mixed italian spice - 1tbsp
Salt to taste
Black pepper - 1 tsp
Potato - 2 medium (thinly sliced)
Black Olives - 1 cup (sliced)
Mozzarella Cheese - 3/4 cup
Red Chilli flakes - 1 tbsp
Butter - 2 tbsp

Method :

In a pan take some oil/butter and when heated add garlic. Add half the chilli flakes and stir fry for a min. Add the onion. Cook till it is slightly cooked. Add the pepper, mushroom and stir fry. Add the oregano, salt, pepper and marinara sauce and mix well. Get the sauce to a boil. Mix well and keep aside. The sauce should be slightly thick...dont add too much water.

Keep the sliced potato in water so that it doesnt become black. Sprinkle some salt on the plain rice and mis well...just for added flavour.

Preheat the oven to 325 degree F.

Grease a pie pan or casserole dish with butter. Put a thick layer of the rice covering almost 1/3 of the pan. Now pour half of the marinara mix on top of the rice. Now place the sliced of shopped potato on it. cover the whole pan with a layer of sliced potatoes, little cheese (1/4 cup) and few sliced olives.

Now repeat this process once more. On the top layer place the sliced potatoes, olives and the rest of cheese. Also sprinkle some crushed red pepper if u like.

Place the pan in the preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes. Please note that the timing given here is according to my oven... please keep checking on the lasagna in between. I additionally broiled it for 2 mins to give it a nice brown colour. Yumm!

Serve hot as ur evening dinner. This dish needs no accompaniment.Enjoy :) and do give me ur suggestion and views..:).

Friday, May 20, 2011

Instant Oats Dosai

Oats Dosai, originally uploaded by gems7882.

After the fried stuff something guilt free and healthy...:D I made this for our evening tiffin yday and DH loved it so much that it ended up being our dinner...:P

I have tried Oats adai earlier but this was my first time making Oats Dosai and I was pleasantly surprised. I saw this recipe in some blog....(i dont remember which one now... will update once I get the blog name) long time ago.... it was very simple recipe and something i thought can be esily altered to our taste. I have tried this recipe only from my memory of wtever I remember.....so suggestions are welcome.

Here goes the recipe

Ingredients :

Rolled oats - 2 cups
buttermilk - 1/2 cup
Onion - 1 small finely chopped (optional)
water - 3/4 cup
Rice - 2 tbsp
Ragi flour - 4tbsp
Green chillies - 2
Cilantro - 1/2 cup chopped
Hing /asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Black pepper - 1/4 tsp
salt to taste
jeera - 1 tsp

Method :

Soak the oats and rice along with the water and buttermilk and leave for 20 minutes. Please note that the water/buttermilk mix covers the oast completely.

Blend this oats mix in a mixer along with the ragi after 20 mins. Blend it into a fine batter.

Now add chopped green chillies, cilantro, jeera, hing, salt, onions(optional) and mix well.

Heat a tava/ griddle and make pancakes / dosai. Serve it hot with chutney. I did with lime pickle..Yumm!

Basil Corn Pakodi

Basil corn pakodi, originally uploaded by gems7882.

Rain pouring outside ur window.... you sitting near the big window and enjoying the rains with a cup of coffee some hot pakodis and with sweetheart. what else do u need? hmmm. I enjoying spending such romantic evening with my DH. I remeber how we used to enjoy evening like this when we were newly married. Somehow as time passes we start skipping and then missing these little moments of together.

The weather in LA has become weird these days. It is sunny n hot one day and the next days its complete opposite - cold and chilly... brrr.... I wish I get back the pleasant and sunny LA weather..:(. But until then we r enjoying this weather too...:) with hot hot pakodis..:P

This pakodi actually started with sweet corn vada recipe which my Mom-in-law had shared with me. I wanted to try it as I had some fresh corn on cob. But as I was making this batter for the vada I came across some fresh basil in the fridge which was almost on its death bed.. hmmm so in an attempt to use it I decided to make a pakodi instead of vada and add basil to it. The pakoda turned out so good.... tasty. My DH simply loved it...its a keeper in my recipe book... Yumm!

here goes the recipe.


Fresh corn on Cob - 2
Green chilli - 2
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Cilantro - 1/2 cup chopped
Frozen corn kernel - 1/4 cup (optional but preffered)
Onion - 1/2 cup chopped
Fresh basil - 1/2 cup chopped
rice flour - 1/4 cup
Cumin seeds - 1/3 tsp
saunf (fennel seeds) - 1/4 tsp (optional)
salt to taste

Method :

Cut the fresh corn kernels off the cob. You can check how to do it here. Tip - Well instead of a bundt pan u can use a big bowl and place a very small inverted bowl inside it..:) thats how I did it.

In a blender add the fresh corn and all the other ingredients except the frozen corn kernels and onions.The batter should be thick. Dont add more than a tbsp of water (only if needed). If u mixture becomes too liquidy u can add some cornflour or rice flour.

Now to the blended mixture add the frozen corn kernels and onion and mix well.

Heat oil on a medium heat. Put small nuggets of the batter. Fry till they r crisp and golden in colour. Your tasty basil corn Pakodi is ready ! Enjoy with a dash of tomato ketchup...:)

Monday, May 2, 2011

CousCous Halwa & Maitri - the Friendship Chain

Yoo-hoo I am part of the Maitri team!! The MAITRI Friendship chain is a network of cooks from USA and Canada.

Every blogger who joins the chain is linked with another blogger. Every blogger sends a mystery food item to 2 other bloggers....who in turn try a recipe with the ingredient and later blog about it. The chain continues this way. You can read more about it here.

Anyways my blogger mate was Nancy of Kitchen Gypsies....who was very very sweet to send me this cute little palm pet..:) Thank u so much Nancy We are loving it..:) and a packet of the mystery ingredient which I recognised immidiately to be "Couscous". Thank u Nancy.

I am so sorry I couldn't write this post earlier as I was away for a tiny weeny vacation. Now that I am back to routine and re-freshed, the best way of getting back is by a sweet treat. Yumm!

When I got my packet of couscous... I did some research on it. Couscous is a North African dish and actually is semolina (which I didnt know until now :O). The name is derived from Berber seksu[2] (meaning well rolled, well formed, rounded). You can check Wiki if u want to know more about it.

The recipe that came in my mind was "Couscous Salad" or something like vegetable Upma. I was discussing the same with my friend Lavi of Displaced housewife....who pointed out that there are many very few sweet dishes ever made with couscous. Hmmmm! Interesting...So that how I came up with this Couscous Halwa. And I am so glad I tried this sweet. It was delicious and so so tasty.

Here goes the recipe.

Ingredients :

Couscous - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup (we dont like it too sweet. You can add more if u like)
Cardamom Powder - 2 tsp
Ghee roasted Cashews & Almonds - 2 tbsp (small pieces)
ghee - 1 1/2 tbsp
Milk - 1/4 cup
Water - 3/4 cup (u may not need all of it)

Method :

In a saucepan add ghee and roast the couscous in it for 7-8 mins on medium heat or until its golden brown in color.

Add cardamom powder, sugar to the couscous and mix well. Add milk+water mix and stir well. Cover and cook until the couscous becomes dry yet binded together (halwa consistency). Off the gas and serve hot or cold. The yummy couscous Halwa is ready to be devoured.:)

Try it and enjoy it....!

If u find this post and this MAITRI chain interesting....why not join us. ...:) More the foodies more the fun...:)

Friday, April 1, 2011

How to......?

Have u ever wondered how people create such beautiful and neat fondant work and decoration items on their cakes? I have always. I love making cakes and decorating them...... my sole help is the online sites and videos...this site www.cakejournal.com was one of them..:) I had subscribed to this site a long long time back... but never actual checked it out fully... and Now when I did.. I feel I am was so stupid for not doing so. This site is amazing. I love all her cakes and how professional n neat they look. Wish I can make something like that someday...:) Anyways, the owner of this beautiful site Louise is helping bakers and decorators like me by giving out some of her tricks and ideas..:) she has so many tutorials in her site...and now she is sending across the tutorials in PDF for free... which u can keep on ur counter for reference, when making these sweet delicacies..:D There r toturials to make fondant bows, trains, using paper cones, and so many other pretty things..:) Do check it out!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dum Aloo

I love potatoes in all form. Fried, mashed, roasted, boiled, baked anyway u give it to me and I will eat it. I guess this is same with many people...now who doesnt love potatoes. It a boon veggie for moms. I dont know a single kid who hates potato. But beware it id not good for health when fried and roasted in oil. It is a starch and full of carbs so having too much of it is not advisable for ur tummies.

I always used to love the roasted Baby potatoes (Asokan as named by and dad and uncles) my granny used to make. She always used to make it along with Arachuvitta vengaya sambar (onion sambar). Yumm! what an terrific combination it used to be. Or the Aloo saag and mixed veggie curry my mom used to make to go along with phulkas. These were the main curry forms of potato I was accustomed to at home. So when it came to making Dum aloo It was a new dish for me as I have never tasted this before (even in restaurants or at home) never seen anyone make it too..although I have heard the name several times. One solace was that it was made of roasted mini potatoes (just like the Asokan my granny used to make.) and hence I jumped into trying this recipe for the first time. I followed this recipe....mainly coz it didnt ask me to deep fry the potatoes unlike many. I made few changes but nothing major. So here goes..:)

Ingredients :

Small red potatoes / baby potatoes - 5 to 6

Oil - 1 tbsp + 1tbsp

Curd or yogurt - 4 tbsp

Kasuri methi - 1 tsp crushed

Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp

Kitchen king Masala - 1 1/2 tsp

Garam Masala powder - 1 tsp

Coriander-cumin powder - 2 tsp

Fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Tomato puree / canned tomato sauce - 1 small can

Ground Masala paste ( of 1 medium onion, ginger- 1" piece, garlic - 4 pods, Green chilli - 1 ground without adding water)

Method :

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.

Boil the mini potatoes and peel them. Now poke holes in it using a fork. Now spread the potato on a baking tray and coat them with some oil. Place the potatoes in the preheated oven and let it roast for 20 minutes until the skin becomes lightly crispy.

For the gravy take the rest of the oil in a non stick pan and add the ground masala and saute well until the raw smell of onion goes off. Add the tomato puree and cook well till the tomato puree cooks well and the sauce reduces a bit. Add water if the gravy is too thick. Add the masalas (garam masala, KK masala, CC powder and salt and mix well. Let it simmer for 30 minutes or so.

Add the baked potatoes to the gravy and coat it well with the tomato gravy.

Beat the curd well in a small bowl and pour it on the potato and mix well. Make the gas flame low and let it cook on simmer. I added dum by cover the top with a tight lids and sealing it with maida dough on the rim....for the dum effect. U can skip this too. I cooked the curry on dum for 30 mins on the lowest heat. Remove it from heat and set aside for 5 to 10 mins. remove the seal and garnish with fresh coriander.

This was amazingly tasty. I am glad I tried Dum aloo....do try it and leave me ur comments and experience.