Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Fruit Cake

Dashing through the snow, in one horse open sleigh,
Over the fields we go, laughing all the way
Bells on Bob tails ring, making spirits bright
What fun it is to ride and sing a sleighing song tonight.

Jingle bells , jingle bells , jingle all the way !
Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.
Jingle bells , jingle bells , jingle all the way !
Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.

With all the carols on the radio, lights on the streets and amazing display of treats and candies in stores, all of us get lost in the festive spirits of the joyous Christmas season even without realizing it. Whether you are still shopping for the gifts or just still decorating the tree and hanging up stockings for Santas gifts, take some time out to try this Xmas special fruit cake. This is our experiment to keep with the mallu tradition to have fruit cake with a glass of homemade fruit wine to kick start the great day.

We wish you and all your loved ones a Merry Christmas!!!!!

Eggs: 3 Large
All purpose flour: 1 cup
Baking powder: 1 teaspoon
Vanilla Essence: 1 teaspoon
Butter: 2 sticks/8 oz
Brown Sugar: 2/3 cup
All Spice powder: 2 1/2 teaspoons
(Powder the following : Nutmeg-1/4 teaspoon, Cloves- 2-3, Cinnamon powder - 1/2 teaspoon, Cardamom- 2 pods, ginger powder - 1/2 teaspoon)
Lemon Zest: 1/2 teaspoon
Orange Zest: 1/2 teaspoon
Rum: 2 Tablespoons
White Sugar (Caramelized): 1/3 cup
Nuts: 1/4 cup
Candied Fruits (pre-soaked in rum/brandy): 1/4 cup
(Candied fruits can be glazed cherries, pineapples, raisins, dates, dried cranberries or whatever other dried fruits of your choice)
*Its better to pre-soak the dried fruits in rum or brandy at least one day in advance.
*Keep the butter and eggs at room temperature for some time before you start to make the cake.

Begin by beating the butter and sugar until smooth. Slowly add in the eggs one by one and beat until ivory. Add the vanilla essence. Sieve the all purpose flour and add the baking powder, spice powder and keep aside. Slowly mix in this flour to the beaten mixture in little portions. Meanwhile caramelize sugar into a dark brown syrup.Make sure the sugar doesn't get burnt in this process. Add the caramelized sugar syrup and mix thoroughly. Add the lemon and orange zest, nuts and soaked fruits and the remaining rum if any. Do not use the hand mixer or blender after this because the nuts and the candied fruits might get ground up. Use a spatula instead and keep mixing the batter in one direction until it is smooth in a pourable consistency.
Pre heat the oven at 350° F. Grease a baking pan with some butter and pour this batter and bake until the center comes out clean when you poke with a knife. It should approximately take 30-45 mins.

Let it completely cool down before you slice it. It stays fresh for more than one week if stored in an air tight container. Enjoy this festive delight with your family n friends and have a happy holiday season.

Sending the above recipe to Cakes n Cookies Event hosted by Sara of Sara's Corner. Also to Dil Se for the event Show Me Your Cake

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mutton Stew

If you are digging for recipes this holiday season when the whole family is at home, Idiappams or Appams with this stew will make a great meal at anytime of the day. The mutton stew with a very slight variation from our original recipe has the vegetables, meat and seasoning slow cooked in the rich mutton broth which captures and enhances its flavor in every spoon.

Mutton (cubed) : 1/2 lb
Potatoes (cubed): 1/4 cup
Carrots (cubed): A handful
Onions (sliced): 1/2 cup
Green Chilies (slit): 3-4
Ginger (chopped): 1 1/2 teaspoon
Garlic (chopped): 1 teaspoon
Curry Leaves: 1 sprig
Coconut Milk: 1/2 cup
Pepper corn/powder: 1-2 teaspoons
Cardamom pods: 1
Star Anise: 1
Cinnamon sticks: 1-2
Bay leaves: 1-2
Cloves: 4-5

* The same process can be followed with chicken for those who prefer it over mutton.

Heat some oil in a pressure cooker. Add the raw spices (cardamom pods, star anise, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cloves), green chili, ginger, garlic, onions and sauté. Add the mutton pieces, potatoes, sprinkle a little salt and sauté. Add some water and pressure cook for 2-3 whistle. Once the mutton pieces are soft, add the carrots and let it cook on low flame. After about 5-10 minutes the everything will be mixed with the flavors of the gravy. Add coconut milk and let it simmer one last time. Adjust the salt and add more pepper if you need. Garnish the stew with the seasoning of fried small onions (chopped) and curry leaves.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Eggplant / Vazhuthananga Mezhkkupuratti

Here's another simple dish from the beautiful eggplant that hardly takes 15 mins from start to finish. Enjoy this dry fry with a simple dal and a bowl of rice to make a perfect thaali (complete platter in Indian) meal.


Eggplant/Vazhuthananga (cubed/Sliced): 1 Cup
Ginger (chopped): 1 teaspoon
Garlic (chopped): 1 teaspoon
Green Chili (slit): 3-4
Curry Leaves: Handful
Fenugreek/Uluva seeds: 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder: 1 teaspoons
Turmeric powder: 1 teaspoon
Chilli Powder: 1-2 teaspoons
Pepper: 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Oil to fry

* We have used the long variety (cucumber shaped) eggplant.
* Here is a tip to enhance the taste of fenugreek in any of your preparation, instead of storing whole fenugreek seeds, give it a slight grind to get a good mix of its powder and chunks.

Heat some oil in a pan, splutter mustard seeds, add chopped ginger, garlic, green chillies, curry leaves and the fenugreek seeds. Add the cubed eggplant and saute well. Note that eggplant drinks up quite a bit of oil to cook, so add accordingly. Add all the spices and saute well. Once the eggplant coats well on the spices, take it off from heat and serve hot as a side. Just make sure that the eggplant doesn't get very mushy.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Methi Dal

Here is our first recipe for a super simple lentil curry called "dal" which is a common staple in most Indian homes. Not only does this dal make a whole meal by itself , it makes a great side that is poured over rice or rotis dipped into. We added a little twist to make this simple dal a lil more exciting by adding some fresh methi leaves we got at our local Indian grocers.Give this recipe a try and dig in with all your hands either with rotis or rice.

Split Moong Dal: 1 cup
Fresh Methi/fenugreek Leaves (chopped): 1 bunch
Red Onions (Finely Chopped): 1/2 cup
Tomatoes (cubed): 1/2 cup
Green Chillies (slit): 2-3
Ginger (chopped): 1 teaspoon
Garlic (whole): 1pod
Jeera/Cumin seeds: 2 teaspoons
Turmeric powder: 1 teaspoon
Chilli powder: 2 teaspoon
Garam Masala: 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder: 1 teaspoon
Amchur/chat masala: 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

* You can use the combination of toor dal and moong dal in equal portions or either one.
* If you have all the patience in the world you can pick out all the leaves and use or you could roughly chop the top bit of the bunch including the stem like us.

Pressure cook the toor/moong dal with garlic, ginger, green chillies, cubed tomatoes, turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt. Meanwhile heat some oil in a pan, splutter the cumin seeds, add chopped onions and saute. Add chilli powder, coriander powder, chat masala and some garam masala. Mix well. Now add the methi leaves and saute until the rawness of everything goes away. After the dal in the cooker is done, just mash up a little using the back of the spoon and add the sauteed masala into the dal. Give a final boil while adjusting the salt and spice. Finish up with some chopped up coriander leaves.

Enjoy hot!!

Stuffed Baingan Bake

The eggplant with its striking deep purple color is rich in potassium and is a common harvest in our tropical country. It is amazing to see its varied use in the different state cuisines within the same country. Here is a very fast and healthy recipe that can be served as an appetizer or a side.


Small sized Eggplants/Baingan: 5-6
Onions (finely chopped): 1/2 cup
Tomatoes (finely chopped): 1/2 cup
Ginger-garlic paste: 1 teaspoon
Green Chillies (finely chopped): 2 teaspoons
Coriander leaves/Cilantro (chopped): handful
Jeera/Cumin seeds: 1 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder: 1 teaspoon
Chili powder: 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder: 1 1/2 teaspoon
Garam Masala: 1 teaspoon
Curry/Chicken masala (Optional): 1 teaspoon
Chat Masala: 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Cut the eggplants into halves and scoop out the center (the seedy part) with a spoon. Keep this center aside for the filling. Rub the bowl like eggplants with salt, pepper and some oil. Heat some oil in a pan, splutter the jeera seeds. Add ginger-garlic paste, chopped green chillies, onions and saute well. Add all the dry masala powder and mix while also adding in the scooped out seedy part of the eggplant. Stir well, add chopped tomatoes and adjust the salt and spice levels. Throw in the chopped cilantro and give a final mix. You can use this filing alternatively as a sabzi.

Stuff the eggplants with this filing. Drizzle some oil over it and bake at 350 for about 15-20 mins till the eggplant is nicely cooked on the outside.

Enjoy it hot with rotis or rice.


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