Monday, December 23, 2013

Caramel Cake

Wishing all our dear readers a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Christmas is a wonderful celebratory time of the year. It's also the time for baking goodies and eating delicious elaborate feasts or just spending some cozy time with the family. Here is a simple cake to brighten your holiday spirits. 

Prep Time: 40 mins
All purpose flour: 1 cup
Baking powder: 1 teaspoon
Butter: 1 stick
Eggs: 2
Sugar: 1 cup (1/2 cup for caramel + 1/2 cup beating)
Vanilla Essence: 1 teaspoon

*Making the caramel is the trickiest part. If you don't make it right it will crystallize very soon and this cake totally depends on the caramel. Of course the experienced cooks out there have no problems with that. 

Heat half cup of sugar with one teaspoon of water and let it melt until completely golden brown and bubbling. Microwave little water and add 2 teaspoons of water. It will bubble up, but stir continuously. Turn off the heat and keep aside.

Beat butter and the 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Add one egg at a time and beat thoroughly until ivory in color. Add the vanilla essence. Sieve the flour and baking powder together a few times. Add the flour little by little and beat well. Pour in the caramel syrup slowly and beat the batter until all smooth. Sometimes, there is a chance the caramel will still crystallize looking like tit bits of caramel which is completely okay (Notice our picture of the cake batter).

Butter the dish and dust 1 teaspoon of flour so that the sides don't stick. Pour in the batter and bake at 350 F for 30 mins.

Take it out and cut the cake into slices.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ari Pathiri

Pathiri is like a pancake or phulka made of rice flour. It's a very popular dish from the local north Malabar region in Kerala. The word pathiri traces its origin to the Arabic word "fateerah" meaning "pastry". It's so thin and soft that it melts in your mouth and usually served with side of a non veg curry.

Prep Time: 30 mins
Rice Powder (Very finely powder) *: 1 1/4 cups 
Water: 1 cup 
Salt: to taste 
Oil/ghee: 1/2 teaspoon (optional) 
Rice flour: to dust and roll 

*We usually use the Double horse or nirapara pathiri powder. 

Boil the water. Add salt and the rice flour and continuously stir. It will be little lumpy. Turn off the heat and cover it for about 10 mins. 
Knead it thoroughly in one single stretch with your hands into a smooth dough. Most important, don't add more water or more flour because that will change the texture of the pathiri. It will roll out into a big ball which is not sticky, that's when you know you have the right dough. Heat a pan/tava. Roll into small lemon size balls. Dust in little rice flour and flatten with a rolling pin. 
You can use a small round plate to cut out perfect circles. Put it on the tava and cook on medium heat. Keep rotating with a tissue and then flip and you will see that it rises just like a phulka. 
Eat them fresh and hot with your favorite curry. Some people prefer to soak the pathiri in warm light coconut milk while serving.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Varutharacha Kozhi Curry / Kerala style Chicken Curry

This is the most traditional way chicken curry is made in Kerala and we bet that every malayali who loves non veg  has eaten this once or more. The gravy has a base of  roasted coconut with some flavorful spices making it a terrific combination for rice, chappathi,  idiyappams or appams. 

Prep Time: 40 mins
Chicken (chopped): 1 lbs 
Onions (Sliced): 1 big 
Shallots: 3-4
Tomatoes (chopped): 2 medium 
Potatoes (cubed): 2 medium
Ginger-Garlic paste: 1 1/2 teaspoons 
Green Chilies: 3-4 
Curry leaves: 1 sprig or more 
Grated Coconut: 1/3 cup 
Turmeric powder: 1 teaspoon 
Red chilli powder: 1 1/2 teaspoons 
Coriander powder: 2 teaspoons 

Garam Masala
*Dry roast on low flame and powder the following 
Fennel seeds: 1/2 teaspoon 
Cumin seeds: 1/2 teaspoon 
Cloves: 3-4 
Peppercorn: 1/2 teaspoon 
Cardamom: 1 pod 
Cinnamon Stick: 1

Dry roast the grated coconut and shallots on low-medium heat. When it starts to turn golden brown, add chilli powder, coriander powder and stir. Turn off the heat. Grind it all together. Add little warm water and make it into a smooth paste. In a deep dish, heat some oil and add the slit green chillies, curry leaves and sliced onions and saute. Add the ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder and little bit of salt and mix it well. Add the chopped potatoes and tomatoes and saute. Add the cut chicken pieces and saute everything on medium heat. Add the ground garam masala. Cover and let it cook for 10-15 mins. When the chicken is almost cooked ,it becomes almost like  a gravy. Do not add any water at this time.  First add the ground coconut paste now .OnlyiIf you think its too thick, you can add warm-hot water and let it all come to a good boil. Adjust the salt and spice levels according to your taste.Serve hot.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mini Cheese Cups

Mini cheese cups are a super easy appetizer you can get absolutely creative to suit your taste buds. We have shared one of the most basic and simple still so yummy that it will vanish off in a jiffy.

Prep Time: 20 mins

*Mini Phyllo shells: 1 box (contains 15 shells)
Sour cream: 2 tablespoons
Cream cheese (preferably flavored): 2 tablespoons
Mozzarella cheese (shredded): 4 tablespoons
Onions (chopped): 1/4 cup
Corn kernels: 2 tablespoons
Chopped spinach: 2 tablespoons
Garlic (chopped): 1 pod
Salt and pepper to taste
*Jalapenos (chopped): 1 teaspoon

* Athens brand Mini phyllo shells are most commonly available and can be found in the frozen dessert section in the  regular American groceries.

* This is a basic recipe for the filling. You can vary it with ingredients of your choice and things available in your pantry. Get creative. Sometimes we like to add the sun-dried tomatoes to this mixture. You could even add some chicken/mushroom/bell peppers to the spinach and corn. 

* Fresh/canned/pickled Jalapenos or just plain green chillies could be used . 

*Note that the cream cheese is already salted, so keep a check on the salt.

In a pan, heat little oil. Saute the onion and garlic with little salt and pepper. If you have the sun dried tomatoes, add it at this stage. Add jalapenos, spinach and saute till the spinach gets soft and cooked. Add the corn kernels and then turn off the gas. In another bowl using a spoon mix the cream cheese and sour cream. Once the veggie mix has cooled off slightly, add it to the cream cheese mix. Finally add the mozzarella and mix well.

Preheat the oven at 350 F. while the oven is getting preheated, place the thawed empty shells in a muffin tray. This is to just slightly toast the shells. When the oven is ready, fill the shells with the mixture and bake for another 10 mins or more until the cheese melts fully.

Serve hot.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Aloo Methi

Aloo methi is a great combination of potatoes and fenugreek leaves stir fried with the Indian masala. Methi which are fresh fenugreek leaves is supposedly known to have anti diabetic effects along with increasing metabolism. Though they are slightly bitter on their own they taste good in this combo.

Prep Time: 20 mins
Potato (cubed): 3  medium 
Methi Leaves: 1 bunch 
Onion (chopped): 1/2 a big onion
Ginger (chopped): 1 teaspoon
Green Chili (chopped): 2
Chili Powder: 1 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder: 1 1/2 teaspoon
Jeera: 1 teaspoon
Kasoori Methi (crushed): 1 teaspoon
Chaat masala (optional): 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a deep pan. Add jeera, ginger, green chillies and onions and saute until they get a little translucent. Add salt and turmeric.  Add the methi leaves and saute for 2 mins. Now add the cubed potatoes. Cover for 10 mins until the potatoes are cooked. Add the chilli powder, coriander powder and saute well. Add the crushed kasuri methi and chat masala. Mix everything well on low heat. Adjust the salt. 

Aloo methi is ready to be served with hot phulkas. Note if you have leftovers of this sabzi/dish, mash them up a little more and stuff between your chapatti dough and make paranthas.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Baklava is known to have turkish roots and is developed on their tradition of layered breads. Its a rich sweet pastry made of phyllo/filo sheets filled with assorted nuts and sweetened with honey or sugar syrup. 

This recipe is shared by a dear friend who inspired us to make some of these desserts we thought could never be homemade. So go and get these ingredients and you'll be surprised how easily this mouthwatering pastry can be made in your own little kitchen.

Prep Time : 1 hr + soaking time

Phyllo pastry sheets: 1 box
Butter (melted):  1 cup

Nuts (chopped): 2 1/2 cups in total
* You can use different combination of your favorite nuts (Walnuts/Pistachios/Hazelnuts /Almonds)

We used the below

Walnuts (chopped): 1 cup
Pistachios (shelled & chopped): 1 cup
Almonds (though not common, we used it in our mix): 1/2 cup
Ground clove (based on taste): 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoon
Ground cinnamon (based on taste): 1-2 teaspoons
Cardamom pods (ground): 2
Powdered sugar :1/4 cup or less 

Water: 1 cup
Sugar: 1 cup 
Honey: 1/2 cup 
Cinnamon stick: 1

* 1 phyllo box contains 2 rolls. These sheets are enough to make about 30 pieces in a 9 x 13 inches baking dish.

Boil the syrup ingredients on low heat until thick and syrupy. Turn off the gas and let it cool.

Chop the nuts together in the food processor. Add the powdered cinnamon, clove, cardamom and sugar until mixed well.  Do a taste check. It should just be slightly sweet. Set aside.  

Grease a 9 x 13 in baking dish with butter.

Phyllo dough sheets can be tough to work with. Be gentle while you peel them as it tears off easily.

Layer each phyllo dough sheet and brush with melted 
butter. Do not saturate, only lightly brush. If you overdo the butter, the baklava might get soggy. Continue the process till you have used 1/3rd of the total sheets.  Layer half the nut mix. Continue layering the sheets.  At 2/3rd of the sheets, layer the second half of the nut mix, but set aside a small portion for decorating the top. Finish layering with the remaining sheets. 

Cut the sheets diagonally to make diamond shapes with a sharp knife before you bake. Else it will become too crispy and will crumble when you cut after baking. Do not put the nuts to garnish until the baking is done else the nuts on top will get burnt.

Bake at 350 F degrees until the baklava is golden brown. Take it out and garnish with the remaining nuts. Let it cool and then pour the sugar-honey syrup all over. Let it sit for at least 4 hours so that the syrup soaks in completely. 


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori chicken doesn't really call for an elaborate introduction.Originating from the royal Mughal  kitchens this dish is now an everyday name in Indian restaurants. Marinated in spices and yogurt it is baked in a traditional clay oven called the 'tandoor'. The chicken can be baked as whole or in cut pieces. We have managed to recreate these royal flavors in our home and hope you enjoy doing the same.

Prep Time
Whole Chicken: 1 


Ginger garlic paste: 1 tablespoon
Turmeric powder: 1 1/2 teaspoons
Chilli powder: 5 teaspoons
Coriander powder: 2 teaspoons
Cumin powder: 1 teaspoon
Kasuri Methi /Dried fenugreek leaves: 2 teaspoons
Pepper: 1 teaspoon
Chat masala: 1 teaspoon
Garam masala*: 1 teaspoon
Oil: 4tablespoons
Yogurt: 1/4 cup
Lemon juice: 2 tablespoons
Salt to taste.
*Garam masala: Grind 2 cardamom pods, 1 small bark of cinnamon, 1/4 star anise and a pinch of saunf.
* We used Kashmiri chilli powder which isn't very spicy but adds the color.
* If you are making it with a whole chicken, we also suggest you make deep cuts through the  thighs, legs and breast so the marinade seeps through well.
*If you are using cut chicken pieces, couple hours of marination will do.

Mix all the ingredients listed under the marinade to a smooth paste. Marinate the whole chicken and keep it overnight. 

Just before you put the chicken in, drizzle few more drops of oil.

Pre heat the oven to 475 F. Place the chicken in a tray placed in a deeper dish with water and leave it to bake. This to prevent the chicken from burning. Bake for about an hour or more until the meat is all tender and cooked. Remember to turn it around at least once for even cooking.

Serve with some sliced onions and lemon pieces.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches is a popular Spanish cake which literally means "three milk cake". Its a basic  sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk. Every bite of this cake is so moist and creamy yet so light making you crave for another big bite. So hurry up and get your baking supplies to try this out.

Prep Time: 1 hour + 12 hours soaking time
Sponge Cake

All purpose flour: 1 cup
Eggs: 4
Vanilla Essence: 1 1/2 teaspoons
Sugar: 1 cup 
Milk: 1/3 cup
Baking powder: 2 teaspoons

Milk mixture

Condensed Milk: 1 can ( of which only less 3/4 gets used up)
Whole Milk/Heavy whipping Cream/half and half: 1/2 cup
Evaporated milk: 3/4 cup

Heavy Whipping cream: 1 pint box

Fresh fruits for garnish (We like berries and bananas)

We used the deep rectangle disposable aluminium foil tray to bake the cake and set everything in the same dish.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lets begin making the sponge cake. Separate the egg yolks and whites. Beat the sugar and yolks until smooth and ivory in color. Add the vanilla essence and milk and beat well. Sieve the flour with the baking powder. Add the flour into the yolk mixture. Beat well. Now whip up the egg whites until stiff and forms peaks. Fold the whipped egg whites into the cake batter. Do not over do the mixing else the cake will be flat. Bake the cake until the center comes out clean when poked.

Take the cake out and let it cool for about 10-15 mins. 

Mix the condensed milk, evaporated milk and whole milk. Let the cake cool down before you use the milk mix. Pour the mix little by little all over the cake. The cake will drink it all up. So usually 3/4 of the mixture gets used up. But if you feel it needs more, continue to add the milk. Cover and refrigerate.
 This cake needs to be made at least 12 hours ahead of serving. So that the cake soaks up all the mixture. Usually works well if you make it previous night. After the 12 hours just poke through with fork in all corners to see if the milk has seeped in. If you find any dry area just drizzle some more milk. Couple of hours before serving, beat the whipping cream with about 3 tablespoons sugar until stiff and spread over the cake well.

Serve with cut berries and bananas.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pepper Chicken

Pepper chicken is a famous dish from the Chettinad cuisine and giving all justice to its name this is sure to blow your senses away.

Prep Time: 45 mins
Chicken (medium sized cubes): 1 cup
Onions (chopped): 1/2 cup
Tomato (pureed): 2
Pepper powder: 2 teaspoons
Chili Powder: 1 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder: 1 teaspoon
Coriander Powder: 2 teaspoon
Bay Leaves: 4-5
Curry Leaves: handful
Lemon Juice: 1 tablespoon
Ginger garlic paste: 1 tablespoon

Masala (we ground the following)
Cloves: 4-5
Pepper pods: 1 tablespoon
Dried red chili: 4-5
Cardamom: 2 pods
Nutmeg powder: 1/4 teaspoon
Jeera: 1/2 teaspoon
Saunf: 1/2 teaspoon

* Dry roast the above spices on low heat for 5 mins and then grind it into a fine powder.

Marinate the cubed chicken in salt, little turmeric, chilli powder, pepper powder and lemon juice for 20 mins. Heat about 5-6 tablespoons of oil in a deep dish. Fry the marinated chicken till about 75% cooked. Take it out and keep aside. You can use the same pan. Heat some oil. Add the bay leaves, ginger-garlic paste and saute. Add onions, curry leaves and keep frying until the onions turn slightly brown. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder and coriander powder. Keep sauteing on medium heat. Now add the spice powder. Adjust the salt. Add the tomatoes and cook until it becomes all brown. Add the cooked chicken and keep sauteing. Everything will coat up on the chicken and slowly oil should start to come out. You can adjust the spice levels to your liking.

 Absolutely delicious with hot parathas.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bagara Baingan

Bagara baingan is a dish that brings back memories of the wonderful city of  Hyderabad and the great cuisine it offers. Even though eggplant is referred to as not so likable vegetable, here  it's cooked in a perfectly balanced gravy that makes you thinking again. So have no glitch and try this recipe soon, its sure to be a hit.

Prep Time: 30 mins
Smal Indian Eggplants: 6-7
Onions: 1/2 cup (finely chopped)
Green chillies: 2-3
Ginger-garlic paste: 1/2 teaspoon
Curry leaves: few
Grated coconut: 1/3 cup
Peanuts: 1/4 cup
Sesame seeds/Til (white): 1 tablespoon
Tamarind pulp: 1/4 cup
Water: about 1 cup
Turmeric powder: 1 teaspoon
Chilli powder: 1 1/2 teaspoons
Coriander powder: 2 teaspoons 
Oil: 3-4 tablespoons
Salt to taste
*  you can add 3-4 cashews to the peanuts to make it a little richer.
* You can add a 1 teaspoon of grated jaggery to the gravy when it is boiling. This enhances the taste. Those who don't prefer the sweetish ting can skip this step.

Slightly roast the the peanuts and sesame seeds on low heat. In a mixer grind the peanuts, coconut, sesame seeds with the tamarind pulp into a smooth paste and keep aside.

Wash and dry the eggplants and give partial slits on the eggplants all around. Don't slit it in full, this is just for the masala to seep in.

Heat oil in a deep dish. Shallow fry the eggplants with a dash of salt until almost cooked on all sides. Take it out and keep aside .
If you wish you could add tempering of mustard seeds and jeera. We skipped the step because we didn't miss the flavor much .
In the same oil add the ginger garlic paste, chopped green chillies and onions. Saute well until the rawness fully goes away. Add salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder and coriander powder. Keep mixing on low to medium heat for 5 more mins. Now add the ground paste. Dilute it with water and let it simmer. Add the fried eggplant and let it all come to a nice boil on low heat. If you think the gravy has gotten very thick you can dilute it with little water. Adjust the spices. This curry is meant to be little thickish. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves. 

Serve with rice or rotis.


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