Monday, February 23, 2015

Easy Chocolate Brownies

The weekend special -A warm slab of chocolate brownie which is super fudgy, yet cakey, wonderfully chocolaty, little toasty with crunchy nuts and super duper tasty. 

And here is how you serve it :) Warm gooey Brownie with Vanilla Ice cream and chocolate sauce

I found this recipe on a website called The Inspired Taste. It had the most easiest way to make a lip smacking brownie. A bit of tweaks here and there with that recipe and here it is:

Ingredients: Makes 9 brownies about approx 2 inch squares each
  • All Purpose Flour - 1/2 cup
  • Eggs - 2 (Can be cold)
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder - 1/2 cup
  • Butter - 10 tbsp (I used salted butter)
  • Walnuts/Pecans - 1/2 cup
  • Sugar - 1 and 1/4 cup
  • Vanilla essence - 1tsp

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325F.  Line the baking pan with aluminium foil so that the brownies can be removed easily once baked
  2. Heat a pan with water and let it simmer
  3. In a heat resistant bowl add butter, sugar and cocoa powder. Place this bowl over the pan of simmering water and stir until the butter, sugar and cocoa melts together and mixes well. The mixture might be gritty but that should be fine. Remove bowl from the pan
  4. Let the cocoa mixture cool down a little. It can be warm but not hot. Add one egg at a time and whisk into the cocoa mixture
  5. Add the flour, nuts, vanilla essence and mix them well until well incorporated.
  6. Pour the batter into the baking pan and let it bake for about 40-45 minutes. It took about 45 minutes for mine to get baked. Do check in at 30 minute baking time to be on safer side
  7. Once done, let the brownie cool completely. Cut into squares and serve it warm with cold vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce :) Yum!!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Simple Orange Cake

I learn a lot through the cooking blog world. There are so many websites that share wonderful recipes, mouth-watering photographs to accompany and beautiful experiences shared along with it. There is one such website that I adore for all the above three reasons. It's Meeta's, !

If there is one website, where, while reading it, I am transported to the story as a silent audience, sitting somewhere around the table with a cup of coffee, around all the characters of the experience portrayed, it is this website! Period!

There are a lot of recipes that I want to try from this website. One such that caught my attention was "Orange Cake". A simple yet vibrant, refreshing, delicious cake that all of you would love. It's made with fresh squeezed organic orange juice and orange zest.

Here is the recipe link:

I have made some adjustments to the above recipe to suit my taste. Here is the recipe

Ingredients: Makes one 9 inch round cake
  • All Purpose Flour/Maida - 1 cup
  • Sugar - 1 cup
  • Vanilla Custard Powder - 2 1/2 tbsp
  • Eggs - 3
  • Butter - 5 1/2 tbsp
  • Baking Powder - 4 tsp
  • Orange zest - 2 tsp
  • Orange Juice freshly squeezed - 1 cup

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350f
  2. Grease the cake pan with butter and flour them a little to prevent cake from sticking to the pan
  3. In a bowl, add butter, sugar, eggs, orange zest and juice. Beat them using an electric beater until everything is well mixed
  4. Add sifted flour, custard powder and baking powder to the wet ingredients
  5. Using a spatula, incorporate the dry flour ingredients into the butter-egg wet mixture very well
  6. Do not over mix
  7. Pour the batter into the cake pan and let it bake for about 40 minutes
  8. Insert a fork into the center of cake to make sure the cake is done
  9. Once done, remove the cake pan from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes
  10. Run a knife around the sides of the cake pan, unmold the cake into a wire rack and let it cool completely
  11. Dust some powdered sugar over the cake
  12. Enjoy the simple cake that oozes with vibrant flavor!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

White Pumpkin and Celery Soup / Vellai Poosanikai Sivarikeerai Soup

During my last year visit to India, I relished a lot of soups made by my mother-in-law. One such was this white pumpkin soup. The flavors of celery with the pumpkin was definitely a treat!

I always ask her for the recipe and end up not making it for various reasons. Last week, I had a hold of both the pumpkin and celery to try out this delicious soup. I finally made it with my own twist on it!

You can make this soup much creamier by adding some cream to it, right before serving. I did not add any cream to the soup I made. It was still silky and smooth and tasted wonderful. A sure treat for a very long winter ahead! You should try it!

Ingredients: Serves 3-4 single servings

  • White Pumpkin/ Vellai Poosanikai cubes - 3 cups
  • Celery with leaves - 1 big stalk chopped
  • Onion - 5 tbsp chopped very fine
  • Garlic - 1 big pod
  • Zeera / Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Pepper powder - to taste
  • Butter - 2 tsp
  • Salt - to taste

  1. Heat a tsp of butter in a pressure cooker, add cumin seeds, let it splutter. 
  2. Add the chopped pumpkin, celery, garlic, salt and saute them for about a minute. Add 1/4 cup water to it
  3. Let it pressure cook for about 3-4 whistles. 
  4. Once the pressure is down, let the contents cool. 
  5. Using a blender, blend all the cooker contents to a fine paste and set aside
  6. In a pan, heat 1 tsp of butter, saute onions for a minute and add the ground pumpkin celery paste, pepper powder and let it heat up until all flavors mingle.
  7. Add water if the soup is really thick, if not serve as it is
  8. Serve hot with drizzle of cream 
  • While googling, I learnt that Celery is known as சிவரிக்கீரை in tamil. Just an update :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wholesome Ragi Idli

I am back! After all the pampering, greeting, meeting, sentiments, food and loads of love, I am back to the US! I am part happy to get back home and not so the other part. Every married girl would understand that feeling when you have to say goodbye to your loved ones in your home country! Anyways.. :)

Lil M started loving Idli's so much for breakfast in India, that I had to recreate the same lovely food for her here. Making Idli's are always a nightmare for me. I have not been really successful in creating soft and fluffy idli's except for this time :)

I brought whole ragi with me from India and here I have put them to use to make healthy, soft, fluffy, yummy Idli's.

After much googling, I followed a recipe from "Kamalas Corner". It tasted absolutely wonderful!
Here is the link to the original recipe. Thank you :)

Ingredients: Makes about approx. 20-25 medium size idli's

  • Whole Ragi - 1 cup
  • Idli Rice - 1 cup
  • Urad Dal - 1/2 cup
  • Methi seeds - 2 tsp
  • Salt - as needed

  1. Wash whole ragi and idli rice together a couple of times and let it soak for about 5-6 hours
  2. Wash urad dal and methi seeds a couple of times and let it soak completely
  3. Once ready to grind the batter, drain water from urad dal in a separate bowl and start grinding urad+methi to a fluffy soft batter. Use the soaked water to grind the batter. Once done, set them aside in a container
  4. In the same grinder, add the ragi+rice mixture with enough water to a nice soft but little grainy texture batter. 
  5. Add the rice batter to the ground urad batter with some salt and mix them really well
  6. Let them sit overnight to ferment
  7. Once fermented, mix the batter and if it is too thick, add water for a light pouring consistency batter
  8. Using Idli moulds, steam them for about 5 to 6 minutes on medium flame (varies on your size of idli mould) Yummy, Fluffy Idli's ready to serve!!
  • I made dosa using the same batter and it came out crispy and tasty.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Chilli Chicken - Indo Chinese Style

Indo-Chinese has always been a favorite right from childhood. Mom would make delicious and simple chinese food ranging from soups, appetizers to main courses. My favorite of them all: Chilli Chicken!

Deep fried battered chicken, sauteed in mildly sweet yet spicy sauce lends a wonderful flavor and does not fail to please our eyes to a glossy, drooling appetizer!

Ingredients: Serves 6-8

For Chicken Fry:
  • Chicken Pieces - 3 Pounds (Approx. 1.5 kg)
  • Maida/Flour - 1 cup
  • Corn Flour - 1/2 cup
  • Ginger Garlic Paste - 3 tbsp
  • Soy Sauce - 2 tbsp
  • Chilli Powder - 3 tsp
  • Pepper Powder - 1 tsp
  • Egg - 1 (Optional)
  • Salt - to taste
For Sauce:
  • Onions - 2 cups chopped
  • Green Capsicum - 1 chopped (Optional)
  • Green chillies - 3 chopped fine
  • Ginger - 3 tbsp chopped
  • Garlic - 3 tbsp chopped
  • Dark Soy Sauce - 2 tbsp
  • Red Chilli Sauce - 3 tbsp
  • Tomato Sauce - 3 tbsp
  • Sugar - 1 tsp
  • Spring Onions - 4 stalks chopped
  • Water - 2 tbsp
  • Salt - to taste

  1. Wash the chopped chicken well and drain. In a bowl, add all the ingredients under "For Chicken Fry" and let it marinate in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  2. Heat oil in a pan, deep fry the chicken pieces until well cooked and turns golden brown. Set aside
  3. In another wide pan, heat oil. Once hot, add ginger, garlic, green chillies and saute for few seconds
  4. Add the onions, capsicum, sugar and let it saute until the onions turn a little pink (not too softly cooked)
  5. Once done, add all the sauces, water and let it cook for about a minute.
  6. Add the fried chicken, spring onions and mix well until the sauce coats the chicken well
  7. Serve hot! 
  • You may make the sauce well ahead of time and fry the chicken ahead of time as well. Right before serving, heat the sauce, add fried chicken to it and mix well
  • Chicken may be substituted with paneer, tofu, vegetables

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Spicy Corn Chat/Salad

Mom and I love shopping! Especially when its in Chennai, the hustles and bustles of T.Nagar creates a special shopping atmosphere (which can be enjoyed for a little while until you get into the store :) ) We usually end up having coffee at one of the stalls near Pothys and tasty, spicy corn chat made right in front of you, where the vendor adds masalas from so many different boxes. It would taste awesome accompanying the coffee.

Here is a simple chat recipe, trying to recreate what I have had in India. It takes very few minutes to put them all together.

Ingredients: Serves 4-5
  • Corn Kernels(Canned or Freshly boiled) - 3 cups 
  • Red onion - 1 small diced fine
  • Tomato - 1 small diced fine
  • Raw Mango without skin - 1/2 cup diced fine
  • Coriander leaves - 1/4 cup chopped
  • Chilli powder - 2 tsp (as desired)
  • Chat Masala - 2 tbsp (as desired)
  • Lime Juice - 1 tbsp (as desired)
  • Sev - 1/4 cup (for garnish)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Butter - 1 tbsp

  1. Heat pan with butter, toss the drained corn kernels with little salt for about 5 minutes. Set aside
  2. Take a bowl, add all the ingredients along with the sauteed corn kernels and mix really well
  3. Garnish with Sev and serve!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Kozhi Urundai Kurma / Chicken Kheema Balls Kurma

Back home when it comes to "Kheema", it is by default "Mutton Kheema". There have been no substitutions to these urundai vadais so far. Recently while talking to mom, she mentioned about a cookery show she saw that showed the preparation of Chicken Kheema instead of Mutton. With a little health consciousness, mom ventured into making these Chicken Kheema Vadais. 

The idea of using them in Kurma dawned on me, when one of my dear friend used Turkey balls in the curry she made. The recipe uses pre-ground chicken from the store. If ground chicken is not available, just run chicken pieces in the mixie to grind them.

The Kurma tasted absolutely divine with the chicken balls simmered in them making it soft and very flavorful.

P.S: Though the ingredients list tails very long, this recipe is absolutely super easy to make. Let the lengthy ingredients not stop you from making this flavorful dish!

Ingredients: Serves 5

To Grind - For Gravy:
  • Cinnamon - 1 inch piece
  • Cloves - 3
  • Cardamon - 3
  • Garlic - 4 pods
  • Ginger - 2 inch piece
  • Saunf/Fennel seeds - 1 tbsp
  • Poppy seeds/Khas Khas - 1 tsp
  • Chilli Powder - 1 tbsp
  • Coriander Powder - 2 tbsp
  • Coconut - 4 tbsp grated
  • Oil - 1 tbsp
For Chicken Balls:
  • Ground Chicken - 1 pound
  • Green chillies - 4 medium
  • Channa Dal/Pottu Kadalai - 3 tbsp
  • Saunf - 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Ginger - 3 pods
  • Garlic - 1 inch piece
  • Poppy seeds - 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon - small piece
  • Cloves - 3
  • Coconut - 3 tbsp grated
  • Coriander Leaves - 2 tbsp chopped
  • Salt - to taste
For Curry:
  • Big Onion - 1 chopped fine
  • Tomato - 2 chopped fine
  • Bay leaf - 1 
  • Coriander leaves - to garnish
  • Water - 2 to 3 cups
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - 4 tbsp

  1. To make the chicken balls, Grind all the ingredients under "For Chicken Balls" except the chicken. Make sure water is not added as much to grind to fine paste.
  2. Add the ground masala to ground chicken and mix well. Form into balls and set aside in the refrigerator
  3. In a small pan, heat oil and saute all the ingredients one after the other under "To Grind- for gravy"
  4. Once cool, grind the sauteed masala to fine paste. Set aside
  5. In a wide pan, heat oil and add bay leaf, onion and saute until onions fry very well
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes, salt and let the tomatoes cook down until very soft
  7. Add the ground masala, saute for a minute and add water, salt
  8. Let the masala cook for about 5 minutes and add the chicken balls to the masala under medium flame
  9. Do not touch the chicken balls, just let them cook in the masala for about 10 minutes or until the chicken cooks through and the curry isn't too watery
  10. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve it piping hot with Chapathi, Puri, Dosa or Rice

Monday, April 14, 2014

Creamy Spinach Manicotti Pasta

Manicotti Pasta are large tubes of ridged pasta that is usually stuffed, topped with sauce and baked to perfection.

For any kind of saucy and stuffed pasta kind, I usually prefer making Lasagna. But then one fine day, when laziness kicked in :) I just thought, Why not just make the stuffing at home and use these pasta to stuff them? And thus did I explore these super easy, delicious, creamy pasta! Adapted the filling recipe from net with few tweaks of my own!

Another versatile dish that can be made well-ahead and frozen (or refridgerated for a day or two) pre-baked. Just need to thaw the frozen pasta and bake them.

Ingredients: Serves 4 to 6

  • Manicotti Pasta - 12 shells
  • Spinach - 1 cup chopped fine
  • Ricotta cheese - 1 cup
  • Garlic - 3 pods chopped very fine
  • Onion - 1/2 chopped fine
  • Red Chilli Flakes - 1 tbsp
  • Soy Crumbles/Granules - 1/2 cup (For Soy Granules-Soak in hot water for about 10 minutes, squeeze water out and set aside)
  • Mozzarella cheese - 1 cup
  • Pasta Sauce - 2 cups 
  • Olive oil - 3 tbsp
  • Salt - to taste

  1. Cook the manicotti pasta as per package directions and set aside on a oiled plate and let it cool
  2. Heat a pan with olive oil, add garlic and red chilli flakes and roast for about 30 seconds
  3. Add the chopped onions and saute until it turns pink. 
  4. Add the soy crumbles/granules and saute for about 2 minutes. Add in chopped spinach, salt and let it cook until the spinach wilts and water from spinach evaporates.
  5. Let cool the spinach mixture in a bowl. Once cool, add ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and mix well. Set aside
  6. Fill each of the manicotti pasta with the creamy spinach filling. Make sure the pasta does not break or the filling overflows. (I filled the pasta by putting the filling in a zip lock bag, made a hole in a corner and filled the pasta. Much easier than using a spoon). Repeat for all the tubes and set aside
  7. Take a baking dish and add spoonfuls of pasta sauce as bottom layer, place all the filled pasta tubes in a row. Top the pasta with pasta sauce and some mozzarella cheese (approx 1/2 cup)
  8. To Bake: Pre-heat oven to 375F and bake it covered for about 40 minutes
  9. Bubbly, Spicy, Creamy pasta ready to be relished!
  • There are numerous ways to turn creative with the filling. Shredded chicken may be added or chopped tofu is another option for vegetarians.
  • Fill the pasta using a piping bag or put the filling into zip lock plastic bag. Cut the corner and fill the pasta. This method is much better than using spoon to fill the pasta tubes.
  • For Homemade Pasta Sauce: Heat oil add crushed garlic, red chilli flakes, chopped onions, crushed tomatoes, salt, italian seasoning and let it cook until raw tomato flavor leaves. Adjust quantity of ingredients according to crushed tomatoes added.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spicy Fish Fingers

Mom is a Super Cook! When I recollect my childhood memories about eating outside food, there are very few dishes I loved to relish. One such are these Fish Fingers that was always on my menu order list when I visited a club in our hometown. 

DEEP FRIED, SPICY, CRISPY.. Who wouldn't love it!

Mom taught me how to make these Fish Fingers a very long time back! It is still one of my favorite appetizers. 

Ingredients: Serves 5-6
  • Boneless and Skinless Fish - 5 Fillets (cut into long strips) Any Firm Fish works, I used Tilapia variety
  • Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp
  • Chilli Powder - 3 tsp 
  • Coriander Powder - 2 tsp
  • Garam Masala - 1 tsp
  • Maida - 1/4 cup 
  • Bread Crumbs - 1 cup
  • Oil - to deep fry
  • Salt - to taste

  1. To Marinate the fish: In a bowl, add in ginger garlic paste, all masala powders and salt. Once well mixed, add them to the fish strips and make sure the fish is coated very well with the masala. Marinate the fish overnight or for atleast 2 hours. 
  2. For crumb coating: In a bowl, add maida, water and make a lumpless, not too thick paste. In a plate, add the bread crumbs. Set aside
  3. Dip the fish strips in maida paste and then the bread crumbs. Make sure the bread crumbs do not coat the fish in a lumpy way. Repeat the coating process for all the fish strips one by one and set aside
  4. In a pan, heat some oil for deep frying. Once hot, deep fry the fish strips until well cooked and golden brown.
  5. Drain the excess oil and serve hot with some hot chilli sauce!
  • Adjust the masala powder quantity as per desired spiciness
  • Fish can be substituted with Paneer/Tofu/Chicken. Just cut them into strips and follow the above recipe.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

No Bake Nutella Oreo Cheesecake

Lately I have been reading loads of delicious Nutella recipes doing rounds on Pinterest. Here is one dessert that was simple to make and yummy to the core!! (Adapted from the blog: My Baking Addiction)

Ingredients:  Makes 4-6 cups

  • Cream cheese - 8 ounce package (softened)
  • Nutella - 2/3 cup
  • Oreo cookies - 20 crushed to crumbs
  • Butter - 3 tbsp (melted)
  • Frozen whipped topping - 8 ounce tub (thawed)
  • Walnuts - to garnish

  1. In a bowl, stir together crushed oreo and butter. Mix until the butter is well absorbed by the crumbs. It would resemble like wet sand
  2. In another bowl, beat cream cheese and nutella until smooth and creamy. Add the thawed whipped topping and fold it with a spatula until well incorporated
  3. In a serving cup, spoon the oreo-butter crumb, followed by the nutella cream and repeat another layer
  4. Garnish with walnuts and let it cool for about 2 to 3 hours
  5. Serve chilled!
  • You may substitute stiff whipped Heavy Cream in place of frozen whipped topping, if not available