Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rich Plum Cake - Christmas Cake - The Ultimate Winner

A couple of weeks ago I baked the first Christmas cake in ages that turned out alright. Infact it was quite good as people who tasted it said so. But since I didnt get the desired colour (I prefer my Christmas cake in a deep brown colour) I hunted like crazy for the perfect recipe & found one on Ria's Collection. Made a few changes here & there as per my taste & the ingredients available and the outcome was a fabulously moist & delicious cake!! Everybody liked it in Mangalore where I spent my Christmas this year.


This cake is worth the trouble you take to make it (gathering the ingredients, weighing them, blah blah). You dont need to soak the fruits for donkey's years and the cake doesnt smell too heavily of the rum (last year's cake was so drenched in rum that I got a little dizzy & so did my polite guests). I havent baked cakes for years, neither did my mom, so I decided to give myself another chance {and probably burn this one too - Marriages should be rock solid...not cakes :) }with another recipe out of the million's of recipes that I've gathered over the years. This one is the sure winner!


Rich Plum Cake - Christmas Cake - The Ultimate Winner
Soaking time 16-24hours (minimum) Prep time: 30-45 mins | Bake time approx 1 -1/2 hour | Yield: 2 cakes of 9" each

You Need:

Fruits to be soaked (for a minimum of 16-24 hours):
  • 500 gms dry fruits * see note#1
  • 2 tbsp jam or fruit preserve/conserve of your choice
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (freshly extracted preferably)
  • 90gm /6 tbsp sugar
  • 75ml/5 tbsp rum + extra to pour over the cakes (optional)
  • 15ml/1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove (or 12 cloves powdered)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or 1 inch stick cinnamon powdered)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (or 1/2 nutmeg powdered)
For the cake:
  • 250 gms / 1-1/3rd cups unsalted butter
  • 200 gms/ 1cup+2 tbsp powdered or caster sugar *see note#2
  • 5 eggs separated (place all egg whites in one bowl & each yolk in a separate bowl)
  • 90gm / 6 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 200 gms / 1-2/3rd cups all purpose flour /plain flour (maida)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 100 gms (approx 1 cup) cashewnuts or walnuts roughly chopped
  • 180ml / 3/4th cup milk (at room temperature)
  • 50gms / 1/3rd cup semolina/rawa
  • pinch of salt
For the Caramel (which gives the dark colour to the cake):
  • 300gm/ 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4th cup hot water (freshly boiled)
Method:
Soak the fruits
Finely chop all the dry fruits and soak them in a wide bowl along with the rest of the ingredients mentioned under 'Fruits to be soaked'. Fruits need to be soaked at least for 16-24 hours at room temperature or for as long as you wish (a month or two in advance - preferably in a very cool place or in the refrigerator)

Prepare the oven & cake tins
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius for about 10 minutes. Grease two 9" pans thoroughly with butter and line them with baking paper/ parchment. Do not skip this step as the long bake time can burn your cake.

Prepare the caramel (when you are almost ready with the batter)
Place the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan (or kadhai) over medium flame. The colour will slowly change from white to brown to deep brown (almost black). Simmer & stir continuously to keep the liquid from frothing over.
Add freshly boiled hot water a little at a time and stir it. Ensure to keep at a safe distance as the boiling liquid can splutter on your face. Watch out!


Prepare the batter

1. Beat the separated egg whites and granulated sugar (6 tbsps) till fluffy and set aside. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt a couple of times and keep aside. Roll the chopped nuts in a tablespoon of flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake. Keep aside.
2. In a large bowl (suitable for batter for two cakes) cream together the butter and powdered sugar adding the yolks one at a time. Beat well for about a minute after each addition. Add the soaked fruits and mix well.
Add the sifted flour mixture & semolina and fold.
3. Add the milk and fold. Pour in the caramel and mix carefully. Add the beaten egg whites and the chopped nuts.

Bake the cake
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for approx 1-1/2 hours or till the skewer comes out clean. The surface will be a deep brown. Baking time may vary depending on the oven size and type. Keep an eye on the cakes on the completion of 1 hour. 
When done, remove and allow the cakes to cool in the tins for about 10-15 minutes before transferring onto a wire mesh/rack. Pour 2 tbsp of rum over the hot cake (continue to feed the cake with rum till it is ready to be cut - this is optional)
Sift icing sugar over the cakes if you wish to decorate it. 


Notes:
1. I used an assortment of raisins (golden), black currants (deseeded), apricots, cranberries, candied peel/tutti frutti, glace cherries, tropical dry fruits such as pineapple, papaya, mango, chikku, etc. Avoid using dates as it can make the cake too sweet. Figs can be used but the seeds can be crunchy (avoidable)
2. I have used regular granulated sugar - powdered after measuring, caster sugar and also dark muscovado sugar. The regular sugar makes the cake a tad too sweet while dark muscovado (use 1 packed cup) gives the cake a lovely flavour and a deeper colour.
Baking time may vary a little depending on the type of oven. I used a tiny OTG which is too small to place two tins side by side, so I had to juggle a bit by shifting them on the top & bottom racks which resulted in an almost burnt surface on one of the two cakes thanks to the heating rods being too close - this is when the parchment paper does its job of protecting the cake from getting burnt


Saturday, December 18, 2010

May's German X'mas Cookies (Zimtsterne)

The month of December has always been my favourite month. It brings with it this certain charm of festivities & good cheer. Its also the time to make loads of Xmas goodies and indulging in them ofcourse :) Being a Mangalorean, it is customary to make the traditional 'Kuswar' (Mangalorean Christmas goodies) at home. My mother used to prepare some of the many sweets at home but as the years passed by it became increasingly difficult to set aside the required time to prepare the tedious fare. While I will try & post some recipes of Nevris, Keediyo, Guliyo, Kokkisan, this Christmas is going to be celebrated only with some delightful & easy to make German Zimtsterne, the recipe of which was shared by my friend May. While my cookies are not star shaped as they should be (pls refer to May's blog for the actual picture), it would be a pity if I dont share this gorgeous recipe cuz its just soooo easy to make. If you are still wondering what to bake for Christmas that is healthy (no flour - just pure nuts)...try this!

PS: You can bake these cookies any time of the year cuz they are simply yummilicious!! (and kids will love them)


Zimtsterne

Recipe Source: My friend May

You Need:

  • 300gms almonds with skin
  • 3 Egg whites
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 250gms powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (approx) extra powdered sugar for rolling
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar or few drops vanilla essence

Method :

1. In a blender grind the almonds along with the skin to a fine powder & set aside
2. Beat the egg whites along with the lemon juice till very stiff (the mixture starts to look opaque)
3. Now to make the meringue, add the sugar and mix it well until it is fully dissolved.
4. Keep aside about three fourth of this meringue.
5. In a large bowl add one fourth of the meringue and fold in the almond powder, cinnamon powder and vanilla essence.
6. Knead it into a smooth dough (similar to the chapathi dough) and set aside covered for about 30mins
7. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius for about 6 minutes. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
8. Now sift some powdered sugar over a working surface/wooden cutting board
9. Divide the dough into two and roll out half of it into a thick sheet (about a quarter inch thick)
10. Use a star shaped cookie cutter to cut out star shaped cookies (I didnt have a star shaped one so I used a regular flower shaped cutter)
11. Place the stars on the baking tray and brush them with some meringue ensuring that it does not dribble down to the sides*
12. Bake stars on the lower and middle racks for 25 minutes, switching the sheets about halfway through baking time.
13. Remove from oven & cool them off on a wire rack. The base of the cookies will be sugar coated and the top would be glazed

Note: You can also apply the meringue on the baked cookies and leave them in a cool place to dry - this gives the glaze effect which you currently cannot see on my cookies.


Rich Cake (Christmas Cake)

In my personal opinion, I think a well made Christmas Cake is worth every effort put into making it. From what i've read, in the West the preparation of a cake mix usually begins a year in advance. In many parts of Europe people gift each other their cake mixes as part of the Christmas tradition and all that's left to do for the person who receives such a gorgeous gift is to just add flour, eggs & butter & bake it! Mmmmmm..I should ask my friends to start this tradition cuz I really feel that the Christmas Cake recipe is the mother of all recipes (with so much time & effort that goes into it). It is also for this reason that maybe the cake keeps (in an airtight box) for almost 6 months to 1 year after it has been baked. This is typically so because of all that rum or brandy that is used to soak up the fruits & later feed the cake that helps preserve it.

I have been hunting for the right cake recipe for ages. I personally believe that since 'tis the season to be jolly, any cake made with loads of love is a yummy cake after all. However, I will not stop improvising on this cake (like i've done for the past few years). This cake didnt turn out as dark as preferred but it was quite delicious & moist inside (never mind the adventure & near death experience behind it..lol!)


Rich Cake
You Need:

Fruits to be soaked:
  • 50gms Sultanas (dried seedless white grapes a little more plum & golden than regular raisins)
  • 50gms Raisins (dried white grapes )
  • 50gms Currants (dried black seedless grapes)
  • 50gms Figs roughly chopped
  • 50gms Apricots roughly chopped
  • 50gms pitted prunes roughly chopped
  • 100ml brandy or rum
Soak the above dry fruits & keep covered. You can keep overnight or over several days if preferred (in an airtight jar, stirring once a day)

For the mixed spice
  • 1 tsp Coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp All Spice
  • 1/2 tsp Dry Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Green Cardamom seeds
For the Cake
  • 225gms Flour
  • 1 tsp Mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 225gms Muscovado or Demerara Sugar (brown sugar)
  • 225gms Unsalted Butter
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tbsp Rind of orange - finely chopped
  • 50gms Walnuts or Almonds roughly chopped
Method:

Now...you know the drill...beat the butter & sugar, then add the eggs, then the sifted flour...fold, pour into a baking dish....bake...and voila! your cake is ready....Sigh! I wish it was as simple as gobbling up a cake...but since patience is a virtue, I try to take a deep breath & enjoy the process of baking a cake...cuz I've had many a disasters while baking the Christmas cake (from completely burnt to undone - I've seen 'em all). This is my fourth year into baking my Christmas cake & it was the first time that I moved to a conventional oven - the OTG, from my true blue friend - the Electrolux Microwave with Convection which has seen me through many many cakes & breads.

To begin with:

- Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, salt & mixed spice. Keep aside
- Roll the nuts in some flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake
- Grease a 8" pan with butter & dust it with flour evenly across the bottom & the sides of the pan OR line the baking dish with parchment paper
- Set aside 1 cup of the sugar for caramelising and toss the remaining into a large bowl and add the butter (at room temperature)
- Beat butter & sugar till fluffy for about 3-4 minutes (till the mixture looks a bit pale)
- Add 1 egg at a time, mixing it well & beating it along with the butter & sugar. Beat for a minute & repeat with the next egg till all eggs have been blended well. If the mixture appears like its curdling sprinkle some flour
- Add the flour & orange juice alternately ensuring that everything is well mixed
- Take a thick bottomed pan & add the sugar set aside for caramelising and stir on low flame till it becomes a blackish syrup syrup. Add 1/2 cup of hot water but be careful as the syrup & hot water combo may splutter
- Add the caramelised syrup to the batter
- Stir in the soaked dry fruits and the nuts and the rind
- Fold well. Test the consistency of the batter by dropping a little from the spatula from a height. If its too dry, it wont budge! If its too watery, it will be all sloppy. You just need the right consistency. So you can add either a little flour (about 1 tbsp) or some warm milk (abt 2tbsps) as the case may be
- Preheat oven to 140 degree celcius for about 5-6 mins
- Pour the batter into the greased baking dish and place on the centre rack of the oven
- Bake for 55-60 minutes and check if the cake is done (skewer/knife comes out clean)
- When the cake is done, remove & cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container
- You can use the brandy that was used to soak the fruits to also feed the cake. This is to ensure that the cake remains moist & increase its longevity. Poke a few holes on the surface of the cake with a toothpick or skewer and pour a few drops of the brandy or rum once a week.


Now...get set...go! And tell me how it turned out!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mixed Veg Pulao

I am a big fan of rice preparations. To be honest, I am a ardent lover of anything remotely connected with rice. Call it my South Indianness or just an innate desire to remain chubby :) but this king of carbs and source of starch always finds itself in different forms on my dinner (read breakfast & lunch) plate. A couple of years ago all I knew to make was the humble steamed rice, but now I can give expression to my creativity by cooking up different types of pulaos & biryanis. All of them dont turn out great - I have many a flop story to tell you, but will keep that for later. Here's something I tried a couple of weeks ago...just a basic, simple & quick mixed veg pulao which you can make with some veggies lying in your fridge.


Mixed Veg Pulao
Serves 4
You Need:
  • 2 cups Basmatic rice (or any long grained rice will do)
  • 1 Onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup each of cubed Carrots & Beans cut julienne
  • 1/4 cup each of Cauliflower cut into small florets & Peas
  • 2 Cloves
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 2 Cardamoms
  • 1/2 tsp Garam masala powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp Jeera (Cummin) powder
  • 1/4 tsp Haldi (Turmeric) powder
  • 2 Boulion (stock) cubes ( I use Maggi veg stock cubes) 
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Salt to taste
  • Ghee for frying
  • A little less than 4 cups of water (see note at the bottom)
Method:

1. Wash the rice well & soak in sufficient water for about 10 minutes 
In a pan heat some ghee & toss in the cinnamon, cloves & cardamom & stir till you get a nice fragrance
2. Add the sliced onions & fry till golden brown
3. Add the masala powders (garam masala, jeera, haldi) and stir for half a minute and immediately toss in the carrots. 
4. Stir fry for a minute and add the beans. Stir fry the same & repeat the process for the cauliflower & peas until they are done about 75-80%
5. Boil the 4 cups (or a little less) of water in a separate vessel. Add the stock cubes and let it mix well with the water.
6. Drain the rice which has been soaked for 10mins and add it to the stir fried vegetables and mix it well with the masala
7. Keep stirring this rice & masala mixture till it starts feeling heavy - this is the sign to know that the rice has been fried well enough
8. Add the boiling water & stock solution. Check salt & add the lime juice. You can even add finely chopped stalk of the coriander leaves which gives a nice flavour to the rice
10. Stir the rice & water mixture well & when it begins to boil well, switch off the flame and seal the pan with an airtight lid so that no steam escapes. You can even seal the lid again with some dough (but this procedure is applied for biryanis which are worth the trouble :-))
12. Rice will be done in about 7-8minutes after which you can open the lid, stir it once just to ensure that the flavours are mixed well and close the lid again for another 2-3 minutes.
13. Garnish with chopped coriander if desired and serve hot!

Notes:
*While cooking rice, it is advisable to reduce the quantity of water as you increase the quantity of rice. 1 cup of rice needs 2 cups of water to cook. However as you increase the quantity of rice and depending on the shape & size of the vessel used the rice often gets cooked in the steam hence if you use 3 cups of rice, you can reduce the quantity of water to about 5 cups (double minus 1)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Special Cheese Omlette with Spring Onions & Olives


Special Cheese Omlette with Spring Onions & Olives

Serves 2 hungry people :)

You Need:

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 small spring onions minced (you can use 2 medium size regular onions if you dont have spring onions)
  • 1/2 cup spring onion greens chopped
  • 1 large tomato finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coriander & mint leaves finely chopped
  • 4 pitted green olives roughly chopped (OR) 1/4 red or yellow bell pepper roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp white pepper (or black pepper if you dont have white)
  • 1/2 tsp or a dash of Rosemary seasoning (*optional - you can replace it with Oregano)
  • 1 large green chillie minced
  • 1/4 inch ginger minced
  • 2 cubes (about 2 dtsps) cheddar cheese grated
  • oil for frying
  • salt to taste ( about 1/4 tsp for 4 eggs - dont overdo the salt as the cheese and olives bring in enough saltiness)

Method:

1. In a bowl, beat the 4 eggs and whisk them well.
2. Add white pepper and Rosemary and whisk a little & divide the mixture into two portions
3. Combine the chopped ingredients - spring onions, greens, tomato, ginger, green chillies, olives or bell peppers and set aside. Divide into two portions
4. Heat some oil in a non-stick pan and when it is really hot pour a portion of egg mixture and wait for about ten seconds for it to set and form a base. Reduce flame immediately to sim (very slow fire)
5. Sprinkle the combined ingredients, half the portion of shredded cheese & 1 tbsp of coriander+mint garnish evenly over the egg base
6. Slowly fold one side of the omlette and then the other as shown in the picture below. The slow fire ensure that you get a beautiful golden brown base.
7. Flip over the omlette (optional) in order to cook the eggs well.
8. Serve hot & enjoy!!

Note: Even after flipping the inside of the omlette will remain a little gooey. This is just the melted cheese!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Quick Stew with Chicken and/or Mixed Veggies (Kerala Style)

Picture this...you are away from your homeland & havent eaten a decent breakfast for ages. All you can think of is the way your mom used to make the yummiest breakfast goodies and miss your mom, home & everything all the more :( One such morning brought me to my computer, hunting for some comfort food. After some random searching on the net I found this simple recipe which I made as an accompaniment to appams (I'd call it the hybrid between a dosa & a sanna (mlorean idli)) :-). The steaming Kerala stew which is eternally married to appams (at least i'd prefer it this way). Not only can you make it in a jiffy (if you own a Indian cooker) to be served along with appams for breakfast, this item is worth to be put on the table for those guests who appear out of nowhere on very short notice.


Chicken Stew
You Need:
  • 500 gms chicken (preferably boneless cut into small cubes)
  • 1 Stick cinnamon, 2 cloves, 1 pod cardamom
  • 2 Sliced onions
  • 2 Green chillies slit
  • 1 Inch ginger chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 7-8 Peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp (or 1/2 tsp turmeric powder) 
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 Sprig curry leaves
  • 1 Small potato cubed
  • 1 Tomato chopped
  • 300ml Coconut milk

Method:
1. In a cooker heat oil & fry the cinnamon, cloves & cardamom till you get a nice aroma
2. Add onion and fry a bit & toss in the curry leaves.
3. Introduce the green chillies, peppercorns, ginger & garlic and fry
4. Add turmeric & garam masala and coriander powders
5. Add the potatoes, carrots and tomatoes. Stir it a bit
6. Add the chicken pieces and stir for about a minute.
7. Add the coconut milk. Add salt to taste
8. Close the lid of the cooker & add the weight.
9. When you hear the hissing sound (which starts when the cooker is heated for about 2mins) switch off the flame
10. If the whistle does go off, do not worry, slowly try to loosen the weight to release the steam or place cooker under running tap water.
11. Open the lid & stir ingredients well to avoid curdling of the coconut milk. Close lid and reopen after 30 seconds.
12. Serve hot with appams or steaming white rice

Note: The suggestion to switch off the flame before the whistle goes off is just to ensure that ingredients such as potatoes and tomatoes do not get over cooked (if you have cut them real small)

Vermicelli Upma

A couple of years ago I would not have had the guts to try out rice/vermicelli recipes with the sheer thought of ruining them owing to wrong amount of water used. After some practice (and a lot of mistakes) I can dish out yummy biryanis blindfolded (well almost!:)) However, vermicelli for breakfast was something I had not tried my hand at but ofcourse good ol' Sanjeev Kapoor came to my rescue & I made a simple, mess-proof vermicelli breakfast dish which was delicious as it was nutritious. Here's how...


Vermicelli Upma
Recipe Source:Sanjeevkapoor.com

You Need:
  • 1 cup vermicelli (I used MTR Vermicelli which i found is far better than other brands)
  • 1/4 cup each of carrots (cubed), french beans (julienne), peas, potatoes, cauliflower
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 2-3 curry leaves (washed & dried - you dont want them spluttering hot oil on ur face!)
  • 1 green chillie minced
  • 1/2 tsp udad dal (black gram)
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder (optional - only for the colour)
  • oil
Method:

1. Boil 2 and half cups of water and cook vermicelli for about 1 min. Leave it slightly undone (90% cooked). Drain well and refresh it with cold water. Drain and keep aside
2. In 2 cups of boiling water add potatoes and carrots and boil for 2 mins. Add beans, cauliflower, peas and boil for a further 2-3minutes. Drain, cool & set aside
3. In a wok heat some oil, add mustard and when they splutter add the curry leaves, stir for 2-3 seconds
4. Toss in the udad dal and stir till they become pale brown & immediately add the onions and stir well
5. When the onions begin to brown a little add the green chillies and fry.
6. Add turmeric powder and toss in the cooked veggies and stir fry for a further 2-3 minutes
7. Add the vermicelli and stir gently till all the masala is mixed well.
8. Serve hot

Chicken Liver Fry

While I shuddered at the thought of having liver when I was little, I slowly learnt to enjoy the delectable flavour which is so different from the rest of the meat. When I started to cook, liver as an item by itself never figured out on my menu and I didnt know how to cook it either. Sometime ago I was browsing through one of the recipe books handed to me by my mom. The author is unknown to this day as the book is all torn & dilapidated. However the outcome of what I tried was quite interesting & tasty. The combination of onion, shredded carrots & potatoes lends a very nice texture & a kind of sweetness to the otherwise bitter liver and balances it on the whole along with other Indian spices such as the dried red chilly, coriander & garam masalas.


The picture above depicts a slight alteration in the way I cut the potatoes & carrots. Instead of shredding them I just cut them into tiny cubes (just to save time and ofcourse cuz I couldnt find the shredder!!)

Chicken Liver Fry
You Need:

To fry the liver:
  • 400 gms liver, washed, cut into slices and dried
  • 3 dtsp flour (maida)
  • 1 tsp pepper powder
  • salt to taste

For the masala:
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp chilly powder
  • 1 cup sliced onions
  • 1 cup grated potatoes
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander (cilantro) for garnishing
  • oil/ghee

Method:

1. Mix flour, pepper powder & salt and coat the liver slices with this mixture (take care to ensure the liver pieces are dried or else u'l have a sticky mess on ur fingers :)
2. Shallow fry the pieces on both sides & remove
3. In the same oil fry the onions. When they turn golden brown add chilly powder, garam masala powder & coriander powder & 1 tsp of lime juice.
4. Add the shredded veggies and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes
5. Add 1/2 cup water and simmer for about 3 minutes
6. Add the shallow fried liver and mix well. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes
7. Garnish with chopped coriander and turn off the flame.
8. Serve hot.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cucumber Pancakes

In my quest to find some tasty & healthy breakfast recipes I came across Tarla Dalal's book called 'Healthy Breakfast' which has many easy to prepare recipes classified under categories such as 'Breakfast in a Jiffy', 'Breakfast with Planning', 'Breakfast using Left-overs', 'Healthy Drinks'and Butter & Salt substitutes. Nutritive values at the foot note of each recipe helps weight watchers & the health conscious count their calories before they eat. Hmmm, not bad at all for a person who loves her breakfast as much as her diamonds. One the most innovative recipes was the Cucumber pancakes which is easy, yummy & healthy as well. Do try it! Im sure you'l make it over & over again like I do.


Makes 8 pancakes (palm size)

Cucumber Pancakes
Recipe Source: Healthy Breakfast by Tarla Dalal

You Need:
For the pancakes
  • 1 cup semolina (fine rawa)
  • 2 cups cucumber, grated
  • 2 tbsp grated jaggery (gur)
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1/4 cup low fat curds (yogurt)
  • salt to taste
  • 3 tsp oil for cooking
Method:
1. Combine all the ingredients except the oil and make a batter of dropping consistency using a little water
2. Divide into 8 portions
3. Heat a non-stick pan and grease it lightly with oil
4. Spread one portion on the non-stick pan to make a pancake of 3mm to 4mm thickness
5. cook one side over a slow flame until the base is golden brown in colour. Turn over to cook the other side.
6. Remove the pancake and repeat with the remaining batter to make 7 more pancakes
7. Serve hot with Nutritious Green Chutney.

Sending this to Dosa Recipes Event hosted by Sameena Pratap of My Culinary Creations

Nutritious Green Chutney

This is a perfect chutney to go along with the Cucumber Pancakes. Its from my favourite booklet on Breakfast recipes by Tarla Dalal

Nutritious Green Chutney
Recipe Source: Healthy Breakfast by Tarla Dalal

You Need:
  • 1 cup mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coriander, chopped
  • 3/4 cup onions, sliced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 green chillies
  • salt to taste
Method:
Grind all the above ingredients to a smooth paste & serve.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rich Plum Cake - Christmas Cake - The Ultimate Winner

A couple of weeks ago I baked the first Christmas cake in ages that turned out alright. Infact it was quite good as people who tasted it said so. But since I didnt get the desired colour (I prefer my Christmas cake in a deep brown colour) I hunted like crazy for the perfect recipe & found one on Ria's Collection. Made a few changes here & there as per my taste & the ingredients available and the outcome was a fabulously moist & delicious cake!! Everybody liked it in Mangalore where I spent my Christmas this year.


This cake is worth the trouble you take to make it (gathering the ingredients, weighing them, blah blah). You dont need to soak the fruits for donkey's years and the cake doesnt smell too heavily of the rum (last year's cake was so drenched in rum that I got a little dizzy & so did my polite guests). I havent baked cakes for years, neither did my mom, so I decided to give myself another chance {and probably burn this one too - Marriages should be rock solid...not cakes :) }with another recipe out of the million's of recipes that I've gathered over the years. This one is the sure winner!


Rich Plum Cake - Christmas Cake - The Ultimate Winner
Soaking time 16-24hours (minimum) Prep time: 30-45 mins | Bake time approx 1 -1/2 hour | Yield: 2 cakes of 9" each

You Need:

Fruits to be soaked (for a minimum of 16-24 hours):
  • 500 gms dry fruits * see note#1
  • 2 tbsp jam or fruit preserve/conserve of your choice
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (freshly extracted preferably)
  • 90gm /6 tbsp sugar
  • 75ml/5 tbsp rum + extra to pour over the cakes (optional)
  • 15ml/1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove (or 12 cloves powdered)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or 1 inch stick cinnamon powdered)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (or 1/2 nutmeg powdered)
For the cake:
  • 250 gms / 1-1/3rd cups unsalted butter
  • 200 gms/ 1cup+2 tbsp powdered or caster sugar *see note#2
  • 5 eggs separated (place all egg whites in one bowl & each yolk in a separate bowl)
  • 90gm / 6 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 200 gms / 1-2/3rd cups all purpose flour /plain flour (maida)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 100 gms (approx 1 cup) cashewnuts or walnuts roughly chopped
  • 180ml / 3/4th cup milk (at room temperature)
  • 50gms / 1/3rd cup semolina/rawa
  • pinch of salt
For the Caramel (which gives the dark colour to the cake):
  • 300gm/ 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4th cup hot water (freshly boiled)
Method:
Soak the fruits
Finely chop all the dry fruits and soak them in a wide bowl along with the rest of the ingredients mentioned under 'Fruits to be soaked'. Fruits need to be soaked at least for 16-24 hours at room temperature or for as long as you wish (a month or two in advance - preferably in a very cool place or in the refrigerator)

Prepare the oven & cake tins
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius for about 10 minutes. Grease two 9" pans thoroughly with butter and line them with baking paper/ parchment. Do not skip this step as the long bake time can burn your cake.

Prepare the caramel (when you are almost ready with the batter)
Place the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan (or kadhai) over medium flame. The colour will slowly change from white to brown to deep brown (almost black). Simmer & stir continuously to keep the liquid from frothing over.
Add freshly boiled hot water a little at a time and stir it. Ensure to keep at a safe distance as the boiling liquid can splutter on your face. Watch out!


Prepare the batter

1. Beat the separated egg whites and granulated sugar (6 tbsps) till fluffy and set aside. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt a couple of times and keep aside. Roll the chopped nuts in a tablespoon of flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake. Keep aside.
2. In a large bowl (suitable for batter for two cakes) cream together the butter and powdered sugar adding the yolks one at a time. Beat well for about a minute after each addition. Add the soaked fruits and mix well.
Add the sifted flour mixture & semolina and fold.
3. Add the milk and fold. Pour in the caramel and mix carefully. Add the beaten egg whites and the chopped nuts.

Bake the cake
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for approx 1-1/2 hours or till the skewer comes out clean. The surface will be a deep brown. Baking time may vary depending on the oven size and type. Keep an eye on the cakes on the completion of 1 hour. 
When done, remove and allow the cakes to cool in the tins for about 10-15 minutes before transferring onto a wire mesh/rack. Pour 2 tbsp of rum over the hot cake (continue to feed the cake with rum till it is ready to be cut - this is optional)
Sift icing sugar over the cakes if you wish to decorate it. 


Notes:
1. I used an assortment of raisins (golden), black currants (deseeded), apricots, cranberries, candied peel/tutti frutti, glace cherries, tropical dry fruits such as pineapple, papaya, mango, chikku, etc. Avoid using dates as it can make the cake too sweet. Figs can be used but the seeds can be crunchy (avoidable)
2. I have used regular granulated sugar - powdered after measuring, caster sugar and also dark muscovado sugar. The regular sugar makes the cake a tad too sweet while dark muscovado (use 1 packed cup) gives the cake a lovely flavour and a deeper colour.
Baking time may vary a little depending on the type of oven. I used a tiny OTG which is too small to place two tins side by side, so I had to juggle a bit by shifting them on the top & bottom racks which resulted in an almost burnt surface on one of the two cakes thanks to the heating rods being too close - this is when the parchment paper does its job of protecting the cake from getting burnt


Saturday, December 18, 2010

May's German X'mas Cookies (Zimtsterne)

The month of December has always been my favourite month. It brings with it this certain charm of festivities & good cheer. Its also the time to make loads of Xmas goodies and indulging in them ofcourse :) Being a Mangalorean, it is customary to make the traditional 'Kuswar' (Mangalorean Christmas goodies) at home. My mother used to prepare some of the many sweets at home but as the years passed by it became increasingly difficult to set aside the required time to prepare the tedious fare. While I will try & post some recipes of Nevris, Keediyo, Guliyo, Kokkisan, this Christmas is going to be celebrated only with some delightful & easy to make German Zimtsterne, the recipe of which was shared by my friend May. While my cookies are not star shaped as they should be (pls refer to May's blog for the actual picture), it would be a pity if I dont share this gorgeous recipe cuz its just soooo easy to make. If you are still wondering what to bake for Christmas that is healthy (no flour - just pure nuts)...try this!

PS: You can bake these cookies any time of the year cuz they are simply yummilicious!! (and kids will love them)


Zimtsterne

Recipe Source: My friend May

You Need:

  • 300gms almonds with skin
  • 3 Egg whites
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 250gms powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (approx) extra powdered sugar for rolling
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar or few drops vanilla essence

Method :

1. In a blender grind the almonds along with the skin to a fine powder & set aside
2. Beat the egg whites along with the lemon juice till very stiff (the mixture starts to look opaque)
3. Now to make the meringue, add the sugar and mix it well until it is fully dissolved.
4. Keep aside about three fourth of this meringue.
5. In a large bowl add one fourth of the meringue and fold in the almond powder, cinnamon powder and vanilla essence.
6. Knead it into a smooth dough (similar to the chapathi dough) and set aside covered for about 30mins
7. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius for about 6 minutes. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
8. Now sift some powdered sugar over a working surface/wooden cutting board
9. Divide the dough into two and roll out half of it into a thick sheet (about a quarter inch thick)
10. Use a star shaped cookie cutter to cut out star shaped cookies (I didnt have a star shaped one so I used a regular flower shaped cutter)
11. Place the stars on the baking tray and brush them with some meringue ensuring that it does not dribble down to the sides*
12. Bake stars on the lower and middle racks for 25 minutes, switching the sheets about halfway through baking time.
13. Remove from oven & cool them off on a wire rack. The base of the cookies will be sugar coated and the top would be glazed

Note: You can also apply the meringue on the baked cookies and leave them in a cool place to dry - this gives the glaze effect which you currently cannot see on my cookies.


Rich Cake (Christmas Cake)

In my personal opinion, I think a well made Christmas Cake is worth every effort put into making it. From what i've read, in the West the preparation of a cake mix usually begins a year in advance. In many parts of Europe people gift each other their cake mixes as part of the Christmas tradition and all that's left to do for the person who receives such a gorgeous gift is to just add flour, eggs & butter & bake it! Mmmmmm..I should ask my friends to start this tradition cuz I really feel that the Christmas Cake recipe is the mother of all recipes (with so much time & effort that goes into it). It is also for this reason that maybe the cake keeps (in an airtight box) for almost 6 months to 1 year after it has been baked. This is typically so because of all that rum or brandy that is used to soak up the fruits & later feed the cake that helps preserve it.

I have been hunting for the right cake recipe for ages. I personally believe that since 'tis the season to be jolly, any cake made with loads of love is a yummy cake after all. However, I will not stop improvising on this cake (like i've done for the past few years). This cake didnt turn out as dark as preferred but it was quite delicious & moist inside (never mind the adventure & near death experience behind it..lol!)


Rich Cake
You Need:

Fruits to be soaked:
  • 50gms Sultanas (dried seedless white grapes a little more plum & golden than regular raisins)
  • 50gms Raisins (dried white grapes )
  • 50gms Currants (dried black seedless grapes)
  • 50gms Figs roughly chopped
  • 50gms Apricots roughly chopped
  • 50gms pitted prunes roughly chopped
  • 100ml brandy or rum
Soak the above dry fruits & keep covered. You can keep overnight or over several days if preferred (in an airtight jar, stirring once a day)

For the mixed spice
  • 1 tsp Coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp All Spice
  • 1/2 tsp Dry Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Green Cardamom seeds
For the Cake
  • 225gms Flour
  • 1 tsp Mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 225gms Muscovado or Demerara Sugar (brown sugar)
  • 225gms Unsalted Butter
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tbsp Rind of orange - finely chopped
  • 50gms Walnuts or Almonds roughly chopped
Method:

Now...you know the drill...beat the butter & sugar, then add the eggs, then the sifted flour...fold, pour into a baking dish....bake...and voila! your cake is ready....Sigh! I wish it was as simple as gobbling up a cake...but since patience is a virtue, I try to take a deep breath & enjoy the process of baking a cake...cuz I've had many a disasters while baking the Christmas cake (from completely burnt to undone - I've seen 'em all). This is my fourth year into baking my Christmas cake & it was the first time that I moved to a conventional oven - the OTG, from my true blue friend - the Electrolux Microwave with Convection which has seen me through many many cakes & breads.

To begin with:

- Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, salt & mixed spice. Keep aside
- Roll the nuts in some flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake
- Grease a 8" pan with butter & dust it with flour evenly across the bottom & the sides of the pan OR line the baking dish with parchment paper
- Set aside 1 cup of the sugar for caramelising and toss the remaining into a large bowl and add the butter (at room temperature)
- Beat butter & sugar till fluffy for about 3-4 minutes (till the mixture looks a bit pale)
- Add 1 egg at a time, mixing it well & beating it along with the butter & sugar. Beat for a minute & repeat with the next egg till all eggs have been blended well. If the mixture appears like its curdling sprinkle some flour
- Add the flour & orange juice alternately ensuring that everything is well mixed
- Take a thick bottomed pan & add the sugar set aside for caramelising and stir on low flame till it becomes a blackish syrup syrup. Add 1/2 cup of hot water but be careful as the syrup & hot water combo may splutter
- Add the caramelised syrup to the batter
- Stir in the soaked dry fruits and the nuts and the rind
- Fold well. Test the consistency of the batter by dropping a little from the spatula from a height. If its too dry, it wont budge! If its too watery, it will be all sloppy. You just need the right consistency. So you can add either a little flour (about 1 tbsp) or some warm milk (abt 2tbsps) as the case may be
- Preheat oven to 140 degree celcius for about 5-6 mins
- Pour the batter into the greased baking dish and place on the centre rack of the oven
- Bake for 55-60 minutes and check if the cake is done (skewer/knife comes out clean)
- When the cake is done, remove & cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container
- You can use the brandy that was used to soak the fruits to also feed the cake. This is to ensure that the cake remains moist & increase its longevity. Poke a few holes on the surface of the cake with a toothpick or skewer and pour a few drops of the brandy or rum once a week.


Now...get set...go! And tell me how it turned out!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mixed Veg Pulao

I am a big fan of rice preparations. To be honest, I am a ardent lover of anything remotely connected with rice. Call it my South Indianness or just an innate desire to remain chubby :) but this king of carbs and source of starch always finds itself in different forms on my dinner (read breakfast & lunch) plate. A couple of years ago all I knew to make was the humble steamed rice, but now I can give expression to my creativity by cooking up different types of pulaos & biryanis. All of them dont turn out great - I have many a flop story to tell you, but will keep that for later. Here's something I tried a couple of weeks ago...just a basic, simple & quick mixed veg pulao which you can make with some veggies lying in your fridge.


Mixed Veg Pulao
Serves 4
You Need:
  • 2 cups Basmatic rice (or any long grained rice will do)
  • 1 Onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup each of cubed Carrots & Beans cut julienne
  • 1/4 cup each of Cauliflower cut into small florets & Peas
  • 2 Cloves
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 2 Cardamoms
  • 1/2 tsp Garam masala powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp Jeera (Cummin) powder
  • 1/4 tsp Haldi (Turmeric) powder
  • 2 Boulion (stock) cubes ( I use Maggi veg stock cubes) 
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Salt to taste
  • Ghee for frying
  • A little less than 4 cups of water (see note at the bottom)
Method:

1. Wash the rice well & soak in sufficient water for about 10 minutes 
In a pan heat some ghee & toss in the cinnamon, cloves & cardamom & stir till you get a nice fragrance
2. Add the sliced onions & fry till golden brown
3. Add the masala powders (garam masala, jeera, haldi) and stir for half a minute and immediately toss in the carrots. 
4. Stir fry for a minute and add the beans. Stir fry the same & repeat the process for the cauliflower & peas until they are done about 75-80%
5. Boil the 4 cups (or a little less) of water in a separate vessel. Add the stock cubes and let it mix well with the water.
6. Drain the rice which has been soaked for 10mins and add it to the stir fried vegetables and mix it well with the masala
7. Keep stirring this rice & masala mixture till it starts feeling heavy - this is the sign to know that the rice has been fried well enough
8. Add the boiling water & stock solution. Check salt & add the lime juice. You can even add finely chopped stalk of the coriander leaves which gives a nice flavour to the rice
10. Stir the rice & water mixture well & when it begins to boil well, switch off the flame and seal the pan with an airtight lid so that no steam escapes. You can even seal the lid again with some dough (but this procedure is applied for biryanis which are worth the trouble :-))
12. Rice will be done in about 7-8minutes after which you can open the lid, stir it once just to ensure that the flavours are mixed well and close the lid again for another 2-3 minutes.
13. Garnish with chopped coriander if desired and serve hot!

Notes:
*While cooking rice, it is advisable to reduce the quantity of water as you increase the quantity of rice. 1 cup of rice needs 2 cups of water to cook. However as you increase the quantity of rice and depending on the shape & size of the vessel used the rice often gets cooked in the steam hence if you use 3 cups of rice, you can reduce the quantity of water to about 5 cups (double minus 1)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Special Cheese Omlette with Spring Onions & Olives


Special Cheese Omlette with Spring Onions & Olives

Serves 2 hungry people :)

You Need:

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 small spring onions minced (you can use 2 medium size regular onions if you dont have spring onions)
  • 1/2 cup spring onion greens chopped
  • 1 large tomato finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coriander & mint leaves finely chopped
  • 4 pitted green olives roughly chopped (OR) 1/4 red or yellow bell pepper roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp white pepper (or black pepper if you dont have white)
  • 1/2 tsp or a dash of Rosemary seasoning (*optional - you can replace it with Oregano)
  • 1 large green chillie minced
  • 1/4 inch ginger minced
  • 2 cubes (about 2 dtsps) cheddar cheese grated
  • oil for frying
  • salt to taste ( about 1/4 tsp for 4 eggs - dont overdo the salt as the cheese and olives bring in enough saltiness)

Method:

1. In a bowl, beat the 4 eggs and whisk them well.
2. Add white pepper and Rosemary and whisk a little & divide the mixture into two portions
3. Combine the chopped ingredients - spring onions, greens, tomato, ginger, green chillies, olives or bell peppers and set aside. Divide into two portions
4. Heat some oil in a non-stick pan and when it is really hot pour a portion of egg mixture and wait for about ten seconds for it to set and form a base. Reduce flame immediately to sim (very slow fire)
5. Sprinkle the combined ingredients, half the portion of shredded cheese & 1 tbsp of coriander+mint garnish evenly over the egg base
6. Slowly fold one side of the omlette and then the other as shown in the picture below. The slow fire ensure that you get a beautiful golden brown base.
7. Flip over the omlette (optional) in order to cook the eggs well.
8. Serve hot & enjoy!!

Note: Even after flipping the inside of the omlette will remain a little gooey. This is just the melted cheese!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Quick Stew with Chicken and/or Mixed Veggies (Kerala Style)

Picture this...you are away from your homeland & havent eaten a decent breakfast for ages. All you can think of is the way your mom used to make the yummiest breakfast goodies and miss your mom, home & everything all the more :( One such morning brought me to my computer, hunting for some comfort food. After some random searching on the net I found this simple recipe which I made as an accompaniment to appams (I'd call it the hybrid between a dosa & a sanna (mlorean idli)) :-). The steaming Kerala stew which is eternally married to appams (at least i'd prefer it this way). Not only can you make it in a jiffy (if you own a Indian cooker) to be served along with appams for breakfast, this item is worth to be put on the table for those guests who appear out of nowhere on very short notice.


Chicken Stew
You Need:
  • 500 gms chicken (preferably boneless cut into small cubes)
  • 1 Stick cinnamon, 2 cloves, 1 pod cardamom
  • 2 Sliced onions
  • 2 Green chillies slit
  • 1 Inch ginger chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 7-8 Peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp (or 1/2 tsp turmeric powder) 
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 Sprig curry leaves
  • 1 Small potato cubed
  • 1 Tomato chopped
  • 300ml Coconut milk

Method:
1. In a cooker heat oil & fry the cinnamon, cloves & cardamom till you get a nice aroma
2. Add onion and fry a bit & toss in the curry leaves.
3. Introduce the green chillies, peppercorns, ginger & garlic and fry
4. Add turmeric & garam masala and coriander powders
5. Add the potatoes, carrots and tomatoes. Stir it a bit
6. Add the chicken pieces and stir for about a minute.
7. Add the coconut milk. Add salt to taste
8. Close the lid of the cooker & add the weight.
9. When you hear the hissing sound (which starts when the cooker is heated for about 2mins) switch off the flame
10. If the whistle does go off, do not worry, slowly try to loosen the weight to release the steam or place cooker under running tap water.
11. Open the lid & stir ingredients well to avoid curdling of the coconut milk. Close lid and reopen after 30 seconds.
12. Serve hot with appams or steaming white rice

Note: The suggestion to switch off the flame before the whistle goes off is just to ensure that ingredients such as potatoes and tomatoes do not get over cooked (if you have cut them real small)

Vermicelli Upma

A couple of years ago I would not have had the guts to try out rice/vermicelli recipes with the sheer thought of ruining them owing to wrong amount of water used. After some practice (and a lot of mistakes) I can dish out yummy biryanis blindfolded (well almost!:)) However, vermicelli for breakfast was something I had not tried my hand at but ofcourse good ol' Sanjeev Kapoor came to my rescue & I made a simple, mess-proof vermicelli breakfast dish which was delicious as it was nutritious. Here's how...


Vermicelli Upma
Recipe Source:Sanjeevkapoor.com

You Need:
  • 1 cup vermicelli (I used MTR Vermicelli which i found is far better than other brands)
  • 1/4 cup each of carrots (cubed), french beans (julienne), peas, potatoes, cauliflower
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 2-3 curry leaves (washed & dried - you dont want them spluttering hot oil on ur face!)
  • 1 green chillie minced
  • 1/2 tsp udad dal (black gram)
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder (optional - only for the colour)
  • oil
Method:

1. Boil 2 and half cups of water and cook vermicelli for about 1 min. Leave it slightly undone (90% cooked). Drain well and refresh it with cold water. Drain and keep aside
2. In 2 cups of boiling water add potatoes and carrots and boil for 2 mins. Add beans, cauliflower, peas and boil for a further 2-3minutes. Drain, cool & set aside
3. In a wok heat some oil, add mustard and when they splutter add the curry leaves, stir for 2-3 seconds
4. Toss in the udad dal and stir till they become pale brown & immediately add the onions and stir well
5. When the onions begin to brown a little add the green chillies and fry.
6. Add turmeric powder and toss in the cooked veggies and stir fry for a further 2-3 minutes
7. Add the vermicelli and stir gently till all the masala is mixed well.
8. Serve hot

Chicken Liver Fry

While I shuddered at the thought of having liver when I was little, I slowly learnt to enjoy the delectable flavour which is so different from the rest of the meat. When I started to cook, liver as an item by itself never figured out on my menu and I didnt know how to cook it either. Sometime ago I was browsing through one of the recipe books handed to me by my mom. The author is unknown to this day as the book is all torn & dilapidated. However the outcome of what I tried was quite interesting & tasty. The combination of onion, shredded carrots & potatoes lends a very nice texture & a kind of sweetness to the otherwise bitter liver and balances it on the whole along with other Indian spices such as the dried red chilly, coriander & garam masalas.


The picture above depicts a slight alteration in the way I cut the potatoes & carrots. Instead of shredding them I just cut them into tiny cubes (just to save time and ofcourse cuz I couldnt find the shredder!!)

Chicken Liver Fry
You Need:

To fry the liver:
  • 400 gms liver, washed, cut into slices and dried
  • 3 dtsp flour (maida)
  • 1 tsp pepper powder
  • salt to taste

For the masala:
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp chilly powder
  • 1 cup sliced onions
  • 1 cup grated potatoes
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander (cilantro) for garnishing
  • oil/ghee

Method:

1. Mix flour, pepper powder & salt and coat the liver slices with this mixture (take care to ensure the liver pieces are dried or else u'l have a sticky mess on ur fingers :)
2. Shallow fry the pieces on both sides & remove
3. In the same oil fry the onions. When they turn golden brown add chilly powder, garam masala powder & coriander powder & 1 tsp of lime juice.
4. Add the shredded veggies and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes
5. Add 1/2 cup water and simmer for about 3 minutes
6. Add the shallow fried liver and mix well. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes
7. Garnish with chopped coriander and turn off the flame.
8. Serve hot.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cucumber Pancakes

In my quest to find some tasty & healthy breakfast recipes I came across Tarla Dalal's book called 'Healthy Breakfast' which has many easy to prepare recipes classified under categories such as 'Breakfast in a Jiffy', 'Breakfast with Planning', 'Breakfast using Left-overs', 'Healthy Drinks'and Butter & Salt substitutes. Nutritive values at the foot note of each recipe helps weight watchers & the health conscious count their calories before they eat. Hmmm, not bad at all for a person who loves her breakfast as much as her diamonds. One the most innovative recipes was the Cucumber pancakes which is easy, yummy & healthy as well. Do try it! Im sure you'l make it over & over again like I do.


Makes 8 pancakes (palm size)

Cucumber Pancakes
Recipe Source: Healthy Breakfast by Tarla Dalal

You Need:
For the pancakes
  • 1 cup semolina (fine rawa)
  • 2 cups cucumber, grated
  • 2 tbsp grated jaggery (gur)
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1/4 cup low fat curds (yogurt)
  • salt to taste
  • 3 tsp oil for cooking
Method:
1. Combine all the ingredients except the oil and make a batter of dropping consistency using a little water
2. Divide into 8 portions
3. Heat a non-stick pan and grease it lightly with oil
4. Spread one portion on the non-stick pan to make a pancake of 3mm to 4mm thickness
5. cook one side over a slow flame until the base is golden brown in colour. Turn over to cook the other side.
6. Remove the pancake and repeat with the remaining batter to make 7 more pancakes
7. Serve hot with Nutritious Green Chutney.

Sending this to Dosa Recipes Event hosted by Sameena Pratap of My Culinary Creations

Nutritious Green Chutney

This is a perfect chutney to go along with the Cucumber Pancakes. Its from my favourite booklet on Breakfast recipes by Tarla Dalal

Nutritious Green Chutney
Recipe Source: Healthy Breakfast by Tarla Dalal

You Need:
  • 1 cup mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coriander, chopped
  • 3/4 cup onions, sliced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 green chillies
  • salt to taste
Method:
Grind all the above ingredients to a smooth paste & serve.