Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fiery Rice Salad

This is a Mary Berry salad that I watched on BBC Food.  It actually calls for Red Rice.  I replaced it with a wild rice that my sis in law Cindy sent to me.  Wild Rice is not actually a rice.  It is a water-grass seed that is abundant in the cold water of Minnesota and Canada.  It is a high source of protein.  It has a very nutty taste and bite.  Whereas the Camargue Red Rice that is the original ingredient in the recipe is a short grain rice grown in the coast of France. This also has an earthy, nutty flavour.  I am not sure which Indian product can be an ideal replacement for either the red rice or the wild rice.  But there must be options which I will definitely explore.

Adapted from Mary Berry's Recipe

Wild Rice - 1 cup
Carrots - 2 large - coarsely grated
Spring Onion - 2 nos - finely diced
Coriander leaves - finely chopped - generous amount
Salt to taste


Vinegar - 1 tbsp
Lime juice - of half a lime
Honey - 1 tsp
Chilies green - 1 ( to taste) finely chopped
Olive oil / Refined Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt and Pepper - to taste

Cooking of Wild Rice
Take four measures of water to one measure of rice. In a thick bottomed vessel
Bring to boil and then simmer for about 20 - 25 mins
Check the rice.  It should be tender but not mushy.  The grain should have a bite.
Drain any excess water

Now to the drained rice, add the carrot, and half the coriander.
Put all the ingredients of the dressing in a jar and mix well.
Add to the rice.  Check for salt.
And garnish with more coriander.

The salad is a meal in itself.  And its different !  

Friday, January 16, 2015

Khubani ka Meetha

This is a lovely dessert from Hyderabad.  Made with dried apricots.  With very little effort.  A favourite at weddings.  Especially on a cold day, you should have this with a little cream.  Or maybe some custard, or even a dollop of ice cream.  We had it just plain.  And slightly chilled.   Recipe from Vah Chef.

Dried Apricots
Sugar to taste
Cream/ Custard/ Ice cream.

Soak the apricots for a few hours in water.
They will plump up and you can then cut them into half and pit them.
Keep the pit/stone aside.  And the water in which the apricots were soaked.

The stones can be split and the seed inside should be removed and kept.
They will be added to the dish.

Now take the sugar in a pan..  This would depend on how sweet the fruit is.
One can always adjust the sugar later.
Add the water in which the fruit was soaked.
Keep on fire till the sugar dissolves.
Add the sliced apricot to it.

It will start to thicken a bit.  At this stage you can mash the fruit lightly.
It is a matter of preference, but always better to keep a bit of fruit rather than make it a puree
Add the seeds now.  Keep on flame for another five minutes or so.

The whole process will not take more than 15-20 minutes from time of ccoking.

Keep aside.
Spoon into bowls and serve with cream/custard/ice cream.  Or eat it plain as I did.

Friday, December 26, 2014


I have not had my fill of Konkani cuisine.  And now that I have renewed contact with aunts and cousins who are wonderful cooks and ever willing to share recipes, I think I can fulfil a few of my cravings :-)

A akka whatsapped the recipe for Surnali.  There are two variations.  One is the god surnali, god in konkani is sweet.  And the other is the Chepi Surnali - Chepi meaning bland.  Only because it is not sweet.  By no means is it tasteless !

Most things in South Kanara will have some bit of coconut in it.  As does Surnali.  This is like an Indian pancake , something like an Uthapam, but with many more holes.  

Raw rice - 2 cups
Coconut - 1/2 cup
Flattened rice ( Poha) - 1 cup
Methi seeds - 1 tsp
Buttermilk ( or milk with the addition of curd)  - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste.

Soak rice and methi seeds for at least 3-4 hours 
Just before grinding, wash the poha
Grind soaked rice and methi along with coconut, poha, salt to a fine paste.
Add the buttermilk to it.  
Mix and keep overnight for about 8 hours to ferment 

(If you are making the sweet variety, omit the salt, just a pinch is sufficient, add sufficient jaggery for the sweetness as per your taste, and grind. Also a pinch of turmeric.  The addition of jaggery may make the batter thinner. So keep that in mind.  The batter should not be thin or too flowy )

The next day heat a tawai.  Smear a little oil on the surface. 
Put a spoon of batter and let it spread on its own 1/2 cm thickness
Cover with a lid and allow the surface to cook . You will see these little holes that will appear on the surface The dosa is genernally not turned over.  

Have the sweet surnali with a blob of butter.  Th.e bland one can be had with chutney

Note - In case, the batter has not fermented enough, add a bit of cooking soda, whisk it well and use. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Funfetti Cake

Sasha made this for the little one's birthday.  She said she had better pictures, and I waited. But since they don't seem to be coming soon, I thought I would make do with what she sent of the slices.  It still looked good to me.  She sourced the recipe from here.

All purpose flour - 210 gms
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Unsalted butter (melted) - 115 gms
Granulated sugar - 150 gms
Light brown sugar - 50 gms
Egg - 1 large
Yogurt - 60 gms ( can also use greek yogurt or sour cream)
Vanilla extract - 15 ml - 1 tbsp
Sprinkles - 90 gms
Milk - 180 ml

Vanilla Buttercream

Unsalted butter - 230 gms - soften to room temperature
Powdered sugar - 360-480 gms
Heavy cream - 60 ml
Vanilla extract - 2 1/2 tsp
Salt - a big pinch

Preheat oven to 350F
Prepare 9" cake tin. - Grease well

Take a bowl.  Mix flour, baking powder, soda and salt.  Keep aside
In a large bowl melt butter ( can be in a microwave), whisk in sugars vigorously so that there are no lumps. Mixture will be gritty
Whisk in egg, yogurt, milk, vanilla extract.  Combine well
Now gradually add the dry ingredients.  Make sure there are no lumps
Batter will be thick
Add the sprinkles.  Do not overmix or the colour might bleed.

Pour the batter into prepared cake pan.  Bake for about 20 minutes, then loosely cover with aluminium foil.
See that the top does touch the top of the cake
Continue for another 10-17 minutes, till toothpick in centre comes out clean.
Remove from oven.  Allow to cool completely

Meanwhile make the frosting
Beat the softened butter until smooth and creamy.
Add powdered sugar, cream, vanilla extract.  If using electric mixer beat on high speed for 3 minutes
If the frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar
If too thin, add more cream.

Frost the cooled cake.  And top with sprinkles.
*If you do not want the cake too sweet, go easy on the frosting

Friday, December 19, 2014

Wheat Semia / Gova Shevai

My cousin's wife S came home with this huge bag of goodies from the Mangalore Store.  And one of them was a packet of the Wheat Semia or Gova Shevai as they are called in Konkani.   These are sun-dried wheat vermicelli.  Traditionally they were made at home.  It is a long process.  The wheat has to be soaked in water and made to a paste that is strained through a layer of muslin. This is then stirred on heat till it begins to thicken and then the semia is extruded through a semia maker.  Now, it is more a convenience food, someone else does the hard work and one just picks the dehydrated semia from the store.

The dehydrated semia has to be rehydrated by soaking in water for about 20 mins.  The strands are squeezed to remove most of the liquid. It is now ready to be cooked.


Rehydrated Wheat Semia - About 200 gms
Oil for seasoning - 2 tbsp
Mustard - 1 tsp
Black gram dal - 1/2 tsp
Green chilies - 2 slit
Curry leaves -f ew
Ginger - chopped 1/8 "
Asafoetida - pinch
Peas - 20 gms - optional
Carrot finely chopped or grated - 1 small - optional
Salt to taste
Fresh coconut - 2 -3 tbsp - the more the better

Take a deep pan
Heat, add the oil.
Put in the mustard, when it splutters add the asafoetida, black gram dal, curry leaves, green chilies and ginger
Add the peas and carrot.  I used frozen peas, otherwise if using fresh peas, cook them till tender beforehand
Add the rehydrated semia
Mix gently
Cover and keep over a low flame for about 5 minutes. Stir gently now and then.
Garnish with grated fresh coconut.

The dish is different from the readymade vermicelli that you get.  It is also very filling since it is with whole wheat.  The carrots and peas are optional.  It will still taste as good without them.  Try adding fried cashew to make it more delicious.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Doodh Peda with condensed milk

Sa sent me the picture of the Doodh pedas that she made for Diwali.  They look so good.  Pedas are generally not the easiest dish to make.  However, she sourced this simplified recipe that uses condensed milk and milk powder from Subbu's Kitchen.  And what can be better when you have a recipe that is easy to make but yet tastes so good !

Makes about 25-30 pedas ( depending on the size)


Sweetened condensed milk - 1 tin ( 400 ml)
Milk powder - 4 cups (1 litre capacity approx)
Ghee - 4 tbsp
Cardamom powder - 1 tsp ( optional)
Saffron threads - few
Pistachios - few
Milk - a little to soak the saffron

Soak the saffron in milk - keep aside

Take a pan, heat the ghee
Add the condensed milk to the ghee in the pan.  Stir well.
Now add, the milk powder.  Keep stirring.
The mixture will begin to thicken

Add the milk with saffron threads.

Keep stirring.  The mixture will thicken further and you will find that it doesn't stick to the pan and you will be able to roll it in the pan with the ladle

The mixture would also have acquired a nice colour

Remove from heat.
Cool slightly till you are able to handle the mixture by hand
Take a lemon sized quantity of mixture and roll into a smooth ball, apply a little pressure and make a dent in the middle
Do this with the rest of the mixture
Place a pistachio in the dent in each peda.

Delicious Doodh peda is ready !

Friday, September 26, 2014

Quick Tomato Pickle

I got an extra kilo of tomatoes on my first online grocery order. They were slightly on the riper side than what I would normally have bought.  I felt I had to use them at the earliest.   Looking through the recipes that  had been bookmarked, I came across this one from Priya .

The recipe is simple. Few ingredients. Simple procedure.  Tastes good from day one, but even better, I felt, after a couple of days. It will last for a month if stored in the refrigerator.

Ingredients: - For 200 gms of pickle

Tomato - 1/2 kg - chop and keep
Tamarind *- one lemon sized ball - I used a tbsp of tamarind paste
Red chili powder - 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Oil - 2 tbsp
Garlic pods - few ( optional)

Powder -
Dry roast and grind to a fine powder 1 tbsp of mustard and 1/2 tbsp of fenugreek seeds.  (You don't need to use all of it.  Make it in slighly large quantities if you find it easy to grind larger quantities and store in a bottle.)  Make sure you do not burn the fenugreek seeds, for you will get that extra bitterness that is totally undersirable.

Now proceed -
Heat a deep pan, put in the chopped tomatoes and cover and allow it to cook in its juices for about 20 minutes.  You can periodically stir and mash till it turns into a nice thickish pulpy mass

(* If you use tamarind, use 1/2 cup of hot water to extract the pulp - cool, strain and keep aside)

Now add the tamarind extract/paste and simmer till further thickened

Add the red chili powder, the freshly ground mustard-fenugreek powder and salt. You may not need all of it. Continue to simmer

Take a seasoning pan - add oil, mustard, allow it to splutter, then the asafoetida, and the garlic.  Remove from heat and add it to the tomato mixture.  Mix well.

Cook for another 5 minutes.  Switch off heat.  Allow to cool completely and bottle.  Store in the refrigerator.

If you can tolerate the spice, add the chilie powder rather generously.

Enjoy with rice, roti or dosa.  The choice is yours .....

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A One Bowl Tutti-Frutti Cake

Tutti Frutti in India are those colorful bits that you find in bread, cake and desserts . Most people do not realise these are made from raw papaya.  My cake is not as colourful for I had only pale yellow tutti frutti and not the bright orange or red or green.  It would have added so much colour to the cake.  I also added some mixed fruit peel to tone down the sweetness. And that was another shade of yellow !

Use an electric whisk for best results.  I could not find my adaptor plug for the new beater that I acquired.  And what was to have been a simple effortless one bowl cake was not exactly so, I beat the batter with a wooden spoon till my hands ached.  But the effort was totally worth it.

Recipe  Adapted from Edible Garden
Serves 5

Plain flour ( maida) - 1 cup
Sugar - 2/3 cup ( I reduced it just a bit )
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Egg - 1
Buttermilk - 1/2 cup
Butter unsalted - 1/4 cup softened  ( I ran short of butter, so I made up the quantity with refined oil)
Vanilla - 1/2 tsp
Tutti Frutti and Mixed peel - 1/3 cup
Salt - Pinch

Grease and keep ready a loaf pan or use an 8" cake tin

In a bowl, whisk flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda till well mixed

To this add the egg, buttermilk, butter and vanilla extract

Preferably use an electric beater at this stage so that the mixture is well aerated

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200 C

Mix the tutti frutti and peel with a little flour and add some of it to the mixed batter

Pour into the prepared loaf tin.  Add the remaining tutti frutti on top

Bake for 25-30 minutes till golden brown and a skewer pierced in the centre comes out cleanly.

Cool completely before slicing.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Spinach (Keerai ) Vada

There was a bunch of spinach in the refrigerator.  V has been cooking quite often recently and I have been happily staying out of the kitchen, but today it was amicably decided that I would prepare lunch. So I was gently reminded of the wilting spinach. Why not some palak dal ?  Yes, why not.  But, I had bookmarked this recipe from Shanthi Krishnakumar's site.  The vada had palak and it looked nice and crisp and I was in the mood to try out something different.  This was a cross between the regular masala vada and the medhu vada and to me it tasted better than both.


Whole urad dal - 1/2 cup  ( I did not have it, so I used the split dal)
Bengal gram dal ( channa dal ) - 1/2 cup
Split urad dal - a fistful
Spinach - 1 cup - washed and chopped
Red chilies - 2 nos
Green chilies - 2 nos - chopped
Cumin seeds ( jeera) 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Salt - to taste
Oil for deep frying

Soak the whole urad dal and bengal gram dal for half hour
Soak the split urad dal for about an hour

Drain the dals well and keep

Keep the chopped spinach ready.  Also chop the curry leaves and green chilies and keep together

Grind the whole urad dal, bengal gram dal, red chilies to a coarse paste with very little water

Put ground mixture in a bowl.  Add the chopped spinach, green chilies, curry leaves to it.  Add cumin seeds, salt to taste.  And the soaked and drained split urad dal.  Mix together.

Heat the oil for deep frying.  Should not be very hot.

Make a small ball of the batter and flatten it to 1/2 " thickness make a hole in the centre and then slowly slide it into the oil.  Keep till golden brown on both sides.  Remove with spatula, drain the oil and then place on a tissue paper.

Serve with chutney.

( The vadas can be flattened as much as you possibly can before you place in hot oil for a crisper product )

Monday, September 8, 2014

Brownies - version 2

K made these lovely brownies.  I also have another brownie recipe here, but she wanted something less fudgy. She has full faith in the recipes on the Joy of Baking site, and this brownie was described as one with a cracked crust, moist centre and deep chocolatey flavour. It turned out just that way.  We planned it for dessert on a day I had a guest over for dinner.  And it also helped that the guest walked in with a tub of ice cream.  So we had two servings of the brownie - one with ice cream and one without.

As the brownie was out of the oven just as dinner got over, I could only manage this one picture.

The recipe is simple. A one bowl - no fuss method.  Only towards the end of baking, one needs to keep an eye on the brownies to make sure they don't dry out.  So the trick is to keep checking and remove it from the oven when the toothpick that is inserted comes out with a little bit of batter still sticking to it.

Ingredients: ( makes 16 nos)

Semi sweet chocolate - 150 gms - chopped
Unsalted butter - 113 gms - cut into pieces ( 1/2 cup)
Cocoa powder - 15 gms
Granulated white sugar - 200 gms ( 1 cup)
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Eggs - large - 3
All purpose flour - 95 gms ( 3/4 cup)
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Semi sweet chocolate chips - 125 gms (3/4 cup) - optional
Nuts - optional - but added here - 1/2 cup

Prepare a 8" square tin.  Grease and line the bottom with parchment paper
Preheat the oven to 180 C

Melt chocolate and butter either over water or in the microwave
Remove, stir in the cocoa powder and sugar
Whisk in the vanilla extract
Add the eggs one at a time and continue to beat it well
Stir in the flour, salt and chocolate chips
Mix in the nuts

Pour into the prepared tin
Bake for about 20-25 minutes - till the toothpick comes out a little sticky in the centre.
Do not over bake

Remove and cool on wire rack.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.  With or without ice cream.


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