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.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bellappa Dosa

I saw pictures of the Bellappa dosa online.  It looked spongy and airy. Seemed like a variation of appam - a dosa I have not attempted to make as yet.  I cannot figure out how the dosa got its name. And I suspect addition of toddy would have given the sponginess to the dosa.  However, the recipe that I followed from Nandini Kini's blog uses a little amount of yeast.  Bellappa ideally should be had with something spicy.  But even with any other accompaniment it would taste as good.

Raw Rice / Dosa Rice -  1 1/2 cups
Urad dal - 1 tbsp
Methi (fenugreek ) seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cooked rice - 1 cup
Dry yeast - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste.

Soak rice, dal, methi for about four hours
Drain, transfer the contents to a blender and add the cooked rice
Grind to a fine paste with a little water.  This is a thickish batter.
Do not add the salt.

Now warm a little water and add the yeast.
You will see it begin to froth in a little while.

Add it to the prepared batter.
Ferment overnight.

The next morning, add salt to taste.
Heat a pan  Smear a little oil on the pan
Pour a ladle full of batter on the pan and lightly spread it out - not too thin like the ordinary dosa.

Cover the bellappa as it cooks on a slow fire.
Let the underside brown
The dosa does not need to be turned over.
When the top is cooked and the underside is browned well remove and serve.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Black Bean and Mango Salsa

C made this for us when we were visiting them.  The combination of black beans and mango with a lime juice dressing and Italian seasoning mix was great.  One could have a large serving of this and make a meal of it.  And if you want something crisp to go with it, then have it along with tortilla chips or to add an Indian touch maybe some roasted papad.

This recipe was on the package of the Italian seasoning mix .  And I find that recipes that are on the packages are probably tried and tested and work very well.


Black beans - cooked - 1 1/2 cup
Corn - boiled - 1 cup
Mango - diced - 1 cup
Peppers - 1/2 cup - if you want colour use red pepper
Red onions - 1/3 cup
Italian seasoning mix - to taste - or use any kind of seasoning that you wish
Lime juice - to taste
Salt - to taste

Mix all ingredients - except the salt - till well blended.
Refrigerate for about an hour.
Now add salt to taste.
Serve with tortilla chips.

Enjoy !

Saturday, July 26, 2014

No Bake Blueberry Cheesecake

K made this lovely blueberry cheesecake.  It looked good.  It tasted good.  Never mind if it was not exactly the healthiest... anyway, K browsed through various sites and then combined two recipes keeping in mind the ingredients that were available to her.

( Crust and filling - Joy of Baking )

Graham cracker crumbs or digestive biscuits (crushed) - 1 1/2 cups (150 grams)
White sugar granulated- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) 

Unsalted butter, melted - 6 tablespoons (85 grams) 

Filling :
Cream cheese, at room temperature - One 8-ounce (227 grams)
Granulated white sugar - 1/4 cup (50 grams) 
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Heavy whipping cream - 1 cup (240 ml) 

Topping :
Recipe - UK tv 
Cornflour - 1 tsp
Lemon - 1/2 - juiced
Caster sugar - 40 gms
Blueberries - 200 gms

Preparation - 
Crust - 
In a large bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.
Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a well greased 8-9 inch (20-23 cm) tart pan with removable bottom. A spring form pan can also be used.
Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and about one inch (2.5 cm) up the sides of the pan.)
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for an hour while you make the filling.

Filling -
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. 
Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the vanilla extract. 
In a clean bowl, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form. 
Gradually fold or beat the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. 
Pour the filling over the chilled graham cracker crust and smooth the top. 
Cover and place in the refrigerator for about an hour 

Topping -
Take cornflour in a small saucepan
Stir in lemon juice and make it a smooth mixute
Add 2 tbsp of water, sugar and blueberries
Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes
Stir till blueberries are softened and sauce thickened to a rich colour
Leave to cool, cover and chill

Once cooled spread the blueberries topping over the crust+filling and return to the refrigerator to chill for several hours, or even overnight.

Remove the base and carefully slice and serve.  Keep any leftover ( if any ) in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Date and Walnut Loaf

S does it time and again coming up with good baked goodies rather effortlessly.  All I can recall was her leafing through a book for a recipe.  And the next thing I know is a delicious looking loaf sitting on a cooling rack.  I am totally impressed.

The recipe is from the book - Traditional Family Cakes - a collection of recipes with no-nonsense recipes.  A tip for a good date and walnut loaf as given in the book is the use of  fragrant tea to soak the dates like Earl Grey or a good quality English tea - PG Tips was used here.  Soaking dates in hot tea till softened gives it a nice moist and crumbly texture.

Besides, if you note the minimal amount of sugar, butter and flour used - you can afford to reach for a second or possibly a third slice without any guilt.

            (This pic courtesy - DR )

Ingredients :- Serves 8 (* I would think 8  poor eaters) - safely say about 4- 5 if you have a sweet tooth like mine.

Dates - 100 gms - stoned and chopped
Soda bi carb - 1/2 tsp
Lemon Rind - 1/2 lemon finely grated
Hot tea - 100 ml
Unsalted butter - 40 gms + extra for greasing
Muscavado sugar - light - 70gms ( brown sugar was used)
Egg - 1 small
Self raising flour - 125 gms
Walnuts - 25 gms - chopped
Walnut halves - to decorate - a few

Place dates, bicarb of soda and lemon rind in a bowl and add the hot tea.  Leave to soak for 10 mins till softened.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Then add the egg and beat further. Stir the date mixture into the egg-butter-sugar mixture.

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Fold in the flour using a large metal spoon.

Then the walnuts.

Line the loaf tin with parchment paper.
Tip from Jamie Oliver - Cut the paper as per the tin. Hold under a tap till wet. Squeeze out all the water . And then open out paper - you will find it pliable and can easily line your tin - grease it.

Spoon mixture into prepared tin.  Smooth the surface.  Top with walnut halves.

Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until risen, firm and golden brown.

Cool for 10 minutes in the tin and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy ! 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Honey Oat Bread

I never thought one could make/bake Honey Oat Bread at home.  This was always my choice of bread at  a Subway outlet, and I thought of it as an exotic variety that had some special technique in its preparation till  I chanced upon the recipe at Maria's Menu .  It also led me to the original source at Bakingdom .  Both are great sites and worth browsing post by post .

Recipe - ( for one 9 x 5 " loaf )

All purpose flour - 3 cups - 380 gms + 2 tbsp
Oats - 3/4 cup - used quick cooking - but the other kind is ok too
Instant dry yeast - 7 g - 2 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1 1/2 tsp
Milk - 1 cup - 250 ml
Warm water - 1/4 cup
Unsalted butter - 2 tbsp
Honey - 1/4 cup  + 1 1/2 tbsp

Combine flour, oats, yeast and salt in a large bowl
In a small bowl take the milk, warm it make sure it does not boil - add butter - it should melt . Stir it in.  And then the warm water and honey

Pour the milk mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture.
I made the dough with my hand - remember the dough will be sticky at first, so flour your hands and work it well and patiently, adding little flour if necessary.  After 5 minutes the tough should be smooth and elastic.  If it gets too dry sprinkle a little water

Place in a lightly oiled bowl .  Cover and allow it to rise till it is double in size.  Should take an hour or also another half hour.

Prepare the loaf tin - line it with parchment paper

Now lightly flour a clean, dry work surface.  Place the risen dough on it.
Using your fingers, press dough to a 9 x 12 inch rectangle
Tightly roll the dough and tuck the ends as needed to make the loaf to 9 x 5 - the seam should be down as you place it in the loaf tin.

Cover with a clean towel and allow it to rise once again till is doubled.  Which should take another hours time

Preheat oven to 180C

Warm 2 tbsp of honey and brush generously onto the surface of the loaf.  Sprinkle the oats on top.

Place another empty loaf tin at the bottom rack.
Boil two cups of water and put in the empty loaf tin on the bottom rack

Place the loaf tin with the dough on a rack above the one with water and  bake for about 40 - 50 minutes till the loaf turns a golden brown

( In my oven , could be 'cos it is fan assisted - this happened a lot earlier about 35 minutes - so keep checking )

Allow to cool completely before slicing.


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