December 31, 2008

Vanilla Chocolate Cake -Two In One

Last night, my friend T, who is in US now, called me to wish for the New Year. Every time she calls, we relive our childhood memories. Having lived in the same neighborhood and studied in the same school and college, we could talk about the good olden days for hours together. Even if we speak after a long gap of time, if we speak, its like starting from where we left last. T was more happy to tell me that her friend referred her my blog, without knowing about our friendship. She was thrilled to hear the praises heaped on me by her friend. T wanted to share that joy with me. Needless to say, she made my day. That's a big boost for me as a blogger. And also the fact that my blog helps many silent readers is indeed a thing of joy. Now coming to the post, during our telecon, T wanted me to share a cake recipe. So that comes as the last post of the year. This post is dedicated to our friendship and the virtual cake is for T and her family for the New Year.

Kajal's Chocomilk cake is in my to-be-tried list, ever since I saw it on her blog. I followed Kajal's recipe with slight modifications.

All purpose flour/Maida - 1 cup

Powdered sugar - 1 cup

Milk - 1 cup

Ghee - 3/4 cup

Baking powder - 1 tblspn

Cocoa powder - 1 tblspn

Vanilla essence - 1 tspn

Next time, I might try substituting 1/2 cup oil + 1/4 ghee.


Beat powdered sugar and ghee for 10 minutes. Stir in milk and maida alternatively with out forming lumps.Add vanilla essence. Beat the mixture with a beater or hand till it is blended well. Transfer 3/4th of the batter to the greased cake tin. In the remaining batter stir in cocoa powder and mix till it is uniform. Bake it in a preheated oven at 180 C for 40 minutes.

My idea was to pour like how Kajal has done . That is forming the cocoa layer sandwiched between the plain ones. The shape of my cake tine and quantity of cocoa batter did not come along with my idea. Finally decided to make like a layered one. Go over to Kajal's to see the lovely step-by-step presentation.

I baked this cake to send as a gift for my friend. So I did not get to taste the cake. But from the tiny crumbs I got to taste, I felt it has come out well. I am yet to receive feedback from friend.

Here is Wishing all my friends a fabulous 2009 filled with more of happiness and less of worries.

December 29, 2008

Sprouted Kollu (Horsegram) Pongal

After a break, I am back again to blogging. After the vacation, I had planned some posts but both office and home took away all the time and naturally blogging took a back seat.

I regularly sprout moong,horse gram and wheat. Mostly it is steamed and used in salads and stir fries like cabbage/carrot. Occasionally moong sprouts are used in gravies for rotis/rice. I was thinking of using moong sprouts for preparing pongal in place of moong dal. When I planned pongal, I had only horse gram sprouts. Decided to go ahead with my plan of making pongal with the available sprouts. Actually, I was very skeptical of how it will taste and that too I was preparing it for breakfast. If it doesn't turn out well, I won't have time to prepare anything else since my husband leaves at 7:00 in the morning.

But When I opened the pressure cooker, I was completely swept over by the aroma of horse gram and rice combined with hing and turmeric. And with seasoning added to it, it was a winner.

sprouted horse gram (kollu/muthira) - 1/3 cup
raw rice - 2/3 cup
turmeric - a big pinch
hing powder - few shakes
water - 3 cups

Ghee - 3 tblspn
crushed pepper - 1/2 tblspn
jeera/cumin - 1 tspn
small wedge of ginger finely chopped and lightly crushed.
curry leaves

Pressure cook horse gram,rice,hing powder and turmeric in 3 cups of water. Horse gram will not cook mushy. It gives a nice crunch to the pongal. Mash the cooked mixture.

Heat a kadai. Add 3 tablespoons of ghee. Add rest of the seasoning ingredients. When jeera turns into light brown, add it to the cooked rice+gram mix. Mix well. Serve hot with coconut chutney or any tamarind based gravy.

The consistency of pongal remains the same even on cooling unlike moong dal based pongal.

This goes to JFI-Sprouts guest hosted at Ammalu's Kitchen.

December 5, 2008

Semiya Payasam

During my childhood days, the only payasam I loved , was Semiya payasam. I eat all kinds of payasam, but there was a special kind of loyalty towards semiya payasam. Invariably this is the payasam made for our birthdays. No choice on that. Post marriage, this is one payasam which I have prepared more often not waiting for any occasion to come up. It is mostly prepared as a dessert for dinner. Its a favorite with my husband too. When I ever I make the payasam, I don't measure the ingredients. Its just eyeball calculation. So its not necessary to strictly follow the below measurements. Less/more of any ingredient will not spoil the dish. Only the sweetness and consistency may vary. But you can be assured that it will not go waste.
Vermicelli/semiya - 1/2 cup
Milk - 4 cups
Sugar - 1 cup
cardamom powder -1 tspn
cashew/raisins for garnish
ghee for roasting

Heat a kadai with a tablespoon of ghee. Add the cashews. When cashews starts to brown, throw in the raisins. Raisins will puff up and you remove the cashews and raisins from ghee. Add another teaspoon of ghee and roast the vermicelli till it starts browning.

Take a deep bottom vessel. Tip off the roasted vermicelli and 2 cups of milk. Bring to boil and cook in low flame. Keep adding the remaining milk at intervals. When the vermicelli is fully cooked and the rest of the milk is used up, add sugar. Simmer for few minutes so that the sugar is dissolved fully and the sweetness sinks into the semiya. Add cardamom and roasted cashews and raisins. Since we like to drink it from a cup, it has a pouring consistency. If you want to serve as a pudding, increase the quantity of semiya and adjust sugar accordingly. You can serve this warm or chilled. Hot/Cold, it tastes awesome.

This goes to the FIC:White event guest hosted at Kitchen Flavors, which is the brain child of Sunshinemom

This is one recipe which any novice person can make an attempt at, with out any fear of messing it up. So this goes to Ramki's Recipes for the rest of us event.

PS: I will be away for two weeks from my home and blog. I will not be able to blog-hop too. I will surely miss blogging. See you all after the break.

December 4, 2008

A glimpse of my kitchen treasures

When Dibs announced the Kitchen Treasure Hunt event, I had planned a post to showcase some of my kitchen treasures. No cooking only clicking required. But till the last day no pictures taken for the event. Today morning, I clicked few pics in hurry. Have a look at few of my treasures.

My day starts with preparing the coffee decotion. The size varies according to members present. I have two more which are larger in size. That comes out only during functions.

Idiyappam press has made it easier to prepare them. It was hard time using the the traditional press.

Koduval - I use this to break the coconut.

Chirava -Traditional coconut scrapper

Iyya Chombu to prepare rasam. This belongs to MIL's MIL. And it is more than 50 yrs old. Taste of rasam prepared in this vessel is unbeatable.

Uruli - Used to prepare payasam.

November 26, 2008

Raagi Morkali

I got the idea of making raagi morkali when I saw the recipe in a magazine. I didn't remember the recipe. But I tried making it the same way as I make using rice. I have replaced rice with raagi. Rest of the recipe is same. Refer Rice Morkali for the recipe. This I made on stove top. It is ideal when you want to have a quick,filling and healthy snack to go along with tea. This too can be sliced. I was very hungry that I could not wait to spread and slice. I have started making raagi morkali more often than the rice version. When you make it for kids, you can add some grated carrots or corn to make it more nutritious.

I am re posting the Raagi idiyappam

Both the raagi dishes are my entry to Sangeeth's Eat Healthy-Fight Diabetics Event

November 24, 2008

Sevai- A South Indian Delicacy

Sevai is a healthy dish made from rice. It is distinctly different from idiyappam/noolputtu. Both sevai and idiyappam fits into the description of rice noodles. And the similarity ends there. As kids we were happy to learn if sevai is made for evening tiffin. Probably the ladies who has to make may not have enjoyed much. The tedious work involved can easily put off the idea of making sevai. In most of the houses, the help from male members is warranted while pressing the steamed dumplings. In olden days it was the wooden/brass type. It calls for great strength to press them. Imagine the work involved when it has to be made for a family of 10 (I had stayed in a joint family then).

Parboiled rice (Puzhingalarissi) - 3 cups

Gingely oil - 3 tblspn
mustard seeds - 1 tspn
chana dal - 1 tblspn
red chilly - 1
green chilly - 5 nos
curry leaves

Grated coconut - 1 cup (optional). In my home, it is a must.

Wash and soak the rice in water for 4 hours. Grind the soaked rice with salt to a fine paste. The batter consistency should be thicker than idli batter.

I am giving three ways to prepare the steamed dumplings. Every house has their own way of making it

1)Sauteing the rice batter into dough and make dumplings and cook the dumplings in boiled water (My amma follows this method).

2) Sauteing the rice batter into dough and make dumplings and steam cook the dumplings in an idly steamer

3) Spoon the batter into oiled idly moulds and steam cook for 10 minutes ( I follow this which I learnt from my MIL) . This is the easiest of the three,according to me.
Press the dumplings into sevai using a sevai press. As soon as it is pressed, sevai is left to cool on a plate. While it is warm, gently separate them.

Heat oil, Season with mustard. When mustard seeds crackle, add chana dal. When dal turns light brown, add red chilly broken into two, chopped green chillies and curry leaves. Add to the pressed sevai. Garnish with coconut. Serve with any chuntey of your choice.

The base sevai can made into Lemon/Coconut/Tamarind sevai. You can convert the base sevai into any exotic dish as you would do with rice. Its all up to your imagination.

Click here to see the Automatic Sevai Cooker.

I am sending this to Srivalli's Rice mela

November 18, 2008

Beetroot Halwa

My husband's ammamma (Maternal grandma) cooks very interesting recipes. Some of them are real quickies. She had a stock of shortcut recipes of the otherwise time consuming ones. When ever her grand children ask for sweets, she makes sweets in a jiffy. This beetroot
halwa is one among them.

Grated beetroot - 1 cup
Powdered jaggery - 1/2 cup. (You can increase if u like it more sweet)

Chopped nuts for garnish (optional)


MW grated beets with a teaspoon of water for 4 minutes or till soft. Heat a kadai. Add the powdered jaggery. Jaggery will start melting. Stir in the cooked beets. Keep stirring, till the jaggery melts fully. Cook on low flame, till it comes together as a whole mass. Don't cook till the moisture fully dries up, since it will harden on cooling. Garnish with roasted, slivered nuts.

A healthy sweet is ready in 10 minutes. A fat free dessert. You can also serve it with a scoop of ice cream. You can use it as a bread spread for kids' sandwiches too.

This is my entry to the following events :

1) The Challenge hosted by Veda Murthy (No garnish halwa fits the challenge)

2) Suganya's Vegan Ventures Round 2

3) Sweet Series-Halwa, Kathli, Burfi, Peda by Mythrayee

November 15, 2008

Tapioca/Kappa cutlet

Tapioca is one of the staple food of Kerala, next to rice. Every part of Kerala refers to Tapioca in a different name. Kappa, Kolli, Poola, Marachini are some of the names to my knowledge. May be there are more which I am not aware of. Last year, during this time, my Dad was here with us for a month. He visited my grandma during his stay and happened eat some fresh Kappa there. On his return, he got the stem of the plant for me, so that we too can enjoy tasty kappa at home. This is the bounty I got from a single plant this year. Thanks Appa. There were five plants. I have kept one for him, who will be reaching here, next week.

As like any Keralite, kappa is a hot favorite at my home too. We enjoy kappa boiled with salt and turmeric. The ideal dip is the classic ulli chammanthi. I can have that for lunch and dinner too. This variety was very fast to cooking. It got cooked in less than 10 minutes on stove top. Usually, I pressure cook. I made some tapioca chips, prepared the usual upperi as side for rice. Made this cutlet to be served with tea on a weekend.

Tapioca chopped into cubes - 2 cup

onion - 1

green chilly - 4 nos

ginger - a small wedge

curry leaves



oil for frying

Maida - 2 tblspn

bread crumbs - 1 cup

Cook tapioca with turmeric and salt. The cooked water is usually discarded since some toxic from the root is released on cooking. Heat oil in a kadai. Add the chopped chillies,ginger and curry leaves. Add chopped onion to it and saute till pink. Crumble the cooked tapioca and mix with the seasonings. Check the salt and let it cook for few minutes. Cool and mix together. Take lemon sized mixture and shape into patties.

Take 2 tablespoon of maida and add water to make a thin batter. Add a pinch of salt. Dip the patties in the batter and roll it over the bread crumbs.Heat a tawa. Drizzle few drops of oil. Place the cutlets on tawa and drizzle few drops of oil on the cutlets. When the bottom is browned, carefully flip it and cook the other side. Serve with your favorite chutney or sauce. I was in a hurry, so could not roast them longer for even browning.

Vidhaas has passed me the Perfect friendship and Hard working blogger award. Thank you Vidhaas and I appreciate your thoughfulness.

These cutlets are off to Local Eats Event hosted at Joelen's Culinary Adventures.

November 13, 2008

Spinach Carrot Pulao & Paneer Fry

One dish meal is always a life saver. Served with a simple raita, can make a very good satisfying meal. This pulao can be made in a jiffy. Not much chopping required. If you have the chopped veggies at hand, this is very simple and no grinding of masalas needed. I wanted to make a tasty one dish meal with minimum work and finally it turned out to be the way I wanted. It was very flavorful with the whole spices and crunchy while biting into the crisp carrots.


Chopped spinach - 2 cups

Carrots chopped into small cubes - 1/2 cup

Rice - 1 cup

Onions sliced - 1 nos

Red chilly powder - 1/4 tspn

Ghee/oil - 1 tblspn

saunf - 1 tspn

Cardamom - 2 pods

Cloves - 3 nos

Cinnamom - 1"

Poppy seeds - 1/2 tspn

Wash and soak the rice in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes. If you are hard pressed for time, you can avoid soaking. Still it comes out well.

Heat ghee/oil in a pan. Add all the spices. Roast till fragrant. Add sliced onion and suate till they turn pink. Add chopped carrots and cook till it is tender but crisp. Add chopped spinach and cook till the they wilt. Drain the rice and reserve the soaked water. Tip off the soaked rice. Saute for 5 minutes. Add salt and red chilly powder. Add the reserved water. Cover and cook in the same kadai. Stir the rice in between. Rice will be cooked in 20 minutes. You can either microwave for 25 minutes or pressure cook for 2 whistles.

I have served with MW roasted papad, pan roasted paneer and cucumber raita.

Cucumber Raita

Grated cucumber, 3 slit green chillies, a teaspoon of jeera/cumin powder and salt is mixed to a cup of whipped curd. Garnish with some chopped coriander.

Paneer fry

Cubed paneer - 15 nos

For marinade

Hung curd - 1 tblspn

Tomato sauce - 1 1/2 tblspn

Pepper powder - 1/2 tspn


Beat all the ingredients of marinade till smooth. Marinate the paneer for 30 minutes. Sprinkle few drops of oil on a tawa. Place the paneer pieces and cook on low flame. When one side is browned, flip the paneer and cook the other side too. This makes a good starter too.

Spinach Carrot Pulao is going to

Srivalli's Rice Mela

JFI:Carrots hosted by The Cooker

Sapadu Ready Event hosted by Aartee of Nalabagham

November 11, 2008

Adai & Aviyal ~ Kerala Special

Adai, a mixed lentil pancake is very popular in Kerala, especially among Palakkad Iyers. Adai, compared to dosa, doesn't preparation much earlier, since it requires around 3 hours of soaking time only. Doesn't take much time to do the grinding and no wait period for fermentation. Even though the ultimate is paper thin crisp dosa, I love crisp adais very much. This is usually served as after-school tiffin at home. Each home has their own proportion for rice and dal used. For Karthigai Deepam festival, this adai is one of the neivadyams. As is the custom, par boiled rice is not used for neivadyams, its totally avoided when making for Karthigai. Whole pepper and tiny bits of coconut is also added to it. Here is the recipe which I follow on ordinary days.

Raw rice - 1 cup

Parboiled rice - 1/2 cup

Chana dal - 1/2 cup

Urad dhal - 1/2 cup (whole urad/split with skin)

Red chillies - 3 nos

Green chilly - 2 nos

Ginger a small wedge

Curry leaves


Hing powder - 1/2 tspn

Wash and soak both rice, chana dal and urad dal for 3 hours. Grind the soaked mix along with green chilly, red chilly, ginger, curry leaves and salt to a coarse batter. The batter should not be smooth. Else you will not get crisp adais. It will taste like dosa. Add hing powder and mix well. No fermentation required.

Heat a cast iron griddle. Sprinkle few drops of oil. Take a ladle of batter and spread into thick dosa/pancake. Make a hole in the center. This will enable to get crisp adai. Drizzle oil on the sides and in the hole made in the centre. When one side is cooked, flip and cook the other side. Cook in medium flame, so that its well cooked , since it is made relatively thicker than ordinary dosa. Traditionally it is served with powdered jaggery or butter or pickle.

I am not sure how the combination of adai and avial became popular. May be its the idea of some hotelier to combine two popular dishes of Kerala and serve as Malabar Adai and Avial. However it has become a huge hit. You are sure to find this combo in any Tamilnadu hotels. So here is the recipe for aviyal. I don't prepare aviyal for adai. Sometimes its just co-incidental.

Aviyal gets the unique taste from the assortment of vegetables that go into this dish. Veggies along with ground coconut and coconut oil used for garnish brings out the unique flavor. The vegetable which is used in large proportion for aviyal is ash gourd/poozhanikkai/kumbhalanga. Next comes pumpkin/mathan. I shall list the veggies that can be used for aviyal in the order of the proportion. There is no specific proportion to be followed. Its up to your intuition to add the veggies.




Raw banana/vazhakka

Snake gourd/podavalangai


Raw mango one small

Carrot,beans are the latest additions.

Chopped veggies - 4 cups (Vegetables are cut in 1' inch long strips like for finger chips.)

Grated coconut - 1 cup

Green chilly - 7 nos

Whipped curd - 1/2 cup



Cook the veggies with turmeric and salt added. Don't over cook the veggies. It should be soft yet firm. Yam can be pressure cooked or cooked separately since it takes longer time to cook.
Grind together coconut and green chillies to a fine paste. Add just enough water to grind.
If you want to serve the aviyal as side, remove the excess water from the cooked veggies. Add the ground paste and stir in the whipped curd. Bring to a boil. Don't let it simmer.
Add a tablespoon of coconut oil and fresh curry leaves.

I am sending Adai to Srivalli's Rice Mela


Shama, Viki and Vidhas has passed the Inspiration Award to me. Thank Shama,Viki and Vidhas for your sweet gesture. It means a lot to me.

November 3, 2008

Carrot Dates Poli

A variation to the traditional poli. I have eaten store bought dates poli once. I could find some finely chopped nuts along with the dates in the poli. When I tried making it at home, my stock of nuts had dried up and thought of adding some grated carrot along with dates. And it tasted great. The carrot and dates compliments well. These pictures have been in my drafts for a very long time. And thanks to Aparna's Sweet Celebrations , it has made it to the blog.

The basic preparation of poli is same except for the filling.

For the dough

All Purpose flour(Maida) - 2 cups

Salt a pinch

Turmeric powder a pinch

Oil 2 tbspn

Water to knead


Chopped dates - 1 cup

Grated carrot - 1/2 cup

Sugar - 3 tbspn

Milk - 1 tbspn

Add the dough ingredients - maida, salt, turmeric powder and oil in a mixing bowl. Add water to make a soft dough. Finally just apply a teaspoon of oil over the dough and allow it to rest for a minimum of 2 hrs. This helps in making soft poli.

Meanwhile, MW grated carrot, finely chopped dates along with milk for 4 minutes or till it turns soft. Add sugar to the cooked carrot-dates mixture and MWfor 3 minutes. It should have come together.
You can do this step on stove-top too.

Take a lemon sized dough. Roll into poori size. While you roll, keep the centre comparatively thicker than edges. Keep a ball of the stuffing in the center. Bring together the edges and seal well. Roll again carefully into possibly thin poli. Shallow fry on tawa till you see brown specs on the poli.

Delicious, healthy poli is ready.

I am sending this poli to JFI:Carrots hosted at The Cooker