December 31, 2010

Kerala Style Eggless Plum/Fruit Cake

Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous year ahead. Come December, all the bakeries in Kerala will have piled up the plum cakes. Though those plum cakes are available through out the year, the ones that arrive during the Christmas, is something special. We never miss to buy them during the season. I have been on the look out for the recipe and Aparna posted a Kerala style fruit cake. Now she did quite a research on the variants of the fruit cake and finally zeroed in on Ammini Ramachandran's recipe.

I decided to follow Aparna's since she said that recipe is close to what she had in mind and  her recipe has only two egg whites. As per her recipe, it was for two cakes. I wanted only one cake. So scaling down the recipe will mean only one egg white, which I decided to replace with milk. I agree the texture is not the same, but I got a decent cake and taste was close to what we got back in Kerala. 

Here is my version

You need

Dry fruits for soaking

  • Raisins - 1/2 cup (I used a mix of black and brown ones)
  • Dates - 1/2 cup
  • Tutti fruity - 1/4 cup
  • Candied orange peel - 2 tblspn
  • Candied ginger - 2 tblspn
  • Nuts - 1/2 cup
  • Orange juice - 1/4 cup

For Caramel Sauce

  • Sugar - 3 tblspn
  • Boiling water - 1/4 cup

For the cake

  • Maida - 1 cup
  • Butter - 100 gms/ 1/2 cup
  • Powdered brown sugar - 3/4 cup

  • Baking powder - 1/2 tspn
  • Baking soda - 1/4 tspn
  • Milk - 2 tblspn

  • Spice powder - 1/2 tspn (Combo of clove+cinnamon+nutmeg powdered together)
  • Ginger powder - 1/4 tspn
  • Shahjeera- 1/2 tspn
  • Vanilla essence - 1/2 tspn


Take the dry fruit mix in a bowl. Add orange juice. The more it is soaked, better it tastes. I soaked for two days under refrigeration. On the day of baking, bring it to room temperature. Microwave it for 2 minutes or cook it on stove top till the fruits soften and the liquid dries up. Leave it to cool

To prepare the caramel, take sugar in a kadai and heat it. Let the sugar melt. Let the melted sugar take a dark brown color. Keep stirring it. Keep 1/4 cup of boiling water ready. When it reaches the brown color, slowly add the boiling water. Take care not to splash the hot liquid on your hand. Mix well. Remove from fire. Let it cool.

Bring butter to room temperature. Cream butter until cream and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar to the butter and mix well. Reserve 2 tablespoons of maida. Sieve the dry ingredients- maida, baking powder, baking soda together.

Stir in the dry ingredients along with the spice powders to the butter-sugar mix. Fold in gently. Don't over mix. Add the caramel sauce and milk too. Dust the soaked fruits with the reserved maida and fold into the batter. 
Grease the cake tin and  transfer the batter. I lined the tin with a butter paper.  Bake in a preheated oven at 175 C for 1 hour 30 minutes. Please check after 1 hour and 15 minutes. My oven tends to take more time than the suggested time.

Its always said, fruit cakes taste better as it matures. So decided to leave it for two days. But I was very impatient and couldn't control myself for more than a day and had to slice it to see, how it turned out. 

I felt the cake was very sweet. Probably the dates and the candied fruits added to the sweetness. So may be next time, I will reduce 1/4 cup of sugar considering the dry fruits added to it.

Here is wishing all my readers, friends and fellow bloggers a very happy and sparkling 2011.  As a blogger, I wish we see less of  Plagiarism in the coming year.

December 29, 2010

Corn Kurma

As soon as you hear the word - corn, I am sure this is the image that comes to most of your minds. Its hard to resist for me not to buy the corn when I see it roasted on the street side carts. Okay, this post is not about the roasted corn. Its a kurma using the fresh corn kernels.

I have noted down the recipe from a TV show, many years ago. Those days, the sweet corn was not very common. I had tried using the dried corn, which has to be soaked overnight. Still, the kernels were not cooked soft.  And with the sweet corn, flooded in the markets, things got easy.  Its an easy to make kurma and goes well with rotis,aappam or dosa too.

You need
Fresh corn kernels - 2 cup
Onion - 1 no
Chilli powder - 1 tspn
Turmeric - a pinch
Kitchen king masala - 1 tspn
Oil - 1 tblspn
Salt to taste

To grind
Grated Coconut - 1/4 cup
Curd/Yogurt - 1/4 cup
Poppy seeds/Khus Khus - 1 tspn
Green chilly - 2 nos
Tomato - 1 no, chopped

Cook the corn kernels till soft in a pressure cooker for two whistles. I microwave it for 5 minutes. Chop onions.
Heat oil in a kadai. Saute onions till pink. Add chilli powder and turmeric. Then add cooked corn and salt. Let it cook for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile grind coconut, green chilly, khus khus and chopped tomato to a smooth paste. If you need to add water, add the curd. After grinding, mix in the remaining curd to the paste. Stir in the paste to the cooked corn. Adjust the consistency by adding water if needed. Bring it to a boil. Let it not simmer too much once it starts boiling since it curd and coconut is added, it will thin the gravy. Finally add kitchen king masala and remove from fire. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.

December 24, 2010

Spicy Wheat Sesame Sticks

The evenings are very cold in my place. And a bowl of hot soup is very much welcome. I love bread sticks to go with the soup, which reminds me the train journeys where food is served. When I saw the sesame sticks recipe at Redchillies, it looked a quick recipe that could complement a bowl of soup. So those who have the yeast phobia, can surely give this a try.  This low fat,healthy sesame sticks are great to go with a bowl of soup or a cup of tea/coffee.

You need

Quick cooking oats - 1/2 cup

Wheat flour - 1 cup

Butter - 2 tblspn

Sesame seeds - 1/4 cup

Green chillies - 3 nos, ground to paste

Sugar - 1 tspn

Salt - 1/2 tspn

Baking powder - 1/2 tspn

Water - less than 1/2 cup

Melt the butter. Coarsely powder oats. Reserve a tablespoon of sesame seeds.

Take powdered oats, wheat flour, melted butter, sesame seeds, chilli paste, salt ,sugar and baking powder in a bowl. Mix well until the mix resembles bread crumbs.

Sprinkle water little by little to get a stiff dough. Don't add all the water at once.

Leave the dough for 30 minutes. Divide into 4 balls. Roll out each dough ball between two greased plastic sheets or cling film. Roll thin to get crispy crackers.

Slice into rectangle strips. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for 20 minutes until it is slightly brown. Flip the tray halfway through for even baking. I baked it in two batches. Got around 40 nos of 2 inch long strips.

The sticks were very tasty and can make a great snack to munch with out any guilt. I felt it tasted less spicy the next day.  To get more flakier and crispy sticks, you can increase the butter by another 2 tblspn.

Wishing all my readers, friends, fellow bloggers and their family a  very
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

December 18, 2010

Eggless Multigrain Brownies

Christmas is round the corner and am sure ovens at most of your homes must be overworking. So thought will share a brownies to celebrate the holidays ahead. I have adapted the recipe from Diana Desserts. I halved the recipe. I have made these brownies quite a number of times. Initially, I used only all purpose flour. Later when I was comfortable baking with wheat flour, I have tried with wheat flour and then using the multigrain atta too. I would rate the one with mutligrain as the best. So here it is.



You need

  • Multigrain Flour - 1 cup (Pillsburry brand)
  • All purpose flour - 3 tblspn
  • Water - 1/2 cup + 2 tspn
  • Butter - 1/4 cup
  • Cocoa powder - 5 tblspn
  • Sugar - 1 cup
  • Salt - 1/4 tspn
  • Vanilla essence - 1/2 tspn
  • Baking powder - 1 1/4 tspn





Combine 3 tblspn of all purpose flour with the water to form a smooth paste. Cook till it turns thick. Keep stirring so as not to form any lumps. Keep this aside to cool.


Melt butter in a pan and stir in cocoa. Sift flour and baking powder.  Beat sugar, salt and vanilla essence into the cooked maida mixture. Add butter-cocoa mixture too.


Stir the wet mix to the dry ingredients. Batter consistency will be slightly thick, similar to muffins.

Grease a 6 x 6 baking tin. Pour the mix and spread even the mix. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for 25 minutes.  Cool and cut into squares.

It might look too much of work like making the paste, melting butter etc. But I assure its worth all the effort especially if you are looking for an eggless brownie.


December 17, 2010

Eggless Fig cookies- using fresh figs

I think it gets little difficult to get back to blogging after a break, however short it is. I was out of station for the
first half of December. And before I realise, the New Year will be here. Time surely flies. Few days with my family was very relaxing. Enjoyed to the hilt, especially the shopping with my sister. Only two of us went and shopped till both of us could not carry any more.

I wanted to make this post just before I left, but couldn't. After the jam with fresh figs, my next was to bake with them. On searching the net, I came across various baking recipes and decided to go for the Italian fig cookies recipe. Do drop by the site to see the orginal recipe and the ingredient substitutions given. I have made few changes to the recipe. Here it is

You need
  • All purpose flour/Maida - 1 cup
  • Wheat flour/Atta - 1 cup
  • Sugar - 1 cup
  • Oil - 1/2 cup
  • Milk- 1/3 cup
  • Baking soda - 1 tspn
  • Baking powder - 1 tspn
  • Salt - 1/2 tspn
  • Powdered cloves - 1/2 tspn
  • Fresh figs, chopped - 1 cup
  • Almonds, chopped - 1/2 cup


Cream oil and sugar. Add milk to it.

Sieve both flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder into a bowl. Fold in the dry ingredients into the wet mix.  Mix in the figs and nuts.  

Drop tablespoonfuls to a greased cookie sheet. Don't get tempted to spread the dough. It spread on its own. Leave enough space for it to spread.

Bake at 175 C for 25 minutes, till the top turns golden brown. This measurement yields 24 nos. The cookies with fresh figs had a crisp crust with a moist inside.   I cannot say about the shelf life beyond three days, since it was all gone by then.

November 30, 2010

Fig Jam in Microwave

Fresh figs are in season now. I have only tasted the dried figs till now. And I have seen the fresh figs in pictures only. So you can imagine my joy when I first saw them in the market. Needless to say I bought them immediately. And figs are one fruit which cannot be stored for long. I made milkshake and there is so much that can be used in a milkshake. And I decided to make some jam. I wasn't sure if we are going to like it as jam. Finally was happy that I gave it a try. And making in microwave, it takes only 10 minutes.

You need

  • Fig puree - 1 1/4 cup (I used 10 nos)
  • Sugar - 1 cup
  • Lemon juice - 1 tblspn
  • Lemon zest - 1/4 tspn (optional)


I pureed the figs with the skin on. If you  see some blemishes, can gently remove that part alone. Quarter the figs and puree them coarsely. Take care not to make a fine paste.

Add sugar and mix well.

Microwave for 4 minutes. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest. Microwave for another 4 minutes. Check if the jam is set. I had to keep for another 2 minutes. Give a standing time of 5 minutes.

If you like your jam very sweet increase the sugar by another 1/4 cup. Enjoy it on a warm toast of bread.

 Fig jam is going to be part of Srivalli's 365 days of Mircowave Cooking

November 27, 2010

Buttermilk sponge dosa and Peas Mint Wale

Buttermilk dosa is a spongy version of the verumarisi adai, for which only boiled rice is used. In this dosa, aval or beaten rice is also added and rice and aval is soaked in buttermilk. Since its soaked in buttermilk, no fermentation is required for the batter before making dosas. You get super soft dosa. This is a great hit among my relatives and friends who has tasted this at home.  Thanks to Mallika Bhadrinath for a super breakfast recipe.


You need

  •  Idli rice /boiled rice - 2 cups 
  • Aval/beaten rice - 1/4 cup
  • Buttermilk - Around 3 cups, enough to soak the rice.
  • Cooking soda - a pinch

Wash and soak rice and aval together in buttermilk for 5 hours. I usually soak it overnight. The buttermilk will be almost absorbed by the rice and aval. You will not require to add extra water while grinding. Grind it to a smooth batter and add salt.The batter should be slightly thicker than the usual dosa batter. 

Before making dosa, add a pinch of  cooking soda and leave it for 5  minutes for it to act.  Heat the dosa tawa. Take a ladle of  batter and pour it on the tawa.  Slightly spread it and it will spread on its own.  The dosa should be slightly thick so that you get the pores well. Cover and cook for a minute. Flip and cook the other side also by covering. Enjoy hot with a spicy side.


 Peas mint wale

Peas mint wale is adapted from Nita Mehta's Mattar dhaniya wale.  The recipe calls for fresh peas. I think this should work with dried peas also. This is a one pot gravy except for grinding the paste, its a breeze. I liked this no-onion recipe. In the original, there was garlic flakes which I omitted.



 You need

  • Fresh, shelled peas - 2 cups
  • Tomato - 1 no, chopped into pieces
  • Oil - 1 tbspn
  • Hing - few shakes
  • Cumin/Jeera-1/2 tspn
  • Kalonji - 1/4 tspn

 For mint paste

  •  Mint leaves - 2 cups
  •  Ginger - 1" piece
  •  Green chillies - 2 nos
  •  Tomato - 1 tspn
  •  Tamarind paste - 1 tblspn or juice of 1 lemon





Grind together the ingredients for the paste.  Heat 1 tbspn of oil in the pressure cooker. Add hing, jeera and kalonji. When jeera turns brown, add peas. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the mint paste to the peas and mix well.  Pressure cook for 2 whistles. Open the cooker when the pressure drops. Add salt and chopped tomato and cook for a minute or two.


November 19, 2010

Kuzhipaniyaram from scratch

What morappam is to PalakkadIyers, is kuzhipaniyaram to TamilNadu. PIs usually make using the left over idli/dosa batter. I don't remember anytime my grandma or my mother making it from scratch. Though, in TamilNadu too, they make from left over batter, usually its made from scratch. For a long time I wanted to try them from scratch and when Viji akka(Vcuisine) posted it, I had to make it. I made this when we had called our friends for dinner before we left to Pune. This was the starter.


You need
  • Boiled rice - 1 cup
  • Raw rice - 1 cup
  • Urad dal - 1/2 cup
  • Salt




  •  Oil - tblspn
  •  Mustard seeds -1 tspn
  •  Chana dal - 1 tblspn
  •  Green chillies - 2 nos finely chopped
  •  Curry leaves


 Onion - 2 nos, finely chopped

 Oil to fry the paniyarams




Soak rice and dal separately for five hours. Grind dal first in the same way as you do for idli/dosa. Grind both the rice together .Take care not to grind it smooth. It will affect the texture of the paniyarams. The ground rice should have rava like texture.


 Mix the ground urad dal and rice batter with salt. Allow it to ferment for 8 hours or over night.


 Do the seasoning with mustard seeds, chana dal, curry leaves and green chillies and add to the batter. Finally add the chopped onion to the batter. Stir well.
 Heat the appam pan with oil in each of the holes. I used my non-stick pan. Spoon in the batter and let it cook till it starts browning. Flip the paniyarams and cook the other side too. Serve with coconut chutney/ mint chutney/ tomato chutney. I have served along side with coconut chutney and mint chutney.




November 16, 2010

Varo - Dry Fruit Chikki ~ Indian Cooking Challenge

It is good to back with the ICC challenge after a gap. After the diwali treats, I was a bit hesitant to try another sweet. But did not want to miss ICC. So decided to do it on the last day. Take care while caramelizing the sugar to get crisp chikkis. I followed Avisha's recipe

You need

Almonds + cashews - 1/2 cup

Dry coconut - 1 tbspn

Poppy seeds - 1 tbspn

Sugar - 1/3 cup

Ghee - 2 tspn


Chop the nuts. In a heavy bottomed pan, add ghee and sugar. When sugar melts and caramelize to a light brown color, add the sliced nuts, coconut and poppy seeds. Switch off the stove. Mix all ingredients so that the sugar is coated well.

Transfer the mixture to a greased board and roll it even with a greased rolling pin or with the base of  a katori. You should be quick in spreading else it will be hardened quickly. Mark slices and break them into pieces when cool. Enjoy crisp dry fruit chikkis. It hardly took 5 minutes to make this


November 11, 2010

Kaala Jamun ~ Diwali Sweet

With instant gulab jamun mixes available in the market, making them at home is a breeze. And that is not
the case with kaala jamun. This is the third sweet which I made for Diwali.  I followed Viji akka's recipe (Vcuisine-Private blog) with slight modifications. It came out well. I was relieved when I checked if the jamuns were soft after their soaking time. And needless to say, this was my first try. The measurements of ingredients and frying plays an important role in getting soft jamuns.

You need

  • Khova/Mawa - 1 cup (Used store bought)
  • Crumbled paneer - 1 cup (used fresh home made paneer)
  • Maida/All purpose flour - 1/2 cup
  • Baking soda - 1/4 tspn
  • Water/Milk if required. (I didnot need any)
  • Oil to fry

For filling

Cashew/Raisins/sugar candies



For syrup

  • Sugar - 2 cups
  • Water -2 cups
  • Milk - 1 tbspn
  • Cardamom powder - 1 tspn


Mix maida and baking soda. If your khoya is hard, grate it. Add crumbled paneer to khoya. Add all purpose flour and knead to a soft dough. If needed add milk. I used fresh paneer and the moisture from the paneer was enough and didn't not add any milk.  Be cautious in case you add milk. Do add in small quantities since the fat from khova and moisture from the paneer will be enough. Else you will end up with a sticky dough and will have to add some more of one of the ingredients and it may not yield soft jamuns.

Rest the dough for half an hour.

Sugar Syrup

Take sugar and water in a vessel. Bring it to a boil and add milk. Remove the scum that floats on the top. Let the syrup boil till turns sticky to touch. Add cardamom powder and remove from fire. The syrup preparation is similar to what we make for Gulab jamun.


Frying the jamun
Knead the dough and make gooseberry sized balls of the dough. Keep cashew/raisin/sugar candy in the
centre and roll it again with out any cracks.

Heat oil till it is moderately hot.  Add 4 balls at a time. After few seconds, lower the heat to the lowest and fry till it is dark brown in color. Note that you don't fry it  for longer time after it gets that  dark color else you
will end up with hard crust jamuns.

Drain the jamuns and put it in the sugar syrup. Fry all the remaining jamuns. In case if you feel the oil has become too hot, switch off the stove for few minutes and then start again.
Jamuns should soak in the syrup for 7 hours. After its soaked well, remove them from the syrup and transfer to the serving tray. Leave the unused jamuns in the syrup.  Garnish the jamuns with grated coconut or chopped nuts.

Enjoy delicious, soft jamuns with nutty centres.


November 10, 2010

Mawa filled Gujiya/Karanji ~ Diwali Sweet

Gujiya/Karanji is in my to-do list for a long time. So Diwali was the perfect time to give it a try.  Preparing the filling isn't any difficult. I wasn't sure if I the outer cover will come out well. It should neither turn soggy or very hard. I told my MIL, if it doesn't turn out well, I will convert this into Bolis. After frying the first batch and I switched off the stove and waited for it cool down. I asked my MIL to do the taste testing and she gave a thumbs up.

Since sugarless khova is easily available here unlike my hometown, I decided not to prepare the khova at home since its very time consuming and  I had other sweers and savories also to be made. I got khova from a near by dairy farm and it was very fresh.

You need

For the outer cover
  • All purpose flour /Maida - 1 cup
  • Ghee/Butter - 2 tblspn
  • Powdered sugar - 2 tspn
  • Warm water to prepare the dough
  • Oil to deep fry

For Filling

  • Mawa/Khova - 1 cup
  • Dry Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
  • Powdered sugar - 3/4 cup
  • Cashews/raisins - 1/2 cup
  • Cardamom - 1 tspn
  • Semolina - 1 tblspn


Add ghee and sugar to maida. Mix in well so that the ghee/butter coats the flour well. Slowly add warm water to get a stiff dough. Cover with a damp cloth and leave it for at least an hour.

Take mawa in a kadai. Roast it over low heat for a minute or two. I used store bought dry coconut. If you are using fresh grated coconut, roast it separately till it starts browning.  Add in grated coconut, sugar, cashew, raisins, semolina and cardamom. Mix well and continue cooking till it comes together. It might appear a bit sticky but on cooling it will be fine. While filling, if you find it too sticky, just add a teaspoon of maida and mix.

Take a marble size dough and roll into a thin poori. I rolled into a big chappathi and cut out using a lid of steel dabba. I did not  need any flour for dusting while rolling. Not using any flour also helps in the texture of the fried gujiya, to keep it soft.

Keep a spoon of the filling on one half and fold the other half on top of the filling.

Seal the edges well. Take care that it is sealed well so that it doesn't open up on frying.

To seal, you can use a paste of maida and water. I didn't require any.I pressed it well and I didn't have any problem of opening up. After shaping the gujiyas, if you are not immediately frying them, cover them with a damp cloth. Deep fry 3 or 4 at a time in a moderately hot oil. Drain them when it is golden in color.

The covering was very crisp and soft and indeed has layers too. I wanted to try applying rice flour and ghee paste on multiple pooris and then again roll it out to get layers. But in spite of not doing that, I got perfect Gujiyas. To make it more rich, you can just dip them in sugar syrup. I chose not to do that.

You can practically stuff this with any filling of your choice. I had made the dough using 1 1/2 cups of maida. The filling was not enough. So for the remaining dough I made a filling of chutney dal/pottukadalai powder , sugar, dry coconut and cashews. I just mixed everything and filled it. That also turned out very delicious.