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.

November 9, 2010

Boondhi Ladoo ~ Diwali Sweet

Hope all of you had a safe and fun filled Diwali. While planning for Diwali Sweets, I try to include the ones which are in my to-do list. And most of the time, the ones which requires time and energy gets into the list, since its festival and I am all out to slog that extra hours in the kitchen. The first sweet to be ticked this time was Boondhi Ladoo and my MIL was game for it since she had made only once and that was with her mother taking the lead. And its first time for me, though I have enough experience in rolling the laddus. (My college mates will agree to this). I checked the measurements and thread consistency for the syrup, with my mom. My mom gave the measurements in kilograms and I scaled it down to cups which is easier for me, since I was making a small quantity.

Making ladoo is quite easy though it involves some work. There is nothing much to go wrong in this, if you follow the method properly.



You need


  • Besan/Kadalamavu - 2 cups
  • Yellow color - a pinch
  • Sugar - 3 cups
  • Water - 1/2 cup
  • Milk - 1 tspn
  • Cashews, raisins, sugar candy(kalkandu) - a handful
  • Cardamom/Elaichi powder - 1 tspn
  • Ghee - 1 tblspn
  • Oil to deep fry

Cloves and edible camphor can also be added. I omitted them.


Preparing the syrup

First prepare the sugar syrup to soak the boondhis.  Heat water and sugar in a deep bottom vessel. When the sugar is fully dissolved, add a teaspoon of milk and let the syrup boil. The impurities in the sugar will float on top. Remove the scum with a ladle. Boil the syrup to one thread consistency. You can check by dropping some syrup to a small bowl of water. If the syrup stays in water and it is rollable, then you can switch of the stove. Take care that you don't make a thick syrup, since rolling laddus will not be easy and it will not hold shape also.

Roast Cashews and raisins in ghee. Add it to the syrup. Stir in the cardamom powder also. Keep it aside.
Don't add the sugar candy at this stage.

Preparing Boondhis

Take the besan in a bowl. Mix in a pinch of yellow color. Add water and make a lump free batter. The batter should be similar to dosa batter. To make boondhi, a special ladle is available in the market. I don't have one. I used the normal slotted ladle which has big holes in it. It worked fine for me. To check the batter consistency, try droping the batter on the ladle over the batter mix. You can see how the batter falls down.  If it doesn't fall in drops, you can add some more besan to adjust the consistency.





Heat oil in a wide pan. Heat moderately. Hold the ladle above the oil. The height of the ladle determines the shape of the boondhi. So hold it high. While making the boondhi, we tend to lower it near the oil, and you will end up with tiny boondhis. The boondhis get fried very quickly. Drain them before they turn very crisp. Add the drained boondhis to the syrup. Continue making boondhis till you finish the batter. Gently mix the syrup after addition of each batch of boondhis. The hot boondhis will keep the syrup warm. Finally add the sugar candies. We are not adding it at the beginning since it might melt in the hot syrup.





The final assembly

Take a handful of the soaked boondhis and press it in your fist and roll into laddoos. You should press it well while shaping, so it holds shape and remains firm on cooling also.



I got around 32 ladoos with this measurement.




November 4, 2010

Thattai - Savory crisp for Diwali

Thattai is a favorite at home. But its not often made since its time consuming. And when it comes to festivals, we are ready to go that extra mile and I decided thattai has to be made for this Diwali. Since my MIL is with me, she helped in patting the discs, which made it easier for me.  And when it comes to Diwali menu, the constant item is Ribbon Pakoda. And I usually go for 2 savouries and 3 sweets.  While at home town, the flour mill was nearby. All I had to do was to prepare the rice for pounding and my maid will get it done from the flour mill. Here I am to locate a flour mill. And I doubt if I will get rice flour with out traces of wheat flour in it since its the wheat that is pounded more here. So I did not want to take any risk and decided to make rice flour at home. And in order not to tax my mixer grinder more, I made thattai and pakoda on alternate days. Thattai should work fine with store bought flour too.

You need

  • Rice flour - 4 cups
  • Urad flour (Roasted and powdered) - 4 tblspn
  • Butter/Ghee- 2 tblspn
  • Chana dal, soaked - 2 tblspn
  • White sesame seeds - 1 tspn
  • Curry leaves few (I did not add)
  • Hing
  • Salt - 2 tpsn
  • Red chilli powder - 2 1/2 tspn
  • Water to make the dough
  • Oil to deep fry


Soak the chana dal for an hour or so. It will make it soft and crunchy on deep frying.

Mix all the ingredients in a wide bowl. See to that the butter/ghee added is mixed thoroughly with the flour. This will ensure crisp thattais. Add water little by little to make a soft, non sticky dough.

Take marble sized dough. Pat it into thin discs on a greased plastic sheet or cotton cloth. Don't make it too thin and it will break while you peel it off.  While patting, see to that the edges are not thicker than the inside.

Heat oil in a kadai. When it is moderately hot, slide the discs and deep fry till golden color. Drain, cool and store in air tight container.

While you make the discs, keep the dough covered with a damp cloth so as not to leave it dry.

With the above measurements, you will get between 45-50 thattais.

November 3, 2010

Chocolate Semiya Kesari

My husband usually searches for sweets, post dinner. Sometimes there may not be even dates, to satisfy his cravings. Depending on the strength of the urge, I'll be asked to make kesari,  since it is a quickie, which can be done in 10 minutes. There is no waiting time also and it can be scooped straight from the pan. On one such night, he suggested semiya (vermicelli) kesari. And I decided to go for half and half of semiya and rava. While cooking, when I had to add the color powder, I thought why not some cocoa e powder. Since I was making a small quantity, I could  afford to experiment. And anything chocolate has to taste good. The end result was so good and then on its mostly chocolate kesari at home. I sometimes make with only semolina or vermicelli.

You  need

  • Rava/Semolina - 1/2 cup
  • Semiya/Vermicelli - 1/2 cup
  • Sugar -1 cup
  • Water - 2 1/2 cup
  • Ghee - 1 tblspn
  • Cocoa powder - 2 tspn
  • Cashew and raisins - few


Roast rava and semiya separately till light brown. If you are using roasted semiya, then no need to roast it again.

Take a kadai and add the measured water. When it starts boiling, add the roasted semiya. When its half cooked, add rava and cocoa powder. Semiya takes more time to cook, hence adding it first. When both rava and semiya is cooked well and the water is fully absorbed, stir in the sugar. Continue cooking till the melts completely and the mixture comes together. Add half a tablespoon of ghee and give it a nice stir.

In a separate pan, heat ghee and add cashews. When cashews start browning, add raisins. Stir in the fried cashews and raisins along with the ghee to the cooked kesari. If you wish to slice them, spread it on a plate greased with ghee. When cool, slice into desired shape.