Monday, March 31, 2014

Ginger chutney/ Allam pachadi

Ginger chutney or Allam pachadi comes from the Andhra cuisine. A very spicy chutney that goes very well with dosa and idli. Ginger is considered as a great medicine since ages due to its various medicinal properties. This chutney will thereby help you with digestion as one of the main medicinal property of this natural root is that it aids in digestion. Adjust the spice levels as per your taste requirements because I felt it very spicy, but then this chutney is usually made very spicy to give that punch to your taste buds. You can even add a little bit of grated coconut too, if you prefer to.

1 tablespoon urid dal
5-6 whole red chillies(add more or less as per your spice levels)
1 tablespoon sesame oil + 1 teaspoon for tempering
1 1/2 inch ginger piece(peeled and sliced)
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
1 teaspoon grated jaggery
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
5-6 curry leaves

  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a kadai and add the urid dal. Fry until it starts changing its color to light brown.
  • Add the whole chillies and fry for a minute.
  • Toss in the sliced ginger and saute on a low flame until the ginger shrinks. (This will take approximately 4- 5 minutes, take care not to burn the urid and red chillies)

  • Add the chopped onion and tomato. Saute for 2 minutes and switch off the flame. Allow this mixture to cool.
  • Once cooled grind it into a smooth paste along with the jaggery, salt and tamarind paste.
  • Transfer into a serving bowl.
  • Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add the curry leaves and switch off the flame. Pour this over the ginger chutney. 
  • Mix and serve with dosa or idli.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Potato & Spinach balls in red sauce

1 large potato, boiled and mashed
1 bunch palak/spinach leaves, shredded fine
3-4 bread slices, dipped in water and squeezed
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 green chilli, chopped fine
1/4 teaspoon garlic paste
oil to fry
salt to taste

For the sauce
5-6 garlic cloves, chopped fine
4 green chillies, chopped fine
1/2 green capsicum, chopped fine
1 teaspoon pepper powder
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoon soya sauce
2 tablespoon tomato ketchup
2 tablespoon red chilli sauce
2 tablespoon oil
salt to taste
1 tablespoon cornflour, dissolved in 1/2 cup water


  • In a mixing bowl, add the mashed potato, shredded spinach leaves, chopped onion, chopped green chilli, garlic paste and squeezed bread.Mix everything well and knead well.
  • Make small balls of this mixture and keep them in the freezer for 5 minutes.(moist your hands to roll the balls)
  • Heat oil enough for frying in a deep bottomed pan. Deep fry the prepared balls until golden brown in colour. Drain onto a kitchen towel.

 To prepare the sauce

  • In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, tomato ketchup, chilli sauce and salt.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a sauce pan. Add the sugar to the oil.Once the sugar starts to caramelize add the chopped garlic and green chillies.

  • Saute them quickly, and pour the sauce mix immediately. Mix well and cook the sauce for a minute. Add the capsicum and mix well.
  • Add the cornflour dissolved in water and keep stirring until the sauce thickens slightly. Switch off the flame.
  • Pour the prepared sauce over the fried spinach and potato balls and serve.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ragi Idli

1 cup urid dal or whole, soaked in water for 4 hours
3 heaped Tbsp ragi/finger millet powder
salt to taste
oil or ghee to grease the idli pans


  • Grind the soaked urid dal in a mixer adding enough water to get a smooth and thick batter.
  • Add the ragi powder to the grinded urid and mix well.
  • Add enough salt, mix well and keep this batter to ferment overnight or minimum of 8 hours.
  • Grease the idli pans with oil or ghee.
  • Pour the fermented batter into the greased idli molds and steam until fully cooked.
  • Transfer the idlis with the help of a wet spoon on to a plate and serve with coconut chutney.  Nutritious breakfast ready to be served!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Eggless Vanilla Tea Cake

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups powdered sugar
170 gms softened butter
1 cup yogurt(at room temperature)
1/2 cup hot milk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda.
  • Beat the softened butter, powdered sugar, hot milk, yogurt and vanilla essence until light.
  • Fold in the sifted flour mixture to this gradually.
  • Line a loaf tin with parchment paper and pour the batter into it. I used two disposable aluminium containers, as my loaf tin was quite small. I divided the batter equally into these two aluminium containers which I had lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 20- 25 minutes(baking time may vary depending upon the depth of the pan you are using) or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  • Cool the cake on a wire rack. Cut into slices and serve with a cup of hot tea.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Steamed Chicken Dim sum/ Momos

Dim Sum refers to a style of Cantonese food prepared as small bite sized or individual portions of food traditionally served in small steamer baskets. It can be either steamed or fried. Something that is usually made with plain flour, but here I have used whole wheat flour, to be on a healthier side.The difference which I noticed was that the wheat ones tend to be a little less soft when compared to the plain flour ones.
For the pastry
1 cup wheat flour/maida (I used wheat flour)
Water as required
Salt as required
1 tablespoon oil
For the filling
1 cup chicken mince
 2 teaspoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
1"ginger chopped
1 tablespoon chopped spring onion
1/2 teaspoon pepper powder
1  teaspoon sugar
Salt as required

  • Mix flour,salt and oil in a bowl. 
  • Add water and make a smooth dough by kneading well.
  • Cover the dough with a cling film and allow  it to rest for 15 minutes.
  • In a seperate bowl mix all the ingredients for filling and keep aside.
  • Make small balls out of the dough and roll out into small circles by dusting flour in between.
  • Place 1 heaped teaspoon of chicken mix  in the middle and spread  it.
  • Pull and fold the sides over the filling pinching the edges together to seal.
  • Place the momos in a steamer and steam for 10-12 minutes.
  • Serve hot with the sauce you like the most.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Koorka mezhukupuratti/ Chinese potato stir fry

Koorka is my favourite!!! Rice with  koorka mezhukupuratti brings back nostalgic memories. The earthen smell it gives off when being cooked makes it distinct from other tubers. Just as I love the earthen smell that comes with the first rain, like wise I love the smell of koorka getting cooked. But yes, as I am very very lazy I hardly buy this vegetable, as cleaning it, is a bit tedious.
 Back home in Kerala, what I have seen being done in all the households is putting the koorka in a jute bag and beating it on the floor until the skin peels off. Using a knife the remaining skin is then grated off. The end result of this procedure will end you up with stained hands too.(You can choose to wear gloves if you don't want that to happen). Other than that another method is washing the koorka well and steaming it until half cooked and then peeling off the skin just like potatoes. Now this is more easier, but frankly speaking the traditional way, the flavour is retained the most.
1/2 kg koorka/chinese potatoes
8-10 shallots
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp red chilli powder
few curry leaves

  • Peel and steam the koorka until cooked. The large koorka/chinese potaotes can be cut into smaller pieces.The small ones can be added as such.
  • Slightly grind the shallots with the curry leaves and chilli powder.
  • Heat coconut oil in a kadai. Add the grinded shallots mixture and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the cooked koorka and salt to this and mix well. 
  • Cover and cook on low flame for 10 minutes.
  • Open and stir fry for a 1-2 minutes until roasted. Serve hot.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Cauliflower Masala

A traditional Amritsari dish where cauliflower is cooked  in a yoghurt masala. A Nita Mehta recipe, from her book on Amristari food. Really yummy dish, that goes very well with hot phulkas or chappatis.

1 medium cauliflower, cut into medium sized florets
2 onions chopped
1 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
1 1/2 Tbsp ginger-garlic paste
2-4 green chillies, chopped
salt to taste
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
2 tsp dry fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi
1/2 cup yogurt, whisked
1 tomato cut into large chunks
1 capsicum, cut into cubes
3-4 Tbsp oil

  • Heat oil in a non-stick pan and fry the cauliflower florets until lightly browned. Remove the florets from the oil and keep aside.(The original recipe calls for the deep frying of the cauliflower florets until light brown in colour. I didn't do that for the fear of deep fried ingredients,but this way also the curry tasted very good. The deep fried version may be more tastier perhaps..anyhow, I was happy with this outcome too)
  • In the same pan, add the cumin seeds. Once they turn golden add the chopped onions. Saute till transparent.
  • Add the ginger-garlic paste, green chillies, salt, chilli powder, garam masala powder, kasoori methi and yoghurt.
  • Stir fry for 2-3 minutes until the water from the yogurt is almost evaporated and the masala is somewhat dry.
  • Add the capsicum and tomato. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the fried cauliflower florets and mix well. Cook on low flame for 2-3 minutes until the masala blends well with the cauliflower. 
  • Serve hot with chappatis or phulkas.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Chocolate coated Butter Cookies

200 grams unsalted butter,room temperature
1 large egg
130 grams white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300 grams all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
180 grams semisweet or bitter sweet chocolate melted for dipping
Colourful sugar toppings for garnishing (optional).
  • Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add egg,salt and vanilla extract.
  • Gradually add flour and stir until incorporated.
  • Flatten the dough into disc shape and wrap in a cling film.
  • Store in the refrigerator for an hour or until firm.
  • Preheat oven at 180 degree Celsius.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Roll out the dough in a lightly floured surface into 1/3 inch thick circle.
  • Cut into desired shapes using a cookie cutter.
  • Place on the baking sheet with 1.5" gap between each and bake for 10 minutes or until the colour turns light brown.
  • Cool on a wire rack.
  • Once the cookies are cooled,dip one end of each cookies in the melted chocolate and place it on the baking sheet.
  • Once all  the cookies are dipped,garnish with sugar toppings and place it in the refrigerator until the chocolate has hardened. 
  • Store it  in an air tight container for about a week.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Coconut Macaroons

Coconut macaroons are simple to make and completely wheat -free.I have tried this in two different was the normal way of using regular sugar and the other version was by substituting that with brown sugar.(The colour difference is evident in the pictures)

1 egg white
50 gram castor sugar/brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
100 gram desiccated coconut
A pinch of salt

  • Preheat the oven to 160 degree Celsius.
  • In a large bowl,beat the egg white with an electric whisk until stiff.
  • Add the sugar a little at a time,whisking between each addition.
  • Add the sugar and vanilla extract and blend nicely.
  • Gently fold in the coconut.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Spoon them on to the baking sheet using a  teaspoon and bake for 20 minutes or until the colour turns golden brown(I liked conical macaroons and hence the shape)
  • Cool the macaroons in a wire rack and store in an airtight container.