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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Badam Burfi | Almond Fudge & My 450th Post :)

Badam burfi is one of the delicious Indian sweets,it has the unique richness of almonds and we can't stop by munching just one.These are real soft addictive ones.This burfi is very good to sneak in almonds(badam) to kids.And also,the sweet content in a store brought burfi is much more than the homemade ones.This is very simple recipe which anyone could give it a try.Am also happy to share that this is my 450th post,Thank u gals for all the support and encouragement through your valued comments and likes.Hoping to see you all around in my upcoming posts after a break as am leaving on vacation to India.Till then keep browsing my older posts & enjoy making them at home  !!



Ingredients
almonds/badam 1 1/4 cup
*sugar 3/4-1 1/4 cup
cardamom powder 3/4 tsp
milk 1/2 cup
ghee 2tbsp


Method
  • Soak the almonds in hot water for 30 minutes and blanch them with your hands.
  • Blend the almonds with sugar by adding milk to grind in a coarse mixture.
  • Heat ghee in a pan and pour the paste in the pan.Keep stirring the mix for about 10 minutes on medium flame or more until you get a dough like consistency or when the mix leaves the pan.
  • Mix in the cardamom powder and put off flame.
  • Grease a pan smeared with ghee and transfer the mix in the pan and spread evenly with a back of a spoon.Leave to cool for 30 minutes.
  • Cut out shapes using cookie cutters or cut in square pieces.If using cookie cutters,then re roll the scraps by placing on top of parchment paper.
  • Serve as dessert or just like that,refrigerate left overs if you have any(I had none)!!!

Servings~ 12 -16 pieces

NOTES
* I used 3/4 cup sugar which was sweet enough for us but you can always go ahead and add upto 1 1/4 cup depending on your sweet tooth.
* Smear a little ghee on the back of the spoon and the knife used for cutting,gives a neat finish when spreading/cutting.


Check out,if interested-
Happy Blogging,friends :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Seasoned Oven Roasted Chicken

Oven roasted  Chicken with seasonings had been always our family favorite.I have used chicken breast in this recipe.This chicken recipe is a low fat version of roasting and more healthier too.You can use this method to prepare dishes which require cooked chicken or enjoy with a filling salad.The chicken retains all the flavors and makes it very yummy. My husband is a big fan of this oven roasted chicken and try to seduce your taste buds as well by trying out at home !!!


Ingredients
chicken breast 4 (2lb)
parsley  flakes 1tsp
olive oil 1-2 tbsp
garlic powder 1 tsp
salt to taste
pepper to taste
lemon juice 2tsp
dried basil leaves 1tsp


Method
  • Wash and clean the chicken breast,cut into thin flat slices so that cooking is easier.Pat dry the slices,marinate the chicken slices with salt,pepper powder and lemon juice,leave aside overnight or minimum half an hour.
  • Place the chicken pieces in a tray lined with aluminium foil.Sprinkle the garlic powder,parsley flakes,dried basil leaves and drizzle olive oil on both  sides.

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.Place the tray & bake for 20 minutes on one side and 15 minutes on the other side.
  • Remove from oven.Cool on wire rack and serve.We enjoyed it as strawberry chicken salad, see link here.
Servings~ 5-6 adults

NOTES
* You can use the chicken breast pieces without slicing too,but we found that slicing helps the marination to penetrate well and bring out the flavors.
* You can use your desired salad or enjoy just like that.We had with strawberry salad !!







Monday, April 22, 2013

Vanilla Cupcakes with Butter cream frosting

A very simple and basic recipe of cupcakes is the vanilla cupcakes.Though I  frequently try this recipe but somehow never bothered to take pictures.Only recently did I realize that haven't posted this very simple cupcake recipe.The texture of the cake is very soft like store brought ones.I tried it at home and posted this recipe.The butter cream adds flavor to the soft texture of the cake and kids will definitely love it with frosting.Do try this if you haven't and enjoy :)




Ingredients
for cupcakes
all purpose flour 1 1/2 cup
granulated sugar 2/3 cup
butter 1/2 cup(1 stick/113g)
eggs 2
milk 1/2 cup
vanilla extract 1 tsp
lemon zest of 1
baking powder 1 1/2 tsp
salt 1/4 tsp

for butter cream frosting
unsalted butter,softened1/2 cup(1 stick;113g)
vanilla extract 1 tsp
confectioners sugar 2 cups
milk 2tbsp


Method
  • Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Then add the egg one at a time ,beat in well until incorporated & add in vanilla extract & lemon zest.Mix well.
  • Sift the flour with baking powder and salt twice (helps aerating the flour).
  • Add the flour little by little to the wet ingredients and combine well.Add milk to adjust the ribbon like consistency.
  • Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F and then line a tray with paper liners.
  • Scoop the mix in each liner upto 2/3rd cup and repeat for all liners.tap the tray on the counter top to let the air bubbles escape out.

  • Bake in preheated oven to 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean.(mine got done at 22 minutes)
  • Remove from oven and cool it down completely before frosting.
  • For frosting- Cream the butter until smooth and blended.Add the vanilla extract.With the mixer on low speed,gradually beat in the sugar.Scrape down the sides of the bowl.add in the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy.(about 3-4 minutes).Add any food color if desired,I haven't used any.(will update the frosting pics once I make again,was in a hurry so couldn't click frosting pics)


Servings~12 cookies

NOTES
* You can add in more sugar in frosting if desired.You can skip the frosting as well.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Mathri | Fried Salt Crackers

Mathri is another crunchy fried salted snack which reminds again me of hostel days.This used to be a snack once weekly and did I tell you,I love savory than sweet ?? Yes,you guessed it right and so I used to love this snack very much.This snack shouldn't puff up like poori neither it should brown very fast otherwise it may not remain crunchy and tend to be soft.My kids just love this,so I make it quite often.Enjoy this snack with a tsp of pickle on each or just like that with a cup of tea !!!


Ingredients
all purpose flour/maida 2 cups
semolina/suji/rawa 1/2 cup
oil 4tbsp
carom seeds/ajwain 1/2 tsp
leuk warm water 1/2-1 cup
salt 1tsp
oil to deep fry


Method
  • Mix the flour,semolina,salt,ajwain & oil.Add the water lttle by little as required to knead the dough till firm.Keep covered & leave aside for 15-20 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a wok /kadai.
  • Divide the dough in approx 40-50 gooseberry sized balls.Start rolling each of them in a 2" circle/discs.Prick the rolled disc with fork on both sides.(to prevent puffing up)

  • When the oil is hot,drop a small one to check if its done.If it sizzles up then slide each of it in oil.(Don't overcrowd the mathris or else it will not cook evenly.Once the mathris rise up from the bottom ,turn the other side.Continue cooking both sides evenly.(Always keep flame on medium heat or esle on high heat the mathris turn out soft as the outside gets browned faster and the inside remains soft )
  • Remove the mathris using a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel and serve/store in air tight containers.
  • Serve with pickles or just like that with tea !!!! 

Servings~ 40-45 mathris

NOTES
* Don't over heat the oil or else you may cook the outside of mathris faster and the inside may turn soft.
* Keep the divided balls covered or else they will dry up soon.
* Always start to fry the mathris when you are ready with atleast prepared discs so that there is no much lag between rolling and frying.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Biriyani Chammanthi(chutney) | Green Chammanthi

Biriyani chammanthi (chutney)is the main accompaniment with my yesterday's post of Thalassery Chicken biriyani along with dates pickle. This chutney has the aroma of mint and cilantro,very flavorful and delicious with the added coconut in it.This helps in digesting the rich biriyani too.Lemon juice or yogurt adds the tangy flavors.We just loved this combo with biriyani,it was exotic.If you make biriyani,you should definitely give this tongue tickling chutney or chammanthi a try-will love it !!




Ingredients
grated coconut 1 cup
green chillies 3-5 (depending on your spice level)
cilantro 4-5 sprigs
mint leaves 2tbsp
ginger 1/2" piece
garlic 1 clove
lemon juice 2tsp
salt as required



Method
  •  Blend all the ingredients with little water except lemon juice in a blender until smooth.
  • Add the lemon juice and adjust salt.
  • Serve with thalassery chicken biriyani !!


Servings ~ 4-5 people

NOTES
* You can add yogurt too instead of lemon juice.the yogurt should be slightly sour.
* You can add more water for a watery consistency.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thalassery Chicken Biriyani (Step by step pictures)

In Kerala,the most popular and best served biriyani is this authentic and aromatic Thalassery chicken biriyani.My husband is a big fan of this biriyani and so I tried this,am so happy it came out well.Our kitchen was literally smelling of the spice flavors and ghee.The recipe is adapted from a TV show in Amritha TV.The main spices in this biriyani is the green chillies and garam masala.There is no use of red chilly powder,coriander powder and other spices.I have earlier tried another Chicken dum biriyani but that's delicious in its own way.Though this biriyani is very high in ghee but yet the masala is cooked without any oil/ghee.The onions are fried in ghee,this is known as 'bista' in Thalassery and then added to the gravy,that adds flavor.This is a must try recipe for all biriyani lovers,check it out !!!


Ingredients
to cook rice
basmathi rice 4 cups
cardamom 4
cloves 4-5
cinnamon 2strands
bay leaves 2-3(optional)
pepper corns(optional) 7-8
salt as needed
ghee 3-4tbsp
water 6 cups

to  prepare masala
chicken drumsticks 7 or 1kg with bones
onion 7; very thin sliced
tomato 7 ;chopped
ginger garlic paste 2tsp
green chillies 12; crushed
garam masala 1tbsp(refer notes)
mint leaves 5-6 tbsp
cilantro 5-6 sprigs
lemon juice 1 squeezed
ghee 1 cup /half oil & ghee
salt

to garnish
raisins 4tbsp
cashews 4 tbsp
fried onions
saffron soaked in 1/4 cup milk

[In the platter-Biriyani,Dates pickle,Biriyani chammanthi(chutney),pappadam]

Method
  • Wash ,clean and keep the chicken ready.Cut gashes on the drum stick so that the masala seeps in.Drain water,keep aside.
  • Wash and soak the rice in water for 20minutes.
  • Heat ghee in a pan and when hot,add the sliced onion in batches.(otherwise it may turn mushy as onion leaves out water.I fried in 6 batches.)Fry them till golden brown.Keep in a plate.

  • Heat another pan and add the tomatoes,add a 1/4 cup water and let it cook till mushy.
  • Add the ginger-garlic paste and crushed green chillies.Keep stirring until the raw smell disappears.
  • Add the mint leaves and add the chicken pieces and let it cook.Add half cup water,salt as needed.

  • Cover and cook till chicken is done.Adjust salt,add in the * special garam masala.
  • Add 3/4 or 85% of the fried onion in the cooked gravy.Mix and cover for 5 minutes on low flame.The chicken gets a nice coating of masala and the gravy is reduced considerably.
  • Put off flame,and add the chopped cilantro and lemon juice.
  • In another pan ,boil the water with all the whole spices and salt.When it comes to a rolling boil,add the soaked rice and ghee.Cover and let the rice cook on medium heat till done.Fluff the cooked rice with a fork.
  • Keep the flame on low and add the rice on top of the cooked chicken gravy and spread evenly and gently press it down.
  • Add the saffron mixed milk.on top of rice here and there,just add on top of rice. 
  • Add the raisins and cashews.Add the remaining fried onions.
  • Cover the pot or pan with lid and seal the edges with atta/maida or with a wet cloth.Leave for 15 minutes for flavors to seep in on very low flame.
  • Put off flame and serve with biriyani chammanthi and  Dates(eenthapazham ) pickle !!!

NOTES
* Jeerakashala rice(short rice & more flavorful) is used for making this biriyani but I have used the regular basmati rice found in stores here.

*Always remove the fried onion slightly before you wish too,as they tend to brown once drained too.
* If you wish to add more spiciness,add the pepper powder 1/2-1tsp.
* The special garam masala is prepared using 8 spices- 1tsp of aniseed(perunjeerakam), 1/2tsp of shah jeeraa,1/2tsp cumin seeds, 1/2" piece cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of javithri(mace),2-3 cardamom ,2 or 3 cloves, 1/2 tsp of nutmeg.This may yield slightly more than required quantity but use only 1tbsp for this recipe.I usually make bigger batches and store.
* Keep the flame on very low as the gravy is reduced considerably and on higher flame you may end up burning the bottom of the pan.
* The recipe of biriyani chammanthi,follows soon :)


Monday, April 15, 2013

Eggless Nankhatai | Cardamom flavored Biscuits(Eggless)

Nankhatai are a popular sweet cardamom flavored biscuits available in the bakeries in India.These are buttery soft and delicious,perfect to munch with a cup of tea.This recipe is for one of our good friends,she wished to get this recipe.She is a pure vegetarian and so I thought to make the eggless version of the cookies.Am happy that it came out good and were very yummy.I tried these cookies twice,first one with wheat flour.Those cookies also came out good,melt in mouth ones but they have a darker color,but unfortunately I couldn't click pictures as kids munched majority soon after the bake.this time I tried with all purpose flour as the original recipe calls for it.Try & enjoy making these at home !!!


Ingredients
all purpose flour or wheat flour 1 cup
corn starch 2 tbsp
unsalted butter,softened 1/2 cup(113gm)
sugar granulated 1/2 cup (I used 1/3 rd)
cardamom powder 1/2 tsp
baking soda a very small pinch
salt 1/8tsp
cashew pieces/pistachio pieces (for garnish)



Method

  • Powder the sugar in the blender or use powdered sugar.If using powdered /confectioners sugar then skip adding the corn starch.
  • Mix the softened butter and sugar  until light & creamy with a spoon for about a minute.(Don't over do it as the cookies tend to spread & crack)
  • Sift the flour twice with baking soda and salt.Add this to the butter mix and add the cardamom powder.

  • Knead it in a smooth dough.Make small smooth gooseberry sized balls (about 12-15)and place the cookies on a parchment paper lined tray with a space of 2" apart (as they will spread once baked).Press them down with pistachio/broken cashew pieces on top to flatten very lightly.
  • Pre heat oven to 325 degrees F.Place in the middle rack in the oven and bake for 17-22 mins or when edges are slightly browned.(mine was baked at 20mins)
  • Cool on wire rack completely.Serve or store in air tight containers.

Servings ~ 15 cookies

NOTES

* I have made using wheat flour,wheat flour doesn't give the white color but is much more healthier.This time I tried using all purpose flour.
* You can use powdered sugar instead of sugar and corn starch as powdered /confectioners sugar has corn starch in it.
* Make smooth balls otherwise the cracks will burst out when baking.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Upperi | Kerala Plantain Chips & Happy Vishu !!

Happy Vishu to all my dear Keralites :)
Hope you all are having a great Vishu with your family and loved ones.Vishu is a festival celebrated in Kerala,marking the new year as per malayalam Calendar.Vishu conveys the message of auspiciusness and prosperity.Vishu also has "Vishukanni" which means the first thing seen on the day of Vishu after waking up.The Vishukkani consists of a ritual arrangement of auspicious articles like raw rice, fresh lemon, golden cucumber, betel leaves, arecanut, metal mirror, yellow flowers konna (Cassia fistula), and a holy text and coins, in a bell metal vessel called uruli in the puja room of the house. A lighted bell metal lamp called nilavilakku is also placed alongside. This is arranged the night before Vishu.On Vishu,the custom  is to wake up dawn and go to the puja room with eyes closedso that vishukanni is the first sight in the new year.


Coming back to today's recipe it is the Kerala Plantain Chips(Upperi),a very famous snack worldwide and enjoyed by all.Vishu has a feast along with the celebrations and upperi is part of the sadya menu.This time I tried making these at home as my kids are a big fan of these and I love it too.This is a very simple recipe to prepare and you can munch these not only for sadyas,it goes well with tea too.Try & enjoy !!!!


Ingredients
raw plantain 2
turmeric powder
salt 1/2 tsp
oil for deep frying(preferably coconut oil)


Method
  • Wash the plantains and cut open the skin using a knife(apply oil in your palms to prevent staining).Soak it in a bowl with water and turmeric powder,then pat dry.Cut out thin round slices and dip in water.Drain the water and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Spread the cut out rounds on another paper towel to absorb the excess water.Leave for 10 minutes.

  • Dissolve the salt in about 3 tbsp of water.Keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a wok/kadai till 2 inches deep and fry the cut out plantain rounds in batches on medium heat.Fry them till you start hearing a ringing sound when they rub on each other about 3/4th done.
  • Add half tsp of salted water in oil.You may hear a bubbling sound,but don't panic it will subside in another minute or so.Then leave for a minute or so and using a slotted spoon,drain on a paper towel.Total time to fry each batch may be around 5-7 minutes.repeat the same step for each batch.
  • Enjoy once cooled or store in air tight containers.


Servings~ a small bowl 

NOTES
* You can use kanji water (cooked rice water)  to soak the plantains too.
* Don't over crowd the wok while frying.Fry in batches.
* The slices should be evenly cut so that there is uniform cooking throughout.
* To get the authentic taste of the chips,it should be fried in coconut oil.
* Don't heat the oil on very high heat otherwise the inside of the chips may not be cooked.



Click here for more Sadya(feast) recipes :)


Friday, April 12, 2013

Palak-Paneer Masala | Spinach-Cottage cheese Curry

Palak-paneer masala(Spinach-Cottage cheese curry) is a yummy north indian delicacy,very rich and delicious masala when paired with naan or rotis.Spinach/palak is one of the largely used green leafy vegetables and a healthy green too.Kids usually don't like eating greens and feeding them greens is a big issue but if paired with paneer they would love munching the cubes.And so,they don't like the bright green color too.I have modified the color with microwaving and adding tomatoes.I cooked this sometime back during our lent time.Also,in this dish the spinach is pureed and added.I adapted the recipe from Vahchef's video,here.The dish was very delicious with rotis.Do give it a try if u haven't tried the authentic flavors in this dish !!



Ingredients
palak 7oz (190gm)
homemade paneer 100-150gm cubed
onion 1 fine chopped
ginger garlic paste 1tbsp
green chillies chopped 2-3
tomato 1 chopped
coriander powder1tsp
cumin powder 1/2 tsp
cumin seeds1 tsp
turmeric powder1/4 tsp
red chilli powder 1/2 tsp
whipping cream 2-3tbsp(optional)
whole garam masala(cinnamon,cloves,cardamom)2 each/garam masala powder 1tsp
dry fenugreek leaves  /kasoori methi 1tsp
oil 1-2 tbsp
salt


Method
  • Wash and place the spinach in a microwave safe bowl with water or heat a pan with water about 1/4 cup water,add spinach leaves and cook(about 2 minutes) uncovered until wilted.(Microwave takes about 3-4 minutes on high.)
  • Blend  the wilted spinach without water in coarse mixture.(Don't overblend )
  • Heat oil in a pan and fry the paneer slightly if you wish and remove, place on a plate.(I have skipped this step).To the same oil,add the whole garam masala if using.Crackle the cumin seeds.Add onion and saute until sauteed and brown in color.
  • Add the ginger-garlic paste and saute till raw smell dispppears.
  • Add in the tomatoes and cook till these are mushy.Add the spices;red chilli powder,coriander powder,cumin powder,turmeric powder.Saute till raw smell disappears.Crush the fenugreek leaves in your palm and add the green chillies.
  • Add the spinach puree and cook till done /the oil separates at the surface.Add the garam masala powder.
  • Add in the paneer cubes.Cook for another 1 minute,lower the flame and add the heavy whipping cream.
  • Turn off heat and serve hot.Add more cream for garnish if required !!!

Servings ~2-3 adults

NOTES
* Cook the spinach uncovered to retain the color.
* Adding a pinch of nutmeg adds flavor but is optional.
* I used homemade paneer,recipe is here.The homemade paneer is much softer in texture than the store brought one.




Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Thenga Chammanthi (Traditional Kerala Style Chutney)

Thenga Chammanthi(coconut chutney) is one such nostalgic post which always reminds me of banana leaves parcels with rice(kuthari choru),thenga chammanthi,achinga payaru mezhukuparetti and omelette.This was always the menu in our train journeys when we were kids,and we used to just devour rice more that day.Somehow the blend of the chammanthi was mouthwatering esp when its ground on the flat grinding stone(ammikkal) found in Kerala.So,if its only rice and chammanthi too,I just love it.It is just a very simple dish which anyone could give a try and I assue that there will be no failures.Here,I tried it in the blender and so you can't expect the true traditional flavors but surely a must try recipe which all keralites love!!!




Ingredients
grated coconut 1 cup
red dry chillies 3-4
ginger shredded 1/2 tsp
peeled shallots 3-4(optional)
tamarind 1 gooseberry size
curry leaves 3-4
salt


Method
  • Lightly warm up the red dry chillies and pulse in the blender.
  • Then,add the grated coconut,and all other ingredients and little water.Blend it smooth but slightly coarse and remove from blender.Shape in your palms and enjoy with packed lunch or otherwise with rice.

NOTES
* Freshly grated coconut serves best.
* Add very little water to grind the coconut.
* The chammanthi tastes best when ground on the  flat grinding stones in Kerala.But blenders and mixies also do work.


Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Almond -Sesame Brittle | Badam Chikki (Quick snack in less than 15 minutes)

Sometimes I feel bored of the elaborate cooking the whole day,Do you feel the same?? And then kids don't let us sit in one place,they always need something to munch and this happens to be the easiest snack which can be prepared and stored in air tight containers.Kids will definitely love this crunchy brittles.This can be prepared in less than 15 minutes and moms are happy too that they can prepare something for kids,not only kids adults can munch too.This is similar to peanut chikki (kappalandi mittai).Give this a try !!




Ingredients
almond slices 1/2 cup
sesame seeds 1tbsp
sugar 1 cup
butter 2tbsp
salt 1/8 tsp


Method
  • Grease a square tray preferably 8* 8 pan with butter.
  • Roast the sesame seeds and almond slightly on a non stick pan for 2 minutes.Put off flame and keep aside in a plate(the residual heat may turn it brown so remove from pan immediately).
  • Heat the butter and let it melt.Add the sugar and salt,wait till the sugar starts to melt and start getting browned.Keep stirring.
  • It may take 4-5 minutes to get golden brown in color,put off flame.Remove from heat and add the almond slices and sesame seeds.Give a quick stir and transfer to the greased plate.
  • Flatten it with the back of spoon or spread evenly.Wait to cool about 10 minutes(to come to room temperature) and break in pieces,Enjoy !!!!

Servings~  about 12 square pieces

NOTES
* Please be very fast to remove the sugar from heat once it golden brown,otherwise it may get burnt.
* Also,be quick to stir the almond slices and transferring to the tray.
* Any left overs can be stored in air tight containers for days.