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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Amla (Nellikka) Jam | Indian Gooseberry- Mango Jam (Step by Step Pics)

Indian Gooseberries or popularly known as amla (nellikka) in India is a powerful package of nutrients supporting the immune system and lowers blood glucose levels. But I would not say that having amla jam would be beneficial to lower blood glucose as it contains added sugar. However, kids indulge in junk foods and prefer processed foods over healthy homely meals and for them, this jam may bring down a bit of caloric intake of sugar compared to the store brought jams. However, jam making is a tedious process and may be tiring for hands but I do make sometimes especially when fruits go low priced and are in season. Gooseberries were in season in November and December and kids take a back seat to have the nellikka(amla) raw and  just to ensure they get the benefits of amla, I made the jam. They did happily devour it too.The list of ingredients is short but the continuous work to biceps may be lengthy and overworking. I am not discouraging you to try but just a word of caution.

Gooseberry- Mango Jam
Kids who otherwise may not like amla (nellikka) may love smearing amla (nellikka) jam. I have been making this jam since  three years (during season) and have preserved for almost an year. The first year I made this jam, I made it with gooseberries alone and that's given in the pictures below(first pic below). Though the jam tasted good,it had a dominant tart flavor of amlas (nellikka) which was overpowering the kids tastebuds. For us the tart flavor was just ok and we just enjoyed like orange marmalade. In the following years after that, I added a fruit like apple or mango to reduce the tartness which worked really well. The ones now in pic is the ones I made with mango.You may try with gooseberries alone but with another added fruit the tartness of amla (nellikka) is considerably reduced. Enjoy making this at home !!

Gooseberry Jam

Preparation time ~ 20 minutes

Cooking time ~ 45 minutes
Serves ~ 2 jam bottles
Author ~ Julie
amla/ goose berry 550 gms
mango 350 gms
*sugar 500 gms -600 gms ( I used 500 gms)

Gooseberry - Mango Jam


  • Wash the nellikka(amla) and then steam cook the nellika(amla) for 3-4 minutes. 

  •  Remove and de seed the amla,chop this small and blend in a blender without adding water(it will be a coarse mixture). Keep aside.

  • Wash and chop mango in small pieces. Heat a thick bottomed pan and add the mango pieces along with add half of the sugar mentioned and cook till it’s half cooked(about 5 minutes).
  • Add the coarse mix of amla to the half cooked mango mix. Add the remaining sugar  and give a quick stir.

  • Continue to cook this mixture,the mix may turn watery once the sugar is dissolved. Keep stirring so that the mix doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan and get burnt. It may take around 40-45 minutes to get the jam consistency. Unlike other jams, this jam is thicker.
  • Cool completely before storing in bottles. Can be stored for a year in refrigerator,stays good.

* I went a little low on sugar but you can use more 600-650 gms if you wish to reduce the tartness completely.
* I haven't added any citric acid for preservation as amla itself is a citrus fruit.

Apple Jam
Mango Jam
Grape Jam
Mixed Fruit jam
Berry Jam
Jackfruit(chakka) Jam

Gooseberry -Mango Jam

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Chakkakuru Mezhukuparetti | Jackfruit Seeds Stir Fry (Step by Step Pics)

Little did our great ancestors have knowledge about nutrition and nutritional benefits unlike today's world but they incorporated these veggies in their daily diet and were much healthier than today's generation. These seeds were then preserved and eaten when fresh jackfruit wasn't available. Jackfruit seeds are rich in protein and carbs and low in fat. Chakkakuru mezhukuparetti is a simple healthy stir fry that everyone loves at my home. This requires some good extra time to clean the jackfruit seeds and so I usually end up doing this the previous night watching TV. Earlier I used to peel the white skin and scrape the brown inner skin too. But recently read an article that says the brown skin is highly nutritious and need not be thrown out. So I have started scraping less of the brown layer. Once the cleaning is done the cooking and stir frying is quite simpler and can be done in few minutes. These taste really good if you get hold of good variety chakkakuru(jackfruit seeds) and good matured jackfruit seeds taste best. I know its not the jackfruit season yet but soon they are going to be available too. My post is an old one from our last year's share of jackfruit. Try these out if you like this stir fry !

Preparation time ~ 30 minutes
Cooking time ~ 25 minutes
Serves ~ 5-6
Author ~ Julie
chakkakuru /  jackfruit seeds 20-30
thenga kothu / coconut bits 2tbsp
turmeric powder / manjal podi 1/2 tsp
chilli powder / mulakku podi 1 tsp
garam masala 1/2 tsp
salt to taste
coconut oil 2tbsp
curry leaves a sprig

  • Peel the outer white skin of jackfruit seeds and then scrape the brown skin(usually the skin is totally removed but these days the brown skin is nutritious so I left it here and there).

  • Now cut each jackfruit seeds in halves and quarters and thin strips. Add this to a bowl with water. Drain the water completely once they are all cut. Rinse until the water runs clear. Add in 3/4 cup water,turmeric powder and salt. Put this on flame and cook until the pieces are tender and just cooked(don't overcook as the stir fry turns mushy then). Drain off excess water and keep aside.
OR If you live in a place where fresh jackfruit seeds are not easily available then you may find the cooked ones in the freezer isles in Indian stores. We used to buy it when we were in US. In that case you can omit all the steps mentioned above and proceed further as below after thawing the seeds, quite simple way. They don't taste the exact same way as preparing from the fresh ones but you may always enjoy.
  • Heat oil in a non stick pan and add the curry leaves and coconut bits. Saute until the coconut bits turns slightly browned.
  • Now, add in chilli powder,garam masala and salt if needed. Add in the cooked jackfruit seeds and continously stir fry until it turns brown and crisp.
  • Add a little more oil if the jackfruit seeds look very dry. Serve warm with rice.

* Add enough salt for cooking jackfruit seeds as this is absorbed in the seeds while cooking. Its hard to get the salt right once its cooked.
* Adding garam masala imparts a special flavor.

* Chakkakuru Cheera Thoran 
* Chakkakuru Manga Curry

Monday, January 07, 2019

Egg Chicken Kathi Rolls (Kolkata Style) | Indian Chicken Frankie (Step by Step Pics)

Kathi rolls are the famous rolls from Kolkata. These street food rolls make a complete filling meal and has carbs,proteins,vitamins and minerals in select quantities. I make these egg chicken ones and they have all in one funda type (eggs, chicken,veggies and spicy chutneys). This post has been sitting in my drafts since three months now and finally this is in the limelight today. I have made these rolls couple of times and never have the kids turned it down as my little ones love these kind of quick filling lunch packs or even for a quick dinner. And I feel our work is also considerably reduced if you are planning to make these. These are far more healthier than the burgers and pizzas. The chutneys add the spice- sour flavors that compliment in the rolls. You can even try making these rolls from left over curried chicken for a quick kathi roll version. Don't let the chicken get dried up completely while cooking, get it on the juicier side to get the roles more delicious. Try it out if you still didn't, am sure all will love these !!

Preparation time ~ 30 minutes
Cooking time ~  25-30 minutes
Serves ~ 9-10 rolls
Author ~ Julie

for cover
wheat flour 1.5 cups (210 gms)
maida /all purpose flour 1/2 cup (35 gms)
salt  to taste
oil(any neutral ) 1tbsp

for filling
*chicken(breast + thighs) 500 gms
ginger-garlic paste 1tbsp
chilly powder 1tsp
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
pepper powder 3/4 tsp
lime juice 1 tsp
salt to taste
coriander leaves or cilantro 1tbsp
oil  2 tsp
bell pepper(capsicum) sliced thin 1/4 cup(optional)

eggs 3 lightly beaten 

sliced carrots 2
sliced onion 1
sliced cucumber 1
*chopped green chillies 2-3
spicy green chutney 3tbsp
tomato sauce 3tbsp

  • Marinate the chicken using the ingredients listed above for an hour or overnight. Heat oil in a pan then and add the coated chicken with marinade and cook. Cook covered for 5-7 minutes and then open lid,cook again till the chicken dries up (3/4 th of the moisture is dried). Add the sliced bell pepper now and saute again for 2 minutes till slightly wilted and the moisture in chicken is dried completely. Switch off flame and add chopped coriander leaves.

  • Make the dough using the wheat flour and maida. Add salt and oil,add water as needed and make a soft dough like for chapathis. Keep covered for 30 minutes.

  • In the meantime make the spicy green chutney (or use readymade) and chop all toppings veggies carrots,onions,green chillies and cucumbers. Lightly beat the egg with little salt and keep aside.

  • Now start preparing the chapathis. Divide dough in equal portions (make a bigger ball than for one chapathi).
  • Roll the chapathis as thin as possible. Heat a non stick pan/ tava and place the chapathis. One side is cooked and flip the other. Brush the beaten egg on top and let it cook. Flip both sides and cook. Make sure the sides are cooked well,smear oil/ghee as needed. Serve on a plate.

  • Repeat making the other chapathis /parathas. 


  • Place the chicken filling on the center and add sliced onions,cucumbers, carrots and green chillies(if using). Add the spicy green chutney on top and tomato sauce.

  • Roll from one side away from you  tightly holding the filling intact. Use butter paper as needed to roll tightly. I folded the kids ones slightly different- first fold the 1'' fold at the bottom and then starting the opposite side roll it tight so that the filling doesn't slip off and is intact.

* I used a combination of wheat flour and maida. You can use maida alone. But using wheat flour may yield thick chapathis as the gluten in maida helps to stretch and these crepes need to be as thin as possible. So its better to add a little maida (all purpose flour) to increase the elasticity of the dough so that the chapathis can be stretched as thin as possible.
* Chicken boneless is used for this recipe. You can use any boneless pieces but I used a combination of both (breast and thighs) so that the chicken is not very dry. Modify as per your family preferences.
* Adding capsicum is optional and you may leave out if you don't wish to.
* Brushing egg on the chapathis make the chapathis more pliable and helps to prevent tearing of chapathis.
* Use hot chilly sauce instead of spicy green chutney if you wish.
* Add green chillies while cooking chicken and also as topping too but I haven't used that as kids may get to bite in between and may not like the heat.
* You can use left over curried chicken to make things faster. 

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Eggless Kerala Plum Cake (Step by Step Pics)

Hope everyone had a great kick start to 2019, Happy New Year all :)
I am still in a holiday mood and was lazing around to write up. However, I had this interesting recipe that I wished to post a little while ago before Christmas. And at the last moment before holidays, I was so heavily packed up with things that I could hardly spare time and finish writing this post. I know there are few of you who requested me to post this eggless plum cake recipe too. Am Sorry ! Though I made this cake days before Christmas and carried home too but writing part of it didn't work. All loved the cake and am glad that I gave this a try.

Kerala plum cake without the eggs doesn't sound complete but this is one recipe for my vegetarian friends whose constant requests made me try the eggless version of the cake. Eggs add volume to the plum cake which went missing in this cake, otherwise moisture n softness wise its at par with the regular Kerala plum cake that I already have on the blog. I have tried this recipe twice now(once around three years back and left forgotten until this was requested again by few of my readers) and both times the taste and softness was really good. However in my first trial I tried baking the cake with dark brown sugar instead of caramelizing (though worked fine but I personally love the caramel taste better) and the cake was sunk in the middle. In my second yielded good results and I was very careful about the moisture in the cake.Also, this time I tried the cake by caramelizing sugar just like the other plum cake. I personally don't like the brown sugar taste. This cake had a really nice color and to my surprise none recognized that the cake was eggless unless I told all because the softness part of the cake was really taken care of just like the regular plum cake. When you compare both cakes, I would say none can beat the taste of Kerala plum cake with eggs but if you are a vegetarian then this would be equally good too. Another drawback of baking this cake is that this cake doesn't rise high unlike regular plum cake.

Preparation time ~ 25 minutes
Baking time ~ 35-40 minutes
Serves ~ 8 " round cake
Author ~ Julie

all purpose flour(maida) 1 1/2 cups(180 gms)
baking powder 1 tsp
salt 1/3 tsp
white vinegar 1 tbsp
baking soda 1/4 tsp
powdered sugar 3/4 cup-1 cup
spice powders(cinnamon powder,cloves powder,nutmeg powder together 1/2 tsp)
unsalted butter 1/2 cup(113 gm)/1 stick softened
milk 1/3 cup- 1/2 cup
vanilla essence 1 tsp

to soak
dried fruits & nuts 1 cup tightly packed(refer notes)
* wine /juice 30 ml to a cup

to caramelize
sugar 1/2 cup
water 1/4 cup

to garnish
cashew halves 10(optional)

For the dry fruits & nuts-
-Chop them small pieces and soak the fruits & nuts well in advance in fruit juice like apple or orange (around 1/4 cup is good enough for a cup of fruits and nuts).

Preparing tray & oven
-Pre heat oven to 340 degrees F or 170 degrees C and line a  8" round cake pan(I used a aluminium wilton pan) with parchment paper or line with butter and toss with flour. I used a 8" round cake pan.

For caramelizing
- Heat a pan and add 8 tbsp(1/2 cup) sugar and heat.Wait till sugar starts to melt from the sides, start mixing with a spatula to get the sugar dissolved evenly and gets golden brown. Add 2 tbsp of water on low heat to the pan in the sides( the caramel may start sizzling up so be careful as its very hot). Switch off flame,move the pan away from heat else it may thicken further and become hard. Leave to cool completely.

For cake batter-
- Powder the granulated white sugar until smooth with cinnamon,cloves and nutmeg in a blender and keep aside.
- Sift the flour,baking powder and salt, at least three times so that its well combined.

- Cream the butter in another bowl until light & fluffy.Add the powdered sugar in batches,beat until smooth.
- Mix the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl, pour it immediately in the butter mixture immediately.
baking soda + vinegar mixture

- Add in the vanilla extract and caramel syrup to mix well. Add about 2 tbsp of milk to this mix.

- Add in the flour in three batches until incorporated or add in the wet mixture to the flour mix and combine well without any lumps using a spatula.The batter should be thick but well mixed.Toss in the fruits & nuts along with the juices/wine (reserve a few dry fruits for the top garnish).Add milk as needed at this point to combine the batter well (add as much required,I used almost to half cup milk as I didn't have any reserve juices left from soaked dry fruits).
- Pour it in the prepared tray, garnish with the reserved dry fruits and halved cashews.

Baking & Cooling-
-Place it in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes(mine was done at 35 minutes). the cake dosn't rise very high unlike other cakes but springs back on touch.
-Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes,slide a offset spatula in the sides of the pan  and leave it to cool for an hour.Cut and serve immediately or cover with a cling wrap and use as needed (I personally loved the cake 4-5 days after baking,that tastes best rather than the immediate slice) !!

Servings ~ 8*2" cake 

*The more the soaking time of fruits & nuts,better the taste. I had soaked the fruits & nuts two weeks before(I have used cherry,raisins,almonds,cashews,tutty fruity).You can add half of dry fruits and half of nuts but the ratio can be altered as per your wish here & there.
* You can even use the nuts and fruits without soaking too but soaking softens the dry fruits and nuts, there by enhancing the softness.
* Powder the whole spices with the sugar to be powdered to get it finely powdered or else use store brought powdered spices.
* I used 3/4 of powdered white sugar but you can go up to 1 cup. 1 cup yields a moderately sweet cake.