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Monday, January 20, 2020

Ragi Chocolate Cupcakes | Panjipullu(Finger Millet) Choco Cupcakes ~ Step by Step Pics

As we all know ragi or finger millet is a power pack of energy and is much needed for all age groups esp growing children. Ragi is one of the best non diary sources of calcium. Regular consumption of ragi is beneficial for bone health and keeps osteoporosis at bay and reduces risk of fracture. The phytochemicals in ragi slows the digestive process and so its highly benefical to patients with diabetes, controls blood sugar effectively. Ragi is also beneficial to relax, reduce stress and reduce migraine attacks. These tiny seeds are good source of natural iron and so helps maintain the overall health. I use finger millet to prepare puttu,ada, peechappam, porridge, laddus and many other kids friendly recipes that are devoured happily without much fuss.

Honestly speaking, I have never tried ragi in bakes until recently. The reason being very obvious that whole ragi flour is gluten free like rice flour and so tends to remain very dry in most recipes. The right mixing of the ragi flour with any of the gluten flours gives you excellent results too. Also when baking with whole flours, you  must be careful when beating the wet ingredients. Off late, I learnt a few tricks and tips to get the whole flours in baking. The eggs shouldn't be beaten very fluffy and light when mixing to whole flours as the whole flour like wheat or ragi tends to flatten the aeration in the beaten egg. The resultant product will be a hard dense mass of cake/ cupcake. Lightly beating the eggs gives better results. Fat content is an important constituent when baking with ragi as it reduces the dryness of gluten free flour. I have used oil here in this bake but you can replace the same amount with butter. Milk is used too to get the right texture of the cupcake batter and the batter is of flowing consistency like dosa batter. Baking tie may vary as per ovens so keep a watch after the first 15 minutes of bake.
These cupcakes can be made before hand and can be sent to school for snacks or can be served to kids as quick breakfast with a cup of hot milk. One cupcake is good enough for a filling snack as its made with whole flours. There are no fancy gadgets needed to bake these little cutees and you will definitely get good results. Adding cocoa powder to these cupcakes was to mask any trace of ragi if felt in flavors and to my surprise even the grown up adult couldn't recognize the secret ingredient ;) Cocoa definitely gave that chocolaty flavor and kids were insisting on adding an extra dollop of whipped cream on top for added tastes. Do give this a try and am sure you will love these !!

Preparation time ~ 10 mins
Baking time ~ 20-25 mins
Serves ~ 8 cupcakes
Author ~ Julie
dry ingredients
ragi flour 1/2 cup
wheat flour 1/2 cup
cocoa powder 1/4 cup
baking powder 1 tsp
salt a pinch

wet ingredients
eggs 2
oil (any neutral oil like sunflower, vegetable, canola) 1/3 cup
milk 1/3 cup
powdered sugar 3/4 cup
vanilla essence 1 tsp


  • Sift the flours twice with baking powder, cocoa powder and salt.
  • Beat the eggs lightly, add in the powdered sugar. Add in the oil, milk and vanilla essence.
  • Add the flour in three batches to the wet mix and combine until incorporated well. 

  • Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C. Pour the batter in the prepared cupcake pan. Bake in the pre heated pan for 20- 25 mins.

  • Cool on wire rack and serve at room temperature with a cup of milk.
* If you wish to try a non diary version, then replace whole milk with almond/ soy milk.
* You may also use powdered organic jaggery or good quality brown sugar instead of granulated white sugar.
* Replace oil to butter if you wish to have a more richer taste.

Just a peek into the cupcake ;)


Check this link here for all ragi recipes in one page.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Pineapple Jam (Homemade)

Jams and preserves are always good to try if you have time and have seasonal fruits ready at hand. Buying fruits for high price and preparing jams may not be cost effective at all when compared to store brought jams. The store brought jams have less fiber, less fruit in them and its more of artificial flavors and loads of sugar. However, jam making in large batches at home puts your biceps at work. I generally make smaller batches and try out all seasonal fruits when they are low priced or are easily available at home.

It may be well known to many of my readers of my strong liking towards home made preserves may that be pickles or jams or squashes. Store brought jams is not a frequent item bought at my home because I try to reduce the amount of processed sugars in diet as much as possible. But at times when you don't have a stock of homemade ones or you want to try some unique jam flavors then we definitely do. However, homemade jams is served most of the time. Do give this a try if you love putting an extra effort to make this jam. Enjoy !!

Preparation time ~ 20 mins
Cooking time ~ 30 mins
Serves ~ a small bottle 
Author ~ Julie 
pineapple 2 medium sized or 5 cups diced
sugar 5- 6 tbsp
lemon juice 1 tbsp or citric acid 1/2 tsp


  • Peel the skin  of pineapple and remove the eyes using a sharp pointed knife wherever possiblechop them in chunks. Add this in a cooker with half cup water. Pressure cook the pineapple pieces until cooked for two whistles.
  • Add in the sugar once the pressure is released and grind to a smooth paste in a mixer jar once its cooled.
  • Heat a heavy bottomed pan and add the mixture. Keep stirring the mixture using a wooden spatula. Use a clean dry wooden spatula which you don't use for making curries.

  • Initially the mixture splashes if its left at high temperature so reduce flame to a low medium and stir in between (it may take roughly 30-35 minutes). 
  • The pectin in the fruit thickens up the jam and at one point during cooking,you can see the base of the pan when stirring. Add in the lemon juice and mix well.
  • Place a plate in the freezer beforehand to check the consistency of the jam till you use (To check the consistency of jam-Drop a little on the plate placed in the freezer.Wait for 45 secs and then tilt the plate to check if the jam is flowing down.If it stays in place then,the jam is ready.).
  • Switch off flame,move the pan away from residual heat and leave to cool.

* I usually store my homemade preserves in refrigerator as I hardly use any sort of preservatives like vinegar to pickles or citric acid to jams. So refrigeration is important to increase the shelf life of the preserves. Stays good for a year in fridge.
* If you use citric acid,you can even store outside at cool dry place.
* Please feel free to alter the amount of sugar as per the sweetness of pineapple and your taste buds.

You may be interested to try these homemade jams too-
* Mango jam
* Grape Jam
* Mixed Fruit Jam
* Jackfruit(chakka) Jam
* Mixed Berry jam
* Amla(Nellikka) jam
* Apple Jam

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Thursday, January 09, 2020

Mangalore Buns | Banana Puris ~ Step by Step Pics

2020 is just begun and I hope everyone had a great start. This is my first post after New year and so here's wishing all a happy and prosperous New Year !!
We too started off with a busy week and schools are re open. Kids were feeling lazy to kick start after a long break, I must say. they had almost three weeks vacation and they totally blasted. And one happy moment on 1st Jan was meeting a good friend after almost 6 years. She is still the same person after so many years. Thanks S for coming by, it was so good to catch up.

Mangalore buns are the breakfast or tea time snack in the Udupi- Mangalore region of Karnataka. We get introduced to so many good recipes all near and around us.My sis stays in Bengaluru and she is the one who introduced me to this snack. She started making and then I got the recipe from her and made these puris aka buns. A perfect Mangalore bun puffs up like puris and stays puffed even when its cold. They are usually made with maida kneaded with mashed banana. I have used 1:1 ratio of wheat flour and maida which worked fine too to make these buns and they retained the shape even after cooling.Use overripe bananas to knead the dough which ferments very good too. These puris are mildly sweet and spongy. The shape of these look like buns but unlike buns the inside is hollow. So its more like a thicker puri. They are usually served with coconut chutney and some even serve with sambar too. But my kids loved it without any sides and we had with coconut chutney.

This time I had loads of banana from home and kids don't like eating ripe bananas once they have  brown spots on them. And that's when I decide to finish them off in bakes which works better to feed them overripe bananas. Sissy was mentioning to try these buns since long and I keep postponing for one or the other reasons. However when I tried these finally, kids wish is to make them frequently. Green lights are on for another after school snack for them and the best part is that the dough can be prepared, left for fermentation in the morning after they leave and can be made by the time they are back from school. I must try the healthier version of these buns too without maida and using only wheat flour too if I plan to make them frequently. The only drawback of trying them out with wheat flour is they don't stay puffed up and become soft soon. If you have a better idea without adding maida do lemme know too. In the mean time, enjoy making at home !!

Preparation time ~ 10 mins
Cooking time ~ 10 mins
Serves ~ 13-14 buns
Author ~ Julie
wheat flour 1 cup
maida (all purpose flour) 1 cup
salt 1/2 tsp
*pazham / banana 4 small or 2 big (check notes)
sugar 2 tbsp
cumin seeds 1 tsp
yogurt 2 tbsp (not sour)
baking soda 1/8 tsp
oil to fry


  • Peel and mash the bananas using a fork, add the sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix well with the yogurt.
  • Add the flours in a bowl and add this banana- yogurt mixture. Start kneading, you may not need any extra water to knead the dough. Make a dough like we do for making chapathis but a little stiffer. As the dough rests it will soften. Knead and keep covered for 5-6 hours.

  • Heat oil in a kadai after resting the dough for 5-6 hours. Pinch out small balls (slightly lesser than a chapathi ball). Roll the ball like we make puris but little thicker than puris(see pics).
  • Make 5-6 of the puris/ buns and then slide each of them in the hot oil. Wait for 20 seconds before you actually see them puffing up and floating in oil. Then flip the other side, reduce heat and evenly brown up all sides.

  • Drain on a paper towel and repeat the same steps till you finish making all. Serve with coconut chutney / pottukadala chutney or some vegetable curry(saagu).

* If you plan to take robusta banana or dole banana then use two only for the above measures. If its palayamkodan / njalli poovan or rasathali or any of the smaller types, then use four.
* These buns are not very sweet and are mildly sweet that pairs good with coconut chutney.
* The original version is made using all purpose flour (maida) alone but here I used both wheat flour and maida.
* The resting time of the dough is important else they don't puff up good.