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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Coconut - Pineapple Tropical Muffins

    Muffins are always best liked by my kids and I love seeing them gobbling them up with much interest unlike other snacks.This muffin is one such snack that they loved and what else can make a mom's day.These muffins have the flavors of coconut and pineapple.Pineapples are rich source of dietary fiber and thiamine,B6 and copper,also an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese.And these muffins can be served for breakfast too and a simple ones to bake.Enjoy these sweet muffins !!

    (Serves ~ 12 muffins )
    dry ingredients
    all purpose flour /maida 1 3/4 cup
    baking powder 2tsp
    salt 1/4  tsp
    wet ingredients
    granulated white sugar 3/4-1 cup
    butter,unsalted softened 1 stick
    raisins 1/3 cup reserve 1tbsp for garnish
    vanilla extract 1/2 tsp
    pineapple essence /extract 1/4 tsp
    eggs 2 (at room temperature)
    crushed pineapple,partially drained 1cup
    dry shredded coconut  1 cup reserve 1/2 for garnish
    milk 1/2 cup

    -Preheat oven to 350 F.In a medium bowl,sift flours,baking powder and salt twice and salt. Set aside.
    -In another large bowl,beat the butter and sugar together.Add eggs one at a time and incorporate,scraping down the sides each time.
    -Add in the pineapple and vanilla extract.Add in the crushed pineapple with liquid and shredded coconut,mix.Sift half of the flours over the wet ingredients.Add in milk and flours alternating to finish.Add in the raisins and toss.(Leave off if you have any remaining milk if you have reached the desired consisitency.I had a tbsp milk left out from the half cup)
    -Scoop in paper lined muffin pans to 3/4 -almost full.Top it up with raisins and remaining shredded coconut.

    (ready to go in oven)
    -Place and bake in preheated oven upto 45 minutes or until the tooth pick inserted comes out clean.(mine was done at 50mins)
    -Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

    * You can use orange extract instead of pineapple extract.
    * You can use sun dried mangoes instead of raisins.
    * These are moderately sweet soft ones.Modify sugar as per your sweet tooth.
    * I have used dry shredded coconut(unsweetened) but if you are using sweetened coconut then modify your sugar quantity accordingly.

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

    Kadumanga Achar | Raw Mango Pickle (Kerala Style) | Easy Quick Pickle

    Kadumanga achar (Pickled raw mango) is one of the favorites among Keralites and an instant pickle of Kerala.This is made during the mango seasons esp April,May  when they are plucked in large numbers.This pickle can be tasted the same day onwards although it tastes best on second or third day.This pickle can't be stored for long periods.If you plan to store this pickle,then refrigeration is best to retain the flavors.The best combination that I have tasted this pickle is with kanji(rice gruel).This pickle is served with sadyas ( kerala feast).Kadumanga achar doesn't require any much preparation and no professional cooking is required.This is a pickle which all hostlers carry along with them when they pack their bags.Do give this a try and you will definitely love this pickle !!!

    raw mango diced 5 cups
    chilly powder 4tbsp
    turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
    gingelly oil  5tbsp
    mustard seeds 2tsp
    curry leaves few
    garlic sliced 2tbsp
    ginger julienned 2 tbsp
    green chillies 3-4 sliced
    asafoetida/hing/kayam podi 1/4 tsp
    fenugreek powder /uluva podi1/3tsp
    vinegar 1-2tbsp
    sugar a pinch(optional)

    -Wash the mangoes and slice them in cubes with the skin on.Mix chilly powder and salt.Leave aside for an hour till the spices blend.

    -Heat oil in a kadai or wok and splutter mustard seeds.Add in the curry leaves,then slide in the garlic,ginger and green chillies.Saute till the raw smell disappears and is slightly browned.
    -Add in the fenugreek powder and asafoetida powder on low flame.Then,quickly add in the cubed mangoes with the marinade.Add in quarter a cup of water.Toss the mix and let it cook for 2mins.
    -Turn off heat and add in vinegar and add a pinch of sugar.
    -Let it cool down completely before bottling.The bottles/ clay pots /bharani should be cleaned,sun dried and without any moisture content.
    -The oil settles down and always serve the pickle from top layer.

    * Adding vinegar is optional.If your mangoes are sour and if you don't plan to keep more than a day or two then omit adding vinegar.
    * You can leave the cubed mangoes with the marinade for a longer period too.

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    Chilli Fish (Indo-Chinese) | Great Appetizer

    Hope everyone had a great weekend and Easter as well.We went to see the cherry blossoms over the weekend and it was indeed a beautiful experience with those beautiful flowers,God's true gift.The weather is getting warmer these days but at the same time,we are having chilly mornings.Today's recipe is an Indo- Chinese appetizer recipe or a great side dish for fried rice or simple pulao.We had it with a simple peas pulao,kids really enjoyed munching the perfect bite size ones.This is apt for a large gathering or potluck,a crowd pleaser.Its similar to chilly chicken but softer to bite through.To all those who love fish and would love to try out something different with fish fillets,this is a real good one!!!

    for marination
    fish fillets /fish without bones cubed 3/4 kg
    corn flour 1/2 cup
    red chilly powder 3/4-1 tsp
    lemon juice/vinegar 2tsp
    red food color 2 drops (optional)

    for sauce/gravy
    onion 1 peeled and cubed
    capsicum /bell pepper 1 cubed
    ginger minced 1 1/2 tsp
    garlic minced 1 1/2 tsp
    green chillies vertical slit 3
    soy sauce 3tsp (refer notes)
    red chilly sauce 2tsp
    corn flour 1 tbsp
    oil 4 tbsp

    to garnish
    cilantro/ spring onion

    • Wash and clean the fish by rubbing lemon juice and salt.Leave aside for 10 minutes,wash the fish under running water,drain water and leave aside.
    • Prepare a thick marinade using corn flour,red chilli powder,turmeric powder,lemon juice,food color & salt.Add water if required.Add the cubed fish pieces in it,marinate it for half an hour.
    • Heat oil in a pan and fry the fish pieces in the oil in batches till golden brown on all sides.Drain on a paper towel.(please be careful not to break the fish pieces)
    • To the same remaining oil,add the minced ginger and garlic.Saute till the raw smell disappears.
    • Add the cubed onions ,saute for a minute or so,add the cubed bell pepper /capsicum.
    • Add in the red chilly sauce and soy sauce.Mix the corn flour with half a cup of water,stir without lumps.
    • Add to the mixture and keep stirring till the sauce thickens.
    • Now,slide in the fried fish pieces gently so that it doesn't break.Toss in careful with the sauces,cover for a minute or so till the sauce coats well with the fish pieces and dries lightly.Put off flame.
    • Garnish with chopped spring onion or cilantro.

    Servings~4 adults

    * I prefer shallow frying the fish pieces but you can always deep fry if you're scared of breaking the fish pieces.
    * You can add one egg white for firming the fish coating,I have omitted that.
    * Adding green chillies can be omitted if u wish a mild spicy version.In case,you wish to add more spiciness then add 2-3 red dry chillies too.
    * If you wish to have more gravy,then add water & corn starch to the sauce accordingly.
    * I have used  light soya sauce,if you prefer the dark one then add as per taste.

    Other Indo-Chinese recipe links,if interested are :  
    Egg fried rice,
    Prawns manchurian
    Dragon Chicken 
    Soya Manchurian 
    Baked vegetable spring rolls
    Easy honey Chicken

    Thursday, April 17, 2014

    Cherupayar Thoran | Green gram Stir Fry | Moong Bean Stir fry

    Have you noticed that I have given up posting non veg recipes?? No,dear friends its just because we are observing lent and so we abstain from eating non vegetarian food.We will start to have non vegetarian dishes again on Easter.Tomorrow is Good Friday which marks the most important day of the season of Lent, when the faithful lead a frugal life shunning all luxury and physical comforts to gain spiritual strength.Good Friday is a day of prayer, penance and fasting to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.And hence the day is a very 'holy friday'.After the long Good Friday mass /service,kanji(rice gruel) is served with cherupayar thoran ,pappadam and kadumanga.This is a very ancient tradition followed in churches in Kerala.Back at home,we have the nercha kanji at church and then prepare kanji for dinner too just to participate in the mourn.So,here is a very simple recipe yet filling and satisfying recipe !!


    cherupayar /green gram 1 cup
    shallots sliced 10
    chilly powder 1/2-3/4 tsp
    turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
    mustard seeds
    salt to taste
    curry leaves
    oil 2tsp

    to grind coarse/crush
    grated coconut 1 /2 cup
    cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
    garlic cloves 2-3

    • Wash and pressure cook the green gram in a cooker with salt and turmeric powder upto 2 whistles or till cooked on medium high heat.(The green gram shouldn't be over cooked,just tender will do)
    • In the meantime,pulse/crush the coconut ,cumin seeds and garlic cloves in a blender till it comes together.
    • Heat oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds,add in curry leaves.Saute the shallots until soft and add in the chilly powders on low flame.
    • Now,add the cooked green gram (discard water if any)and add the crushed coconut mix and check salt.Give a quick toss.
    • Cover and let it simmer for 3 mins on low-medium flame.The green gram blends with the spices and is ready to serve with hot steamed rice / kanji (rice gruel) !!!

    Serves 3 adults

    *  The coconut mix should be blend without water and should just come together.Don't grind it smooth.
    * You can even replace shallots for onion.However,shallots tastes better.

    Wishing everyone a blessed Easter ahead !!!!

    Monday, April 14, 2014

    Jackfruit Chips | Chakka Varuthathu | Chakka Upperi & Happy Vishu !!!

    " Wishing all Keralites a very happy & prosperous Vishu !! "

    Vishu is a festival of feasting,wearing new clothes,setting off fire crackers and elders gift money to kids,servants and other tenants known as Vishu kaineetam.The other important part of Vishu is the Vishu kanni(the first thing seen on the day after waking up)The usual ritual is the arrangement with the raw rice,vegetables,fresh fruits,flowers mainly konna, mirror,ritual book,coins and pooja lamps.Though we don't celebrate Vishu,but sadya time is always a pleasure.Jackfruit is the seasonal fruit easily available in this festival and so jackfruit chips,chakka(jackfruit) varratiyathu,chakka(jackfruit) pradhaman are very commonly served at this time.When I came back from Kerala,I too bought a packet of my mother's homemade chakka varuthathu /chakka upperi/jackfruit  chipsand so thought to share her signature recipe.These are easy to fry but the real task goes in cleaning and plucking the raw jackfruit/chakkachulas out.This is a very popular snack of Kerala and readily available in all homes in this season.Enjoy making these at home and munch it on!!!

    Related post : Plantain Chips | Upperi | Kaya Varuthathu

    raw jackfruit /chakkachulla from 1 medium sized jackfruit
    oil about half a litre
    salt dissolved in little water

    -Cut open the jackfruit/chakka ,slice off the core.Clean the latex using the coconut fiber of the rind/chakiri or a newspaper.Then dig in and remove the jackfruit/chakkachulla.Clean off the white strips and remove seed.
    Slice off the top and bottom thick portion of each jackfruit(don't discard you can just cook it up to make chakka vevichathu).Now,make thin strips with the remaining fruit.Do the same way till you finish all chakkachullas /jackfruit.
    -Heat oil in a pan/kadai on medium heat.When it is hot,add the thin strips of jackfruit and deep fry them.(Don't overcrowd the pan)
    -Occasionally keep stirring the chips.Wait till the chips make a sizzling sound,add few drops of salted water in the center.(You may hear water popping sound but don't panic,just reduce the heat slightly and then when the sound stops revert to medium heat)
    -When till it is evenly browned,drain off on a paper towel.Wait to cool completely before storing in air tight containers or serve !!!

    * Use a mature raw jackfruit for good taste.And there are some particular varieties which taste best.
    * Depending on the amount of raw jackfruit strips,modify your amount of oil required.
    * My mom doesn't add turmeric powder to color as the chips has a natural yellowish brown color when fried.

    If you wish to make your own sadya,refer this link here for all the other recipes under sadya heading.
    So,What's up with my mallu friends? Are your Vishu kani & sadya plans ready? A Very Happy Vishu,gals !!!

    Wednesday, April 09, 2014

    Fruit Custard | Simple Dessert

    When you are bored of doing elaborate cooking and you don't have enough time left to prepare a dessert,what do you do? I usually opt for a quick simple yet appealing dessert which hardly takes any time.This is a dessert which even kids can help you out in preparing.And perfect for beginners to impress their guests.Fruit custard is one dessert that my mom used to make it very regularly at home as it was simple and quick.This was also a easier way to sneak in fruits.And so,I was a kinda bored of this dessert then.But when away from home,always reminds us of all the dear things which we once had.That's the whole story behind tasting this again.This is a very quick fix dessert which you can prepare in a very short time and requires very less efforts too.A very familiar one to many and a simple one!!

    milk 4 cup + 1/2 cup cold
    custard powder 3-4tbsp
    3-4 fruits of your choice(chopped;2 cups)
    condensed milk 1/2 tin /sugar as per needed
    maraschino cherries for individual serving glasses

    • Heat the milk in a pan and let it come to boil.
    • Dissolve the custard powder(3tbsp/4tbsp) in the remaining 1/2 cup cold milk without lumps.
    • Add this to the boiling milk and keep stirring.Keep the flame on medium heat.
    • Let it thicken,add the condensed milk or sugar if using and give a quick stir.
    • Put off flame and remove in  another bowl.Cover with a cling wrap on the surface to prevent skin formation.
    • Refrigerate until chilled about 4-5 hours.
    • Wash,peel and chop the fruits in small bits(I used apple,grapes,strawberry and banana).
    • Add the chilled custard in the chopped fruits and serve in individual pudding cups or glasses.
    • Garnish with a cherry or chocolate shavings!!

    * I have mentioned three or four tbsp as you can always alter the amount of custard powder depending on the consistency of  custard required.I like a slightly watery consistency than the thicker version when it comes to add with fruits.
    * You can use any fruits of your choice.Always use contrasting colors,it gives a nice look to the dessert.
    * You can use corn flour and vanilla essence 1tsp to replace the store brought custard powder.But the color will be off white.
    * You can use sugar instead of condensed milk too.Increase or decrease the amount of sugar depending on your sweet tooth.

    Friday, April 04, 2014

    Whole Green Gram Dosa (Pesarattu) & Sweet Ginger Chutney | Healthy Instant Crepe (Dosa)

    Thank you dear friends for all the warm welcome showers through your comments.I am very lucky to have great friends here.As you know am still getting settled to our new place and so I may not be regular in my posts now.Hopefully will be back regular.What's the weather at your place and what are the plans for weekend? Do you love rains? Here,I can see rain drizzling through the window panes and loving it.Probably spring blossoms can soon be seen.

    Today's special is nothing but a healthy instant dosa with a chatpata chutney.This is quick perfect recipe for a weekend breakfast,lunch or dinner as well.The best part is that it requires no fermentation and kids will love the green color dosa .When the green gram with the skin is ground,it is already fermented and is super soft like the fermented ones.This is a speciality of Andra Pradesh and 'Pesarattu' is a telugu word and comes from 'pesallu' meaning green gram and 'attu' means dosa kind of thing.Many of our blogger friends have already posted it.My kids don't like green gram as such in other dishes but this was a healthier idea to sneak in some protein.The sweet ginger chutney aids in digestion and pairs well with the dosa and coconut chutney.Enjoy making it at home and am sure kids will love it !!!

    for green gram dosa (pesarattu)
    whole green gram 1 cup
    plain rice 1/2 cup
    ginger 1" piece
    shallots 3
    green chillies 2-3
    cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
    to sprinkle
    chopped cilantro 4-5 sprigs
    chopped onion 1small
    green chillies 2-3(refer notes)
    ginger chopped fine 1'' piece
    oil 2-3tbsp

    for sweet ginger chutney 
    ginger powder/chukku podi 1tbsp
    tamarind lemon size soaked
    jaggery /sharkara 1tbsp
    red chillies dry 5-6/ chilly paste 2tbsp
    salt to taste

    For green gram dosa
    Wash and soak the green gram,plain rice in water for 6-8 hours or overnight.
    Grind the green gram,plain rice,ginger,shallots,green chillies,cumin seeds to a fine paste.Add salt as per taste.
    Heat a non stick pan or iron griddle on medium heat.I used a non stick pan.If using a iron griddle,wipe the griddle with oil.
    Pour a laddle of batter in the center and spread it outwards till the batter is nicely spread and bubbles appear on the dosa.
    Mix the chopped cilantro,onion,green chillies,ginger.Sprinkle the mix evenly on top when the dosa surface is wet and few drops of oil.
    Wait till the dosa is browning at the edges and the bubbles break up at the surface.Turn the other side and wait for another minute.Flip to the plate and wipe the non stick with a clean paper towel/cloth if the chopped mix sticks to the pan.
    Repeat the same step for making other dosas till you finish.Serve warm with sweet ginger chutney and coconut chutney.

    For sweet ginger chutney
    Soak the tamarind in water for half an hour and squeeze out the pulp or use the pulp without seeds.
    Use red chilly paste or soak the red dry chillies for an hour and grind it smooth.
    Add the grated jaggery,tamarind pulp,salt,ginger powder,red chilly paste in a blender.Grind till smooth and chutney is ready.

    * You can increase or reduce the rice amount depending on the crispiness you wish your dosa to be.This is a soft dosa listed,if you wish a crispier one add more rice for soaking.
    * Don't add too much water to the batter.I just added as much water required for grinding.
    * The dosa may take slightly longer to cook unlike the regular dosa.
    * If you use tamarind pulp without squeezing,you get a thicker chutney.I have discarded the pulp after squeezing so the chutney is not very thick.Use whichever method you prefer.
    * I haven't added chopped ginger and chopped green chillies for sprinkling as my kids don't like it.You can add or modify as per wish.

    Today is the happiest day in the week for all esp working adults and school going.Wishing all a "Happy Friday"