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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Tricolor Idlis | Carrot -Spinach Idlis ( Independence Day Special)

"Happy Independence day to all Indians !!''
How about celebrating this day by making some healthy and delicious that are naturally tri colored. Yes,you heard me right..not a drop of artificial colors. I am not a person who is fond of food colors especially when it comes to feeding kids. But then am not strongly against food colors but some how don't feel like using at home unless its an icing cake or where it becomes strongly inevitable. So,this year am celebrating independence day with tricolor idlis that are healthy and delicious. The saffron color was added with carrots which tasted sweet and the green color is given by spinach and they have no obvious taste or flavor of its own. I made these for my kids lunchboxes and they were very much happy to carry the idlis just to flaunt about the tricolor idlis. These idlis not only add the natural colors but also helps to sneak in veggies for kids who don't love greens esp spinach. You can use mint coriander leaves instead of spinach too. But am doubtful of the flavor with coriander leaves(cilantro) as I have not taste checked them. This can be made not only to mark our patriotism but also as a healthy alternative for kids lunchboxes if you are tired of the same old idlis. Enjoy!!

Preparation time ~ 20 minutes
Cooking time ~ 15 minutes
Serves ~ 8 idlis
Author ~ Julie

carrot 1 medium sized grated
spinach 1/2 cup chopped
idli batter 1.5 cups
salt to taste

  • I usually prepare the idli batter as in the following link. You can use whichever batter suits you best to make idlis. Ferment accordingly and add salt to the batter once fermented.
  • Before making idlis, peel and grate the carrots. In a pan, saute the carrot with a tsp of oil with salt and then grind without adding any water or very very little batter as this may alter the consistency of the idli batter. Wash and chop the spinach, wilt it slightly with oil and then grind to a smooth paste(spinach may not need addition of water).

  • Now, mix 2 ladle full idli batter to each of the pastes and make a colorful batter and reserve the white idli batter as the third batter.
  • Grease your idli mould with oil if using steel ones and then pour half a tsp of batter in the mould starting with carrot then normal white idli batter and then spinach batter. If you still have space then add the white idli batter again on top in such a way so that the orange and green color batter is not hidden and is evenly distributed.
  • You may just add each color of batter in each mould and then steam cook too without mixing. But I personally feel adding all the three batter together imparts a nice colorful and flavorful idlis.

  • Similarly fill in all moulds and then add enough water in the steamer and then steam cook for 12-15 minutes(it takes slightly longer than normal idlis to cook).

* You should adjust the consistency of the batter after mixing. If the batter is too thick then dilute with water or if its watery use minimal water to grind.
* Add salt to the carrot and spinach lightly to flavor them.
* You can even spice up the idlis lightly by adding chopped green chillies.
* You may even add a round cut black olive in the center of the mould and then add the batters so that once cooked the idlis will have a proper flag look.

Few of my tricolor recipes that you may be interested to try out-
* Tricolor Suji Cookies
* Tricolor Puttu

I made the last idlis as single ones and didn't mix up the batter, enjoy making whichever way you love them-

Monday, August 13, 2018

Kappa Soya Cutlet | Tapioca Cutlets (Step by Step Pics)

Tapioca is a versatile vegetable and can be used in many different recipes. My previous post of kappa (tapioca) vadas is a super duper hit at home and so these days am exploring the staple vegetable of Kerala though only few best ones see the lime light ;) Isn't it very good ?  Tapioca is a fibrous vegetable but not very good for diabetics as it is full of starch.
Coming back to today's recipe - Have you tried making cutlets with tapioca? heard it right,tapioca acts as a binder just like potatoes. So, it is very good to incorporate this fibrous veggie and make cutlets.Cutlets are a family favorite here and so any type of cutlets is always welcome. Kappa can be added to any cutlets just like you add potatoes and enjoy making them at home. Try these out !!

Preparation time~ 20 minutes
Cooking time ~ 30 minutes
Serves ~ 12 cutlets
Author ~ Julie

kappa /tapioca 1 1/4 cup or 1.5 cup mashed
soya chunks1 1/4 cup cooked
onion 1 medium sized;fine chopped
green chillies 2; fine chopped
ginger -garlic paste 1 tsp
curry leaves torn bits a sprig or thandu
garam masala 1/2 tsp
pepper powder 1/2 tsp
turmeric powder 1/3 tsp
salt to taste
oil  1tbsp

bread crumbs 1/2 cup
egg 1
Oil for deep frying

How did I prepare ?
  • Boil the tapioca(kappa) as you normally do or go through this post to learn cleaning the tapioca and then boiling. Cook until very well cooked,drain water and keep aside to cool. When the tapioca pieces are easy to handle then remove the thick middle strand and any fibrous strands. Mash the tapioca(kappa) with a potato masher until smooth like mashed potatoes.
  • In the mean time,boil the soya in enough water for 5 mins. Drain this water once its cooked and then rinse 3-4 times to remove the smell of soya chunks. Squeeze water completely each time after rinse. Now,add this to a blender jar and pulse twice to crush the soya chunks in a mince type soya.

  • Heat oil in a pan and add the ginger garlic paste. Saute until the raw smell disappears and the paste looks slightly roasted. Add the finely chopped onion,green chillies and curry leaves. Add a pinch of salt and saute until slightly browned. Add in the spice powders  on low flame and then add in the soya mince. Add salt as needed and keep sauteing till the water content is completely dried up and the masalas are finely coated.
  • Add the mashed tapioca(kappa) and mix well to combine. Switch off flame and leave to cool.

  • Beat an egg in a bowl well, keep aside. Spread the bread crumbs in a plate. Now,divide the mix in 12 divided balls. Flatten them slightly to the shape of cutlets. Dip these in egg mixture and roll in bread crumbs to coat well.
  • Heat oil in a pan or wok and fry the cutlets once the oil is hot. Fry evenly all sides and don't over crowd the wok. Drain on a paper towel and serve warm with ketchup.

* You can use chicken or any other meat other than soya to make these cutlets.
* If your cooked tapioca doesn't mash smooth then its better to add in a blender jar after removing the fibrous strands and pulse once or twice(without adding any water).
* Remember to remove the cutlets from paper towel as soon as you feel they have soaked the excess oil else the cutlets turn soggy. Removing from paper towel and storing in dry plates will keep crispy.

Check out few more cutlet recipes -
* Baked Chicken Cutlets
* Fish Cutlets
* Broccoli Cutlets
* Baked Vegetable Cutlets
* Soya Cutlets

Friday, August 10, 2018

Vendakka Kichadi (Pachadi) | Fried Okra in Yogurt Coconut Sauce ~ Sadya Dish

Onam is early this year towards August last week and most of the electronics,apparels and many things are on offers at this time of the year. This is one of the best festive time when all Keralites celebrate with zeal and enthusiasm.  Today's post is a simple dish with vendakka /okra and mixed with yogurt and coconut sauce. This dish is popularly called pachadi in our place but towards the central part and northern part of Kerala this is khichadi and the sweet version is called pachadi. Anyways the name doesn't make the dish differ in taste and this is a quick yet simple sadya dish which can be prepared towards the end of sadya making within no time. We are not celebrating Onam this year as my FIL passed away early this year. So no much fun to go on with Onam but I do prepare these sadya dishes not all together but one or the other in between.Unlike other pachadi or khichadi this has a delicious taste of the fried okra in the yogurt coconut sauce. Add the fried okra/vendakka just before serving to get the yummy flavors. This is a very small serving of khichadi but if you wish to make larger quantities then double up the ingredients and try this out. I usually make it as a side dish and so make only very less amount. Do check this out !!

Preparation time ~ 10 minutes
Cooking time ~ 10 minutes
Serves ~ 4
Author ~ Julie

vendakka / okra 8-10
salt to taste
oil 2tbsp

to grind coarse
coconut grated 1/2 cup
green chillies 2
mustard seeds 1/2 tsp

to temper 
mustard seeds 3/4 tsp
dry red chillies, 2 broken
curry leaves, a sprig
oil 2tsp

  • Wash and pat dry the vendakka /okra. Cut in small pieces in rounds.
  • Grind the ingredients under listed to grind to a smooth paste. Remove the paste and add the curd and beat well in a mixer.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add the okra pieces. Add in a dash of salt. Fry till the okra turns crispy. Drain on a plate and if you have left over oil then temper the kichadi in the same pan, keep aside.

  • In another pan, heat the coconut yogurt mixture on a low heat and turn off heat as soon as it is heated (don't wait for it to boil). Add salt as needed.
  • Heat oil in the okra fried pan and splutter mustard seeds, dry red chillies and curry leaves. Pour this over the curd mixture.

  • Add in the fried okra just before serving. Mix and serve warm.
* Use a mildly sour curd or yogurt. Don't use very sour yogurt.
* The kichadi thickens as it sits and can be prepared few hours in advance but make sure to mix the fried okra only just before serving.
A few more kichadi/ pachadi recipes that you can prepare for this Onam-
* Kumbalanga Kichadi (pachadi)
* Thamaravalayam Kichadi( Lotus Stem Kichadi)
* Pineapple Pachadi
* Beetroot kichadi
* Sweet Pachadi

Please enjoy making ur favorite dishes this Onam by clicking on this link- SADYA RECIPES 

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Baby Corn Butter Masala (Step by Step Pics) ~ Chapathi Sides

Son - "Amma, Do you have common sense?"
Amma - " Yes,my dear..Don't you think so?"
Son- Then spell it...
(He expected amma will say C-O- M-M-O- N  S-E-N-S-E   and so was hiding with a smile )
Amma(after thinking for a while) - I -T 
Son - Oh no !! Amma I asked COMMON SENSE spelling... though he knows the truth that amma was right !! :D

So goes today's generation and am quite happy to be surrounded with mine, they make me think a little wierd,out of box I feel. Atleast I don't feel left out to match their generation now but  may be a little later that may happen too..
Today's post is a simple and delicious masala- Baby Corn butter masala which doesn't need any explaination and the name says it all. This is a very tasty side dish that can be served with naan or chapathis. This is similar in preparing butter chicken or paneer butter masala. Baby corn takes much lesser time to cook and so gets ready faster too. The cut corn sauteed in butter imaparts a unique flavor and so does the ground masala with cashew paste, onion and tomatoes. It has a mild spicy, tangy and sweet flavors that makes it perfect to pair with naan. Do try it out !!

Preparation time ~ 20 minutes
Cooking time ~ 20 minutes
Author ~ Julie
Serves ~ 4

baby corn 20
kasuri methi 2 tsp
salt to taste 
oil 2tbsp
butter 1tbsp
sugar a good pinch

for masala
onion 2 medium sized fine chopped
tomato 1 large
ginger-garlic paste /crushed 2 tsp
chilli powder 1 tsp
garam masala 1/2 tsp
coriander powder 1 tsp
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
cashews 10-12

  • Wash the baby corns under running water and snap the base end,very lightly to remove the hard end. Then slice the baby corn in roundels or cut vertically. I cut it in vertical and then cut in two.
  • Soak the cashews in warm water for half an hour.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and add the ginger-garlic paste. Saute until raw smell disappears, add the onions and saute until the onions turn slightly caramelized or light brown.
  • Then add the spice powders listed on low flame. Saute until the raw smell disappears.
  • Slide in the tomatoes and cook till softened. Switch off flame and leave to cool.

  • Transfer the contents in the mixer jar and add the cashews. Grind until smooth by adding little water.
  • Heat the same pan and add the 1tbsp butter,the sliced baby corns. Add a dash of salt and saute for a minute until slightly toasted.
  • To this,add the ground mix and a cup of water, add salt as per tastes. Simmer the masala on low flame for 5 minutes by covering with a lid else the masala splashes out( the cooking time of baby corn depends on how crunchy you want them to be,I love a slight crunch even after cooking but if you love it little more cooked then add 1/4 water and cook till done).

  • The gravy slightly thickens by now and the baby corns gets cooked. Finally garnish the masala with kasuri methi.
  • Leave covered for 2 minutes,mix and serve with chapathis / naan. Add in tablespoon of cream if you wish to make it more creamier( I haven't used that).

* You can saute the corn in oil too but butter imparts a special flavor.
* Use kashmiri chilli powder for best results.

You may also like a few more butter masala dishes listed below-
* Butter Chicken
* Mushroom Butter Masala
* Paneer Lababdar
* Butter naan

Enjoy :)

Monday, August 06, 2018

Corn Cheese Sandwich( Step By Step Pics) ~ Quick Breakfast

Simple dishes that require less than ten minutes to assemble is an inviting one for busy moms. This is one such recipe that can be put together in few minutes. Corn is a versatile veggie that can be added to all types of recipes and the sweetness adds flavor to whatever dish you add,Isn't it? This was just another demand from kids to have some sandwiches. I searched my refrigerator to find an ingredient that can be added to the filling and which kids love too. My attention fell on the fresh corn and immediately and thought to add this to the sandwich. The only elaborate cooking involved is cooking the corn and if you are using frozen corn then this step is simplified all the more,just thaw and use. Am not a mayonnaise fan and so needed a blending accompaniment that goes well with corn. So decided to make a spread using thick yogurt,mint and spices which wonderfully clicked away. The added topping of cheese gave a creamy and delicious sandwich,kids totally loved the warm sandwiches and I too enjoyed,he he.. Try these out,am sure all will love these !

Preparation time ~ 10 minutes
Cooking time ~ 10 minutes(excluding corn cook time)
Serves ~ 5 sandwiches
Author ~ Julie

bread slices 10
corn cob 1 or frozen corn 1 cups
mozarella cheese 3/4 cup
butter to smear  2 tbsp

to grind
mint leaves 1/2 cup chopped
*hung curd 2 tbsp
green chilli 1
garlic clove 1 small
pepper powder to taste
salt to taste

  • Boil the corn using water and salt. Using a knife scrape the corn kernels.
  • Grind the ingredients to a smooth paste. The hung curd should be mildly sour else it may not taste good. If its not sour then add lime juice to compensate. Mix the corn to this mixture,give a quick toss.
  • Spread the corn mixture on the bread. Put the grated mozarella cheese. Cover with another slice of bread. Spread butter on top of the bread.

  • Invert the butter spread side on a heated pan and place a plate on top of the bread. Gently place weight on top of the plate to give the toaster effect(check this post here to learn on placing the weight on the bread). Cook on low medium flame for a minute and then spread butter on the exposed side of the bread. Now flip this side down and place weight again. Cook another 45 seconds and then serve on a plate.
  • If you are using grill toaster,then go as per the toaster instructions(I have never felt the need of a toaster as I make sandwiches not very frequently and this method above works perfectly good). Cut in two and serve warm on a plate.

* You can use lime juice instead of hung yogurt.
* You can use any other herbs like coriander leaves instead of mint leaves. However,mint adds a nice flavor.
* If you are using regular yogurt then pour 1/2 cup of yogurt in a muslin or cheese cloth  and hang for 5-6 hours or overnight to get the hung curd.

Check out other quick recipes from this space:
* Strawberry Bell Pepper Cheese Sandwich

* Lemon Blueberry Pancakes
* Strawberry Shrikhand
* Mango Avacado Salsa 
* Quick Egg Masala 
* Chocolate Truffles 
* Dossizza

Enjoy :)

Friday, August 03, 2018

Vendakka Thoran | Kerala Style Okra Stir Fry (Step by Step Pics)

There are many recipes that we get to devour during the course of life and some are cherished lifelong. Few of them make a variation to our tastes too. Same goes here in today's recipe until  I tasted this one last year for Onam. I had no plans to make vendakka as thoran as I always thought it turns slimy and mushy when once cooked so never thought this could make such a delicious thoran(stir fry). Last year I happened to taste this thoran for Onam. We generally eat sadya out on uthradam day and prepare sadya at home for Thiruvonam. The reason for eating out is very simple as ladies get bored of the elaborate cooking process of sadya both days when the whole family is united with grand parents, cousins and relatives. This is the scene when all are together for Onam like last year. And this vendakka thoran was served along with so many other sadya dishes for Uthradam sadya which I loved in particular. The vendakka was crisp and not mushy at all and had the addition of peanuts in it along with grated coconut. Then I tried recreating the same stir fry and didn't get the same tastes in the initial tries. Gradually mastered this stir fry and now all love it at home too. H doesn't like the addition of peanuts in it but me and kids love that extra crunch that makes this thoran stand out. As Onam is approaching I thought to share this yummy stir fry which you can try for sadya.

Preparation time ~ 20 minutes
Cooking time ~ 25 minutes
Serves ~ 4
Author ~ Julie

vendakka /okra 500 gms
shallots / kunjulli  4-5 fine chopped
garlic / velluthulli  1tbsp fine chopped
chilly powder / mulakku podi 1 tsp
turmeric powder / manjal podi 1/2 tsp
grated coconut 1/2 cup
curry leaves a sprig
salt to taste
coconut oil 1 tbsp

to temper
mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
red dry chilli 1 broken
curry leaves a sprig
*ground nuts 2tbsp
coconut oil 1tsp

  1. Wash the okra under running water and drain water completely. Using a kitchen towel or paper towels,wipe each okra to dry completely ( imp: this is an important step when making thoran/stir fry else the vendakka tends to leave stickiness).
  2. Snip off the top and tail ends and cut the okra in less than 1/4" thickness in roundels. Keep aside. Dry roast the ground nuts in a pan and leave to cool. Once cooled, remove the skin by crushing in hands and split open in halves.
  3. Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan and add the chopped shallots,garlic and curry leaves. When its slightly browned,add in turmeric powder,chilly powder on low flame. Add in the cut okra and saute to mix well. Add salt.
4.Cover and cook for 3 minutes. At this point the okra may look sticky but don't worry. Mix and stir the okra in between, when its 3/4 th cooked add the grated coconut. Give a quick stir,adjust salt. Cook covered for another minute.Then, keep stirring continuously on high flame and dry roast the okra well (takes about 2-3 minutes). Remember to scrape the bottom of the pan too(the best tasting part. Switch off flame once it looks dry and there isn't any sticky consistency.

 6. Heat oil in another pan, splutter mustard seeds when hot. Add in red dry chillies, curry leaves and the roasted ground nuts. Fry the ground nuts until slightly browned. Switch off flame and pour this over the okra stir fry. Enjoy this warm with rice.

* You can leave out the ground nuts if you wish to. But let me tell you that ground nuts are the catch in this recipe.
* Temper this stir fry just before serving else the ground nuts lose their crunch.

Please check out this link to all nadan thoran and mezhukuparetti recipes.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Choco - Nut Cookies | Chocolate - Nut Biscuits (Step by Step Pics)

How many of you remember these butter cashew cookies ? I had posted these a long time back and loved them a lot. Today's post is another cookie recipe- Choco Nut Cookies. These are similar to the store brought cookies and tastes the same way as the  famous biscuit of chocolate and nuts. These cookies or biscuits are soft immediately after bake and turns crunchy as it cools down.The nuts and chocolate chips in the cookie adds a nice crunch and cocoa adds to the chocolaty flavor. I have already baked these cookies thrice. I roughly made my own calculations and made up the ingredients to match the taste of the store brought ones. The first time I baked these was three years back, though the bake time and look of the cookie was correct but the cookies tasted dry so I made some matches again and re did couple of months back which was almost perfect. Kids loved the cookies and so made these again now. This is the latest attempt in pictures. Adding rice flour to the dough adds the extra crunch. Its been quite some time since I posted a bake recipe. My baking has taken a back seat ever since we relocated and hardly find myself motivated to bake these days. One good reason is that we get all baked goods ready at hand in bakeries and second is the lack of time. Anyways these are just excuses to not operate my oven and I know nothing can beat the smell and flavors of a freshly baked bread or cookies. Hopefully will try to be more active in baking in the coming months till then you guys try this out !!

Preparation time~ 20 minutes
Cooking time~ 15 minutes
Serves ~25-28 cookies

dry ingredients
wheat flour or all purpose flour (maida) 1 1/4 cup
rice flour 2 tbsp
corn starch/ corn flour 1 tsp
baking powder 1 tsp
cocoa powder 3tbsp
salt 1/4 tsp

wet ingredients
unsalted butter(at room temp) 7 tbsp/ 100 gms
powdered sugar 3/4 cup
chocolate extract /vanilla extract 1 tsp
milk 2 tbsp

mini choco chips 1tbsp + 1tbsp
cashews 1tbsp
almonds 1 tbsp

  • Sift the flours,cocoa,corn starch(flour), baking powder and salt twice.Keep aside.
  • In a blender,add the granulated sugar 1/2 cup to powder to get 3/4 cup powdered sugar.
  • Dry roast the nuts in a wok or place in a pre heated oven at 200 degrees F for 10 mins without burning or browning.Add in a blender jar and coarsely powder by pulsing once or twice,leave out small bits. Keep aside.
  • In another bowl,cream the butter and powdered sugar very well until light and fluffy. Stir in chocolate/ vanilla extract. Beat again until mixed well.

  • Add the flour mix in three additions until combined well.Scrape down the sides and add a tablespoon of milk to combine the dough well(I used about 2.5tbsp of milk,add a tbsp each and check).Add in the coarsely chopped nuts and chopped chocolate chips(1tbsp).Combine well.
  • Transfer the dough and shape it lightly. Divide in two equal balls, flatten like patties and cover with a cling wrap, refrigerate for one hour.
  • After one hour, Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F/ 170 degrees C and line two trays with parchment paper.

  • Remove the dough and place one part of the dough on a lightly floured surface.Roll it out upto 1/4" thickness.Lightly press the edges so as to bring it together.Sprinkle the remaining choco chips(half of it) and lightly press the chips with the rolling pin(use the remaining choco chips for the next part of the dough). Using a cookie cutter or bottle lid,cut out rounds or cut in squares. Using a tooth pick make the impressions on each cookie. Transfer the cookie on the cookie sheet using a spatula(dip the spatula in flour and then use to slide the cookies,makes easier to lift them off the counter).
  • Arrange the cookies leaving a 3/4" space.Place in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until sides or the bottom of cookies are lightly browned(the cookies may be soft on touch then). The bake time may vary as per oven so please keep a close watch from 10 minutes onwards.
  • Cool on wire rack,it turns crispy and then store in air tight containers or serve with tea.

* Use all purpose flour/maida instead of wheat flour if you desire. The maida ones are more crunchier than wheat flour ones. Use 3/4  tsp baking powder only if using maida.
* I have used vanilla extract but if you have chocolate extract that will enhance flavors.
* You can shape the cookies like squares instead of roundels.
* You can even omit the nuts and make chocolate cookies alone.That tastes similar to the 'hide and seek' cookies.
* Roughly chop the choco chips if using the large chips so that they aren't very prominent in the cookies.
* If you are using icing sugar then omit the corn starch in the recipe and proceed further.
* You can even roughly powder half of the almond,cashews and add half as chopped nuts. This will enhance the flavor of cookies.

* Butter Cream Sandwich Biscuits
* Indian Tea Rusk 
* Eggless Nankhatai
* Masala Biscuits
* Coconut Cookies 
* Jeera Biscuits
* Cashew Cookies
* French Macarons
* Oreo Cookies
* Christmas Wreath Cookies
* Chocolate Chip Cookies
* Chocolate Whoopie Pie 
* Eggless Almond Cookies