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Monday, January 28, 2019

Pappadam Thoran | Papad Stir Fry (Step by Step Pics)

Ask any malayali and you may find their blind likes towards this humble pappadam. My family right from grand parents,my parents, H's parents to my kids (all generations) love pappadam, none can eat just one !! But on that note let me also tell you that these days many brands of pappadam are adulterated and are not healthy.
Pappadams for those of you who don't know can be referred as a paper thin tortilla that turns crisp wafer like once fried in oil. They are made mainly with urad dal and rice flour with a tinge of baking soda. There are north Indian varieties of pappad and South Indian varieties too like appalam, pappadam. Each of these varies in taste and flavors especially some of the north Indian varieties like masala papads. Though Kerala pappadam is used to make this thoran(stir fry), I have used masala papads to make this stir fry to spice it up a little. We like this stir fry just as a snack and not like a stir fry at home. However, it serves good as a stir fry too but I find these very addictive so our main concentration(esp kids) is on the stir fry than on rice and curries. Anyways, this is a very simple stir fry that hardly takes anytime to put together and you can enjoy with rice or with chai (tea), like me ;)

Preparation time ~ 10 minutes
Cooking time ~ 10 minutes
Serves ~4-5 servings
Author ~ Julie

pappadam 10 or masala pappad 4 large
salt a pinch(for the coconut masala)
oil for frying

for coarsely grind
coconut 1/2 cup
chilly powder 1/2 tsp
garlic cloves 2 small
cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
shallots 2-3
salt to taste

for tempering 
mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
red dry chilly 2 broken
curry leaves a sprig
coconut oil 1 tsp

  • Fry the pappad or pappadam as you regularly do or check this post here on how to fry pappadams. I have used masala papad for making this thoran as it is very nice and crisp. You can use the regular kerala pappadam.
  • Crush the pappadam or papad gently by hand in bite size pieces. Keep aside. In a mixer jar,add the coconut,shallots,garlic,chilly powder and cumin seeds. Pulse once or twice to crush all without adding any water.

  • Heat a pan and add oil. Add mustard seeds when hot and let it splutter. Add in dry red chillies and curry leaves. Add the coarsely ground mixture and saute on low flame until the raw smell disappears and the coconut mixture is free of moisture(takes about 2 minutes). Add a pinch of salt to the masala mix(remember that pappad contain salt).
  • Add in the crushed papad or pappadam in it,give a quick toss for 30 seconds. Switch off flame and serve warm.

* The pappadam remains crunchy as there is no moisture left in the coconut mixture. However,this thoran(stir fry) can be made quickly and so there is no need of  making ahead.

Learn how to fry pappadams and preserve the freshness of pappadam using these tips mentioned in this post here- Pappadam 

Friday, January 25, 2019

Kappa- Meen Kozhukatta | Steamed Tapioca Fish Parcels( Step by Step Pics)

Most of us have fond memories of food from our childhood and food has a way of transporting us back to the past especially the biscuits, the toffees. Parle-G biscuits and Parry's toffees(green paper wrapped small little ones), orange mittai( round orange colored ones wrapped in transparent paper) were among the top listed ones. There were many organic and home grown veggies to add to that list too. My affair with tapioca as a child was hardly a month or two whenever we visited Kerala for vacations. And so my liking to the tuber never was much to be remembered. On the other hand, my sis was mad over tapioca.Gone are the days which will never come back, I wish the cycle just reverted for at least sometime to have some fresh tapioca plucked by our grandfather from our backyard.

Tapioca (kappa) was a big no to me as a child and there was slight liking by adolescence. But to be frank, I was never mad after kappa even then and I was evem more elated to know (after marriage) that my better half also didn't like tapioca(kappa) much. However, as time passed or as we moved out to US where we hardly get fresh tapioca(not so often) that we realized we were missing our humble tapioca(kappa). We developed a better taste for tapioca(kappa) and H also started eating. Now, believe me we have become an avid fan of tapioca(kappa). But kids are still in our phase of childhood I feel, they do eat but not very fondly. Hoping that they may also start liking tapioca as they grow up. And in the mean time, I try out a few good recipes to sneak in kappa for them. This is one such recipe. This is a similar recipe to meen pathiri but a little more easier and these kozhukatta have tapioca as the covering in disguise. Interesting right? Yes, I made them as a after school snack for kids and they just gobbled them up in no time.They loved the filling of fried fish with mildly spiced masala and the outer covering tasted yummy as well with the coconut,tapioca and rice flour. Do give this a try if you love tapioca.

Preparation time ~ 30 minutes
Cooking time
for frying ~  15 minutes 
for masala ~ 15 minutes
Steaming time ~ 10 minutes
Author ~ Julie
for cover

kappa(tapioca) 1 1/2 cups cooked and mashed
rice flour 1/2 cup
salt to taste
to ground coarse
coconut 1/2 cup grated
velluthulli 2 small pods

to fry
netholi 20 or 150 gms fish
chilly powder 1/2 tsp
turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
pepper powder 1/2 tsp
salt to taste
oil 1.5 tbsp

for masala
onion 1,medium sized chopped fine
tomato 1/2 of 1 chopped small
curry leaves chopped
green chillies 1,finely chopped
ginger garlic paste 1 tsp
pepper powder 1/2 tsp
chilli powder 1/2 tsp
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
garam masala a fat pinch
lemon juice 1-2 tsp
salt to taste

  • Peel the skin of tapioca,cut in large cubes. Boil the tapioca like we usually do or refer this post link here to learn cooking tapioca. with enough water,cook it well and add salt. Leave to cool or use left over kappa puzhukku.
  • In the meantime, make the covering. In a bowl, remove the stem of tapioca and any obvious fibrous strands. Mash it smooth( if the tapioca doesn't mash well then just go ahead and add the boiled tapioca to a mixer and pulse once or twice without adding any water). Now to this add coarsely ground coconut garlic mixture(garlic is optional, if you don't like the smell of garlic then omit it out. I add as it helps in digestion).
  • Also, heat water in a pan and wait to boil. Add this water to the rice flour with salt in it. Make a dough like we do for idiyappam or kozhukatta. Mix this rice flour dough to the kappa(tapioca) mix once the rice flour dough is easy to handle. Knead to a nicely combined dough. The dough is a bit sticky unlike the kozhukatta dough.

  • Wash the fish under running water and marinate the fish using the spices listed under fry. In a pan, fry the netholi(anchovy) with marination till lightly crisp(Don't overdo else the fried fish may turn hard). Remove on a plate and leave to cool. Once cooled, remove the prominent bones and break in small pieces. Keep aside.

  • In a pan add oil,add ginger-garlic paste and saute till raw smell disappears. Saute onions followed by green chillies, curry leaves.Saute until the onion is translucent and slightly browned,add  all spice powders listed under masala and give a quick stir. Add in the chopped tomato and saute until mushy. Cook covered for a minute and then add the fish pieces. Cover and cook for another minute on low flame. Then combine well and switch off flame. Once cooled add in the lemon juice.

  • Now, start making the kozhukatta or parcels. Apply a little oil on your palm and scoop out a large ball (slightly bigger than lemon size). Flatten the dough in your palm using the fingers or place the dough on a oiled parchment paper or banana leaf. place a tablespoon of filling in the center and cover the filling in semi circle. Place in a steamer lined with parchment paper or aluminium foil or banana leaves.

  •  Repeat making rest of the kozhukattas and place them adjacent(Don't pile them one above the other as these may stick together and the filling may seep out). Steam cook for 7-10 minutes until done. Don't remove from the steamer immediately, wait for the steam slightly and to cool slightly. Gently remove on a plate. Serve warm just like that,enjoy !!

* You can use plain rice flour kozhukatta if you stay in a place where you don't find kappa(tapioca). But tapioca has its own taste and flavor.
* Try selecting the less fibrous variety which has one single strand of tapioca. In Thrissur, we get the kolli type tapioca which may not be suitable to make the covering of kozhukatta.
* You can even use chicken or beef as filling and prepare the same kozhukatta. A non veg combo with kappa kozhukatta tastes yummy.
* I have used netholi(anchioves) but you may use sardines or any small kind fish, they taste good.
* If you have fresh banana leaves avaiable, then spread the kozhukatta mix as a layer on a piece of banana leaves like ada. Add the filling and close in halves. Steam cook in a steamer to make kappa ada.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Neer Dosa | Mangalorean Neer Dosa (Step by Step Pics)

Friends, what did you prepare today for breakfast ?? Each day of a lady or a mom starts with the same question so as to what to prepare each day for breakfast / lunch /dinner and the same goes with me too. But blogging has given me immense opportunities to try out a variety of breakfast items. Some of the tried items are seen at the table once or twice and is turned down due to some very silly reasons. Very few of them are accepted as part of the weekly menu and unanimously is a given a green signal to prepare more frequently. I treasure those few recipes so fondly that I finally got to add to their variety menu. Neer dosa is one such recipe which was accepted by all but to be frank, it took me 3-4 trials before I could actually master the skill of making a good neer dosa.

Neer dosa is  a Mangalorean recipe, the meaning of which is 'water dosas' owing to the watery kind batter that is prepared to make these dosas. The best thing about these dosas is that these dosas hardly need any fermentation, the rice can be soaked overnight and can be ground in the morning and dosas can be prepared instantly. Though it is a Mangalore recipe, Keralites also do prepare these dosas esp in the Kannur and Kasargod area, heard from one of our friends who is a resident of Kannur. I am not sure if any other part of Keralites prepare these dosas. These dosasa can be paired with any chutney like tomato chutney, mint chutney or with any rich non veg curries like chicken sukka. These are soft melt in mouth dosas which no one can eat just one and tastes like any regular rice flour dosas, no obvious tastes in particular. The list of advantages of making these instant dosas over regular dosas are more but the main trick lies in getting the batter in the right consistency,making thin crisp dosas out of the batter.  In my experience, a good neer dosa takes skill like rawa dosa and with the help of many you tube videos and recipe referral, I could finally make to post on blog. All credits to my friend, P who sent me the recipe as she prepares at home and I went ahead, referred videos to actually learn the tips of making a good neer dosa. Its not that hard to master making neer dosas so give it a try and enjoy !!

Preparation time ~ 30 minutes
Cooking time ~ 30 minutes
Serves ~  12-14 dosas
Author ~ Julie
raw rice / plain rice / pachari 1.5 cups
grated coconut 4 tbsp
cooked rice 1 tbsp (optional)
salt 1 tsp
water 2.5 cups


  • Wash and soak the rice for 5-6 hours. Drain the water and grind with grated coconut, cooked rice and salt with very little water to a smooth paste. Then,add the remaining water to make the batter very thin. The consistency of the batter must be like third coconut milk(moonampaal) extracted. Add salt as needed and mix well.

  • Heat a wide non stick pan and smear a little oil(optional step, but to me this step really worked). When it is really hot, pour a ladleful of batter in the center of the pan,swirl the pan gently to reach all sides of the pan as fast as you can . There may be big air pockets, fill up with small portions of batter or leaves it just like that.

  • Cook on low heat till the sides are crisp by covering with a lid(you may or may not cover the lid,it does cook as its very thin). These dosas are not flipped the other side, so fold the dosa in quarters and remove on a plate(it takes slightly longer than usual dosa cooking time). Repeat the same step of making dosas by increasing the heat. Pour the batter only when the pan is heated good. Then lower heat after pouring batter. Repeat the same steps until you finish making all dosas.(I have made the thin crisp like dosas and soft ones, if you wish to make the soft ones, add less water than for the thin crisp dosas then these will yield soft ones).
  • Serve warm with mint chutney or chicken sukka. Mint chutney really worked good for these dosas.

* I have used regular plain rice(pachari) for this recipe but I have seen in bloggers using sona masuri and basmati rice too which I haven't tried. For me plain rice worked well and adding a tbsp of cooked rice is perfect.
* Adding coconut and cooked rice is optional, you may leave that out and prepare with just plain rice.
* The batter should be really thin, also stir the batter well each time you start pouring the batter because the batter starts settling down.
* Check the non stick pan if its really hot before pouring the batter. Sprinkle few drops of water on the heated pan, the water sparkles and evaporates showing that the pan is hot enough.When you pour the batter you find round holes that is ideal for a good neer dosa.
* If your dosa starts to crack and break, that is when the batter is thick. Add more water and make it thin.

If you are interested to try other instant healthy breakfast options, check below-
* Rava Idli
* Pesarattu( Green Moong dal) Dosa
* Oats Dosa

Mint (Pudina) Chutney for Idlis / Dosas

I love to try a variety of chutneys especially to serve with dosas and idlis. And each chutney is unique in its flavor and tastes. We each one of us like different chutneys too so invariably I keep making some or the oter listed below with idlis /dosas. I have earlier posted a peanut mint chutney which is equally good. This is another simple chutney using coconut and mint leaves with tamarind. Check it out !!

Preparation time ~ 5 minutes
Cooking time ~ 2 minutes
Serves ~ a small bowl
Author ~ Julie
grated coconut 1 cup
mint leaves / pudina a handful
ginger/ inji a small piece
green chillies 2
pottukadala / raosted gram 1 tbsp(optional)
shallots/ kunjulli 2
tamarind / puli a small marble size
salt to taste

to temper
mustard seeds/ kadukku 1/2 tsp
red dry chillies 2 broken
curry leaves a sprig
oil(preferably coconut) 2 tsp


  • Add the grated coconut, ginger, shallots, green chillies, pottukadala, salt and tamarind along with mint leaves to a blender jar. Add a little water to grind to a smooth paste.Transfer to a bowl, adjust salt if required.

  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds when hot, add in dry red chillies followed by curry leaves. Switch off flame and pour over the chutney. Mix and serve.
 * You can leave out the pottukadala(roasted gram) if you don't like the flavor, it just adds consistency to the chutney.
* You can use 3-4 small slices of raw mango instead of tamarind too. I have tried using raw mango too, tastes good.

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 excellent if you get hold of good variety chakkakuru(jackfruit seeds) and good matured jackfruit seeds taste best. I know it's 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 !

Watch the YouTube #shorts on this recipe here. Please like, share and subscribe to my channel for regular updates.

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. Sauté 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 continuously stir-fry until it turns brown and crisp.
  • Add a little more oil if the jackfruit seeds look very dry. Serve warm with rice.

* It's good to add crushed shallots and garlic, as jackfruit seeds cause gas and bloating. So I add this too in my stir-fries now, it's an optional step as the traditional way is listed above.
* You can add chilly powder or chilly flakes.
* Add enough salt for cooking jackfruit seeds, as this is absorbed in the seeds while cooking. It's hard to get the salt right once it's cooked.
* Adding garam masala imparts a special flavour, omit if you don't like.

* 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.