Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, July 31, 2020

Cinnamon Pull Apart Wheat Bread | Star- Shaped Cinnamon Bread (Using Tang Zhong Method) ~ Step by Step Pics

Cinnamon pull apart bread has been in my do list since long but somehow I was postponing the bake for no solid reasons though. This time I got hold of this star shaped bread recipe with cinnamon sugar and butter filling. The actual recipe was double the ingredients and was a four layer bread but I baked it in two layers and so the bread was small apt for our evening tea. Got just finished in minutes. The sprinkling of powdered sugar on top is an additional sugary touch which you can avoid if you wish too as the bread is sweet with cinnamon sugar filling.

I love baking breads of different shapes and sizes and I had prepared the shaped dinner rolls sometime back. The tang zhong method is used to bake this bread which I used for baking the wheat flour bread. This is also baked with wheat flour which worked perfectly fine and didn't feel like it was baked with wheat. If you plan to bake using double the ingredients, then give an additional cook time of 5-7 mins more than this bake time. You may also fill the bread with crushed garlic and butter for a savory version and can bake homemade garlic bread. Do give this a try and enjoy !

Preparation time ~ 20 minutes
Baking time ~ 15 minutes
Serves ~ 1 star shaped bread
Author ~ Julie
to prepare tang zhong 
all purpose flour (maida) 1/4 cup
water 3/4 cup

to prepare bread
wheat flour 1 cup + 1/4 cup
salt 1/4 tsp
sugar 1.5 tbsp + 1 tsp
yeast 1 tsp
milk 3 tbsp
tang zhong half of prepared (approx 3 tbsp)
butter 1.5 tbsp
vanilla essence 1/2 tsp

to fill
cinnamon powder 1 tbsp
sugar 1/4 cup
butter 1/3 cup melted

1 egg wash to brush the top

  • Mix the all purpose flour(maida) and the 3/4 cup water without lumps to make tang zhong. Heat this over flame on low and keep stirring till the mixture thickens and is a porridge like. Switch off flame at this point and leave to cool completely. Use half of the prepared tang zhong for this recipe (approx 3 tbsp).

  • In a bowl add leuk warm milk(3 tbsp), sugar and yeast. Leave to proof for 7 minutes until its frothy.
  • In another bowl, add the wheat flour, sugar and salt. Mix well and then add half of the prepared tang zhong and add in the yeast mixture. Mix in gently and make a dough. The dough a this point is very sticky. Transfer this to a work surface or clean counter top and knead till its no longer sticky (around 10 minutes). The dough should set gluten in after kneading, if you stretch a small portion of the dough,it should be thin and translucent that means the dough can be rested to rise at this point. Add the softened butter at this point and knead again. Now add in the remaining 1/4 cup wheat flour or as much needed to get a smooth but not very sticky dough.

  •  Brush a bowl with oil and place the dough in the bowl. Brush the top of the dough also with oil. Cover with a cling wrap and leave to double for an hour.

  • After an hour, punch down all the air in the dough. Make two equal portions of the dough (approx 160g each) and leave to rise in the bowl for 15 minutes. Cover again with a cling wrap.
  • In the mean time, prepare the filling by mixing the sugar 1/4 cup, cinnamon powder and melted butter. Mix well and keep aside.

  • Now, roll out each of the balls in a big chapathi shape but slightly thicker than chapathi. Place on a parchment paper lined tray. Then spread the cinnamon mixture and roll the next ball of dough on a lightly floured surface. Then transfer this on top of the spread cinnamon mixture and seal the edges. 
  • Now place a lid in the center of the prepared chapathi. Using that as a center guide, cut out lines to make 16  equal portions. 

  • Then twist two close ends together to the outside by twisting three times. And pinch the ends to make a pointed end like flower. Repeat the same step for all other cut portions. Cover with a cling wrap and then with a damp cloth. Leave to rise for another 45 minutes till its puffed again.
  • Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F (do this in the last 10 minutes of rise) and then brush the top of the bread using egg wash liberally and then place in preheated oven. Bake for 15-17 minutes till the top looks nicely baked (I kept only the heat mode on at the bottom and gave two minutes of top heat for the final look). Remove from oven, brush the top with butter and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top and serve with black tea. Enjoy 😊

* The tang zhong method I have earlier used to prepare whole wheat bread recipe, the link is here.
* The original recipe makes a four layer flower /star by simply doubling all the ingredients. In that case, divide the dough in four equal portions and make four chapathis, sprinkle each layer of the made chapathi with cinnamon mixture. That makes a big star shaped bread. 
* Use oil or butter for the dough but for cinnamon mixture use butter or egg wash for better tastes. Also remember to add the fat portion afte kneading the dough first else it may not rise well.
* You may also fill the bread with crushed garlic and butter for a savory version and can bake homemade garlic bread.

* Shaped Dinner Rolls

Friday, July 24, 2020

Beef Dum Biriyani ~ Step by Step Pics

Biriyani is always made at home once in a while and my dad is the biggest fan of my made biriyani. But these days am hardly there at home and so once in a while when I visit him at home then I do try out his favorite biriyani. the last time I went home happened to be a father's day weekend and this is a special biriyani that I prepared this father's day for my dad. And so this recipe is a bit customized to his tastes. He loves all the non veg whether fish/ chicken /beef) fried lightly and then cooked in masala coated. And so I  have done that step here which is truly optional. He totally love the biriyani and I was happy that I could make this for him.

But beef biriyani is seldom made at home here as everyone is a fan of beef dry fry or beef ularthiyathu. or beef curry. So I hardly get a chance to make beef in biriyani style. Loved this biriyani so much and I think its good for a change to chicken biryani. Please go through more biryani recipes listed below. These pics are taken in my phone camera as I didn't have my camera in hand. So am not fully satisfied with the pics but bear with it, will upload better pics whenever try this out next time. Try n enjoy !!

Preparation time ~ 20 minutes
Cooking time ~ 40 minutes
Serves ~ 10 
Author ~ Julie
to cook meat
*beef 1 kg
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
pepper powder 1 tsp
salt to taste

for frying beef 
chilli powder 1 tbsp
ginger- garlic paste 1 tbsp
garam masala 1 tsp

to cook rice 
jeerakashala rice 1 kg(5 cups)
whole spices ( 10-12 peppercorns, cinnamon 1"- 2 pieces, bay leaf- 1, cloves 5-6, cardamom 5-6, star anise 2)
chopped pineapple 1/2 cup
ghee 5 tbsp
cashews 4 tbsp
water 7.5 cups

for gravy or masala
onion large 3+1 sliced 
tomato 3-4 chopped
ginger - garlic paste 2 tbsp
green chillies crushed 3-4
kashmiri chilly powder 2 tbsp
hot chilli powder 1 tbsp
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
salt to taste
chopped coriander 4-5 tbsp
chopped mint leaves 4-5 tbsp
oil 5 tbsp


  • Wash, rinse and clean the beef (the pieces should be larger than regular curry cut pieces and the beef should include pieces with bones for more added flavor). Drain all the water and keep aside. Heat a cooker and add the beef, add in pepper powder, turmeric powder and salt. Add in half cup water and  pressure cook the beef for 4-5 whistles. Wait till the pressure is released.
  • Then, marinate the beef using chilly powder, ginger-garlic paste and garam masala (reserve the cooked beef broth for using in masala). Heat oil in a pan and fry the beef pieces in batches. Drain in a plate and keep aside.

  • In another pan heat oil and fry one large onion sliced till its golden brown, drain from oil and keep aside for garnish.
  • Then add in the remaining sliced onions. Saute till the onions are lightly browned and translucent. Add in the ginger garlic and green chilly crushed. Saute till the raw smell disappears.
  • Add in the spices on low flame, saute till the masala is sauteed well. Then add in chopped tomatoes and half of the chopped coriander- mint. Cook covered till the tomatoes are cooked and mushy.

  • Finally add in the fried beef and mix well. Add in the curry leaves, add in the reserved broth after cooking beef. Cook covered till the beef pieces are well coated with the masala and the gravy is thick. Switch off flame and keep covered.
  • In another pan, heat ghee and fry the cashews til light brown. Drain and keep aside. Add in the drained rice and fry the rice till its fragrant.

  • Heat water in another pan and add in the whole spices, chopped pineapple(if using) and salt along with the measured water (7.5 cups). I used the water used to soak the rice too along with fresh water. Let this mixture come to a boil and the n add the fried rice. Keep flame on medium and cook covered till the water is evaporated or no moisture left out. Switch off flame.

  • Now in a wide biriyani pot to make dum biriyani, layer the beef masala and then add in the cooked rice. Then add in few fried cashews, fried onions, chopped coriander- mint leaves. Add in the beef masala and layer with cooked rice till you finish. Now finally add in the fried onion, fried cashews and chopped coriander- mint leaves.Cover the pan and seal the sides with maida (take a cup of maida, knead like chapathi dough and then place on the sides and seal), Here I gave an additional step of placing few charcoal pieces on top of the lid to give heat from top too along with heat at the bottom(optional but adds more dum effect). Place the heat on low flame and leave for 15 minutes, move away from residual heat and keep aside for another 15 minutes till you open the pan and mix the biriyani to serve. 
  • Mix as much as required as you need and serve. Yummy biriyani is ready to serve with raitha and pappadam.

* The pieces should be larger than regular curry cut pieces and the beef should include pieces with bones for more added flavor. There should also be few fat pieces to coat the biriyani well.
* Frying the beef pieces is strictly optional, I personally feel frying the beef pieces firms the piece but to get the juicier and softer piece you need to cook the beef and go ahead with making the masala for biriyani.
* I have used jeerakashala rice to make this biriyani but you can always use long grained basmati rice to make the rice. In that case, you can always alter the amount of water as per the rice variety.
* Adding chopped pineapple is truly optional but it adds a nice flavor and you get to bite pineapple pieces in between the biriyani.
* I haven't added raisins but you can always go ahead and add if you wish too.
* If you have left over biriyani the always steam the biriyani in a steamer pot to get the real tastes. As the biriyani cool down, the fat in it solidifies so steaming helps to regain the actual tastes.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Aval Unda | Poha Laddu ~ Step by Step Pics

Aval(beaten rice) is nothing but rice that is parboiled rolled, flattened and dried to produce rice flakes. Poha is rolled in big rollers which retain the iron from these rollers. So poha is known to be rich in iron and carbohydrate. I frequently make aval nanachathu (with jaggery and coconut) but these days my kids have started rejecting this as they got bored of this. I love aval vilayichathu especially my mom made and it was one of my favorite to carry to hostel on my return back from home, all my friends loved too. However, aval vilayichathu is also a big 'no' to my kids now as they were frequently fed the same whenever my mom visited us or whenever we dropped home.
So now the question was how to feed my kids aval (poha) without much fuss. The mom in me woke and my hunt for aval recipes was on. Maharashtra's famous kande pohe was made a few times and was liked too but as a snack only not breakfast though. Then it was aval vada but it has its own limitations as it was fried in oil. Finally these cute little balls took over which were easy to make, guilt free and healthy. This was loved by all here and have made a few times now at home. The ingredient list is quite simple and is made of jaggery, dates and aval as the main ingredient. Hardly takes any time to combine together and roll them in  the shape of balls. Tastes somewhat like aval vilayichathu but more crunchier. The aval is roasted and powdered to shape in the form of balls. The powdering depends on your taste buds, I love coarsely powdered and so went ahead and did that. But if you love smooth powder, then go ahead and blend more to get smoother powder. The smoother powder is easier to shape in balls than the coarse powdered aval. Do give this a try and enjoy with tea.

Preparation time ~ 10 minutes
Cooking time ~ 15 minutes
Serves ~ 14-16 unda /laddus
Author ~ Julie
poha / aval / beaten rice 1.5 cups
grated coconut 3/4 cup
jaggery / sharkara 1/2 cup grated 
dates 6-7
cashews 5-6 or 2 tbsp
cardamom powder/ elakka podi 1/2 tsp
ghee / neyyu 1 tbsp 


  • Heat a pan and add the poha/ aval/ beaten rice, fry one low flame for 3-4 minutes until it’s crispy.
  • Remove on a plate and then add grated coconut in the same pan and fry till it’s lightly browned, moisture is evaporated.
  • Transfer the fried aval / poha / beaten rice to a blender jar and pulse thrice. I love biting tiny bits in the unda / laddus so just coarsely powdered, but if you wish to powder smooth then go ahead and powder. In that case it will look and taste similar to ari unda or and the powder will be same as rice flour.

  • Then if you are using grated coconut then pulse that too once or twice in the blender jar. I have used half of grated coconut and half of desiccated coconut.
  • Heat a pan and add ghee. Add chopped cashews and fry. Switch off flame and add this ghee mixed cashews.

  • Then finally add dates chopped, cardamom powder. 
  • In a pan, add grated jaggery and add half cup water, melt the jaggery. Strain the impurities once it is melted and return back on flame (it was 1 cup). Let the syrup boil few more minutes till you get a one string consistency.
  •  As you get the one string consistency, dump the prepared aval(beaten rice), coconut mixture along with cardamom powder, dates and cashews. Mix well and switch off flame.

  • Wait till its easy to handle and you should be quick to make balls like ari unda else the jaggery mixture may go cold and you may not be able to make balls. Apple a little ghee initially in your palm to shape in balls if the mixture is sticky. Leave to cool completely before serving otherwise the balls may be very soft to chew. Once cooled its soft but crunchy. Serve with tea.


* You can fully powder the aval or beaten rice once fried but that way it tastes more like rice flour and that crunch effect is missing. You can alter as family needs.
* You can use both white or red aval /beaten rice. I have used red aval as its more healthier.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Atta Cake | Eggless Wheat Flour Cake ~ Apple Sauce (Step by Step Pics)

Lock down time has drifted each one's life some or the other way. I believe it was good too in a way to introspect our lives and to understand each of us more deeply. Many forgotten hobbies are polished back and many known to me have started their own You tube channels. The lock down period has blessed each one of us to atleast stay safe at home which many people are devoid of especially the daily wage workers. Baking was hard during lock down period with the easily available ingredients. There was a time when I exhausted the baking powder and cocoa powder, the near by stores ran out of these too and it took many days to get the stock. I think people stocked up homes and so there was scarcity of these. That's the time I started trying out simple bake recipe with the easily available ingredients.

Today's recipe is one such keeper cake that can be made anytime for tea and can be simply put together without any fancy ingredients. This cake uses wheat flour and rava with baking powder, baking soda. Rava adds a nice crumbly texture to the cake. There is no butter and eggs, only oil is used. But the star ingredient of this cake is the use of apple sauce. I made apple sauce from scratch and it worked fine. I have made this cake a few times now and have used both brown sugar and regular granulated sugar. Each piece of the cake has bits of almonds in it which is optional but definitely adds a nice crunch to the cake. You can even add cashew nuts chopped instead of almonds too. Atta aka wheat flour cakes are known to be dense compared to the all purpose flour(maida) cakes. This cake is also on the denser side but its soft, filling and delicious. It tastes more delicious the second day than the first, leave it at room temperature stored in a air tight container. 

Preparation time ~ 15 minutes
Baking time ~ 40-45 minutes
Author ~ Julie
Serves ~ a bread tray
for sauce 
apples 2 small or 1 large
dark brown sugar 3/4 cup

for cake
wheat flour 1 cup (120gms)
rava 1/2 cup (64 gms)
baking powder 1 tsp
baking soda 1/2 tsp
salt a pinch
milk 3/4 cup
oil 1/2 cup
apple sauce 3/4 cup
vanilla essence 1 tsp
almonds chopped 2 tbsp + 1 tbsp sliced

  • Wash,peel and chop the apples small and add to the mixer jar. Grind till smooth. Add this to a pan and add sugar. Heat this mixture until 2-3 minutes or till sugar is dissolved and the sauce thickens slightly. Switch off flame and leave to cool.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a tray with oil dusted with flour.

  • In a bowl add the wheat flour,baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift twice and keep aside.
  • In another bowl, add the rava and add milk. Let the rava soak up the milk, wait for 10 minutes. To this add the oil, cooled apple sauce, vanilla essence. Mix well. Add this to the dry ingredients and using a spatula combine well. Add in the chopped almonds and give a quick toss. 

  • Transfer to the prepared tray. Garnish with sliced almonds on top(optional). Bake in pre heated oven for 40 -45 minutes or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
  • Transfer to a cool rack and then remove from tray after 15 minutes. Cool completely before slicing else there will be lot of crumbs and pieces may break.
  • Enjoy with a cup of hot tea.

* If you have fine rava use that or just pulse the coarse rava once or twice to powder. I have used regular upma rava here. 
* I have used brown sugar as it gives a better colour to the cake but I have made this cake using white sugar too. So you can use whichever you prefer.
* I have used Ashirwaad atta / wheat flour to make the cake.

A few more simple EGGLESS cakes that you can try-

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Kozhikaal | Thalassery Special Tapioca Snack | Veg Chicken Legs (Step by Step Pics)

Rainy season demands kara mura(crisp) snacks with hot piping tea here at home. How about with you guys? Is it the same ? The snacks can be anything baked or fried but I love savory ones in this season. Here its raining since a few days and this is the perfect time for all bajjis to be fried and enjoyed. But unlike the famous ulli vada, cutlets, palak pakoda this time its a similar pakoda like snack made with tapioca. The name may sound strange for a humble veg snack - 'kozhikaal' as the look wise this snack looks more of a chicken drumstick. I was tasting this snack for the first time and so was apprehensive about the outcome and acceptance. The taste wise it’s crispy outside and soft inside. It doesn't stay crisp for very long so serve hot. To my surprise all loved this snack so had to repeat making the next week itself again 😀

Kids have started their online classes and so these days I hardly get time to hold on the laptop as they are busy on it either attending the classes or jotting notes. Both of them have different time schedule throughout the day and so most of the time the lap is engaged. That's the reason behind my on and off attendance in the page. Hope all my friends are doing good and are safe at home. Anyways coming back to this recipe, some people prepare this snack using maida and rice flour which should be stay more crispier than this version but I refrain using maida wherever possible so haven't tried that way. The pieces should be slender cut but not very thin as the strips may break when mixing up with the batter. If you feel the tapioca is very hard to cut through then immerse the big pieces in hot boiling water for 5 minutes, remove from water and then cut in thin pieces. I have not done this way and have cut directly as I used to cut for making tapioca (kappa) chips but slightly thicker than chips that I posted long back. You can always increase the spice level by increasing the amount of green chillies used. Do give this a try if you get hold of some fresh tapioca and enjoy with a cup of tea !!

Preparation time ~ 10 minutes
Cooking time ~ 20 mins
Author ~ Julie
Serves ~ 12-14 pieces
kappa/ tapioca 300-400gms or one medium sized
besan / kadalamavu 3/4 cup
rice flour / ari podi  1/4 cup
kashmiri chilly powder / mulaku podi 3/4 tsp
turmeric powder / manjal podi  1/3 tsp
asafoetida/ kayam podi a good pinch
garlic cloves 7-8
ginger 1/2’’ piece
green chilies 3
curry leaves few sprig 
salt to taste 
oil to deep fry

  • Peel and wash the tapioca after removing the brown and pink skin. Cut length wise in stripes not so thick or thin pieces. Very thin pieces may break while mixing and very thick may not get cooked properly. Refer pic.
  • Place in a bowl of water with some salt for half an hour. Or you may cook the big pieces of tapioca by immersing in water for 3-5 mins for easy cutting in stripes. This is required if the tapioca variety is very hard to cut. I have directly cut and not boiled so soaked in salt water for half an hour. Drain all water from tapioca, keep aside.

  • Prepare a batter using gram flour, rice flour, spice powders listed above, salt, ginger- garlic - chilly paste. Add water little by little, I used a little more than 1/4 cup to make batter. The batter should be thick enough to coat the pieces well
  • Add in the cut tapioca strips, mix gently taking care not to break the strips. The strips should be shaped like a kozhikaal ( chicken drumstick) by holding 7-8 strips together with batter. If it holds shape then the batter is good else add more gram flour.

  • Heat oil in a kadai and wait till oil is hot. Place prepared kozhikaal in oil and wait till it’s cooked one side to flip the other so that the strips are held together with the batter. Deep fry till golden brown. Initially give high heat then reduce or else the inside may not get cooked properly. It may take around 3-4 minutes to cook each batch. Drain on paper towel and then transfer to a dry plate. Enjoy with a cup of hot tea.

*Some people prefer making the batter with all purpose flour too which should be stay more crispier than this version but I refrain using maida wherever possible so haven't tried that way. , but gram flour ones tastes better I feel.
* If you feel the tapioca is very hard to cut through then immerse the big pieces in hot boiling water for 5 minutes, remove from water and then cut in thin pieces. 
* You can always increase the spice level by increasing the amount of green chillies used.
* The pieces should be slender cut but not very thin as the strips may break when mixing up with the batter.