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Friday, November 27, 2020

Zebra Cake (Step by Step Pics)

Which cake do you love the most? My elder one loves chocolate and younger likes vanilla or yellow cakes. And so to avoid a drift I invariably end up making the combo of both either as marble cake or this zebra cake, vancho cake or sometimes add chocolate chips too just to balance the flavors of both. We both love this combo of yellow and chocolate.There are many different varieties of cakes these days and bakers are competing hard to be showcasing newer patterns of cake every day. Rainbow cake, marble cake, checkerboard cake, zebra cake are a few to list when it comes to patterns made with cake batter. However icing patterns, type of icing are n numbers and each day you get to see a new icing technique too.

'Zebra cake' as the name suggests resembles the zebra stripe pattern achieved by pouring the batter of both yellow and chocolate cake. The batter is poured in such a way alternating both batters to get zebra stripes and is then baked. The cake when cut gives a classic look without any icing and the best advantage of such cakes is that you get to taste both yellow and chocolate flavors in one single cake. My initial attempts of making zebra cake wasn't quite a success until I started pouring the batter evenly in the center of the pan. The initial zebra cakes turned like marble cake and this is so far the best zebra cake made so far I feel. Make sure to pour first two tablespoons of batter in the center of the pan then alternate each table spoon of batter till you finish all the batter. Also tap the batter in between gently to get even concentric circles. These are the few points to remember and your zebra cake gets ready in minutes just like any other bakes. Pls do give this a try and lemme know the feedback too!!

Preparation time ~ 10 mins
Baking time ~ 25-30 mins
Author ~ Julie
Serves ~ 8" cake
wheat flour 1.5 cups
baking powder 1.5 tsp
salt 1/4 tsp
cocoa powder 2.5 tbsp
warm water 2 tbsp
milk 3/4 cup
butter 1/2 cup (100 g approx)
granulated sugar 1 cup
vanilla extract 1 tsp
eggs 2

  • Powder the sugar in a blender jar. Each cup of granulated sugar yields 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar.
  • Sift the flour with baking powder and salt twice. Keep aside
  • Cream the butter and powdered sugar until its creamy and pale. Add an egg each and beat until fluffy. Add in vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients in three batches along with milk. 
  • Divide the dough in such a way that the vanilla batter is slightly more than chocolate layer batter.
  • Now mix the cocoa in 2 tbsp warm water and keep in a bowl. Mix this in the chocolate layer  reserved batter. 
  • Prepare a cake tin by smearing butter and dusting with flour. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In the center of the prepared tray, add 2 tbsp of yellow batter and then pour 1 tbsp of cocoa batter. Next layer onwards add 1 tbsp of each vanilla and cocoa batter. Pour the batter in the same place each time alternating both layers  and the batter will spread. Continue doing the same till you finish all the batter. 
  • Place in pre heated oven and bake for 25-30 mins. Mine got done in 25 minutes. 
  • Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Then cut in pieces and serve. 

* You can make the same cake using maida(all purpose flour) too if you wish. But I personally didn't feel the need to do so. If you are using maida(all purpose flour) then use 1 tsp baking powder for 1.5 cups maida and use 1/2 cup milk instead of 3/4 cup milk.


A few more simple EGGLESS cakes that you can try-

Monday, November 23, 2020

Erachi Choru | Malabar Style Meat Rice ~ Step by Step Pics

Erachi choru or Malabar style meat rice is a simple rice compared to the elaborate biriyani. The meat is first cooked separately and then the rice is cooked in the gravy of the meat to get the complete flavor of the meat. This is a perfect one pot meal as the amount of meat is less compared to the biriyani meat. Unlike biriyani this doesn't use much ghee in large amounts and there are no much garnishes with fried onions, dry fruits and nuts. Kaima rice or jeerakashala rice is used to cook erachi choru but there are recipes using basmati rice to cook too. 

I have used basmati rice in this recipe but you can always use kaima rice or jeerakashala rice. Traditionally mutton or beef is used for erachi choru but you can always try out with chicken too. I wouldn't claim this as the original style of erachi choru as there are many variations of this same recipe in different areas in the northern parts of Kerala. I have followed a few recipes from the web and have modified slightly without much change to the original recipes. This rice tastes best when served hot and doesn't need any sides except for a dates pickle or biriyani chammanthi. The spices are less compared to biriyani but for a quick choice or one pot meal, this is a perfect choice. Do give this a try if you love one pot meal and enjoy.


Preparation time ~ 15 mins
Cooking time ~ 25 minutes
Author ~ Julie
Serves ~ 5-6
for marination
chicken / mutton / beef 500 gm (I have used chicken)
chilly powder 1/2 tbsp
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
salt to taste

for cooking meat / chicken
onion 2 medium sliced (reserve 1/2)
ginger-garlic paste 2 tbsp
green chilly 3
tomato 1 large
lemon juice 3 tsp
chilly powder 1 tbsp
pepper powder 1/2 tsp
coriander powder 2 tbsp
oil 2 tbsp 
salt to taste

to cook rice
basmati rice 3 cups(600gms)
onion 1/2 reserved from masala sliced
ghee 2 tbsp
oil 2 tbsp
coriander leaves / malli ela 3 tbsp
mint leaves / pudina 2 tbsp 
whole garam masala - fennel seeds 1tbsp, cinnamon 2 strand, cloves 5-7, cardamom 3, bay leaf 1, shah jeera 1 tsp(I used cumin seeds), star anise 1
salt to taste
water 2 cups + 2 cups gravy = 4 cups

  • Wash and clean the chicken. Rinse well, drain water and marinate using the ingredients listed above overnight or half an hour minimum (marination is optional in this recipe but I prefer doing this as broiler chicken takes time for the masala to get in).
  • Wash and soak the basmati rice in enough water.
  • Heat oil in a pressure cooker and then add the sliced onion(reserve 1/2 of 1 to use when making rice i.e. use 1 1/2 sliced onions). Add salt and saute till translucent, add the crushed ginger- garlic and green chilli paste. Saute until raw smell disappears.

  • Add chopped tomato and then add the spices on low flame (the tomatoes need not be cooked till mushy). Saute until raw smell disappears. And then add the marinated chicken. Mix well.
  • Then, add a cup of water and enough salt. Combine this well and close the pressure cooker. Cook for two whistles on high heat and then switch off flame. Wait to release pressure and then open the cooker. Drain the gravy from the chicken and measure the amount. Reserve the pieces in the cooker.

  • In another biriyani pot or non stick pan, heat the oil and ghee as listed. To this, add all the whole spices along with 1/2 sliced onion. Saute until lightly translucent, add the cooked chicken pieces and saute until its dry(may take 2-3 mins).

  • Then add in the chopped coriander leaves, mint leaves(3/4 th of it and reserve 1/4 th for garnish). Add the measured gravy amount(mine was 2 cups) along with 2 cups of water to cook rice. Also add 2 tsp lemon juice. Wait till the water starts to boil and add salt as needed. Add the soaked rice and cook covered for 20 minutes on low medium flame. Keep checking in between and mix to evenly cook rice and chicken. Garnish with reserved coriander leaves and mint leaves. Keep covered for 10 minutes and serve warm with biriyani chammanthi or dates pickle.

* If you are using kaima rice or jeerakshala rice use water in the ratio of 1: 2 i.e. each cup of rice to 2 cups of rice.
* Feel free to add more ghee if you love the flavors or replace oil for ghee.
* The rice tastes best when served hot so prepare this rice just before serving. Also, steam any left overs before serving for best taste.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Passion Fruit Ice cream (Eggless)

How do you include citrus fruits in your diet? To me, none of the citrus suits my throat, especially the nectarines, oranges, lemon. And so, I avoid them mostly or have it as a midday snack or half an hour before lunch, which works to some extent. However, passion fruit is the only fruit that I can enjoy any time of the day and has not given me any issues till date. I love passion fruit for this very reason and so enjoy the most during this season. I have already posted the passion fruit squash that I prepare and keep in the fridge to extend the season one more month or so. Also, the passion fruit juice is another favourite that I prepare instantly and enjoy whenever I have these cuties ready at hand. 

It's been so long since I bought store brought ice cream or made too.Kids were not tolerating the store brought ones and had allergic issues. I didn't want to superimpose the allergy factor esp during this corona phase. I used to make the ice cream at home but this time after the lock-down, H only went shopping groceries, and invariably I forget to remind about whipping cream and then one day recently got hold of a pack of whipping cream and bought. The yellow type or the greenish yellow passion fruit are more on the tart side, and this reddish types are sweeter. I generally buy the reddish kind, but for making squash, both are fine. This time for a change I tried this simple passion fruit ice cream that I thought would create some fuss as I was a little apprehensive to mix whipping cream with citrus fruit. But to my surprise, all loved this ice cream, and it's just made of three basic ingredients. It's all natural passion fruit ice cream, no added colours/ essence. The fragrance is so strong and doesn't need any extra essence to this ice cream. The colour of this ice cream feels so calm and relaxing, with the passion fruit sauce on top adding the extra touch. Depending on the sweetness of the passion fruit, add more condensed milk if needed. Give this ice cream a try and enjoy !!

Watch on YouTube -

Preparation time ~ 10 minutes
Cooking time ~ 3 mins (for sauce)
Freeze time ~ 6 hours
Serves ~ 5–6 persons
Author ~ Julie
passion fruit 3 or 1/2 cup pulp
condensed milk 1/3 cup +  3 tbsp
whipping cream 1 cup

for sauce (optional)
passion fruit 1 or 1/4 cup pulp
sugar 3-4 tbsp
corn starch (flour) 1/2 tsp
water 1 tbsp

Watch on YouTube -

  • Wash and cut passion fruits in half. Scoop out the pulp in a bowl (make sure there are no white portions in the pulp). Add the condensed milk and give a mix. Keep aside.
  • Whip the cold whipping cream in a bowl until soft peaks (about 3 minutes). Fold in the passion fruit and condensed milk, mix in the whipped cream.
  • Finally, pour the mix in a bowl to set. Top this up with the prepared passion fruit sauce (reserve a little for garnish when you serve). Freeze the content for up to 8–12 hours, or until set. Scoop out in bowls and enjoy with an extra topping of the fruit sauce.

  • For sauce - In a pan, add the passion fruit pulp for sauce and add sugar. Bring to a boil. Mix the corn starch with 1 tbsp water and add to the passion fruit mix. Boil a minute to thicken and then switch off. Leave to cool till use.

  • Remove the ice cream mix from freezer and add a small layer of passion fruit sauce (reserve the rest of the sauce in refrigerator till use) on top (optional step). Re freeze for 5–6 hours.

  • Remove from freezer and scoop out the ice cream in serving bowls. Add the prepared sauce on top and serve.

* The sauce can be refrigerated for a week.
* The ice cream tastes yummy without the sauce too, but the sauce adds to the extra tangy effect. Omit this step if you don't like tangy flavours.

Passion fruit Recipes :

Try these homemade ice creams too, if you love any of the flavors-

Friday, November 13, 2020

Chocolate Burfi | Two Layer Chocolate Mawa(Khoya) Barfi (Step by Step Pics) ~ Diwali Special

I have cherished most of my memories of childhood and that marks our stay in the northern parts of India. Diwali is the best time of the year that I loved the most as the streets, households,shops and everything around is lit by decorative lights and diyas. We(me & my sis) used to persuade dad to buy few diyas and crackers though we don't celebrate Diwali. And dad silently consented too. No other festivals did I like so much but Diwali had its own zeal and I totally loved it. Apart from the lights and diyas and crackers, we used to get sweet packets from dad's office, colleagues and from our good neighbours. The fridge used to be packed with all the sweets for the next few days before we finished them all. The best ones vanished in no time, then the less favorite ones found its place in our tummies. Mom ensured that nothing goes wasted and we did enjoy too. During X'mas time,we returned plum cake, rosette cookies, kulkul and other delicacies in lieu of the sweets. I do miss that fun here in Kerala for Diwali. And in those days, chocolate barfi was one of the top listed burfis of our time and I loved the two layer barfis dearly. 

Little did I know those days that these barfis hardly needed any time to prepare if you had ready made mawa(Khoya) in hand. Though I already posted a milk powder barfi version which is quick but its morec of a chewy texture and doesn't come similar to the mawa barfis.I loved these barfis so much as a kid and so recreating this at home was something long awaited. Each time I think of making this, ready made mawa is a big q to get here and I was more than happy when I found mawa (khoya) and bought it from an online store but my happiness turned sad as soon as I received the pack, it had fungus popping up on all sides though the pack wasn't expired and so was returned. My bad luck !! Then I finally decided to make my own batch of khoya or mawa with full fat milk. I have already posted the homemade khoya(mawa) recipe earlier and have made mawa gujjiya with the homemade mawa too. But mawa making is a continuous stirring process so was finding easy access to the store brought mawa which found no success and reverted to making mawa at home from scratch. One liter of milk yields roughly about 195 gm to 205 gms. I got 200 gms from one liter milk and it was a very small batch to yield 6 square pieces. Actually in this barfi the hard part is only this mawa making and so as I mentioned earlier if you have ready made mawa give this a try this Diwali, tastes delicious. They are soft melt in moth consistency unlike the chewy version of milk powder.

Preparation time ~ 10 mins
Cooking time ~ <10 minutes
Serves ~ 6 square pieces
Author ~ Julie
for white (mawa) layer 
mawa 125 gms (around 3/4 cup)
powdered sugar 1/4 cup (4 tbsp)
cardamom pods 2 or 1/2 tsp powder
milk 1tsp

for chocolate layer
cocoa powder 2 tsp
mawa 75 gms(around 1/3 cup)
powdered sugar 3 tbsp
milk 2 tsp

  • I have used homemade fresh mawa here, If you want the recipe click this link to make your own batch. (I made with one liter milk and got 200 gms of mawa).
  • Grease a plate with ghee on it and keep ready. Powder the cardamom and keep aside.
  • Grate the mawa at room temperature or crumble it fine. First we will make the white layer, for that add the 125 gms of mawa in a heavy bottomed pan and add powdered sugar. Bring this to heat on low flame, Keep stirring continuously so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. The sugar melts to melt the mawa too. To this add a tsp of milk and cardamom powder. Continue to cook until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan, may take 4-5 mins and comes together as a mass. 

  • Transfer this to the prepared plate and shape the sides using a spoon dipped in ghee. Wait to cool completely for 45 mins to one hour before you make the second layer. Cover and leave to cool at room temperature.

  • Heat the same pan and add the mawa (75gms) along with cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Simmer on low heat until the sugar starts to melt down and then add 2 tsp of milk. Continue to cook  until the mixture comes together like a mass, may take 3-4 mins on low flame. Transfer this on top of the white layer and shape using a ghee smeared spoon. Leave to cool for 30 minutes.
  • Refrigerate for 2 hours to cut in slices and enjoy.

* Adding milk is optional, if you add more sugar then there is no need to add milk. In that case the melted sugar is enough to melt the mawa too. Add milk accordingly.
* Continuous stirring is important to prevent scorching at the bottom of the pan.
* Also make sure to cook on low flame for best results.
* If you don't like the chocolate layer then just make the white layer which yields yummy mawa barfis.

Monday, November 09, 2020

Moricha (Roasted) Gothambu Ada | Wheat flour Pancakes ~ Step by Step Pics

Our grand parents had a very good lifestyle compared to the sedentary lifestyle of most of the people now. The older generation still are so energetic even now and you hardly find them sitting idle at home. Those days only festival time was when oil was used for frying snacks and they used very less oil to make the daily meals. They worked very hard in paddy fields and in their backyard gardens to produce their own food. I still appreciate their healthy life styles compared to the ones we live now. Comfort has taken a big turn and now hardly we see most of us confined at home. Older generation even used cold pressed oils compared to the refined oils of now. Anyways we can't make a  'U' turn to return to their style of living but definitely we can make a few changes in our lifestyle and food menu. Today's recipe is one such healthy recipe.

Gothambu adas are a healthy alternative for a quick breakfast or a filling snack. But how about a roasted(moricha) version of gothambu adas, crispy on the outer and soft inside.These adas are healthy guilt free and tastes delicious with a cup of tea without any sides. There is hardly any use of oil and so is dry roasted, the coconut in it adds a nutty flavor along with the mild spices of green chillies, ginger, coriander leaves and onion. I usually make this as a evening snack as its quick to prepare. I have tried both ways of using a dosa griddle or roasting the adas in banana leaves. The gothambu kozhukatta version is also healthy and can be tried too as its steamed and so is healthy again. Try making these adas and enjoy with a tangy chutney of your choice, tastes yumm. We enjoyed the adas with tomato chutney, you can try kunjulli chutney (shallots chutney) or mint(pudina) chutney. Check this out !!

Preparation time ~ 10 minutes
Cooking time ~ 15 minutes
Author ~ Julie
Serves ~ 5 adas
wheat flour 1.5 cups
grated coconut 1/2 cup
onion 1 small chopped fine
green chillies 2
ginger 1 tbsp fine chopped
curry leaves a sprig
coriander leaves 1 tbsp
salt to taste

  • Roast the wheat flour in a pan for 3-4 minutes on medium flame by continous stirring. Switch off flame and leave to cool slightly. To this, add the grated coconut, chopped onion, ginger, green chillies, curry leaves, coriander leaves and salt. Add water little by little and make the dough ready. The dough should be sticky and loose than chapathi dough.

  • Heat a dosa kallu or dosa griddle. To this place a lump of dough, dip your hands in water and spread fast on the tawa using your fingers (be careful to touch only the dough and not the grddle as it is very hot, also work quickly as the underside of the dough starts cooking as soon as you place the dough on the griddle and so it becomes hard to spread after a certain point, spread evenly as possible. Drizzle few drops of oil and cook both sides. Transfer to a plate.

  • Now scoop out small portions of the dough on a banana leaf and spread thin using your fingers. Dip your hands in a bowl of water to avoid sticking back on hands. Fold the leaf in half  and keep ready. I used a pathiri chatti to roast the banana leaf ones. Place the prepared banana leaf ones in the chatti and cover the pan, keep on low flame. Flip the other side when the leaf is browned, gothambu ada looks slightly roasted and coo the other side too(takes about 5 mins total). Transfer to a plate when done. 

  • Repeat making all the adas in the similar way and serve to a plate when warm with tomato chutney or ketchup.
* You can make more variations in this basic recipe and try adding more veggies like grated carrot, beetroot.
* You can even add oats flour to make this ada.
* The banana leaves one add a special charred flavor of the leaves to these adas so don't miss to try that way too.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Rava-Thenga Barfi | Sooji-Coconut Burfi ( Step by Step Pics)

Diwali is right around the corner and many of my friends have started preparing homemade sweets. I just love the homemade sweets than the store brought but for a quick access gift packs you can always opt for store brought. I have not tried all the sweets at home but the homely touch adds something special to it. Rava laddu was posted sometime back and I keep making that laddus often as its easy to put together. Rava Barfi is one of the simplest recipes like rava laddus that I have tried so far and any newbie to cooking can give this a try. 

The ingredients are easily available in your pantry and I intentionally wanted to post recipes that are very simple for people who can't step out of their homes this Diwali due to corona containment zones and precautionary measures. Taste wise, my son says it tastes like square cut kesari but has the nutty flavor of coconut. The coconut flavor can be replaced with half cup blanched almond powder if you don't like the coconut flavor. Being from the state of Kerala, we love coconut flavor very much. I wouldn't say it's a big fancy sweet but kids definitely liked it. This sweet tasted best the second day on refrigeration. Do give this a try for Diwali and enjoy with your loved ones !!

Preparation time ~ 10 mins
Cooking time ~ 10 minutes
Author ~ Julie
Serves ~ 15-16 pieces
rava / semolina/ sooji  1 cup
dessicated coconut 3/4 cup 
granulated sugar 1 1/4 cup
cardamom powder 1 tsp
almonds slices 2 tbsp
ghee 2 tbsp
milk 2 1/4 cup

  • Boil milk in a pan and simmer till use in one stove.
  • Heat ghee in another heavy bottomed pan or non stick pan and add the rava / semolina. Roast the rava for 4-5 minutes until fragrant and looks coarsely separated. To this, add dry dessicated coconut and roast for another minute (if you are using freshly grated coconut then, roast a little longer till the moisture content is evaporated and looks dry completely, no need to get a colour change in coconut).

  • Add the hot boiling milk to this rava mixture and mix well without lumps so that the mixture is cooked evenly. In less than 30 seconds the mixture looks cooked and is dry.

  • Then add the sugar and cardamom powder. Mix well, the mixture then loosens up. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes until the mixture starts to leave the sides of the pan.
  • Grease a 8' tray or line with parchment paper and transfer the contents into this prepared tray. Using a spoon dipped in ghee, level the top to even out the mixture. Garnish with sliced almonds and then wait to cool for 30 minutes.

  • Refrigerate for two hours or more, remove and cut slices using a sharp knife. Serve at room temperature or store in air tight containers in refrigerator. The pieces tasted better the second day than the first - my verdict.

* I have used regular upma rava for making this sweet but you can use fine rava as well.
* If you don't have dessicated coconut, use fresh grated coconut.
* Also, if you want a better alternative than coconut then add blanched almond powder 1/2 cup to give a badami effect, tastes good that way too.

For more Diwali sweets, click this link here.