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Friday, December 24, 2021

Vancho Cake ~ Merry Christmas 2021!!

Wishing all a very Merry Christmas !!
Hope all are enjoying the holidays with your dear ones.

As a child, Christmas is the time when I waited to have my mom's freshly baked plum cake. And mom used to bake so many cakes that I actually had it for my birthday too, which falls in January. Just recollecting those fond memories and those days cakes were very special because we got to see plum cakes only once a year, especially if you stay in a place away from Kerala. These days, cakes are so easily baked at home, available in bakeries and served, that you get to devour plum cake every other day if you wish to. Did you bake your plum cakes this year? My elder one is not a big fan of plum cake, and so I always bake lighter fruit cakes for him. He does have a piece of plum cake just for the namesake. 

Do you wish to try something different this Christmas than plum cake? Then, this is the best choice to try out-Vancho cake. 'VAN' refers to vanilla and 'CHO' refers to chocolate. This is the new super hit at home as you get to taste both chocolate and vanilla flavours infused in one cake topped with both white chocolate and dark chocolate ganache. This is a simple cake to frost as it involves pouring of the chocolate ganache on top and doesn't require many expert hands to pipe out designs, especially to people like me 😛 (am a novice in piping out patterns). I just created few patterns using dark and white chocolate, broke in pieces and decorated the top design. Placed a few wafer sticks to add on to the deco. I have used the same vanilla sponge recipe that I used to make the white chocolate cake and chiffon cake recipe to bake the chocolate sponge, so I haven't shared the step by step pics here as it's already listed in the respective posts already. I have shared the making of ganache and assembling of the cake in step by step pics. Do give this simple cake a try and enjoy!!

Preparation time ~ 20 minutes
Baking time ~ 1 hour for 2 cakes
Author ~ Julie
Serves ~ 1200 gm cake
for sponge cake
all-purpose flour (maida) 3/4 cup
corn flour 1 tbsp
baking powder 3/4 tsp
baking soda 1/4 tsp
salt a pinch
powdered sugar 3/4 cup
eggs 3
vanilla essence 1 tsp
any neutral oil 2 tbsp

for chocolate cake
cake flour 3/4 cup
cocoa powder 1.5 tbsp
baking powder 3/4 tsp
baking soda, a pinch
salt 1/8 tsp
vanilla extract 3/4 tsp
eggs  3
brewed coffee  2 tbsp
oil 1tbsp

for sugar syrup
granulated sugar 1/2 cup
water 1 cup

for frosting
whipping cream, 2 cups

for ganache
white chocolate compound 150 gms
dark chocolate compound 100 gms
fresh cream 1 cup(used 2/3 for white and 1/3 for dark)


How to make the sponge cake ? Refer the detailed pics here in this post on sponge cake.
  • Sift the flours with baking powder, baking soda, salt thrice and keep aside. In another bowl, add the eggs and powdered sugar, beat until creamy and pale (may take around 5 minutes). Add in the oil and vanilla essence, mix well.
  • Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F and line a 6' tray with parchment paper and oil the sides, dust with flour and keep ready.
  • To this add the sifted flour mixture in three to four batches and combine well using a spatula without much deflating the air from beaten egg mixture. 

  • Transfer the batter to the prepared cake tin and tap the cake tin several times(20-25) to release the trapped air bubbles. Then place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Insert a tooth pick in the centre of the pan and check if done (Mine was done in 25 minutes, I pre-heat the oven by using the both rods on. Initial bake time was changed to lower rod along for 5 minutes and then changed back to both rods on).
  • Cool the cake on a wire rack and transfer out from the pan. Cover with a parchment paper once cooled completely and then wrap with a cling wrap or aluminium foil. I left overnight before frosting.
How to make chocolate sponge cake ? Refer to detailed recipe here on step by step pics.

  • Separate the egg yolk and egg whites in two bowls when cold. Leave at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line a round 9" cake pan(I used Wilton's  6' cake pan as I halved the original recipe) with parchment paper at the bottom and lightly butter the sides. Ideally a tube pan should be used for chiffon type cakes as the cake needs to be inverted soon after bake when hot as the cake tends to shrink and lose its volume when cooled, but a round pan also worked fine.
  • Sift the cake flour in a bowl and then measure 3/4 cup (If making cake flour by substituting, then add 2 tbsp of corn flour in a cup and then add the rest all-purpose flour to fill one cup).
  • Sift together cake flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, granulated white sugar and salt twice in a bowl. Beat the egg yolk in a bowl using a hand whisk. Add in the oil, vanilla extract. Mix well. Pour the brewed coffee and stir well.
  • Add this mixture to the sifted flour mix and gently stir using a wire whisk to combine well. Add a tbsp more coffee according to the consistency of the batter so that it's well combined, don't get it watery as when we add the meringue the consistency will thin out and be correct.
  • In the meantime, beat the egg whites in a grease free oil free bowl using an electric hand whisker or stand mixer. Beat until soft peaks form or when you see streaks with your whisker. Gradually add in the granulated white sugar and beat until almost stiff peaks form. Fold in this meringue in the combined batter using a wire whisk or spatula until just blended(don't over mix to deflate the batter).
  • Pour the batter in the prepared pan and run a knife through the batter to get rid of air bubbles. I gently tapped the tray on the table 2-3 times to get rid of the air bubbles. Place in oven and bake for 30-32 minutes or until when the skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • Immediately after removing the cake from the oven, run a knife through the sides and invert the cake on a buttered wire rack. Remove the parchment paper and leave to cool completely before frosting the cake or serving.

How to make ganache?
  • Heat the cream in a pan and don't boil. Chop the dark compound in small bits and keep in a bowl. Similarly, add the white chocolate compound to another bowl. Divide the cream mixture in 2/3 and 1/3. Add 2/3rd mixture to white chocolate and 1/3rd to dark chocolate. Let it stand for 5 minutes and then mix to a smooth ganache. Cover and keep aside till use.

How to make whipped cream and chocolate cream? I have shared the detailed step by step pics of making whipping cream here in this recipe, pls refer.

  • I chilled the beater blades and bowl in the fridge overnight and thawed the cream in the fridge overnight(earlier it was in the freezer). Remove the blades, bowl and cream from the fridge. Pour the cream to the bowl. 
  • With the beater blades attached, beat the cream for 4-5 minutes until it turns stiff peaks (Remove 1/3rd of the cream when there are soft peaks to mix with 2tbsp of chocolate ganache. Incorporate the dark chocolate ganache in the whipping cream first and then beat. Beat this mix separately in another bowl). Both creams should be beaten to stiff peaks. The test to make sure it's done is by tilting the bowl upside down and find that the cream doesn't move at all and stays stiff. Immediately transfer the cream to the refrigerator till use by covering with a lid or cling wrap.

How to make sugar syrup?
  • Make a sugar syrup using 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Put this on a stove and heat till the sugar is dissolved. Put off stove and leave to cool completely.

How to assemble the cake?
  • Once the cake is cooled, the cake can be cut in two or three layers as per the height of the cake. My cake was best for a two layer cake, but my kids wanted to make it a three layer, so I somehow managed to cut it in three. Use a serrated bread knife or twine to cut the layers. I used a serrated knife. Be very careful when you cut the cake in layers, as the cake is very soft and delicate.
  • Then place a dollop of cream on the cake base and place the base on the turn table. Place the first layer of the cake. Add pieces of parchment paper over the sides of the cake all around to get a neat finish at the end. Add sugar syrup on the first layer and then place the chocolate whipped cream on top of this layer and spread using an offset spatula. 

  • Add the second layer and pour sugar syrup on this layer. Add the plain whipped cream and  finally place the third layer, add the sugar syrup and spread the cream on the sides. Spread gently because you may get crumbs on the offset spatula. 
  • Once you have finished a crumb coat, refrigerate the cake for half to an hour before you add more layers of frosting.

  • Add more whipping cream to give the finished look, make designs on the side. Pour the white chocolate ganache on top. Then pipe the dark chocolate ganache on half side of the cake and using a tooth pick make designs. Then added chocolate wafers and chocolate designs(that I made earlier but forgot to click pics, will share sometime later) on top with a cake topper. Refrigerate to two hours to set and enjoy !!

*  If making cake flour by substituting, then add 2 TBS of corn flour in a cup and then add the rest all-purpose flour to fill one cup.
* I used whipping cream to make ganache too so didn't add any sugar to the cream but if using fresh cream add powdered sugar or icing sugar.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Karnataka Style Mutton Curry | Mutton Saaru (Step by Step Pics)

Christmas is just round the corner and most of you might be busy making holiday plans, baking cakes and getting ready for a joyful Christmas. Is your Christmas menu plan ready?  Am also baking cakes and getting ready for the packing and moving to native. The menu will also be shortly fixed up to enjoy for Christmas lunch. 

If you are hunting for mutton curry recipes, then this is a great choice mutton curry recipe from Karnataka to try. The gravy is quite thick and delicious. The recipe has slight variation from each place but majority of the places, this is the recipe, and so I just followed. This is also called Mutton Sambar curry in few places in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. This curry is quite easy to  make, as most of the ingredients added are ground to a smooth paste and added. And I used the pressure cooker to cook the mutton, which made the work all easier to make within no time. This is a curry that can be served with veg pulao, neer dosas, appams or chapathis. Generally ragi mudda is serve with this curry in Karnataka. Try and enjoy !!

Preparation time ~ 20 minutes
Cooking time ~ 30-40 minutes
Serves ~ 5-6
Author ~ Julie
mutton 750 g
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
salt to taste
onion 1 sliced
coriander leaves 2 tbsp
curry leaves a sprig 
coriander leaves 2 tbsp chopped

to grind
onion 1 sliced
green chillies 3-4
coconut 1/4 cup
ginger 2’ piece
garlic 10-12 cloves 
kashmiri chilly powder 2 tbsp
coriander powder 2.5 tbsp
cloves 5-6
cinnamon 2’ piece
tomato 1 small
coriander leaves 1/4 cup
pottukadala 1/2 tsp
salt 1/2 tsp
oil 4tbsp

  • Wash the mutton and clean, drain water & keep aside. 
  • In the blender jar, add the grated coconut, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, garlic, pottukadala. Add chopped tomato and coriander leaves, along with kashmiri chilli powder and coriander powder. Heat a pan and add one sliced onion along with green chilli. Sauté till translucent and switch off flame. Cool and add to blender jar, grind to a smooth paste.

  • Heat oil in a cooker and add sliced onions. Sauté till translucent and add the mutton pieces, mix well and cook for 3-4 minutes till water seeps out of the mutton. Add the turmeric powder, salt, curry leaves & coriander leaves.
  • To this add the ground paste and mix well with the mutton pieces. Cook for 4-5 minutes on medium flame till the masala is coated well with the curry.
  • Add water  (about 1 cup)to the blender jar and swirl the jar to remove any masala left. Add this to the mutton.
  • Cover the lid and cook the mutton for 3-4 whistles in the pressure cooker. Wait for the pressure to release and then open the lid. The mutton looks cooked and oil floats on top of the curry, making it a significantly cooked curry. Garnish with a few coriander leaves and serve warm.

* The cooking time of mutton varies with the type of mutton, so just keep a check on that.
* You can use a pan and cook the mutton in that too, pressure cooker saves time and energy.
*  This curry is best served with ragi mudda/ neer dosa, but you can always serve with chapathis, rice or even naan.
* You can also sauté the tomato, coriander leave along with onions and then grind. You can also dry roast the cinnamon and cloves before grinding.
* Some recipes call to add lime juice or tamarind pulp too, but adding one tomato was enough for us, so I just omitted the extra tanginess.


Friday, December 17, 2021

Light Fruit Cake (VIDEO)

 As the name suggests, this is a light fruit cake made with dry fruits. This cake has no fuss of caramelizing sugars and no wait time to serve the cake. The best part of this cake is that you can enjoy this cake the same day. This light fruit cake can be made not just for Christmas season but all throughout the year. This cake is light, tender, moist and buttery. You can even mix the dry fruits mixed in alcohol if you like that version, but I have skipped adding alcohol. The cake is loaded with dry fruits that you get to bite in every bite.

This cake is  totally dedicated to people who don't like the Traditional Plum Cake. It has candied cherries, candied cranberries and tutti fruity. This cake is a rework of my tutty fruity cake that I posted a long time back. I have made that cake with wheat flour alone and that's a little denser compared to this one, also it has only tutti fruity whereas this cake has candied cherries, has custard powder which gives that yellow hue and lighter texture to the cake. Do give this a try if you don't want to make the elaborate traditional Kerala style Plum Cake with spice mix and caramelized sugar. Enjoy !!

Preparation time ~ 20 minutes
Baking time ~ 30-40 minutes
Author ~ Julie
Serves ~ 2 round cakes of 450 gms each
dry ingredients
wheat flour 2 cups
custard powder 3 tbsp
baking powder 2 tsp
salt a pinch

wet ingredients
milk 3/4 cup 
butter 150 gms (10 tbsp)
powdered sugar 1 cup
pineapple essence 1 tsp
eggs 3
tutty fruity 1/2 cup
candied cranberry 1/4 cup
candied cherries 1/4 cup


  • Sift the dry flours- wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt twice or thrice. Keep aside.
  • Take the dry fruit mix in a bowl, chop any dry fruits as needed. Reserve about 2 tbsp of dry fruits for garnish and add a tbsp of flour to the remaining dry fruit mix (I used candied cherry and tutty fruity). Give a quick mix and keep ready.
  • In another bowl, beat the butter until creamy and pale. To this, add the powdered sugar and mix using a spatula to combine so that the sugar doesn't fly out. Then beat again with a hand beater.
  • Break the egg and add one by one till creamy. The mixture may look creamy and curdled. Now add pineapple essence. Combine well.

  • Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F or 170 degrees C and line two trays of 6' or 5' rounds with parchment paper and apply butter on the sides. Dust with flour and shake off excess. Keep ready.
  • Finally, start adding the flour mix little by little and mix using a spatula. Add milk by little and flour, mix alternatively till you finish mixing the batter. The batter looks thick, add milk to adjust consistency. Add the dry fruit mix coated with flour. Mix everything to combine.
  • Garnish with the reserved dry fruit mix. Place in oven and bake for 30-40 mins(Mine was baked at 35 minutes).
  • Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Cool completely, cut in slices and enjoy !!

* The cake is moderately sweet, but if you like it very sweet, then go upto 1 1/4 cup.
* I have used wheat flour, but if you like it lighter texture then go with all-purpose flour(maida). The measures remain the same except that you may need a little less milk than with wheat flour. So add mik little by little and check consistency.
* I have used vanilla custard powder, but you can use any flavour custard powder. Also, can use corn starch alone too, but you may not get that yellow hue of vanilla custard powder.
* You can even add chopped almonds and cashews or any nuts chopped. Also add candied pineapple, black raisins.


Monday, December 13, 2021

Tender Coconut Pudding | Double Layered Coconut Glass Pudding

Did you know that tender coconut water has more amino acids than cow's milk? Interesting right?
How many of you love sipping this fresh tender tropical drink than any sports drink, especially after a heavy workout ?? 

Tender coconuts are a powerful source of nutrients, rich in potassium, have anti oxidants, anti-ageing and cancer fighting properties. They are low in calories as well and prevents kidney stones as it flushes out excess toxins. Having said that, we can use tender coconut in puddings, smoothies, ice creams and so on. This has been in my try to-do list since long and was waiting to get fresh tender coconut. This time I got some fresh tender coconut from our courtyard and so decided give this a try. 

Tender coconut pudding can be made in many ways. This is a double-decker or double layered pudding where the first layer sets as a glass layer which has fresh coconut water and tender coconut flesh. The second layer has fresh coconut milk and condensed milk. I have used gelatin to set this pudding, but you can use agar-agar(china grass) too. I have adapted Lakshmi Nair's recipe, but I have made the same pudding before as a single layer too by mixing both coconut milk, coconut water and cut tender pieces. The pudding that I made earlier lacked the glass layer but taste wise both are the same.  You can just use canned coconut milk and make this pudding by adding tender coconut flesh in it. Or you can just prepare the coconut water and coconut flesh cut layer alone for the pudding without the coconut milk layer. There is hardly any cooking time; the only time needed is to melt the gelatin for both layers separately. We had surprise guests whom I served this pudding, they really liked the pudding and enjoyed. Both the layers together makes a rich and decadent pudding that you can try for Christmas. The silky smooth layer of coconut milk along with jelly like coconut water layer where you get bits of the coconut flesh in-between. Tastes delicious!! Try this out this festive season and lemme know too.

Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time ~ 5 minutes
Serves ~ one bowl (6-8 servings)
Author ~ Julie
tender coconut 2
coconut flesh 3/4-1 cup
coconut water 2 -2.5 cups
gelatin 2 tbsp + 1tbsp
ice water 3/4 cup
sugar 3-4 tbsp
condensed milk 3/4 tin (300 g)
coconut milk (first or thick) 1.5  cups


  • Soak the gelatin 2 tsp in 1/2 cup ice water and 1tbsp in another bowl in 1/4 cup ice-cold water. Leave undisturbed for 20 minutes.
  • In the meantime, extract the first coconut milk(1.5 cups) from a cup of grated coconut or use thick canned coconut milk. To this, add the condensed milk and give a quick stir.
  • In another bowl, add the sugar and coconut water. Give a good stir to dissolve sugar. Scoop out the coconut flesh from tender coconut(avoid scooping the brown portion to the shell) and cut the coconut flesh in small pieces. Add the pieces to the coconut water mix (REFER TO THE VIDEO FOR STEP BY STEP PICS)

  • Now double boil the bloomed gelatin(1/4 cup water plus 1tbsp gelatin) and melt the gelatin mix. Add the melted gelatin to the coconut water mix. Give a nice stir and pour in a glass bowl.
  • Leave to set in freezer for 1-2 hours.
  • Similarly, melt the other gelatin mix using double boiling method. Add this mix to the coconut milk and condensed milk mixture. Mix well, now pour this mix over the first set layer and leave to set again in fridge for 3-4 hours. Remove and cut in pieces and enjoy !!

* Use china grass 10 g instead of gelatin for this recipe.
* You can even mix both layers and serve as one single pudding, just in case if are running out of time. That tastes good, too.


Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Dhaba Style Paneer Masala (Step by Step Pics)

What is your favourite vegetarian side with a simple pulao or naan or phulkas??
Well, my first preference is paneer dishes and then mushrooms. And due to this love for paneer, I keep trying out newer recipes of paneer and kids also love paneer recipes. Though I have shared a lot of paneer recipes that you can try out from the list below but this dhaba style paneer gravy is very delicious that you can serve with a simple peas pulao or naan.  

This dhaba style paneer curry is usually a spicy curry with oil floating as a layer. I have used Kashmiri chilly powder only as my kids don't like spicier version with paneer masalas. You can always use the hot chilli powder along with Kashmiri chilly powder, as the hot chilli powder alone may not add the required colour to the masala. The masala is simple to make but requires a little patience as each stage of the masala is cooked till oil separates and then moves to the next step. 

The usage of roasted besan adds a richness to the gravy. This masala is simply delicious that you can try out with mushrooms too. The paneer cubes are fried in ghee, which imparts a unique flavour. Though we use tomatoes to add the tanginess and volume, but yogurt is also added. Do give this a try and enjoy with your dear ones!!

Preparation time ~ 20 minutes
Cooking time ~ 30 minutes
Author ~ Julie 
Serves ~ 3-4 
paneer 200 g
kashmiri chilly powder 1/2 tsp
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
salt to taste
ghee 1-2 tbsp

for masala
whole spices (cardamom 2-3, cinnamon 1', cloves 3-4, bay leaf -1, dry chillies-2, cumin seeds 1/2 tsp)
onions 3 chopped fine
tomatoes 2 chopped 
ginger- garlic paste 1tbsp
yogurt 3-4 tbsp beaten
kashmiri chilly powder 1 tsp
coriander powder, 1 tsp
garam masala 1/2 tsp
green chilly 2 vertical slit
kasuri methi 1 tbsp
coriander leaves
salt to taste 
oil 3-4 tbsp

  • Cut the paneer in cubes and marinate using kashmiri chilly powder and turmeric powder and salt. Shallow fry the paneer cubes after marination in ghee or oil(I used ghee).

  • Add the besan and roast the besan for 3-4 minutes till fragrant on low flame.
  • Add oil and add the whole spices. Sauté and add onions till  translucent and then add ginger- garlic paste. Add the spice powders on low flame and add roasted besan. Mix well.
  • Add tomato purée or chopped(I added chopped). Cook till the tomatoes are cooked well and the oil separates.

  • Add the yogurt, mix well and then slide in the fried paneer pieces with the left over ghee. Add  1/2 cup water and add salt as needed. Cook covered on low flame for 3 minutes till the oil separates.
  • Add kasuri methi and slit green chillies. Cook till the oil starts floating(may take 2 minutes). Finally, garnish with coriander leaves and switch off flame.

    * Frying the paneer in ghee adds a unique flavour, you can use oil too.
    * The same gravy can be used to make mushroom masala too.
    * Adding hot chilli powder will add the spiciness, I have added Kashmiri chilli powder alone. Add 1/2 a tsp of hot chilli powder if using for this recipe.

    Tuesday, November 30, 2021

    Chewy Oats- Coconut Cookies

    Do your kids love oats?? I don't have much oat fans here at home and so whenever I get a pack of oats,  everyone eats it as porridge sweet or salty for the initial few days but later on, it's just kept in the shelf till the expiry date gets over. This repeated a few times earlier, and so I stopped waiting for the expiry date and tried finishing much before by making some cookies. This idea was appreciated and accepted by all age groups here, and so now oats cookies are the great choice that kids love too instead of porridge.

    Oats Coconut cookie is so simple to put together, and the nutty taste of coconut and vanilla extract alleviates to a much higher level. These cookies have no leavening agents in them and tastes delicious. They are chewy and stays good for a week in airtight containers. Honey is the sweetener used in these cookies. I have added powdered brown sugar, but this can be skipped if you like it mildly sweet. The remaining ingredients are available in the pantry and so can be made anytime. Use dry dessicated coconut, but you can use fresh grated coconut too. Roast slightly and coarsely grind the long strands of coconut. I have used instant oats, but coarsely powdered. If you like your cookie crispier, then powder the oats and use. These can be baked in no time and these don't spread much, so you can place them closely. Please do try if you like the recipe and leave me a feedback comment too!!

    Preparation time ~ 10 minutes
    Baking time ~ 14-16 minutes
    Serves ~ 8-10 cookies
    Author ~ Julie
    instant oats 1 cup
    dessicated coconut 1/2 cup
    vanilla extract 3/4 tsp
    water warm 1/4 cup
    brown sugar, 2 tbsp (optional)
    honey 2 tbsp
    salt a pinch
    oil 2 tbsp

    • Grind the oats coarsely in a blender jar (if you like the cookies crisp, then powder it fine). Grind the dessicated coconut to shred the long strands of coconut. Add the dessicated coconut to the oats bowl and add a pinch of salt.
    • Heat water in a pan, add brown sugar and stir until dissolved. To this, add honey. Then, add oil and mix. 

    • Add the liquid mix to the coarsely ground oats and dessicated coconut. Leave for 10 minutes and make lemon size balls (8-10). Line a tray with silicon mat or parchment paper. Flatten the cookie balls on the bake sheet to a cookie shape. Repeat doing all the balls and pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C or 350 degrees F.
    • Place the tray in preheated oven and bake for 12-14 mins or till the underside and sides looks lightly browned. Remove from oven and wait for 5 minutes as its soft and then transfer the cookies from the tray, else the moisture from the parchment paper may make the cookie soggy and soft.
    • Place the cookies on a wire rack and cool completely before storing in airtight containers.

    * Powder the oats smooth if you like the cookies more crisp.
    * These cookies don't spread much as there is no leavening agents.
    * There is no need to add sugar too if you like it mildly sweet. Honey alone is good enough.

    Friday, November 26, 2021

    Fish Pulao(Rice) | Meen Choru (Step by Step Pics)

    Yet another weekend is here !! People in the US are having a long weekend with Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Weekends whether it's long or just the Saturday- Sundays is special. But weekend cooking is something I don't like much and would like to relax and enjoy like all others sitting idle at home and so spend the least time in kitchen. I cook up recipes that need less time to put together but should be a hearty meal as well that all would love too. One pot meals are a great choice then, and I end up making Vegetable pulaoAchari Chana or Chicken Pulao (Quick Version) or erachi choru

    This recipe of Fish Pulao or Fish Rice or Meen Choru is similar to  erachi choru and if you have some good firm fish in hand, you can give this a try. The rice gets good flavours of the fish and the only thing to keep in mind is to give this a try using fresh firm fish, else may not taste good. I got a fresh  neymeen(seer fish) and so used in this recipe, tasted delicious and all loved it. This recipe is not very spicy, as kids don't eat very spicy pulao. You can always modify the spicy levels as per tolerance. I have used jeerakashala(kaima) rice for the recipe, but you can always use basmati rice or bullet rice. Unlike fish biriyani this hardly takes any time to put together and ghee is not used, and am sure you will love it if you give this a try!!

    Preparation time ~ 30 minutes
    Cooking time ~ 30 minutes
    Author ~ Julie
    Serves ~ 5-6
    to marinate
    neymeen/ ayikoora/ seer fish  500 g
    kashmiri chilly powder 1tbsp
    pepper powder 1/2 tsp
    turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
    lemon juice 1 tsp
    salt 1/2 tsp 
    oil 3 tbsp

    for cooking rice & masala
    jeerakashala rice(kaima rice) 3 cups (600g)
    water 6 cups
    ghee 2tbsp
    oil 3tbsp
    onion, 2 medium-sized chopped
    tomato 2 large chopped
    coriander powder, 1 tsp
    hot chilly powder 3/4 tsp
    turmeric powder(manjal podi) 1/2 tsp
    perinjeerakam(fennel seeds) 1 tsp
    fenugreek powders, a good pinch
    coriander leaves 1 tbsp
    mint leaves 1tbsp
    whole garam masala (1' cinnamon, 4-5 cloves,3-4 cardamom, bay leaves 2)
    salt to taste

    to grind
    ginger 1' piece 
    garlic 10 cloves
    green chilli 2 
    coriander leaves, 1 small bunch
    mint leaves 1 small bunch 

    • Wash and clean the fish pieces under running water, rinse 3-4 times. Drain all water and keep aside. Marinate the fish using the ingredients mentioned above, except oil. Leave the marinated fish for 30 minutes-1 hour. Heat oil in  a pan and shallow fry the fish lightly so that the pieces don't break easily. Fry both sides, remove to a plate and use the remaining oil to make masala.
    • Add the ginger, garlic, green chillies and coriander leaves, mint leaves. Wash and soak the jeerakashala rice for 20 minutes in another bowl.

    • Add oil to another cooking pan, or use the same pan to sauté onions. To this add the whole garam masala pieces. Then add the chopped onions and sauté until it's lightly browned. Then add the ginger- garlic paste and sauté till the raw smell vanishes. To this add the spice powders on low flame and add the ground masala and sauté till the raw smell vanishes. Finally, add tomatoes, mix well and cook covered till the tomatoes mash nicely. 
    • Add 1/ 4 cup water and slide in the fish pieces. Cook covered till oil separates on the surface of the masala.

    • Then remove the fish pieces on a plate and add water (6 cups). Add salt and bring to a boil. Transfer the soaked rice and cook covered till 3/4th done(about 10 minutes). Then place the fish pieces over the rice in the last few minutes of cooking and simmer on low flame for another 5 minutes or till the water is absorbed.

    • Garnish with chopped coriander and mint leaves. Leave covered for another 15 minutes and serve warm with cucumber raitha.

    * Add lemon juice while cooking rice if you feel the rice will stick.
    * This is a medium spiced masala, if you like it more spicy add more green chillies to grind or replace the kashmiri chilli powder in marination to hot chilli powder.

    Tuesday, November 23, 2021

    Chocolate Cheese Crackers Pudding

    Chocolate Cheese Crackers  pudding was an instant hit that I whipped up quickly, but the taste was awesome. I had some whipped cream and cheese crackers ready at hand after frosting a cake. So I just mashed up the duo to get a dessert for kids, but we all loved the flavour of cheese mixed crackers with whipped cream along with chocolate chips, and it's not the kids who had, but we enjoyed too. The best part of this pudding is that there is hardly any cooking involved. How sweet, right? 😉 The only time to cook is to heat the whipping cream. The first layer is more of a biscuit layer in pudding but has a cheese and chocolaty flavour. The second layer is whipping cream mixed with cheese crackers and chocolate chips. Finally, the third layer is a simple dark chocolate ganache. 

    There can be many variations to this recipe, as you can make a chocolate mousse instead of a whipped cream layer. You can add grated chocolate on top of the whipped cream layer to garnish instead of dark chocolate ganache. Do give this a try if you have some whipped cream to finish or if you love the cheese chocolate combo.

    Preparation time ~ 10 minutes
    Cooking time ~ 2 minutes
    Author ~ Julie
    Serves ~ 3-4 
    first base layer
    cheese crackers 1 pkt or 10 no.s
    milk compound 70 g
    heavy whipping cream 1 tbsp

    second layer
    whipped cream 1 cup
    crackers 1/4 cup crushed
    dark chocolate chips 2 tbsp

    third layer
    dark compound 100g
    heavy whipping cream 2 tbsp

    • Take the crackers, reserve one(for garnish) and crush the rest of the crackers in a mixer and measure the amount of crushed crackers. Add 1/2 cup crushed for the first layer, and reserve 1/4 cup for the second layer.
    • Heat the whipping cream(3-4 tbsp) and add one tbsp to a bowl with milk compound and  remaining 2-3 tbsp to a bowl with dark compound for last layer. Leave undisturbed for a minute or two and mix well to a smooth ganache. (I have heated both whipped cream together and divided, you can dividely heat took).

    • Add 1/2 cup crushed cheese crackers in a bowl, add the milk chocolate ganache, give a mix and spread as a layer. Refrigerate for half an hour to set.
    • Then, mix the 1/4 cup crushed crackers with whipped cream, add the chocolate chips. Transfer this to a piping bag and add as a second layer. Refrigerate for half an hour.
    • Finally, take the already prepared dark ganache(if it solidifies, double boil and melt) and spread thin over the second layer, cut the reserved cracker diagonally and garnish on top. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to set and can be served.

    * I have used Gery brand cheese crackers. You can use any brand cheese crackers.
    * You can add chopped nuts to the second layer too.
    * I had some whipped cream reserved after making a cake and so used that. You can always whip fresh cream to make this pudding too. Use 1/3-1/2 cup cream to get 1 cup whipped cream.
    * You can even use half of the cheese cracker filling for the first layer and then layer as a third layer and whipped cream as a fourth layer, alternating to finish.
    * You can make a chocolate mousse instead of a whipped cream layer. 
    * You can add grated chocolate on top of the whipped cream layer to garnish instead of dark chocolate ganache.