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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Cakesicles (Step by Step Pics)

Cakesicles, anyone ?? 😀 Cake Pops or Cakesicles? 
So what's the big difference between cake pops and cakesicles? Cakesicles are a twist on the traditional cake pops, a little bigger and shaped like a popsicle, or you may call it a 'cake pop popsicle'.
My kids love cakesicles and cake pops a lot than the actual frosted cakes. So whenever there are cake crumbs from the frosted cakes, I do end up making cake pops or cakesicles.  Cake pops are already on the blog. Cake Pops or Cakesicles add an extra highlight to the party theme cakes. 

These cakesicles were made when I made the vancho cake. I had both vanilla and chocolate layer of the cake crumbs, and so these cakesicles had both flavours. I did have left over dark chocolate ganache too when I prepared the chocolate whipped cream layer in the vancho cake and so used that in making these cakesicles. All that I needed extra was the melted milk chocolate compound and white chocolate compound to dip the cakesicles. Do give these a try with your kids, it's a fun project, and they will surely enjoy !!

Preparation time ~ 10 mins
Cooking time ~ 3 minutes
Serves ~ 7-8 cakesicles
Author ~ Julie
crumbled cake, both vanilla and chocolate 2 cups
dark chocolate ganache 1/3 cup
white chocolate compound 100gms
milk chocolate compound 100 gms
Sprinkles to garnish
ice cream sticks 8-10

  • Crumble the cake pieces to coarse grainy form. To this add melted dark chocolate ganache. Mix this well. 
  • Now, scoop out small portions of this mixture and make popsicle shapes. Flatten the cylindrical mix to place on the tray like the shape of popsicles. Refrigerate the prepared for half an hour to set.
  • Melt the white and dark chocolate compound separately in two bowls by double boiling method. 
  • Remove the prepared cakesicles from fridge. Dip the ice cream stick in white chocolate and insert in each of the prepared cakesicles. Now set again for 5 minutes in refrigerator.
  • Then, dip each of the prepared cakesicles in white or milk chocolate completely or pour using a spoon to cover all sides. Shake off excess and add sprinkles to decorate. Place in a tray with thermocol to stand, or place in a glass to set. If refrigerating, do only for 5 minutes, else the chocolate sweats or condenses on it (I left a little longer and so you can see condensation in pics). 

* You can prepare any box cake recipes and try these out if you don't have any cake crumbs like I tried with leftovers.
* You can use white chocolate compound alone to make cakesicles or use all kinds of chocolate compound, whichever is feasible.
* You can try different variations, you may add condensed milk instead of ganache too.


A glimpse inside-

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Donne Biriyani(Chicken) | Bengaluru Biriyani (Step by Step Pics)

Donne biriyani is Bengaluru's signature biriyani, served in these leafy pouch/ cups. Donne, the word, literally means a pouch/cup made with areca nut palm leaves and so is the name. Back in history, Bengaluru has been a strategic military hub and so this biriyani dates back to the early military hotels in the city and the Shivaji Military hotel are the famous hotels that serve donne biriyani the best. Those days this biriyani was made with mutton and these eateries were a quintessential part of city life. This biriyani is mildly spiced, unlike the Hyderabadi Chicken Biriyani.

However, this biriyani is made with jeeraga samba rice / kaima rice like in the Dindigul Thalapakketti Biriyani(Tamil Nadu). Though this biriyani is easy to make, but there are two pastes to be prepared in this biriyani. The first paste is an onion, green chillies and whole spices paste. Second one is the green leaves paste which include mint, coriander and fenugreek leaves which imparts a colour and unique flavour. Curd is added in the marination of chicken. I have referred this You tube video for making this biriyani and this biriyani tasted almost similar to the authentic one served in the city. The amount of water added to cook the rice shouldn't be more, else the rice may turn mushy as the rice is cooked with the chicken. Do give this biriyani a try and enjoy !!

Few sides that you can try with biriyani- 

Preparation time ~ 25 minutes
Marination time ~ 30 minutes - overnight
Cooking time ~ 40 minutes
Author ~ Julie
Serves ~ 4-5 
chicken 750 g
hot red chilli powder 1 tbsp
turmeric powder, a pinch
ginger-garlic paste 1 tbsp
curd/ yogurt 1/2 cup

to grind 1
cinnamon 4-5
cloves 10-12
cardamom 5-6
peppercorns 1/2 tbsp
green chillies 3-4
onion 2 big sliced

to grind 2
mint leaves / pudina, 1/2 handful
coriander leaves/ malli ela, a big bunch
fenugreek leaves/ uluva ela, a small bunch

for making biriyani
jeerakashala/ kaima rice 1/2 kg(500 g)
cinnamon 1' piece
cloves 4-5
cardamom 5-6
mace / jathipatri 1
star anise 1/2
stone flower 1/4 tsp
shah jeera 1/2 tsp
bay leaf 1
kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) 1 tbsp
onion 1/2 sliced
ginger-garlic paste 3 tbsp
turmeric a pinch
*water 3 cups
ghee 3tbsp
oil 1/2 cup
lemon juice 1/2 of 1
salt to taste

boiled eggs 4-5


  • Wash and clean the chicken pieces, if the pieces are big then make gashes. Add the chilli powder, turmeric powder, ginger-garlic paste, curd and salt to make a paste. Add to the chicken pieces and mix well. Leave the chicken marinated for minimum 30 minutes to overnight. If you are marinating overnight, then refrigerate the chicken pieces and thaw before use.

  • Wash and soak the jeeraga samba rice for 15-20 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a pan (2 tbsp), add the cloves, pepper corns, cinnamon, cardamom pods (REFER TO GRIND 1 LIST). Add the sliced onions 3, 4-5 green chillies. Fry the onions till lightly browned. Switch off flame and let it cool. Add this to a blender jar and ground to a smooth paste by adding little water. Remove to a bowl.
  • To the same pan, add a tbsp of oil and add the mint leaves, coriander leaves and fenugreek leaves(REFER GRIND 2 LIST). Fry lightly for a minute(don't over do as the greens may lose colour). Switch off the flame and add the greens to the same blender jar and make a smooth paste. Add a little water as needed.

  • Heat oil in a pan and all the ingredients of whole spices for the masala making. Then slide in one sliced onions. When the onions turn translucent, add the ginger-garlic paste. Then add a pinch of turmeric powder, followed by the marinated chicken. Mix this well and add the onion paste. Combine the mixture well, chicken may leave out water. Add water as required, add salt, cover and cook for 5-7 minutes on medium flame.
  • Then, add the green colour paste. Mix well, check salt. Cook covered for 10 minutes on medium flame. To this, add the lemon juice and add water (3 cups) as the gravy is remaining. Add salt and bring the water to a boil. 

  • When the water starts to boil, add soaked jeeraka shala rice. Mix well and cook covered. To keep the lid tight, either seal the edges or place a weight on top, as I did in the pic. Slow cook for 20 minutes until the water is absorbed and rice gets cooked. 
  • Fluff with a fork and then add ghee(3 tbsp). Switch off flame. Keep covered for another 5 minutes and serve warm with boiled egg, raitha, Lemon Pickle and pappadam.

* Adding fresh fenugreek leaves gives a nice green colour and imparts a unique flavour to the biriyani. Omit if you don't like it, but I would say you must try adding. There is also use of dry fenugreek leaves too, unlike other biriyanis.
* Use any neutral oil to make the biriyani. Ghee is added for flavour towards the end of biriyani making.
* I added only 3.5 cups water to cook the rice (2.5 cups). As per the measure of the rice, the water amount should be 5 cups (1:1.5 ratio of rice to water). However, the gravy amount roughly was 1.5 cups, so reduced water as per that. You can also decide the amount of water as per the quantity of gravy.


Friday, January 21, 2022

Gajak | Mungfalli- Til Gajak | Peanut- Sesame Brittle(Step by Step Pics)

Gajak is a confection originally from the North-Central India and is made with sesame seeds, jaggery/ sugar and peanuts. Winter times demand some of these warm gajaks to warm up our body. Peanuts, sesame seeds, jaggery  are the basic ones to be precise, but there are much more sophisticated versions with dry fruits and nuts. The basic ingredients of this gajak are popular Indian seasonal available ingredients that are easily available in this weather too.  There are different varieties of gajak available in markets, namely revadi gajak, dry fruits gajak, khas khas gajak, mawa gajak.

These are almost similar to the almond-sesame brittle or peanut brittle, but those are made with melted sugar. Chikki or kappalandi mittai is a close family member of this confection, but there are slight differences too. The peanut chikki is made by adding roasted split peanuts without crushing them, and the jaggery syrup is more liquid and is set in denser squares than gajak. Gajak is simple to make and hardly requirs any time. Do give this a try with the help of the step by step pics listed below and enjoy during this season.

Preparation time ~ 10 minutes
Cooking time ~ 15 minutes
Serves ~ 10-12 gajak pieces
Author ~ Julie
sesame seeds / til/ ellu 1/2 cup
jaggery / sharkara 1/2 cup
peanuts / ground nuts 1/2 cup
cardamom powder / elakka podi 1/2 tsp
ghee 2 tsp

  • Heat a pan and dry roast the peanuts till lightly browned. Cool and peel the skin off. Crush the peanuts coarsely in a blender jar till use.
  • In the same pan on medium flame, add the sesame seeds and dry roast for about 2-3 minutes until it starts to splutter and is nicely roasted. Switch off flame. Reserve about 2tbsp of sesame seeds and crush the rest of the sesame seeds coarsely in a blender jar.
  • Heat a heavy bottomed pan and add the jaggery, add few tbsp of water. Melt the jaggery, strain the impurities in a strainer. Now add ghee in a pan and then add the jaggery syrup back to flame. Continue to boil the syrup to get the correct consistency.

  • Check the consistency of the jaggery syrup by adding a drop of the syrup in water. Wait 30 seconds and try rolling the drop. If the drop of jaggery is soft, then the syrup needs more cooking. Check again by adding in a bowl of water, if the syrup turns solid after 30 seconds then the syrup is ready.
  • At this point, switch off the flame and add the crushed peanuts, crushed sesame seeds, cardamom powder  and mix well. Mix it well to get a round mass. Now, apply ghee over a chapathi board and add the reserved sesame seeds half. Transfer the mixture over this and then add the remaining sesame seeds on top. Then flatten using a rolling pin to 1/2 or 1/3' thick. All this process has to be done when the mixture is warm and don't wait for the mixture to cool completely, else rolling is impossible.
  • Finally, make markings with a knife and cut squares. Leave to cool completely before you break the pieces. Store in airtight containers and enjoy !!

* The consistency of jaggery syrup should be closely watched, If the syrup is under done then the confection will be soft. If the syrup is overdone, then the confection may be bitter.
* Store this confection in airtight containers, can be stored over a month.
* You can double the ingredients and make larger batches by keeping the ratio of peanuts, sesame seeds and jaggery in mind.
* You can make the same with sugar syrup too, but jaggery ones are healthier.
* You can add dry fruits too.


Monday, January 17, 2022

Shepherd's Chicken Pot Pie (VIDEO)

Shepherd's pie is a traditional Irish recipe which uses ground lamb, but you can always try a variation with minced beef/ ground turkey or ground chicken. Cottage pie in the US is similar to this and uses minced beef, the vegetables include celery and the addition of red wine. Worcestershire sauce is a key ingredient in this filling, which adds a nice flavour. I had bookmarked the recipe long back, but somehow kept postponing trying. This year I made up my mind to finish off all the bookmarked recipes first, so the list shortens a bit to add more. 

Shepherd's pie is a filling recipe that you can serve with some salad and a glass of wine. The vegetables added in the pie adds a delightful crunch along with minced meat. This pie is low in spices, and you can always add some crushed red chilli flakes to spike it, up. The mashed potato layer on top adds a enjoyable, smooth topping. I prepared this pie in ramekins, but you can always try this as a casserole dish too or can bake in a baking tray. Do give this a try and enjoy !!

Preparation time ~ 20 minutes
Cooking time ~ 15-20 minutes
Baking time ~ 20 minutes
Author ~ Julie
Serves ~ 5-6 ramekins
chicken boneless 250 gms
carrots 1
onion, medium-sized 1
garlic crushed 1 tsp
green peas 1/4 cup
potatoes, 4 medium-sized mashed
chicken broth 1 cup
tomato 1 small puréed
Worcestershire sauce 1tsp
chilli flakes, 1 tsp(optional)
maida(all-purpose flour) 2tbsp
*fresh rosemary 1tsp
*fresh thyme 1 tsp
pepper powder 1/2 tsp
egg 1 (yolk & white separated)
milk 2tbsp
olive oil 3 tbsp
salt to taste

  • Wash the boneless chicken and add to a blender jar and mince. OR Use minced chicken from the store. 
  • Heat oil in a pan and add crushed garlic. Sauté for 30 seconds and add the chopped onions. Add salt to this and sauté.
  • Then add the diced carrots, sauté for 30 seconds and to this add the minced chicken. Mix well and add tomato purée.  Add chilli flakes, chopped coriander leaves (I have used instead of rosemary and thyme), Worcestershire sauce, add salt. Add all-purpose flour and give a quick stir. Then add chicken broth and cook open till the sauce thickens nicely(may take 4-5 mins). Switch off flame and leave to cool.
  • Cook the potatoes in a pressure cooker for three whistles OR Peel, dice the potatoes and boil in enough water and salt until cooked. Add the potatoes to a bowl, add the egg yolk (reserve egg white for egg wash), milk and salt, mash to a smooth mixture. Add pepper powder and mix well. Keep aside.
  • Now, transfer the prepared chicken-veg filling to 5-6 ramekins or use a casserole dish or oven safe bowl and flatten the top. Add the potato mixture and smoothen the top. Using a fork, add designs or pipe the potato mixture in piping bags. Brush egg wash on top.
  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F or 200 degrees C and place the ramekins and bake for 20-25 minutes or till the top looks slightly browned (use broil mode for 2 minutes).
  • Remove from oven and cool slightly, enjoy.
 Please refer to the video below for step by step details- 

* I have used coriander leaves instead of rosemary and thyme, as it's not easily available here. Thyme adds a distinct flavour to the pie.
* If you like the flavour of buttermilk in potatoes, use that instead of milk.
* Use cheddar or Parmesan cheese 1/4 cup to the mashed potato to make it richer, like cottage pie. I have not used. Omit adding egg then.
* For a vegetarian version, use mushroom or lentils.
* For a low-carb or keto version, use mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes.
* Adding flour to the filling thickens the sauce.
* You can pipe the mashed potato mixture in piping bags for a neater appearance.


Thursday, January 13, 2022

Misal Pav | Maharashtrian Street Food

Pav Bhaji, Vada Pav and Misal Pav are the few common Maharashtrian Street foods that I loved having in Pune. One of my best times in life was the hostel days, where we cherished all these memories when we moved out on weekend outings. At times, you feel nostalgic and try to recreate the same magic at home. I did try vada pav, pav bhaji and misal pav a few times before too, but none appeared in the blog as it's a long process. Secondly, people hoard misal pav, and it gets over before I get time to click pictures. People at my home(including me) love all these chatpata flavours, and so I love trying all chat recipes and street food style recipes. 

Misal Pav consists of an usal(spicy moth sprouts curry) topped with chopped onions, cilantro and farsan  served with pav (poor man's bread). Moth beans are used to make sprouts for Misal Pav and so this is a very healthy pav. There is one special masala that is prepared for making this pav which I have listed below in detail from scratch so that you can prepare the freshly ground flavour and enjoy making any time even if you don't have a store brought pack of the masala. This whole recipe is from scratch, and I was happy with the outcome. I have already shared the Pav Bread recipe in my blog and have followed the same recipe. I referred a few recipes in the past to make misal pav but wasn't getting the authentic style. Then I tried the cooking shooking recipe from YouTube and this delivered almost the street food flavours. Everyone liked this one at home. 

Farsan is the collective term used for the salted snacks used in Maharashtrian and Gujarati cuisine. They can be ragda, dhokla, khandvi, namkeen, aloo sev, besan sev or mixed sev. The mixed farsan is used as topping for misal pav. I even prepared the farsan at home as I wasn't getting the namkeen gatte variety here in my place. I shall share the mixed farsan recipe as a separate post sometime later as this post is already long. 

Assembling this misal pav is easy and so you can prepare the sprouted moth beans curry in advance and just assemble the rest and enjoy. However, the freshly prepared tastes best. The special masala can be prepared in advance in powdered form and can be used as needed when preparing usal. The watery gravy (rass and kat) can be made separately, and moth curry (usal) can  be made as a dry gravy and mixed only when assembling. But I haven't separated the two and made together. Pav bhaji is one of the top listed among vada pav, misal pav and vada pav but you can always try this for a change as this is healthier than the othe two. Do give this a try in your leisure time, enjoy !!

Soaking & Sprouting time ~ 24-48 hours
Preparation time ~ 20-30 minutes
Cooking time ~ 30 minutes
Author ~ Julie
Serves ~ 10-12 misal pav
for cooking sprouts
sprouted moth beans 1 cup
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
water 2 cups
salt to taste 

for special masala
dry kashmiri chilli 5-10 (or crushed powder 3 tbsp)
coriander seeds 1 tbsp
cumin seeds 1.5 tsp
sesame seeds 1.5 tsp
cinnamon 1/2'
cloves 5
fennel seeds 1/2 tsp
star anise 1/2
stone flower 1 piece
dessicated dry coconut 2tbsp
garlic 5-6 cloves
oil 1/2 tsp

for making usal
mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
ginger-garlic paste 1/2 tbsp
tomato 1/2 chopped
hot chilli powder, 1 tsp
turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
onions 1.5 medium-sized, chopped fine
coriander leaves 2 tbsp(chopped)
jaggery / sharkara 1 small piece
water 2 cups
oil 3-4 tbsp

to garnish
farsan 1 cup
onion 1 fine chopped 
cilantro 3 tbsp chopped 
pomegranate kernels 1/2 cup(optional)


I have already shared the  Pav Bread. I followed the same recipe and prepared the pav, below is the glimpse of the prepared pav.


The moth beans(1 cup) are washed and soaked in water for -7 hours. Then removed the moth beans from water and tied in a muslin cloth, kept covered in a casserole to sprout. Sprinkle a little water each time you feel the cloth turns dry say about after 12 hours when you check. The sprouts may take around 36-48 hours to fully sprout. Wash this sprouts under running water and is ready to use.  

Add the sprouted moth beans to a cooker. Add 2 cups water, turmeric powder and salt. Close the pressure cooker with weight. Cook for one whistle and leave to release pressure. 

FOR SPECIAL MASALA(see pics above)
Keep a heavy bottomed pan and add the oil listed in special masala. To this add the coriander seeds, sesame seeds, star anise, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, stone flower, dry Kashmiri chilli, cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, garlic cloves and finally add dessicated coconut at the end. If you're using fresh coconut, then add a little earlier so that it gets roasted nicely along with the dry spices. Switch off flame and cool.
Add these spices to a blender jar and add a little water to make a smooth paste. OR If you are making big batches, powder the roasted spices without adding water and store in sir tight containers and place in refrigerator.

  • Heat oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds. To this add cumin seeds and add chopped onions. When the onions are sautéed half way, add the ginger-garlic paste. Sauté till raw smell disappears. Then add turmeric powder and hot chilli powder(if you like the masala bland then add kashmiri chilli powder, but the moth beans need a little spike in spiciness to get the real flavours).

  • Add 2tbsp of the ground masala paste and refrigerate the rest of the masala (you can use within 4-5 days). 
  • Add the half chopped tomato, mix well. To this add chopped coriander leaves. Now cook covered till the tomatoes turn mushy. Add salt lightly. Cook till the oil floats on the surface.
  • Finally, add the cooked sprouts with water and add about 1.5 cups more water too. Add the piece of jaggery and cook covered for about 6-7 minutes till the oil with kat starts to float. Switch off flame and leave to cool slightly for 5-6 minutes. Then remove the kat in a bowl so that you have a nice garnish ready when serving misal pav(optional step).

  • In a plate, take the sprouts without much gravy and add to the plate. Then add the gravy, add chopped onions, chopped cilantro, handful of farsan and then add few tbsp of reserved kat on top.
  • On the sides, place the pav bread and chopped onions, cut wedges of lemon and chopped cilantro.
  • Serve warm and enjoy. We did add a few pomegranate kernels too which is strictly optional, but we liked it.

* Adding tomato is optional in the masala. Some people do add tamarind pulp too. But the sour flavours are optional.
* Add kashmiri chilli powder to the usal too if you like less spicy. But we like a little spicy in the gravy, so added hot chilli powder.
* I have used homemade farsan, but you can use store brought ones. I shall share the recipe of farsan sometime later.


Monday, January 10, 2022

Baked Round Doughnuts(Donuts) with Jam Filling

After all the holiday chaos, am still not in a mood to bake or try some newer recipes? How about you?  How did your Christmas and holidays go on? Enjoyed ? We had a joyful one with family at home, and we did enjoy the get together but had no big holiday plans. Kids started offline classes soon after coming back, and they are happy to go to schools. Though, the covid cases are rising, and I think restrictions are going to be imposed in the coming days. Anyway, I think we should get used to the fact that life has to move on with the virus for the next  few years, and we should take all precautions to keep the virus at bay. 

Anyway, coming back to today's post- It's baked doughnuts. Kids love doughnuts, but I take a back seat to try it out, as it's deep-fried. However, this is a cute baked version of the doughnuts and have a jam filling in them without much chocolaty cover. These are soft, pillowy ones with a golden crust on top. These are muffin sized doughnuts and are easy to make with no much fuss like baking bread. I dusted the top with confectioners sugar and filled with pineapple jam. Kids loved them, and I was happy to that it has less oil. Do give this a try and enjoy !!

Preparation time ~ 10 minutes
Baking time ~ 10-12 minutes
Serves ~ 15 doughnuts
Author ~ Julie
all-purpose flour(maida) 1.5 cups
granulated sugar 2 tbsp
melted butter 2 tbsp
yeast 1 tsp
egg yolk 1
vanila extract 1/2 tsp
milk 1/3 cup
salt 1/4 tsp

melted butter, 3 tbsp
confectioner's sugar, 2 tbsp
jam 3-4 tbsp

  • Mix the maida(1 cup), granulated sugar, salt and yeast. Add in the melted butter, leuk warm milk, egg yolk, vanilla extract. Combine well. Leave for 10 minutes till you see bubbles on the surface of the batter(the batter will be liquid).
  • Add the remaining maida(all-purpose flour) little by little to make a sticky yet smooth dough. Leave in an oil smeared bowl to rise. Apply a little oil on top too. Keep covered for 1 hour or till it doubles in volume.
  • Punch down the air then and roll this dough over a lightly floured surface to a rectangle of 1/2' thickness.

  • Using a cookie cutter (2'), cut out rounds and place these rounds on a parchment paper lined tray. Collect the scraps and re roll to make a couple more doughnuts, you finish the dough. Cover the tray with a towel and leave the doughnuts to rise again for 45 minutes.
  • In the last 10 minutes of resting, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F and brush the top of the doughnut with melted butter.
  • Place in pre-heated oven  and bake for 10 minutes -12 minutes until the top looks golden brown. Remove from oven and brush the top with some melted butter. Dust the top with confectioners sugar and leave to cool completely on a wire rack before filling jam.
  • Add the jam in a piping bag and using a round tip nozzle, poke at one of the sides and pipe the jam in these doughnuts. OR you can make a slit with a serrated knife at the side and push the jam through this hole using the piping bag. When jam pushes out of the doughnuts, stop filling and repeat the same step for filling other doughnuts too. Enjoy !!

* I have used mango jam, but you can use any jam.
* These tastes good without any filling too.