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Spicyana





Updated: 2018-04-23T00:49:14.456-07:00

 



A TEA PARTY !

2016-05-27T10:56:30.511-07:00

In a vase full of roses, a garden ! On a plate full of dainty cakes, a tea party !






Cardamom sponge mini cakes

All purpose flour - 1 1/4 cups

Granulated sugar - ½ cup + ¼ cup

Baking powder - ½ tbsp

Salt - ½ tsp

Melted butter -¼ cup

Softened butter - ¼ cup to butter the pans

Egg yolks -4

Cardamom powder - 1 tsp

Vanilla extract - ½ tsp

Water - ⅓ cup

Egg whites - 4

Cream of tartar - ¼ tsp


Preheat oven to 325 degrees, butter 24 mini muffin or tartlette pans . Mix flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add,melted butter, egg yolks,cardamom powder, vanilla extract and water to the flour mixture. Mix well with a wooden spoon till no lump remains. Beat the egg whites with cream of tartar in a bowl until it foams. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar and beat till soft peaks form. Add the whipped whites into the flour mixture in 3 batches, gently folding in each time with a spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared molds up to 2/3rd full. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, Inser a tooth pick to the center of the cake to see if it is done. The toothpick should come out clean with a couple of crumbs attached. Unmold after 5 minutes.


These cardamom flavored, mildly sweet sponge cakes are best friends with cups of tea :)






Ice cream !

2016-05-13T21:09:01.911-07:00

Some days you have to have a scoop of chocolate ice cream, some other days you have to have many :)   No churn, dairy free, banana chocolate ice cream Ripe/overripe bananas peeled, cut into ½ inch pieces -2 Unsweetened cocoa powder - ¼ cupInstant coffee granules ( optional) - ¼ tsp Freeze the banana pieces for at least 2-3 hours or overnight or many days :) On the day that you are making the ice cream, take the frozen banana pieces and blend together with the cocoa powder and coffee granules till the mixture is soft and creamy. You will notice at first that the banana pieces break down into small rice like bits, at this point add 1-2 tbsp. water to keep the blades running. Serve immediately as a soft serve ice cream or freeze at least 1 hr. to serve as scoops. If you want the ice cream to be sweeter, add honey or some sugar syrup instead of water while blending[...]



remembering a meal

2016-03-24T18:03:15.188-07:00




Cashew-Almond bars

2016-03-14T22:53:22.575-07:00



Recipe

Cashews - 1 cup

Almonds - 1 cup

Whole pitted dates - 3/4 cup

Cardamom powder ( optional) - ¼ tsp

Dried ginger powder ( optional) - ¼ tsp

Heat a thick bottomed pan, dry roast almonds and cashews just until the cashews turn pale golden brown. Turn off the heat, quickly transfer the toasted nuts to a baking sheet, allow it to cool down completely. In a food processor, grind the toasted nuts to a coarse mixture. Take out ½ cup of the ground mixture. Pulse the remaining nuts in the food processor to a fine powder, add dates and spice powder and pulse again till everything comes together. Add the reserved coarsely ground nut mixture back, pulse to combine. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spread the nut- dates mixture to about ½ inch thickness, using hands to press it down. Overlay with another parchment sheet and run a rolling pin over to smoothen the surface. Keep it in the freezer for 30 min. Cut into desired shapes, return into freezer for another 30 minutes. Separate the bars and store it in a container in fridge for up to 2 weeks.



A simple vegetable curry

2016-03-07T22:22:37.636-08:00

 



Mixed vegetable curry

Recipe

Clean and cut vegetables into small bite sized cubes and measure

Carrot - 1 cup

Potatoes - 1 cup

Beetroot - 1 cup

Cauliflower - 1 cup

Green peas or Garbanzo beans cooked - 1 cup

Tomato chopped - ¼ cup

Finely chopped onion -1 cup

Ginger minced - 2 tbsp

garlic minced - 3 tbsp

Green chillies minced - 1 ½ tbsp

Curry leaves - 10 nos

Oil - 2 tbsp.


Rice powder - 2 tbsp

Cumin - ¼ tsp

Clove powder - ¼ tsp

Cinnamon powder - ¼ tsp

Turmeric - ½ tsp

Crushed black pepper - ½ tsp

Salt - to taste

Heat oil in a pan, add cumin, ginger, garlic, onion, curry leaves and green chillies and some salt. Saute until the onion pieces are tender. Add all the spice powders and stir well. Add the vegetables and saute for about 5 minutes or till the pieces begin to brown. Now sprinkle the rice powder and saute for one more minute. Add 2 cups of water and the chopped tomatoes and cook covered for about 5 minutes at high heat, till the vegetables are tender but not mushy. Turn off the heat, add the cooked peas/beans. Sprinkle with black pepper, keep covered for a couple of minutes before serving with any Indian style flatbread.
 



Mango papaya salad

2016-02-16T18:20:55.767-08:00

Here is some proof for a certain clean eating habit someone was trying out for a couple of days :)
 

Mango papaya salad

Recipe

Grated semi -ripe mango - 1 cup

Grated papaya - 1 ½ cup

Thinly sliced shallot - 1 tbsp

Lemon juice - 1 tbsp

Minced green chillies - ¼ tsp or less

Crushed cumin - ¼ tsp

Olive oil - 2 tbsp

Salt - to taste

In a bowl mix grated mango and papya, sprinkle with salt,toss and keep aside. In another bowl whisk lemon juice, olive oil, shallots, green chilies and cumin together for 2 minutes. Pour over the grated vegetables, toss and serve.

 



Fish !

2016-01-27T00:18:21.023-08:00

Have you ever had rice served with three kinds of fish curries, two types of fish fries and no less than two other varieties of fish preparations accompanying it ? If you have not, you must time travel to Arthinkal of some 20 years ago. That is what we served to the people we absolutely loved, when they came visiting, in that quaint coastal village, back in the days, etc etc :)
 


A simple fish curry

Recipe


Fish, cut into 1 ½ to 2 inch pieces- 2 lbs.

Onion - thinly sliced - 1 ½ cups

Ginger minced - 4 tbsp.

Garlic minced - 2 tbsp.

Curry leaves - 15 nos

Fenugreek - 3/4 tsp.

Green chilies chopped - 1 tbsp. or more if you are using paprika

Kudam puli - 5 nos

Coconut milk - 1 ½ cup

Coconut oil - 2 tbsp.

Salt - to taste

Kashmiri chilly powder or Paprika - 2 1/2 tbsp.

Turmeric - 1tsp

Dry roast fenugreek seeds, grind to a fine powder, keep aside. Soak Kudampuli in water. In a wok, heat oil, add onion and curry leaves, sauté till the pieces are translucent. Add salt, continue to sauté until the onion slices are golden brown. Add ginger, garlic, green chilies, curry leaves and sauté till tender. Add turmeric, stir well. Add the coconut milk and keep sautéing till coconut milk almost completely dries up ( This is the most important step, make sure to stir well  until coconut milk dries up, but be careful not to burn it. At this point you will see oil separating).Add 3 cups of water, chilly powder/paprika and soaked kudampuli to the cooked coconut mixture, mix well. Heat till the gravy starts to boil. Add the fish pieces, cook covered in medium heat for 10 more minutes. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle with the fenugreek powder. Cover with the lid again and leave it covered for at least 1 hr. before serving





















A grape drink

2016-01-20T06:03:59.505-08:00

The memory is so vivid that I really don’t know what it is about :) There was a grape juice drink that we used buy from a restaurant in the town where I stayed while in school. We always shared this drink among friends in a dedicated effort to stretch our pocket money. The deep purple juice was always served in a tall glass with a long stemmed spoon in it to help you scoop up the pieces of cooked grapes floating in it. It had a fancy name and also a fancy price. I remember the money we paid, but the name has since left my brain. So here it is, a grape drink!
 

Cooked grape drink

Recipe

2 lb. black grapes

1 cup sugar ( or more )

Wash grapes thoroughly, discard stems. Reserve 1 ½ cups of grapes. Keep the rest of the grapes in a sauce pan, pour 6 cups of water or more to cover the grapes. Boil for 5 minutes. Using the back of a ladle crush the grapes, keep boiling for 5 more minutes. Add sugar, cover the pan with a lid, turn the heat to low and simmer for 5 more minutes. Add more sugar if needed at this point. Turn off the heat, cool. In a blender set at low speed, blend the cooked grape mixture for just one minute and not more. Using a sieve strain the cooked grape mix. Add two more cups of water to the sieve to rinse the grape skins. Mix the strained juice and store in refrigerator till use (store for up to 2 days refrigerated). Now sit back, relax and peel the reserved grapes. Cut each grape into small pieces. Microwave for 2 minutes, cool. You can clean and peel more grapes if you would like to add more texture to the drink.

Dilute the grape drink with water if needed. To serve , fill a glass 3/4th with the juice, top with 1 tsp. of cooked grape flesh. Alternatively you can serve the drink topped with chopped up grape jello.

Yield ~ 12 cups
 
 



We wish you a Merry Christmas !

2015-12-25T00:59:48.394-08:00




Light !

2015-12-21T01:00:13.034-08:00

Just because I can never have enough Christmas bokeh , here is a plateful of cardamom doughnut holes placed right in front of our Christmas tree :) 


Cardamom doughnut holes

Recipe : Add 1/2 tsp. cardamom powder to this King Arthur Flour's Vermont Doughnut Holes recipe. Sprinkle with cardamom sugar after lightly brushing with melted butter
 



MERRY!

2015-12-17T08:34:08.981-08:00

Pictures from a gingerbread village !

(image)

The child made these mini houses from a Wilton gingerbread village kit, and the mom did the landscaping :)

(image)

All is merry in the village and they have a Christmas tree up !

(image)




The pink tomato sauce

2015-12-01T20:52:03.456-08:00



During the Thanksgiving weekend,I casually sat and reflected about many scattered matters. My other two options were to clean the whole house or fold a pile of washed clothes, I decided to take the tough way out and sat thinking for the longest time. Then purely by chance I remembered the pink tomato sauce ! This sauce is now long forgotten, replaced by the omnipresent tomato ketchup that you pour out of a bottle at will. But back in the times when you made almost everything from scratch because it was your only option, this sauce was a popular accompaniment for meat cutlets served in wedding feasts at Arthinkal. The sauce has personality, it is sweet with the right amount of zest, has beets in it, therefore it is pink !
 


Beetroot - tomato sauce

Recipe


Peeled cubed beetroot - 1 cup

Blanched , seeded tomatoes-chopped - 3 cups

Minced onion - ¼ cup

Green chilly skin finely chopped - 1 tbsp

Garlic - 2 cloves

Cloves - 2

Cinnamon stick - ½ inch length

Sugar - 3 tbsp

Salt - ½ tsp or to taste

Vinegar - 3 tbsp

Cheese cloth - A small piece

Coarsely crush garlic. Keep the crushed garlic, cloves and cinnamon on the cheesecloth, and tie the cloth up together to make a bundle. Mix beetroot, tomatoes, onion, green chilies, the spice bundle and salt in a saucepan, add a cup of water.Bring it to a boil, keep boiling for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and

keep the pan covered for 30 minutes or till all the beetroot pieces are tender. Turn off the heat, and keep the pan covered till the mixture cools down to room temperature. Remove the spice bundle. Puree the rest of the mixture till very smooth in a blender. Pour the puree back into the sauce pan, add sugar, adjust the salt and cook with constant stirring till the sauce becomes thick- it will take about 5-10 minutes. Add vinegar, mix well and allow the sauce to cool. When the sauce cools down transfer to clean dry bottles and store refrigerated for up to one week. This recipe yields ~ 2 cups of sauce. Serve with meat cutlets.






Light !

2015-11-11T23:37:16.238-08:00

May your inner light shine so bright year around, Happy Diwali !



 
Karikku payasam ( Tender coconut payasam )

 Recipe

Tender coconut pulp - 2 cups ( more the merrier)

Condensed milk - 14 oz ( 1 can)

Tender coconut water - 5 cups

White rice cooked - 1 ½ cup

Cooked tapioca pearls ( optional ) - 3 tbsp

Cardamom crushed - 2 pods

Pistachio crushed - ¼ cup

Coarsely chop the tender coconut pulp, keep aside. In a food processor grind the cooked rice till each grain breaks into 3-4 pieces. Take out half of the ground rice and then grind the remaining to a smooth paste. In a saucepan boil the tender coconut water,add the rice paste, semi ground rice, chopped tender coconut and tapioca pearls for 5 minutes with constant stirring. Add the condensed milk and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Turn off the heat, add crushed cardamom and pistachios. Serve chilled.
  



Happy Halloween !

2015-10-31T00:04:56.636-07:00

Here is a stuffed mushroom recipe to scare you, Happy Halloween ! 
   


Stuffed mushrooms


White mushrooms - 24 nos

Minced chicken breast or minced beef or minced uncooked prawn - 1cup

Panko bread crumbs - 1 cup

Parmesan cheese grated - 3 tbsp.

Onions finely chopped - 1 cup

Garlic minced - 1 tsp.

Ginger ground - 1 tsp.

Fennel seeds crushed - 1/2 tsp.

Curry leaves finely chopped - 1 tsp.

Olive oil - 4 tbsp

Green chilli minced - ½ tsp or less

crushed black pepper - ½ tsp

Salt - to taste

Wash mushrooms, detach and reserve the stems. Pat the cleaned mushrooms dry on paper towels. Chop the mushroom stems finely. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a pan, sauté the onions till translucent . Add garlic, ginger, curry leaves, green chilies and fennel seeds, sauté for 2 more minutes at medium heat till the onion begins to turn golden. Now add the chopped mushroom stems, salt and sauté till the mixture dries up. Turn off the heat and keep aside. In a bowl mix minced chicken/beef or prawn with the sautéed onion mixture, ¼ cup panko bread crumbs and crushed black pepper . Mix and keep aside. Sprinkle the clean mushrooms with salt and toss the with 2 tbsp olive oil. Fill each mushroom with the prepared filling and arrange on a baking sheet. In a bowl mix panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and 1 tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle this mixture on top of the stuffed mushrooms and bake at 350C for 20 minute or till you see the mushrooms releasing moisture. As soon as the baking is done transfer the mushrooms to a another baking sheet so that the shrooms don't get soggy in the liquid released while baking




Soup for dinner

2015-10-04T21:57:17.182-07:00

I love everything about fall season, the thousand shades of yellow everywhere, the lingering rain( which we are yet to see), and the wind whirling the fallen leaves around. There is so much going on in nature that I really need my time to sit and soak it all up :) , therefore I make this soup and call it dinner and sometimes lunch too. It really is a complete meal.

 
Mexican spiced chicken and rice soup

Recipe


Corn kernels - ½ cup

Cooked black beans- 1/2 cup

Cooked brown rice- 1 cup

Boneless chicken small pieces  -1 cup

Onion chopped - ½ cup

Canned crushed tomatoes- 2 cups

Garlic, minced - 2 tbsp.

Cumin - ½ tsp.

Coriander powder - ½ tsp.

Cilantro, finely chopped - ¼ cup + more to garnish

Tomato paste- ¼ cup

Paprika - 1 ½ tbsp.

Black pepper - crushed - ½ tsp.

Salt - to taste

Celery seeds - ½ tsp

Lemon - 1

Oil - 1 tbsp.

To garnish

Avocados

Sour cream

Cheddar cheese or Mexican cheese blend or Pepper Jack cheese grated


In a food processor grind the cooked rice till each grain breaks into 3-4 pieces, keep aside. Heat a sauce pan, add cumin, dry roast for 1 minute, transfer to a bowl, crush and keep. Heat oil in the same sauce pan, add onions and garlic and sauté till translucent. Add coriander powder and celery seeds stir well. Quickly add chicken pieces, some salt and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients along with the crushed cumin at this point followed by 6 cups of water, adjust the salt. Mix , cover and cook for 30 minutes at low heat. Gently stir, add the crushed black pepper followed by the juice from one lemon . If the soup gets too thick, add hot water to bring it to the desired consistency, readjust the salt. Mix well, serve hot topped with grated cheese, chopped cilantro, avocados and sour cream.

Serves a hearty meal for 4 people
 

 




Panchara palpayasam

2015-08-25T00:42:57.679-07:00

I now officially enter the week of nostalgic ramblings, please bear with me. This Friday marks the day of Onam, the state festival of Kerala celebrating the glorious days of yore. Getting together with family and friends and sitting down to enjoy a splendid vegetarian feast known as ‘Sadya” served on a banana leaf marks an important part of the celebrations. There is also a sense of relief and restfulness in my head and a lingering sense at the back of my mind that now since the exams are over I will have more time for my meandering ways. This passing sense of ease is rooted on those days eons ago when as school children we all finished the term exams just before the Onam holidays began. I am never the one to let go off such peaceful thoughts ever , even if I am not writing exams any more !


 
Payasam is THE dessert of the Sadya spread, and there are many ways to make it using different ingredients. Here is an easy recipe for a timeless classic, Panchara palpayasam- a rice payasam flavored with sugar and milk and nothing else, made the easy way using a pressure cooker.



Panchasara pal payasam ( Made in a pressure cooker)


Rice - ( broken rose matta variety) - ½ cup

Sugar - ½ cup+ 2 tbsp.

Milk -3 cup

Water - 2 cup

Wash the rice, drain, mix with the rest of the ingredients in a pressure cooker. Lock the lid on ( keep the pressure regulator off) heat till you see small wisps of steam coming out of the vent pipe. At this point place the pressure regulator weight on the vent pipe. Now wait till you feel that the cooker is going to let out the first whistle. You will know it by instinct :), or keep an eye on the regulator weight, it will begin to shake a little. Now turn the heat to low and focus on doing something else. Come back to the pressure cooker 45 minutes after and turn off the stove. Open the pressure cooker after another 30 minutes or so, after letting out any residual steam. This payasam tastes best when served at room temperature. I love it chilled as well.






Cherry almond cake

2015-07-12T15:58:52.803-07:00

This cake is too good to be existing, really ! Whole wheat flour, cherries, whole almonds, and a no stress mixing method, but the result is a moist and tender cake which is served best with a cup of black tea.
 
 
 
Cherry almond whole wheat cake
 
Recipe

Whole wheat flour - ½ cup

Whole almonds - ½ cup

Softened butter - ½ cup

Sugar - ¼ cup

Baking powder- 1 tsp.

Eggs -2

Vanilla extract - 1 tsp.

Pitted cherries - 20-25 nos

Confectioners sugar ( Optional) - 1 tsp.


Mix baking powder and whole wheat flour gently with a wire whisk.. Pulse whole almonds with 1 tsp sugar till coarsely ground, add to the flour mix, mix again with a wire whisk. In a large bowl, using a wire whisk beat butter, remaining sugar and eggs together till it is combined ( 3-4 minutes), slowly add the flour mix and gently combine with a wooden spatula. Pour into a greased and floured 9 inch tart pan. Evenly arrange cherries on top, bake at 325 C for 20 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a skewer, it should come out with tender crumbs attached. Serve dusted with confectioners sugar.

 



Happy 4th !

2015-07-04T17:21:01.266-07:00

To the country I have come to love, more by each passing year, HAPPY BIRTHDAY !
 

Mascarpone- berry custard tart

Almond tart shell

All purpose flour-1 ½ cup

Almonds-3/4 cup

Sugar- ½ cup

Salt - 14/ tsp.

Softened butter-9 tbsp.

Egg yolk - 1

Grind almonds with sugar in a food processor till coarsely ground. Add rest of the ingredients and pulse till the dough comes together and not more. Press the dough evenly on a tart pan, cover with cling wrap and freeze for at least 2 hrs. Pre-heat oven to 350C. Remove the cling wrap from the frozen tart shell, line the shell with Aluminum foil, arrange pie weights or dried beans on top. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights, bake for another 12-15 minutes or till the shell is golden brown. Cool completely on kitchen counter.

Mascarpone custard

Mascarpone cheese - 1 cup

Milk - 2 cups

Egg yolks -2

Corn starch - 3 tbsp.

Vanilla bean - 1

Sugar - ¾ cup

Unflavored gelatin - 1 tbsp.

Mix milk, eggs and cornstarch in a saucepan. Add vanilla bean, gelatin and sugar and cook in medium heat with constant stirring till the custard thickens. Remove the beans, scrape seeds and add it to the custard. Mix well, cover and refrigerate for 2 hrs.

Fruits

Chopped strawberries- 1½ cup

Blue berries - ½ cup

Berry jam -2 tbsp.

Keep the prepared fruits in a bowl. Microwave jam to loosen it. Mix with fruits, refrigerate.

Assembling the tart

Remove the tart shell from the pan. Keep on a serving plate, fill the shell with the cooled custard, arrange berries on top. Drizzle some more of the cooled custard on top. Refrigerate for 6 hrs. or more before serving.
 
 
 



Egg pulav for the understocked

2015-06-22T20:12:08.800-07:00

This egg pulav is for people like me, whose unrelenting enthusiasm to cook something special for dinner is only matched by their abundant reluctance to go grocery shopping. When faced with empty refrigerators, we dream the impossible, set our bars too low, and go about treading territories uncharted. Mostly we are lost, but at times there is a surprise. This egg pulav is one. I made it for the first time when the only vegetable that was in sight was a big and forlorn onion.   Like you, I also understand the importance of including a lot of vegetables in the diet, here is how I tackle it. After I make this egg pulav, I will ring up T to gently announce that the dinner is ready and most politely ask if he will have time to stop at the grocery shop to buy some cucumbers and carrots and yogurt (may be?) to make a raita rich in vegetables. The moment something close to a nod is conveyed, a three page shopping list is emailed. This is a recipe that works :) ,every single time.  Egg pulavRecipeEggs boiled and peeled - 6 nosBasmati rice - 4 cupsGreen chilies chopped - 1/2 tsp.Onion , thinly sliced - 1 ¼ cupCurry leaves - 10 nosVery finely chopped cilantro leaves - 2 tbsp. ( optional)Lemon juice - 1 1/2 tbsp.Ghee- 1 tsp.Crushed cardamom - 6 nosCumin - ½ tsp.½ tsp. clove powder½ tsp. cinnamon powder¼ tsp. nutmeg powderVeg oil - 1 tbsp. + for frying onion (~½ cup)salt -½ tsp + to tasteWash basmati rice, soak in water for 10 minutes, drain and keep. While the rice is getting drained heat 1 tbsp. oil in a vessel large enough to cook the rice. When the oil is hot, add ¼ cup sliced onions, spices, curry leaves, chilies and salt. Sauté under low heat till the onions are translucent but not browned ( takes 3-4 min) . Add 6 cups of water to the sautéed mix, followed by the drained rice. Mix well, adjust the salt if needed. Bring the water to a rolling boil at high heat. Now cover the vessel with lid, bring the heat down to low, and cook covered for 12 minutes. While the rice is cooking heat the remaining oil and fry/deep sauté 1 cup onions till golden brown, drain on paper towels. In the same oil sauté cashew nuts and drain on paper towels. To the hot oil, roll in the eggs one by one and roast for 1-2 minutes, till the eggs are browned, drain on paper towels. Discard any remaining oil after it cools down. When the cooking time for the rice is over, remove the lid, add lemon juice, ghee, nuts, chopped cilantro and fried onions, fluff the rice gently with a fork. Transfer immediately to the serving bowl and cover with a lid. Let the flavors blend for at least 15 minutes. Serve topped with the roasted egg with pickles and vegetable salad/raita on the side. Yields 6 servings [...]



Baked eggplant curry

2015-05-28T21:11:31.730-07:00

This vegetable, to the best of my knowledge has neither bitten anybody, nor has it chased someone into a ditch. So I will never understand as to why some folks in a “certain” household run the other way when egg plants are served for dinner !


Keeping that matter aside, this baked eggplant recipe is my favorite. This is a curry baked in the oven.

Baked eggplant curry

Recipe


Indian eggplants/small Italian eggplants - 6-12 nos

Chilly powder – 1tsp

Paprika – 1 ½ tsp

Finely chopped ginger – 1 ½ tbsp.

Sliced pearl onions – ¼ cup

Curry leaves – 10 nos

Coconut milk – 1 cup

Oil – 1 ½ tbsp.

Salt – 2 tbsp + to taste


Using a knife make 3-4 deep slanting horizontal cuts on one side of the the eggplant keeping the vegetable intact. Soak the prepared eggplants in salted water ( 2 tbsp water + 4 cups water, scale up according to need) for at least 30 minutes. Drain, and gently squish to get rid off excess water and pat dry on paper towels. Heat oven to 450C. Take a ceramic casserole dish and smear with 11/2 tbsp oil. Neatly arrange eggplants with the cut side facing up without overlapping, bake for 20 minutes or until the skin starts to wrinkle.While the eggplants are baking, mix the rest of the ingredients with some salt to taste in a bowl and mix well by gently pressing down with a ladle or a wooden spoon. To this mixture add 1 ½ cups of water, stir to combine and keep aside. When the eggplants look ready, pour the coconut milk mixture evenly over the egg plants. Bake for another 15-20 minutes or till the gravy is thick and bubbly. Serve with rice. 



FALOODA!

2015-05-14T16:58:52.410-07:00

The name says it all ! This is the stuff dreams are made of, if you happen to dream any dreams comprised of exemplary desserts. In non-exaggerating terms Falooda is a splendid dessert both visually and taste wise, an astounding blend of textures and colors ! There !! You just can't  describe it in ordinary terms, I tried.There are many ways to make this dessert, but Tukmaria ( sweet basil/sabja) seeds and corn flour noodles are the ingredients which makes this parfait a FALOODA ! You know this already, but Tukmaria ( sweet basil) seeds are not Chia seeds even though the looks are deceptively similar, read why one is not the other hereRecipeFalooda noodles cooked, rinsed in cold water, and drained - 2 cups tossed with 1 tbsp. rose syrup. You can substitute the falooda noodles with thin vermicelliRose syrup (I use Dabur brand ) - 2 tbsp.Dry tukmaria( sweet basil) seeds - 3/4 cup Soak in 4 + cups of water for 30 minutes, drain, rinse with more cold water, drain and refrigeratorStrawberry Jell-O cut into small pieces - 3 cups (Make Jell-O according to packaging instructions, but with half the amount of liquid suggested, so that you will have a sturdier Jell-O to chop into fine pieces. ( Optional)Very finely chopped mangoes, pineapples, bananas etc.- 3 cupsFinely chopped assorted toasted nuts ( pistachios, cashew nuts and almonds) - 1/2 cup to garnishKulfi cream 4 cups milk½ tsp. crushed Cardamom5 pistachios1 ½ slice white bread with edges removed½ cup sugarPour milk over bread, keep for 10 minutes. Grind the soaked bread milk mixture with rest of the ingredients in a blender till the mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture into a thick bottomed saucepan and add sugar. In low heat, cook with constant stirring till the mixture thickens. Chill for at least 1 hr.Rose cream whipped topping ( This is my quick fix ice cream substitute, but if you have ice cream in stock use it by all means)Whipping cream - 2 cupsGelatin - 1 tbsp.Rose syrup - 1 tsp.Cardamom powder - ¼ tsp.Confectionery sugar - ¾ cupAdd 4 tbsp. boiling water to gelatin, stir well till the mixture is clear. Allow it to cool down to room temperature with occasional stirring. Mix all the ingredients and the melted gelatin and immediately start whisking and keep whisking till stiff peaks form. Transfer the whipped cream to a freezer container and freeze at least for 3 hrs. or overnightAssembling the FaloodaThis I promise, is the best part. Take a tall Sundae glass and spoon/scoop in the prepped components in the following order. I usually eyeball the quantity and try to divide the stuff equally between the glasses that I am using . So depending on the size of the serving cup used the quantities listed here will make 12-24 servingsNoodlesSoaked Tukmaria seedsKulfi creamChopped Jell-OMixed fruitKulfi creamChopped nutsRose cream whipped toppingNow drizzle with rose syrup and top with more crushed nuts.[...]



A simple salad

2015-05-08T21:23:04.196-07:00

This is the closest to a real time post in this blog in a while photo-wise. Many of the other pictures you saw here recently are ancient artifacts; I am as surprised as anyone else when I discover them.

 
But for today, since it was a sunny sprightly summer kind of day, allow me to introduce you to our dinner, or more precisely to my favorite salsa-ish salad dressed with “Almost burned chili pepper lemonette”, served just barely three hours ago with a baked piece of fish.



Chopped salad with “Almost burned chili pepper lemonette”

The lemonette


Red chili flakes – 1 tsp.

Coconut oil – 2 tbsp.

Lemon juice – 3 tbsp.

Heat a frying pan. When the pan is hot, add the red chili flakes and dry roast till the flakes are deep brown (and not black :) ). Immediately transfer to a bowl. Add coconut oil and lemon juice and whisk together for 1-2 minutes. Keep aside for 5 minutes.
Chopped salad


Cucumber finely chopped – 2 cups

Tomatoes finely chopped – 1 cup

Semi ripe mangoes finely chopped – 1 cup

Red onions finely chopped – ½ cup

Cilantro minced – 3 tbsp.

Salt – to taste

Mix all ingredients for the salad together. Add the vinaigrette, toss well and serve




Throwback Swieback !

2015-04-23T19:37:00.665-07:00

I am unearthing piles of pictures of food from days past ,it confirms my hazy memory of running for my camera soon as I finish cooking anything reasonably accountable. These rusks in the pictures here for example were made for my daughter when she was teething, and that was about six years ago. Now we are more excited when one of those precious milk teeth wiggles. The rusk did not help much with the process back then though, the child managed to teeth by biting on the headboard of our then brand new bed ! Now when I see those marks I can only smile, it takes a couple of years to attain that level of composure sweet people :) This rusk recipe is adapted from a Zwieback recipe from King Arthur flour’s website, tweaked  to get the Indian style rusk, tea’s best friend. My childhood breakfast, lunch and dinner whenever I spiked a fever, like it was for many other kids of that time. Indian style rusk is usually spiced with Caraway seeds or Ajwain seeds or a combination of both. Indian Tea RuskRecipeAll purpose flour - 2 cupsSugar- 4 tbsp.Yeast - 1 ½ tsp.Salt -½ tsp.Shajeera ( Caraway seeds) ground - ¼ tsp.Ajwain seeds ground- ¼ tsp.Butter softened - 3 tbsp.Egg - 1Milk - ½ cupRaisins ( optional) - ¼ cupMix all ingredients and make a soft and sticky dough, adding enough water if needed. Keep in a warm place for 1½ - 2 hours or till the dough doubles in size. Shape the dough into a 12 inch log, longer if you would like smaller rusks. Cover the dough and allow it to rise for another one and half hour. Towards the end of this rising time, preheat the oven to 350 C. Bake for 20 minutes , take the loaf out of the oven and leave it on the kitchen countertop loosely covered with an Aluminum foil till the next day. Heat the oven to 200 C. Slice the bread into half an inch thick pieces and arrange the cut slices on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn the rusk pieces over and bake for 10 more minutes. Turn the oven off. Leave the rusks inside the oven for 20 more minutes. Take it out and cool in the countertop for at least three hours. The recipe yields about two dozen rusks. Serve with black tea   [...]



Less is more

2015-04-15T22:26:21.085-07:00

One of these days I will stare at a potato for a couple of minutes hoping for an amazing dish to happen ! My love for fewer ingredients in a recipe is growing by leaps and bounds. Here is a new favorite.
 

Lemon Chilly Prawns

Prawns - Tail on and cleaned or cleaned and unpeeled - 1 lb

Kashmiri chilly powder - 2 tbsp

Sugar - 1 tbsp

Lemon - 1

Coconut oil - ¼ cup

Salt - to taste

Keep the prawns in a bowl, sprinkle the chilly powder and salt, squeeze half of the lemon on top, toss well to combine. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Heat oil in a wok, add the sugar and stir well till the sugar is deep golden brown. Add the marinated prawns,stir fry at high heat for 3 minutes. Now turn the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, gently tossing every two minutes or so, do not cover the wok. Squeeze the remaining half of the lemon over the prawns and stir fry at high heat for 2 minutes until the prawns are dry and coated with the spices. Turn off the heat, keep in the wok covered for 5 more minutes before serving
 
 




HAPPY VISHU !

2015-04-14T17:17:06.156-07:00

"മനസ്സിലുണ്ടാവട്ടെ ഗ്രാമത്തിൻ വെളിച്ചവും
മണവും മമതയും, ഇത്തിരി  കൊന്നപ്പൂവും"
 
എല്ലാവർക്കും  സ്നേഹം നിറഞ്ഞ വിഷു ആശംസകൾ !
 
 
Golden chain tree (Laburnum Alpinum) in bloom close to where I work