Tuesday, January 29, 2008


It feels so very nice to sit down with family or friends to have a chit-chat about life & its happenings. If there is some hot tea / coffee and some homemade cake or sweet-bread to go with it, the conversation would be sooo much better.

I have adapted the following recipe from BAKING SHEET's . I did a few alternations & here's the end result.

Ing -
1 cup - maida
1 cup - wheatflour
1/2 tsp - baking soda
3/4 tsp - baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp dry ginger powder
2 cardamoms - powdered
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup curd
4 tbsp melted butter
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 cup - candied cherries chopped
1/4 cup - walnuts crushed coarsely with hands
1/4 cup - tutti-fruitty
a handful of raisins
a handful of chopped almonds

Method -
Preheat oven to 180C.
Grease one loaf pan & keep ready
Seive the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom powder, salt & the spices together.
Add them into a bowl.
Beat the sugar, curd, melted butter well
Add the vanilla extract and the egg.
Add this mixture into the flour gradually, stirring all the while
When both are well incorporated adding fruits & the nuts
Fold all of it well
If the batter is very very dry, you can consider adding a wee bit of milk (normal temperature), but remember the batter has to be very thick.
I used my hands (clean one's please) to scoop the batter into the loaf
Using a spatula smoothen the surface.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

The crust browned very fast so when the cake was baked about 30 mins I covered it with a tissue paper to save it from burning.

I served it once with butter & once with jam.

It vanished pretty quickly & I really loved the walnuts & cherries in it.

I am also sending this over to lovely Bindiya of In Love With Food fame for her event "These are a few of my favourite things".

Friday, January 18, 2008


There are some things in life that you inherit. No, not in terms of money or assets, but here I refer to things that are handed over to you by your elders in terms of knowledge. Things that experience has taught them, n they would like to pass them onto us. Small tips that make a marked difference.......

The following recipe is what I consider part of my inheritance from my mother-in-law. This is the first time I made it, n beleive me, it is a treasure of a recipe. The flavours were incredibly special, n the end product was a delight on your tastebuds.......

I never knew something like "hara lahsun" even existed. I would see it at the vegetable vendor, but never could distinguish it from the spring onions. That's when my MIL told me that though they look exactly like the spring onions, the bud (i.e, the lower white part) is way much smaller than the onions. This is the first time I used them in anything at all, though when my MIL is here she often buys them, n uses them in the dishes that she makes.

Ing -

50 gms (4/5 stems) - hara lahsun / spring garlic
1/2 cup - fresh fenugreen leaves finely chopped
5 green chillies
1 onion - chopped finely
2 cups - wheatflour
1/4 cup - milk(room temp)
salt to taste
ghee / butter for shallow frying

Method -
In a big bowl, add the wheat flour.
Add the spring garlics chopped very fine & washed
Then add the fenugreen leaves chopped very fine & washed.
Add the onions, green chillies chopped & salt.
Add the milk & mix well.
Now add required quantity of water to knead into a smooth dough. Dont use too much water, coz the dough will turn sticky and difficult to roll.
Heat the girdle / tawa.
Roll the dough into chappatis & shallow fry on the tawa using some ghee/butter or oil - as you like it.

I made mine piping hot (in terms of chillies) and served it with red-hot chilly pickle and plain creamy curd. The chilli pickle was made by MIL, n I shall be posting the recipe soon.

It was a blend of flavours & tasted really really good.
I think this one nutritious breakfast to be served either to kids or packed for lunch.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


There are some things that really make you feel ooooh so nice n comforted. Yes, I am talking about comfort foods. Though many may agree on the same stuff, there might be some who differ in their opinion, n they may have something on their mind, which is comfortable to them, but it wont have the same affect on others.

The list would be long, if you are asked to list your comfort foods......I mean, really, really long, coz for me there are many things on mine, which really give me that safe n secure feeling. A lot would also depend on my mood, the weather, a memory.........

On days when you are rushed, n yet you dont want to have dinner packed from outside, or eat at a Restaurant, but you really dont have the energy to slog in the kitchen, n ready to cook is not for you, then what do you do - well, you want something that comforts you. My favorite, all time comforter is my versatile Biriyani....I mean, I really love the thought of settling down with some hot Veggie Biriyani, a bowl of thick creamy curd, some pickle n some paapad........heaven on a plate - isint it?? N the best part - the part that I soooooo love - you dont have to knead the dough for the chappatis, or even roll them - hurrayyyyy. Just a little bit of this, n a little bit of that ........n wait for the whistle of the cooker - n you open to a kitchen filled with aroma n a cooker full of goodness.

Here goes my recipe

Ing -
2 glasses of good quality basmati rice
2 bay leaves
4 cloves
1 inc pc of cinnamon
3 pods of cardamom
5-10 black pepper (optional)
4 big onions
2 handfuls of peas
3 big carrots - chopped finely
4 beans
a handful of corn kernels
4 tspn of oil
1/4 tspn - garam masala powder (optional)
1 tbspn of butter / ghee (enhances the taste factor)

Method -
Wash n soak the rice. If you dont have much time you can just soak till the time you are doing the preparation. I cry a lot when I cut onions, so I generally have a few onions peeled & cold in the refigerator. This ensures that I dont cry when I am cutting them, n they are chopped very easily (Tip of the day)
Slice the onions thin
In the cooker heat the oil & add the bay leaves, then add the spices & stir till you get a nice aroma. It will be nice if you just crush them a weee bit.
Add the onions & saute them till a nice golden-pink colour (add a pinch of sugar while sauteeing them)
Drain the rice & add into the cooker & add all the rest of the veggies into it.
On high flame fry all the things together for about 2/3 mins.
Add the butter / ghee
Add salt & garam masala powder
Add 2-1/4 glasses of water. If you are unable to soak the rice for more than 20 mins, then add 2-3/4 glasses of water. If you dont want to use the cooker then add double the quantity of water to your rice & cook with a closed lid (stirring in between).
Stir well & wait for just one whistle
Have patience till the steam passes. You can make the raita & roast the pappads & arrange the plates till that time.
Open the cooker & be comforted !!

I really love this one. N my preference is to eat this with my hands (no spoons etc) n without anything to go by.

Girls, as an after-thought, I am sending my entry to lovely MEETA of What's for Lunch Honey's Monthly Mingle Event.

Hope she will accept my entry.

Friday, January 11, 2008



I am once again going to say something about the most versatile root in the whole wide world - POTATOES. Day or night, ample or lack of time, exotic or simple -you can use them anyway your heart pleases.

I am not going to waste any more time on praises of this , but give you the recipe........

Ing -
4/5 potatoes - scraped and diced
8/9 flakes of - garlic chopped finely
1 big onion - diced roughly
juice of 1/2 lime
2 tbspn - mustard oil
1/4 tspn - ajwain / bishop seeds
1/4 tspn - jeera / cumin seeds
1/2 tspn - turmeric oil
1/4 tspn - garam masala
1/2 tspn - red chilli powder

Method -
In a kadai smoke the mustard oil & add both cumin & bishop seeds. They will sputter immediately.
Add the garlic & just about 2 secs later, add the onions.
Add the potatoes & some salt.
Close the lid of the pan & let them turn crisp on high flame. Keep stirring in between so that the potatoes dont burn.
In this process the garlic & onions will roast(i.e, turn dark brown in colour).
Once the potatoes are a golden brown in colour, just slice one or two to ensure that they are fully cooked.
Add the turmeric first & stir to coat evenly.
Then add the garam masala, chilli powder.
Lastly sqeeze the lime on top & stir.
Without the lid, on high flame let the potatoes roast on high flame for about a minute or two - stirring in between.

This made a lovely lunch for the both of us with chappatis, though they were not as crispy as they initiatlly were. I feel that they can be served as an excellent side-dish for cocktails or for a dinner.

The roasted garlic & onions gave an excellent flavor to the potatoes .

I am also sending this over to dear Sunita for her "THINK SPICE ......THINK GARLIC" event. Hope she likes it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


I would truly have to begin my first post of 2008 with apologies to Rachel of Tangerine's Kitchen, n to all other friends who waited for me to do something with my secret ingredient, especially to dear Bharaty of Spicy Chilly who to my embarrasesment did even send a few reminders !!! Sorry to all.

Withstanding the thuder n rain prevailing in Chennai during that time, the packet finally did reach me in one peice - to my delight. I opened the packet to find this ........



Though I did get my ingredient, I honestly was soooo tight with time on hand that I really couldnt tweak some out for making something using Raisins. I just didnt want to make ANYTHING, but make SOMETHING - do I sound wiered - but I guess you understand what I mean.

I finally used my MIL's help n came up with this delightful North Indian sweet, which is an instant energy booster, n popping just one or two with a glass of milk make a wholesome breakfast - believe me, try it n you will agree with me.

I wont waste more time.......

KISHMISH PINNIYAN - RAISIN ENERGY BOOSTERS (that's all that I could think up as a suitable name in English - if you can think of something better pls do let me know, I'd happily change)

This will make around 10-12 pinnis

Ing -
2 cups - wheatflour (seived n husk removed)
3/4 cup - powdered sugar (if you want it to be moderately sweet)
3/4 cup - ghee (melted)- 2 tspn separately
10-15 almonds
2 cardamoms
1/2 cup - raisins (chopped)

Method -
In a deep pan, put the wheatflour and 2 tbspn ghee & roast it on low flame. Keep stirring in between till the colour has turned brown in colour. It will have a very nice aroma.
Meanwhile grind the almonds & cardamoms together into a form where it is like breadcrumbs, but not very fine.
Remove from fire, add the ghee while the flour is still hot.
Try binding the flour n see if the same holds together, if it doesnt then add a little more ghee.
Now add the powdered sugar and the ground almonds & cardamoms. Mix using a spatula.
Add the chopped raisins & mix well.
Now comes the most difficult part, you have to make the material into balls while it is still hot. It will require a lot of endurance, but it does come (it did come to me, n so I am sure it is surely already there in you).

Let them cool & then enjoy these delectable delights. I really love this thing for breakfast. I really love the raisins & the crushed almonds give them a certain crunch.

My MIL was impressed that I could do this on my own, n she surely was proud.

So here is my entry for the Aruvasai Friendship Chain which I really enjoyed.

I am sending my entry to Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen & dear Priyadarshini of Food and Laughter. Girls lookout for your packets. I shall be sending them off tomorrow.