Thursday, March 29, 2012

Summer Salad - lettuce, pineapple and grapes

Summer is here, with a bang ! Its 41 deg C / 105 F right now and this is just the beginning of summer... April is bad and May is unbearable here. I am all set, ready to pack my bags and head to Bangalore, in the next couple of weeks ! Here, the humidity is really low and its scorching hot, almost feel your skin burning away.

This dry and hot weather calls for something light and cold, like this really simple salad.


Mangoes have also started coming into the market. The very famous Alphonso mangoes are exorbitantly priced right now. There are a few locally grown ones, which my son insisted that I buy. A mango milkshake with this salad was our lunch yesterday !

There isn't really a recipe for this. I just tossed the lettuce, chunks of pineapple, halved black grapes, pieces of red peppers and drizzled the dressing over it. Topped it with some toasted sunflower seeds.

For the dressing -
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp olive oil
1 crushed garlic clove
1 tbsp honey
Combine and mix well

Monday, March 26, 2012

Orange Marmalade Cupcakes

I wasn't sure if I should title this post as Cupcakes or Muffins. When I was a little kid, I only knew of cupcakes - we got these cupcakes in a pack of six, in our local bakeries and I don't think even they had heard the term muffins. When I read Enid Blyton's books, they always had a grandma making scones, cupcakes and tea...

It was only when the more fancy looking cafes and bakeries opened in Bangalore, that I heard of, saw and tasted muffins. They looked like oversized and slightly dense cupcakes. I liked them and didn't worry so much about what it was called.
Today, I tried looking up for differences between cupcakes and muffins, and saw some informational and some funny comments on this post here on the Cupcake Project Check it out...


There was this one comment that said "If you throw a cupcake against a wall it will make a 'POOF' sound. However, if you did the same with a muffin it would make more of a 'THUD' sound"
There was no way I was going to throw mine against a wall, but I am pretty sure, going by how soft these were, there would be no 'THUD' ! So, here are my orange marmalade cupcakes...


I had this bottle of locally made orange marmalade sitting in my fridge, for a couple of months now, the sugar in it had crystallized and it just didn't look that appetizing any more. There was no way I would let it go waste and decided to use it in cupcakes

When I bake, I am still very apprehensive about experimenting, I always stick to a recipe. This time around I read a lot of recipes, but wanted to keep these eggless, so did my substitutions of banana, baking soda and curds and it turned out really soft and 'poofy'. They had a beautiful flavour of the marmalade and the banana wasn't overpowering it. If you don't like bananas, you can use apple instead, actually any fruit puree should work...

"When your wife is younger, you called her cupcake. When she is older with a double chin, you call her muffin"

Orange Marmalade Cupcakes
This makes 12 cupcakes

What you need -

1.5 cups APF / maida
3-4 tbsp orange marmalade
1 banana
3/4 cup plain yoghurt / curd
1.5 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp oil (I used safflower)
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

What you do with it -

In a bowl, mix the maida, baking powder and baking soda and set aside
Blend the banana with the curd to a smooth paste and transfer to a large bowl
Add the oil and milk to the banana mixture
Add the marmalade to this and mix well
Stir the maida into the large bowl and mix
Check to taste the sweetness. Mine needed a slight sweetness, so I added 1.5 tbsp sugar. You may need more or less depending on how sweet you like it
Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C
Line a muffin pan with the paper cups and grease the paper cups
Pour in the batter to 3/4th of the level
Bake at 180 deg C for 20 mins or till done
Cool for 5 mins and then enjoy the cupcakes with a cup of tea

Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy Ugadi and Gudi Padwa

Happy Ugadi and Gudi Padwa - Wish you all a very prosperous year ahead

Today is celebrated as the beginning of a new year as per the Hindu lunar calendar, and is celebrated by many communities in India, especially in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra

It is customary to eat neem leaves and some jaggery / sugar to begin the year and accept anything sweet or bitter that comes our way, during the year ahead


I made puran poli, a roti with a sweet stuffing of bengal gram and jaggery and karatey phodi / bittergourd fritters as my sweet and bitter start to the year !


Apart from this, I also made chana ghashi - black chickpeas in a coconut masala, dali saar - a simple everyday yellow dal, and this tendle bibbe upkari / tindora with cashewnuts

We've just had our meal and am just too full to post the recipes now...Will post them in a couple of days

Wish you all a prosperous year ahead !

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Recipes from the Taj - Mamidikaya Pappu / Tangy dal with raw mangoes

Its been a while since I looked up this book of recipes from the Taj
I, almost always, land up cooking from some blog or some new recipes that Ma or my friends tell me about.


The raw mangoes are in the market and there are some varieties of the ripe mangoes too, though they are ridiculously expensive now ! I love mangoes, but I can wait...A couple of weeks and the markets will be full of lovely ripe mangoes...

I picked up some raw mangoes last week and then decided on making this simple tangy dal with raw mangoes from the Taj book of recipes. Its really a simple dal and different from my usual ones. Going by the name, this recipe if from Andhra, but we Konkanis make something similar to this, called tauy kadi, though its been ages since I last made one

My son enjoyed the taste of raw mangoes in this dal and I think I should make it more often this season
This with hot rice and some curried potatoes made for a really nice lunch...

Mamidikaya Pappu
by Chef Balaje from Taj Coromandel, Chennai
Recipe Source - Chef's favourites from the Taj

What you need -

2 medium sized raw mangoes
1 medium sized onion sliced
3-4 green chillies
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 cup tur dal / split pigeon peas
1 tsp salt

1 spoon oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 red chillies
1 sprig curry leaves

What you do with it -

Wash and cut the raw mango into big cubes
Wash and soak the tur dal
Cook the dal along with the onions, raw mango pieces, green chillies and turmeric powder
When its done, add salt and mix well
For tempering, heat the oil, add red chillies, mustard seeds and cumin seeds
When they crackle, add curry leaves and garlic
Fry till garlic is golden brown
Add to the dal and serve hot with rice

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pedatha's Ginger Chutney / Allam Pachchadi

When I was visiting my cousin in the US a couple of years back, she had jars of pickles and pachchadis made by her mother-in-law, stacked up in her refrigerator. Her husband's family is originally from Andhra and the pickles and chutneys were absolutely lip-smacking

ginger chutney

This particular allam pachchadi / ginger chutney was at the breakfast table every morning. We had it with dosas regularly and one Sunday, her husband made these amazing pesarattus for breakfast. That and the allam pachchadi, for me, was a match made in heaven ! After I got back, I have been craving that ginger chutney, especially when I made pesarattu

Finally got down to making this from Pedatha's book. Absolutely delicious if you love the flavour of ginger as much as I do !

Ginger Chutney / Allam Pachchadi
Recipe Source : The vegetarian cookbook of traditional recipes "Cooking at home with Pedatha"
by Jigyasa Giri and Pratibha Jain

What you need -

1 cup peeled and grated ginger
3 tbsp tamarind pulp
1 tbsp jaggery
2 tbsp ghee
2 tbsp oil
salt to taste

1st tempering
1.5 tbsp split black gram / urad dal
1 tbsp mustard seeds
3-4 red chillies
1/2 cup curry leaves
1 cup coriander leaves (optional)
1 tsp asafoetida / hing
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

2nd tempering
1/2 tsp split black gram / urad dal
1/2 tsp mustard seeds

What you do with it -

In a wok / kadai, heat the ghee and fry the grated ginger well for 4-5 mins. The ginger should turn light red in colour
Do not over cook, the ginger needs to retain some of its juice. Set aside
In another wok / kadai, heat 1.5 tbsp oil for the first tempering. Add the urad dal and as it turns golden, pop the mustard seeds
Turn off the flame and add the red chillies. As they turn bright red, add the rest of the ingredients under 1st tempering and stir
grind this along with the tamarind pulp, jaggery and salt to a coarse paste
Add the cooked ginger and grind coarsely. Do not add any water while grinding
Heat the remaining oil for the 2nd tempering
Add the gram, as it turns golden, pop the mustard and switch off the flame
Garnish the chutney with this tempering
Serve with idlis, dosas, rice or my favourite, pesarattu!

Pedatha's tip: Avoid the coriander leaves if you want to preserve this chutney for a longer time

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Batata Saung / Konkani style potatoes in a chilli tamarind sauce

Here's an all time favourite Konkani dish with potatoes - its called Batata(Potato) Song / Saung
Its a funny name for a dish and friends always wonder why its called a song ! The logic I once heard is that its so spicy, it will make you sing !!
Actually, it isn't that spicy. Its just the magic of the byadgi chillies, that gives it this beautiful bright red colour, with just the right amount of heat. Byadgi is named after a town in Karnataka, that's famous for these chillies

Its easy to make and adds the zing to a regular meal.
My favourite is dali saar and rice with batata song...

Give it a shot, its really good !

batata song

Batata Saung
Adapted from Rasachandrika, the Saraswat cookery book

What you need -

1/2 kgs potatoes / 5-6 medium potatoes
10-12 red chillies (byadgi chillies are the best for this)
3 medium onions
1 small ball of tamarind / 1 tsp ready tamarind paste
2 tbsp oil
1 - 1.5 tsp salt

What you do with it -

Chop the onions
Cook the potatoes, peel and chop into bite size pieces
Byadgi chillies are the best option for this. If you are using any other variety, you may want to reduce the number of chillies to about 7-8
Grind the red chillies and tamarind to a smooth paste, using a little water
I usually soak the red chillies in hot water for 10 mins, before I grind it-makes it easier that way
In a pan, heat the oil and then add the onions and fry till it turns light brown in colour
Then add the ground masala, salt and potatoes and stir well
Add about 1/2 cup of water and allow it to simmer for about 10 mins
For an authentic Mangalorean taste, use coconut oil - I find it a bit overpowering though
Serve hot with rotis or a simple dal and rice

Friday, March 2, 2012

Eggless Oat Wheat Strawberry Loaf

I love the idea of baking bread at home and have baked a few times, though not as often as I'd like to. My friend would, co-incidentally, always come over the day I had baked bread and she thought I did this on a daily basis !
Ever since she had this multigrain bread at my place, she's been insisting that I show her how to bake bread with yeast, since she was nervous to do it on her own.

Our bread baking plans went kaput a few times and then finally last week, we actually got down to it. While the dough was rising beautifully, we decided not to waste time and baked a strawberry loaf meanwhile !

strawberry loaf

I checked for a few recipes and then zeroed in on this one from Priya's blog It turned out really soft and had a wonderful flavour of the strawberries

We did bake the bread too, a garlic and herb focaccia, which was really good. We gobbled it down before I could get down to taking any pictures !

I made this strawberry loaf again when a friend from Delhi was visiting, and this time I used oats and wheat flour. It wasn't as soft as the one with APF, but it wasn't dense either. It tasted really nice with the strawberry puree and the little bits of strawberry in the loaf, that burst with flavour...

What you need -

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup oat meal (quick cooking oats powdered in the blender)
(Or use 1.5 cups whole wheat flour and 1.5 cups APF/maida)
1 cup granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup oil (I used safflower)
3 tbsp plain yoghurt
10-12 strawberries
1 ripe banana
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp vinegar

What you do with it -

Remove stalks and wash the strawberries. Cut 4-5 strawberries into small pieces and keep aside
Purée the remaining strawberries with the banana and half cup sugar
In a bowl, add the wheat flour, oatmeal, salt, remaining sugar and baking soda
Preheat the oven to 180 deg C
Grease a loaf pan and line it with a baking sheet. I generally use the baking sheet so that its maintains the shape, comes out easily and lesser cleaning !
Add the oil and yoghurt to the purée. Stir well and then add the vinegar
Add this to the flour in the large bowl and stir gently 4-5 times, till it all comes together
Add the strawberry pieces and stir one more time
Bake for 25-30 mins. Allow to cool slightly before you cut into it
Enjoy it with a cup of tea or coffee


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