Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cardamom Cookies

Last week,while planning our trip to bangalore,I decided to bake some cookies for my two little nieces who love cookies made by their “deepachi”[Divya pachi-aunt] and eyeing the nuts event going on in blogosphere,decided to bake one using walnuts.I added some choco chips too and waited to see them picking those nuts first before eating the cookies;-).As I was preheating the oven,there was some odd smell coming out and I realized that my oven had just conked off.I felt really sad and packed the cookie dough in a cling film and stashed it away into the freezer.

As bad luck would have it,my fridge was also giving some problems and to play it safe,I transferred the cookie dough to my friends freezer[its still fine btw,so I know I can freeze the dough too].Everything’s been repaired and to check whether the oven was fine,I had to bake something.Since my friend was not at home I decided to make a fresh cookie.I was impatient to check whether the oven was in working condition and planned to make a simple butter cookie.While powdering the sugar,I remembered Lakshmi’s Cinnamon cookies,I wanted a small twist and added some crushed cardamom seeds instead of cinnamon and made a fine powder.Hence am calling these Cardamom cookies!!

I have added cardamom to both the nankhatais I made and I simply love the distinct taste of cardamom in any sweet preparation,it instantly peps me up.It also gives me the sense of having a dessert and I think nothing can beat that feeling!!I totally loved the cookie and I am planning to add cardamom everytime I bake cookies since it gives such a nice flavor to the cookies without the dominating taste.

Cardamom Cookies


Maida/Flour – 1 ¼ cup
Butter,softened – ½ cup
Sugar – ¾ cup
Crushed cardamom seeds – 1 tsp


Preheat oven to 150*C.
Powder the sugar with the cardamom seeds to get a fine powder.
Mix with the butter till it becomes creamy.
Slowly add the flour and knead till it forms a soft dough.
You can add few tbsp milk if the dough is dry and add few tbsp flour if the dough is sticky.
Make small balls of the mix and flatten a bit.

Place on a greased baking tray and bake for 20 minutes or till done.

I also revisited my first cookie-Malai cookies using Amul Cream.It came out better than the first time I made it,this time I sprinkled some powdered cardamom on top.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pineapple Pulisheri

I was cleaning up the fridge before a weekend trip to Bangalore and saw a box of cubed pineapple inside starting to shrivel.I had planned to make a Pineapple cake and we finished off some with cheese and cherries.I was finishing some last minute cooking before lunch and a friend called me up for a recipe.Can it get luckier than this for me?Right,she wanted the recipe for a Pulisheri,and a sweet one at that,with either Banana or Mango.

I was already grating coconut by the time I was giving her the recipe.I have never tried making pulisheri with pineapple,its always banana or the savoury version with Ash gourd and during summer,with mangoes.I followed the same recipe replacing it with pineapple.It was too good,I think one of the best sweet-curries ever.The slight sour taste of the pineapple perfectly blends with the sour curd which in fact is what gives the curry its name-pulisheri-a sweet and sour curry.

Pineapple Pulisheri


Ripe Pineapple – ¼ of 1 big Pineapple,chopped
Turmeric Powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Jaggery - 4 moulds or 4 tbsp of grated jaggery or 4 tbsp jaggery syrup
Thick curds - 1/2 cup

Grind to a smooth paste

Grated coconut - 1/2 of one coconut(medium)
Jeera/Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Green chillies-1 or 2(depending on the chillyness)

For seasoning

Coconut oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Jeera - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig


Cook pineapple in ¾ cup of water with turmeric.[Do not add too much water,just enough to cover the pineapple pieces]
When it is cooked,add salt to taste and mash gently.
Add the jaggery and let it boil.
Add the coconut paste at this stage.
Simmer for 3 minutes till everything gets mixed.
Switch off the flame.
Prepare seasoning in a pan and add all the ingredients one by one.
Add it to the pulisheri.
Beat the curds with a fork and add to the pulisheri when it is cooled a bit.
This pulisheri tastes equally good when served cool or hot.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Kappa Puzhukku ~ Tapioca cooked in Ground-Coconut Masala

I was talking with amma and I reminded her of the Samosa incident and we laughed a lot over it;-).Ahem..she reminded me back a similar incident which I had convieniently forgotten about.At our place,every year during Onam,we order Paalada from the Ernakulam Karayogam Hall-they served the best of Paalada those days,now of course it is available throughout the year.It was,no doubt one of our favorites and much much awaited item.One year,my brother had gone to collect it and I had just woken up.I brushed my teeth,washed my face and sat in front of the TV to enjoy Onam special programs-since I got to see MY favorite programs only when my bro was not at home.

Amma never served breakfast to us unless we took a bath and said our daily prayer.Yup she is very strict about that and to this day the rule is followed and she bends it only when the dearest of dear son-in-law shows up.So coming back to the story-my bro came back with the paalada and then the fight started as to who will have the first glass,who will drink the maximum and all such silly things.As I was about to drink,amma reminded me that I had not taken bath.More than that,what worried me was that by the time I took bath and came my bro would have finished my share too and I insisted I be allowed to drink.It was a stern NO from her and I remember I did not have my glass of Paalada even after my bath,even after breakfast and not even after my lunch.

During tea-time,amma lovingly came to me with the glass of Paalada and gently reminded me that some things are to be followed without questioning and I should not show my anger to food.I leaned on to her and like a 5-year old and finished my big glass of paalada;-).

All this banter coz of the simple Idli Upma I posted last which brought back so many wonderful memories.Here is the recipe of Kappa Puzhukku,one of our favorite tea-time snacks.

Kappa Puzhukku


Kappa/Tapioca – 2
Haldi/Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Salt to taste

For the ground masala

Grated coconut – 4 tbsp
Green chillies – 2
Jeera/Cumin – 1 tsp
Haldi – ½ tsp
Small Onions/Shallots – 5-6

For the seasoning

Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Curry leaves – 1-2 sprigs


Cook the kappa with haldi and salt till mushy-Check out this post for how to clean,peel and cook Kappa.
[You could also use leftover kappa puzhungiyathu for this].
Mash it well with the back of a spoon.
Make a coarse paste with the ingredients given for the masala and keep aside.
In a kadai,add coconut oil and splutter mustard seeds.
When they start popping,add curry leaves and the mashed kappa.
Stir to mix and add the ground paste.
Check for salt and add more if necessary.
Pour a tbsp of coconut oil over the puzhukku and close with a lid.
Open after a minute or so and mix well.
Serve hot!!
Some Recipe variations-

You could add a few cloves of Garlic to the ground masala for a different taste.
Or,you could avoid both onion and garlic for a no onion-garlic version.

At some places,this puzhukku is made without the seasoning.Just mix the boiled kappa with the masala and cook till everything gets mixed and pour few drops of coconut oil and add few curry leaves and the puzhukku is done.

Usually,kappa puzhukku is served with a Fish curry,or to be precise-Meen thala curry,a pickle type curry which goes well this.For this,you have to make the puzhukku dry,so that it can be mixed with the fish curry.

Another variation-make the puzhukku following the recipe exactly,when it cools down a bit-add a cup of whisked curd to it and mix well.This is called Kappa Aviyal.


Sanghi has passed me a Sweet award and she was Sweet enough to remind me to collect the Sweet it?Yup,I've been awarded the You're a Sweetheart award.Thank you so much Sanghi!!

I regard all my blogger-friends and my readers Sweet,but since I have to pass on this award,I choose a special person who is very very sweet to me,yup Purnima..Sweety sweetheart!!Thank you akka;-)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Idli Upma ~ Leftover Special

One thing I always looked forward to on my way back home from school during my school-days was the snack that was waiting for me at home.Amma made different snacks daily for us kids-something which can be tagged in the “naalu mani palaharam*”slot.My walking speed naturally increased when I reached the house gate and then it would be a mad rush throwing the bag on the bed,cleaning up and changing into home clothes and rushing to the kitchen to see what was cooking.Once she had made piping hot samosas and I came straight from the door and put my hand into the plate without washing my hands.As I was about to put it into my mouth,amma held my hands and said-first wash your hands,clean up and then eat.I was so angry and upset that I didn’t change and sat on my bed-irritated and fussy till my hunger reached its peak level and my brothers did not help matters one bit by eating right in front of me and making me smell the samosa and all that..;-)I surrendered…all’s well that ends well!!

Even today,if there’s something which I totally look forward to eating,it is those palaharams* and I don’t think any bakery-food can beat that.I always think of preparing some healthy snacks along with tea and even though nothing beats those deep-fried bajjis and samosas and cutlets,in these days of healthy eating,those are all “indulgences” which should be had once in a fortnight or so.

Few days back,I had decided to make raw-jackfruit bajji(deep-fried,I know) with the fresh batch I had bought from Kerala.But something made me raid the fridge and lo behold! What do I find there??Some leftover Kappa Puzhungiyathu and Idlis from the morning breakfast.Decided to make Kappa Puzhukku.But then,I was not sure if hubby would like it so I made some Idli Upma too(he loved both).Amma gave me this recipe which was given to her by our friend and neighbour Tara moushi.Truly a keeper recipe-easy and tasty and can be made under 10 minutes if you have leftover idli.

Idli Upma ~ Leftover special


Idli – 5-6 ,cut into small cubes

For the seasoning

Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Jeera – ¼ tsp
Urad dal – ¼ tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Red chilly powder – 1 tsp
Salt to taste


In a kadai,heat oil and splutter mustard seeds.
When they start popping,add the jeera,urad dal and curry leaves.
Add the chilly powder and immediately add the cubed idli(chilly powder should not become brown,so add the idlis real fast)
Add salt and mix well.
Keep the flame on simmer and let the idli become slightly roasted an all sides.
Serve hot!!
Check out another variation of Idli Upma here.

*Naalu mani palaharam - 4'o'Clock snack/Tea-time snack.

*Palaharam-Malayalam word for snack.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Heart-shaped Chocolate Cake for V-day!!

Wishing all of you a very Happy Valentines Day!!

I think this is the first time that we,as a couple are celebrating V-day with wishing each other,cake cutting and,we are not newly married and this is not our first v-day together.Its just that we didn’t think it quite mattered[not that we do now,but still].I think the prime reason I made a cake is to put it up on the blog;-).

Few weeks back,while talking to a friend casually[it was her first v-day,btw],she asked me to suggest something to surprise her hubby.She wanted me to try something out so that she can reproduce it.I had no clue and I asked her to try out the
easiest chocolate cake in the MW.That got me thinking,while the whole world is celebrating,why should I step behind.

I decided to bake something specially for V-day.Can a heart shaped cake be far behind when it came to the day of the cupid,day of the heart?Absolutely not,so heart-shaped chocolate cake it is!!

Cake making experience- Though I’ve baked many cakes before,some in the MW and some in the convection mode,this is the first time I am frosting it.I am scared and develop cold feet whenever it comes to frosting/icing and I still do.During one of our chats,a dear dear friend Purnima gave me the much required confidence boost and told me that I can do it if I try.She was sweet enough to send me a couple of helpful links so that I can bake and frost the cake smoothly.After a lot of Yes-No thoughts,I finally decided to bake this cake and frost it.I thought in case I feel scared in between,we can always relish the plain cake.The cake came out great!Chocolatey and super moist and tastes great with whipped cream frosting…yummmm!!!I followed VahChef’s recipe for frosting.

Heart shaped Chocolate Cake for Valentine’s Day
[Adapted from Deeba's Chocolate Yogurt Cake recipe]


For the Cake

Flour - 1 ½ cups
Wholewheat flour – ½ cup
Cocoa - 2/3 cup
Baking Soda - 1 tsp
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Pinch of salt
Butter – ½ cup,at room temperature
Sugar - 1 cup[I used half a cup of Demerara sugar too]-So altogether 1 ½ cups
Eggs - 2
Yogurt - 1 ½ cups
Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp


Grease well & line a heart-shaped pan, & preheat the oven to 180*C.
Sift both the flours,baking powder,baking soda,salt &cocoa. Keep aside.
Beat the butter & sugar. Add eggs & beat again. Add vanilla extract & beat.
Now alternatively add the flour mix & yogurt till well incorporated.
Turn into the cake pan, level out & bake for 45 minutes or until done.
Once done, cool in pan for 5 minutes, turn out on rack.

For the frosting

Whipped Cream – 300 ml[I used a pack and a half of Amul Fresh Cream]
Sugar – 5 tsps
Cherries – a few,chopped-reserve a few for top[I used Cherries in Sugar syrup]
Strawberry Crush – 2 tbsp mixed with 2 tbsp water[Can replace this with thin sugar syrup]
Chocolate shavings/flakes – as required for the topping

Assembling the cake

Whip the cream and sugar till soft peaks form.
Cut the cake horizontally into three or more layers.
Keep one layer on the serving plate and pour few drops of strawberry crush-syrup.
Spread 2/3 of the whipped cream on top.
Sprinkle few chopped cherries on top.
Repeat with the 2 layers.
For the final finish,sprinkle chocolate flakes on top and the sides.
Arrange few cherries on top.
Slice and serve it to your loved ones!!!

Sending this Heart to

Heart Shaped foods Event at Bindiya's blog,

Cook & Create with Luv for Luv at Priyanka's blog,

Just for you at Alka's blog.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sprouted Moong Kosumbari

Few years back,I would cringe at the thought of having a salad as a 11 AM snack or a dinner by itself,but now I happily crunch and munch away.Salad bar was one area I completely neglected while on a buffet or a dinner party.And moreover,salad to me was cut cucumber,tomato and onions.When I was required to increase my salad intake while on my diet,I was confused.I did not like eating raw onions and other than in tomato sauce or any tomato-based gravies,I disliked tomatoes too.

But sometimes,you have to go against your wishes and follow a plan.Diet works only and only if you have a proper diet plan.I was determined to lose weight and hence was willing to eat anything which my dietician prescribed.I started checking out different salad recipes,checked out low-fat recipes in websites and what not.Ma-in-law makes salads on a daily basis and I started following her recipes which gave me different varieties to choose from.Now I too make different salads daily and as the McDonald’s ad says – I’m Loving it!!

P.S - After the dessert overdose at Easycooking,I guess I have to make it up with this healthy salad;-)!!!

Sprouted Moong Kosumbari ~ Sprouted Green gram Salad


Sprouted Moong – ½ cup
Cucumber – ½ of 1 medium sized cucumber-chopped finely
Tomato – 1,small-chopped finely
Grated coconut(optional) – 1 tsp
Crushed jaggery – 1 tsp
Coriander leaves – ½ a bunch
Crushed pepper – ½ tsp
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste


Mix together sprouted moong,cucumber,tomato,grated coconut,chopped coriander leaves and crushed pepper.
Add crushed jaggery,lime juice and salt to taste.
Serve immediately.

Off this goes to Susan,of Well-seasoned cook who is hosting this month's My Legume Love Affair Eighth helping.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

From your blogs # 4 ~ Baked Goodies

From other blogs was immersed deep down in my blog label and since I had some recipes tried out from other blogs,I decided to brush it up with this post.

I am uncertain about posting recipes from other blogs.Personally,I would love it if someone tried a recipe from my blog and blogged about it,but I recently discovered not all people think alike.I have tried many recipes from cookbooks,internet and now food blogs.I’ve succeeded many a times and have had to throw the entire stuff out many more times.I am not a great cook and I believe I am still learning.I would never have ventured into baking if not for blogging.Almost all my baking recipes are those which I tried out from many of your blogs.

Somehow,trying out a recipe from another blog gives you that extra boost of confidence.Contrary to recipes from a cookbook or website,this one has an extra advantage of having passed the test at someone else’s kitchen.And that’s what makes it tempting to me.I always write down the recipe or save it in word so that I can use it for future reference.I add the recipe to the post only to keep a record for my own sake.I have come across many linked recipes-sometimes the links don’t work and sometimes the recipe owners make the blog private.I have reproduced recipes myself and I have no intention to take credit for the recipe or to call the recipe my own.

Without further ado-here’s four super-duper baked goodies I tried out-From your blogs!!

Deeba’s Chocolate Yogurt Cake – Deeba needs no introduction in the blogosphere.Her posts are awesome and always leaves me drooling over the amazing pictures that she takes.I was tempted to try out this cake primarily because of the fantastic pictures[tooooo good] and then I make a similar recipe myself.The outcome was simply superb and I can vouch for this.One of the best chocolate cakes I’ve made so far.I got two small cakes and it is a superhit with our friends.

Changes I made-None..the cake’s a winner!!

Other recipes from Deeba that I’ve tried –

Vanilla Cupcakes
Burger Buns
Eggs in Bread

Sunita’s Choco-Banana-Almond cake – I started making banana-based baked goodies only recently and I am hooked.I buy extra bananas these days and keep them aside for baking.I made this cake a while after Sunita posted it.

Changes I made - The only change was-I made it eggless.Yup!.I had read somewhere that banana acts as a egg replacer so I skipped it altogether.I got a dense cake but tasty nevertheless.The grated chocolate in every bite gave the cake an extra kick!!

Bindiya’s Jam centered muffins – Much before I started blogging,I chanced upon Bindiya’s blog when I searched for Instant pizza[its another thing that I haven’t made it yet].I have loved her My favorite things series and plan to send something for her Heart shaped cooking event.

Changes I made – I followed my own recipe for
muffins and filled the center with jam.Absolutely delicious.

Sowmya’s Fruity Cake – I remember having Frooty bread from our local bakery and loved picking at tutti fruttis..;-).Had bookmarked Sowmya’s recipe the moment I saw it.

Changes I made – Again,I followed
this recipe and added tutti frutti to the batter and baked in a loaf tin.Despite flouring the tutti frutti,mine sank to the bottom-please help!

Goodies that I am planning to try-

Raaga’s Coriander Buns
Purnima’s Home-made Pav
Deeba’s Coffee Mocha Gateau

Previous editions of From your blogs - 1 , 2 and 3

Thanks folks!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sweet Khichdi

My dear in-laws are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary today!!Yes,and this post is dedicated to them.

I’ve been away for a while,I know.But I couldn’t let this day pass without a mention.Holiday hangover plus a writers/bloggers block(!!) had kept me away and when I told this to hubby,he asked me to take the safe route-keep the post short and sweet[is there ever such a thing;-)]

I made sweet khichdi to celebrate the joy.I first tasted this dish with a big apprehension.The name khichdi was a deterrent as I am not too fond of the savoury version and when ma-in-law told me this is a totally different sweet I decided to take the plunge and liked it immensely.It is not a payasam nor a halwa,an in-between sweet which is usually made during special occasions,festivals etc.

Sweet Khichdi

Channa dal – 1 cup
Broken wheat – 1 cup
Jaggery (grated) – 2 cups
Sugar – 1 cup
Grated coconut – ½ cup
Ghee – 4 tbsp
Crushed cardamom – 1 tsp
Cashewnuts – 2 tbsp,chopped
Banana – 1,chopped into thin slices


Roast channa dal and broken wheat separately till a nice aroma comes-about 5 minutes(do not brown it).
Cook together in a pressure cooker adding enough water.
Add jaggery and sugar to the cooked dal-wheat mix.
Keep mixing-at this point the khichdi will look too thin and watery,keep stirring and it will thicken.
Add grated coconut and 3 tbsp ghee.
Roast the cashewnuts in the remaining ghee and add to the khichdi.
Simmer for 10 minutes or till the khichdi becomes thick-pourable consistency.
Add crushed cardamom.
Garnish with chopped banana and serve hot.

Update - Sending this bowl of Khichdi to Ashwini for the Lentil Mela.
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