Monday, August 31, 2009

Indian Cooking Challenge~Vinayaka Chathurthi Special!!

When Srivalli announced the dishes for this month's challenge,I was a bit skeptical.She said lets plan someting big for Vinayaka Chathurthi and hence make dishes around the theme.I was going through the dishes mentioned and there I saw it...Modaks..I know Lord Ganesha and Modaks are synonymous with each other know,I can never get the consistency right for the modaks and every year I end up saying sorry to Him for not making Modaks.So I was in a tiff whether to attempt the challenge.

Last week,during Vinayaka Chathurthi,I attempted it after all.I was tensed and followed the recipe to the T.While shaping it I was literally praying aloud[for a change not yelling:)].Though the shape came out well[I even got the pleats right!!],the top half was a bit hard and became harder on cooling.So I decided I would attempt it again.A challenge can't be taken so lightly,can it??I donned my apron again yesterday.Made both Ladoo and Modaks.Though the modaks came pretty well this time,while cooling down,the same problem arose,they became kind of hard and chewy.Though there were only one or two left:).Did you guys have that problem or was it only me.If so can you please suggest any tips how to keep them soft??

Sesame Ladoo was something I have never tried making.I followed Srivalli's recipe-the easiest recipe I have come across.Though while binding the laddoo,I cheated and added a few sprinkles of water,rest I followed the exact recipe:).

Kudumulu (Modak)


Rice Flour - 1½ cups
Water - 3 cups
Salt to taste

Grated coconut - 3 tbsp
Jaggery - 3 tbsp
Cardamom powder a pinch

Method to prepare

In a bowl, take the flour and make a smooth paste with enough water. This is to ensure, you don't get lumps when you cook the flour.
Boil the rest of the water in a pan with salt. Once it starts boiling, add the rice flour mix. and cook. Making sure there are no lumps.Add 1 tsp of oil and keep stirring.
Remove when it forms as solid with the sides leaving. Remove and cover with a damp cloth so that it remains hot.
For the filling, grate coconut. and mix jaggery. Cook in a pan to get an thick texture. Divide into required shapes
For the kudumulu, smear your hands with oil so that rice flour doesn't stick to your hands. Take a ball size of lemon, press in middle so that in middle it is thick and fill with fillings. Close the dough and make it shaped as drop.
Once everything is done, steam it for 10 mints.

Nugul-untallu~Sesame Laddoo


Sesame seeds - 100 gms
Grated Jaggery - 4-5 tbsp


Wash Sesame seeds well and dry them under sun.
Dry roast them in a tawa and let them cool.
Once they are cool, take about 2 - 3tbsp of grated or powdered jaggary and run in a mixie.

The amount of jaggery normally depends on the formation of laddoo. When you make a laddoo, it should stay in shape. Then you know the amount is enough. Also it depends on the fineness of the sesame powder. When you run in mixie, it becomes little oily which will help in holding the laddo shape.For about 100 gms of Sesame seeds,use some 3 tbsp of Jaggery.

Wishing all of you a very Happy Vinayaka Chathurthi!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Steamed Chocolate Cake!!

I did my schooling in a Convent school and majority of my friends were from the Christian community.During Easter and Christmas[more so during Xmas],my friends brought along Cakes,Brownies and such other baked stuff to school.Mostly homemade and needless to say,delicious as well.I used to go home and ask amma why she did not bake and why can’t we use eggs at home to make baked goodies and why she only makes Nankhatai and not cakes.I sure was a nasty kid:).I overlooked the fact that she made the best chips,best sweets[not baked though] and so many varieties of snack back to back for us three ever-hungry-for-a-snack kids:)

During my learning-to-cook phase,though I tried cooking different stuff,baking was a no-no,since we did not have an oven and most importantly,amma wouldn’t allow cooking with eggs:).But I still wanted to make or rather bake a cake.During that time Pillsburry introduced Pressure Cooker cakes.I promptly bought one packet only to discover later that we needed to add eggs,oil and water to it.Shucks..what to do.Me and bro decided it is “okay’ to skip the eggs and went ahead with the cake.What we got in the end was a denser than a brownie cake and no prizes for guessing where it went after the tasting session..:).

Recently,I came across a recipe by Lakshmi Nair[of Magic Oven fame]which was a simple steamed Chocolate Cake.Though initially the recipe reminded me of the Pressure cooker cake:),I went ahead with the recipe.The cake tasted excellent..moist and chocolatey.I poured some chocolate syrup on top and decorated it with some sprinkles.Thanks to her..:)

Steamed Chocolate Cake
Recipe adapted from Lakshmi Nair’s Cookbook-Paachakakala


Maida/Flour – 1 cup
Cocoa powder – 4 tbsp
Powdered sugar – 1 cup
Baking powder – 1 tsp
Baking soda – ½ tsp
Salt – a pinch
Milk – 1 cup
Vinegar – 1 tbsp
Egg – 1
Melted butter – 1 tsp
Vanilla essence – 1 tsp


Add the vinegar to milk and mix well with a spoon,leave it aside for 15 minutes[after a few minutes,milk will start to curdle and become sour milk]
Sieve together maida,cocoa,baking powder,baking soda and salt twice.
Beat together powdered sugar and egg.
Add the essence and keep beating.
Add the melted butter.
Now add the flour-mix and the sour milk alternately in three batches till you get a smooth lump-free batter.
Grease a baking tin and pour the batter in it.Cover tightly using aluminium foil so that the steam does not escape.
Steam the cake for 45 minutes.[I used a steamer].
Invert from the tin and pour some chocolate syrup on top and add sprinkles.
Let it cool completely.
Slice and serve!! My niece Raksha is celebrating her birthday today.Happy Birthday Rakshu darling.♥Love ♥ you lots!!

Here’s a sneak peek at the test cake my vanni prepared for her birthday.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tandoori Paneer,Roasted Capsicum&Corn Pizza!!

"What to make for dinner??"A question which pops up before me every day.Ever since I started having rotis for lunch,I detest making them again for dinner.Rice is a no-no and so is rice-based items and sadly I end up making rotis itself.Its been a while since we ordered food from outside or dined out,thanks to the Swine flu,but to be frank,we did not miss it much[dining out that is,NOT Swine flu:)].

We have not been great fans of Pizza.Once in a while we do have the urge and we order from Dominos,be the perfect couch potatoes and curl up in front of the tv.Thats it.Off late I have been saying No to Ajay’s offer for a pizza takeaway ever since I saw an ad for a pizza that is loaded heavily with cheese-not the normal one[that is tempting],the one which only has cheese..umm,I am not sure I want that!!I have made Pizza once long back and loved it but have not recreated the magic again.

Then comes the dessert queen with her Pizza,not one but two of them back to back.I had bookmarked the first one and planned to make it this weekend.But no,she tempted me too much with this one.While I was going through the post,I was thinking of a veggie alternative to the Tandoori chicken sausage and Paneer was chosen me:).

We ♥ed it..;).I made it almost low-fat..quite an oxymoron,can pizza ever be low-fat???Chose a whole wheat base and pressed the break button while grating the cheese.The topping was spectacular,paneer was soft,roasted capsicum tasted smoking hot and the sweet corn gelled perfectly with the rest of the ingredients.

Tandoori Paneer,Roasted Capsicum &Corn Pizza
Recipe adapted from Ria [made the topping vegetarian]


Base - 1 no , I made a whole wheat base following this recipe
Topping- Tandoori Paneer, Roasted Bell Pepper and Sweet corn kernels
Pizza Sauce- 2 ½ tbsp
Cheese- 100 gms ,grated

For the topping

Tandoori Paneer
Paneer- 100 gms,cut into thin squares
Tandoori Masala- 1½ tsp [I used Everest Tandoori Masala]
Red Chilli Flakes- 1 tsp
Salt- ¼ tsp
Curd- 1 tsp
Oil-2 tsp

Marinate paneer cubes with tandoori masala, red chilli flakes,salt and curd for 30 mins.
Heat oil in a pan and saute the paneer till done.

Roasted Bell Pepper
Bell Pepper- 1 no.
Hold the pepper using a fork and roast it over the flame till the skin gets blackened.
Rub the black skin off and discard the seeds.
Cut them into bite sized portions.

Assembling the Pizza
Roll out the pizza base as directed here.
Spread 1½ tbsp of Pizza sauce over it.
Sprinkle roasted bell pepper, 3-4 tbsp of sweet corn kernels and sautéed Paneer.
Spread another 1 tbsp of sauce over it.
Grate the cheese over it as even as you can.
I sprinkled some oregano on top of the cheese.
Bake them in a pre-heated oven ( at the max.temp) for 10-12 mins.
Cut into wedges and serve!

I didn't couldn't take more pics as I was hungrythere was no proper lighting in the kitchen and I was yearning for a bite it was getting late:):):).

♥ed each and every bite of it.Thanks Ria,you are a ♥darling♥!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sugar Diamonds ♥No can eat just one♥

While chatting with a friend lately,I was asked how I got transformed into a "cook" from a bubbly teenager.I haven't,[age,yes but not the cooking part:)].There are days when I literally drag myself into the kitchen to cook something.Cooking is not "all" I do,but no,if I say I have a food blog,some people think all I do is cooking,far from that actually:).

Cooking,or the love for cooking should come naturally.For instance,when I am at home[Ekm] and I ask amma the recipe for something,she prefers to cook it for me rather than simply give the recipe.I just can't imagine myself doing that:).I can even write it and give,but no cooking;).My aunt[amma's younger sis]has the same habit[birds of the same feather flock together;)].When I was in Kerala,and she was home,I asked her the recipe for Godsani ronti/Godi Thukdi a.k.a,Sugar diamonds and she said-'oh,its very easy-lets make it now'.Though the blogger in me was very happy since I got to take pics and all that,I was amused at the energy level they had.If I had at least 10% of that,I guess it'll drive away my laziness forever:)

Sugar diamonds are very popular as a sweet and crunchy snack.Usually,a recipe search for the same would give you recipes which uses eggs as a binding agent for the dough.Here is a simple eggless recipe which you can whip up in less than 30 minutes:).

Sugar Diamonds


Maida/Flour - 1 cup
Salt to taste

Water - a little,to knead the dough
Oil - for frying
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Cardamom - 2-3


Mix together maida and salt.
Add water little by little and knead into a stiff dough.
Make 7-8 balls of the same size and keep aside.
Roll each ball into a thin chapathi.
Using a cutter[or a knife]cut diamond shapes.
Deep fry in hot oil till crisp[not brown].
Powder the sugar with the cardamom.
Mix the powdered sugar into the hot diamonds swiftly,but take care not to break it.
Shake it a little so that the sugar is coated all around.
Store in an airtight container.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Modak for Lord Ganesha~Happy Vinayaka Chathurthi!!

Wishing you all a very Happy Vinayaka Chathurthi!!!

There’s festival spirit all around and people are gearing up to celebrate the festival season with this one being the first of the lot after “Aadi/Karkadakom/Aashada” month.I can’t wait too..:).Today is “Athachamayam” too ie the first day for adorning houses with Pookalam for Onam.Diet/exercise days,please go and take a break..I am going to forget you for a while..;)

Vinayaka Chathurthi was a very special festival for us children,mainly in terms of the food[sweets,rather]that was offered as naivedyam.We looked forward to the Modak,Kozhukkatais and all the yummy sweets that were offered to Lord Ganesha.

Modak to us is a fried sweet with plaintains and rice flour/maida.I am sure many of you are nodding your heads in disbelief,but it’s a fact.The other one,was Kozhukkatta.I remember,during our first Vinayaka Chathurthi after marriage,I told Ajay that I’ll make Modaks.He was excited as it was his favorite sweet.After the pooja,when I gave him the same,he asked me where is THE modak..:).For him,there is only one modak and that is the one with Choorna[coconut-jaggery filling] inside.

I always have a tiff with the Ukadiche Modak[that seems to be an apt name] as I never get the consistency right for the outer covering and end up making patholi.

So presenting my version of Modak:)

Modak for Lord Ganesha


Ripe plantains – 2
Maida/Rice flour – ½ cup[Use either maida or rice flour]
Salt – a pinch
Sugar – 2 tsp
Cardamom powder – 1 tsp
Ghee for frying[I used coconut oil]


Mash the plantains well.
Add sugar,salt,maida/rice flour and powdered cardamom.
Mix well to form a dough-the consistency would be like a sticky chapathi dough.
Heat oil/ghee in a frying pan and drop small spoonfuls of batter.
Deep fry till it becomes light brown.
Offer to Lord Ganesha and then serve:)

Sending this to Purva for the celebration of Ganesh Chathurthi Festive event.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pav Bhaji ~ Street food at its best!!

My first introduction to chaat was in a small make-shift cart which sold chaats,called "Yadav Chaat-wala".But even then,the last thing my dad would let us do was to stand on the road-side and devour chaats..;).So my bro used to pack it and bring it home hiding it from appa.Of course,he found out eventually,but then he disliked we having food from roadside anyway.After a while,Bombay Chaats[as it was/is populary known as]was available in restaurants and we went berserk ordering it everytime we went to "Canopy" a popular restaurant in Ernakulam below Abad Plaza.

Once,while having a plate full of Pani puri in Bangalore,I happened to see something-I wouldn't go into the detail of what I saw,but that made me off-chaats for a long long time.I know cleanliness and hygiene is least expected when it comes to chaats..but still.After that incident,chaat to me was Pav bhaji,I was put off all chaat items except Pav bhaji[Thank God for small mercies;)].

I have got over the off-chaat phase now and will jump at the opportunity to have it,but I am more careful now and have it only from places where I know a basic level of hygiene is maintained.

I came across these super soft Pav buns yesterday and I had to buy it to make Pav bhaji.Some day,I would like to make home-made pav buns too..but thats for another post..hmm..later;).


Pav buns – 4[store-bought]

For the bhaji

Onions – 2,chopped fine
Tomatoes – 2,chopped fine
Potatoes – 2,cubed
Carrot – 1,cubed
Cauliflower – 2-3 florets,chopped
Capsicum – ½ of 1 big,chopped

Oil – 1 tbsp
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tsp
Red chilly powder – 1 tbsp
Pav bhaji Masala – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves – a handful
Butter- for greasing the pav and garnishing the bhaji


Steam/boil the vegetables till well cooked and keep aside.
In a kadai,add oil and sauté onions along with the ginger garlic paste till the onions become translucent.
Add the tomatoes and keep sautéing,till the tomatoes become soft.
Add chilly powder,pav bhaji masala and salt and mix well.
Now add the steamed/boiled vegetables.
Mix well till everything comes together,add more water if required.
Mash the vegetables well using a potato masher or with the back of a spoon.
Add a dash of butter and a handful of freshly chopped coriander leaves.
Check out the melting butter on top of the bhaji...yumm..I ♥ it..:)

To serve

In a pan,add some butter and lightly warm/roast the pav on both sides.
Serve hot with bhaji,chopped onions and a slice of lemon.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Few awards,a Tag,some info and just bla BLA bla!!

Let me warn you before hand,there's no recipe to share today.Now before you go "nahiiiiiiii" like a Bollywood heroine,let me assure,I might just add a food pic or a recipe below this post[there..I got you interested,didn't I?]

Its been a while since I did a non-recipe post here[I have too many recipes to share,I guess:)].I have been showered with awards and tagged too by few of my blogger friends and after a slight nudge,[ok,reminder] from one of those,I felt I have to give that sweet gesture its due credit and here I am with an exclusive post just for that:).

Ria of Ria's Collection-my tweet partner/confidante,Ramya of Simple Vegetarian recipes,Minu of Chettinad Fiesta,Mandira of Baking Buddies and Kanchan of Kitchen Gossip have passed on these sweet awards to me.Thank you folks,I feel as happy as a three year old who got her candy..Love ya people..:)

Prasu of Prasu's Kitchen and Sireesha of Mom's recipes have passed on these.Thank you so much and I appreciate the gesture..:)

Now on to the Tag-

1.What is your current obsession?
Baking has been an obsession for the last few months and then Twitter..:)

2. What are you wearing today?
A salwar kameez

3.What's for dinner?[I am doing the tag now,so whats for Breakfast would be more appropriate:)]
Idiyappam and Stew.

4. What’s the last thing you bought?
Some baking stuff-Chocolate slabs,Choco chips and baking tray

5. What are you listening to right now?
I like the songs from the latest Hindi movie Kaminay--dhan tana..;)

6. What do you think about the person who tagged you?
I've been tagged by a wonderful bunch of food bloggers..:)

7. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
Good ol' Ernakulam[count this too,I am obsessed about that place..;)]

8. What are your must-have pieces for summer?
I have summer all year through in Chennai...sigh.So cotton clothes..mostly salwars,FabIndia Kurtis..the works..;)

9. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
Since Ernakulam would sound repetitive,I would say Bangalore??[yeah,I am quite boring;)]

10. Which language do you want to learn?
Sweet Marathi..:)

11. Who do you want to meet right now?

12. What is your favorite colour?

13. What is your favourite piece of clothing in your own closet?
My Sarees are precious,my favorites would be the cute t-shirts I recently got..:)

14. What is your dream job?
A Baker..??:)

15. What’s your favourite magazine?
Anything which would keep me occupied..Readers Digest & Good Housekeeping tops the list.

16. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?
I would use it to spend a nice and cozy dinner with hubby and probably buy something for him too..;)

17. What do you consider a fashion faux pas?
Wearing a size too small..!!

18. Who are your style icons?
My teen icon was Karisma Kapoor,I loved the way she dressed[post Raja Hindustani:)]

19. Describe your personal style?
Comfortable yet trendy clothes which suit me:)

21. What are your favourite movies?
I just cant pick one..

22. Give us three styling tips that always work for you:
Kajal,lipgloss and a comb..always does wonders..:)

23. Coffee or tea?

24. What do you do when you are feeling low or terribly depressed?
Cry for a while[YES] and then talk it out with hubby[that always works for me],he is my punchbag and counselor..:)

25. What is the meaning of your name?

26. Which other blogs you love visiting?
Soooooo many to chose..:)

27. Favorite Dessert/Sweet?
Chocolate cake with Ice-cream..;)

28. Favorite Season?
Rainy season..;)

29.Which is your dream destination?

30.Mandira's additional question-What is the one dish that you have tried and tried and still now managed to get right?
Butter Cookies..any which way I make them-without measuring-I sometimes eyeball the measurements,still it comes out perfect..:)

Some info-

I've been getting lots of mails/scraps regarding information about my baking and the stuff I use.Though I do not consider myself an authority to answer all those questions since I am a beginner baker myself,I feel if my answers help people to start baking effortlessly,then my job is done.

First and foremost - The oven I use- I bake in my IFB Microwave Oven.Initially,I did the baking in the microwave mode,but later on I started baking in the convection mode and I have got perfect results,almost like a normal baking oven.I have heard people say that baking is uneven[esp Cakes] while it is done in the MW,but I have never encountered such a problem.

Baking tins I use- I normally use metal tins for baking.Glass dishes don't work so well while baking in the convection mode.It always helps if you grease and line the pan before baking cakes.

Baking chocolate I use - I have not much experimented with this.I've used them to make chocolate flakes and then recently made ganache,thats all.I use a brand called Marco.It is a cheap alternative to the regular baking chocolates.However,if the recipe requires you to melt the chocolate and all that,best is to go for Morde or Selbourne.

Butter I use - I almost always use Aavin butter[unsalted] for all my baking needs.If not,Amul or even Nilgiris brand of butter works well.But Aavin is better and economical:).

Cream/Whipping cream I use - We only get Amul cream here,so can't much experiment with that one.It is hard to whip Amul to peak stage,but if the climate is cool and you chill the cream,the bowl,beater blades etc,you'll get near perfect results.I recently purchased a whipping cream powder which works like magic.Its hard to go back to Amul:).For ganache however,Amul works best.

Flour & other stuff I use - I use Maida or all purpose flour since self raising flour or cake flour is hard to find here.I use any brand,whichever is available-no brand favorites here.Baking powder is Weikfield and baking soda is a loose packet from Nilgiris-make sure you replace it every month-better if you buy it in small quantities.

Photo editing tool I use - Picasa and always Picasa.I believe I take below-average pics[:)]and I take help from Picasa to make them look appealing.Just google for help on how to use picasa and you'll get each and every info you need.Mail me if you need any more tips..;)

I hope it helps..:)

Now,here is the food pic I tempted you with in the first line.Food pics from a Cooking class I recently attended.I am still to try the recipes at home though..:)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Homemade Banana Chips~Happy Krishnashtami!!

Wishing you all a very Happy Krishnashtami!!

I find it strange that many people celebrate this festival on different dates.I hear,in North it is celebrated tomorrow and in Kerala it is in September.Lucky Krishna,gets to celebrate His birthday so many times in a year..:).As I’ve mentioned before,Krishnashtami is celebrated in full fun and fervor in our place since we stay quite close to a Krishna temple and we have poojas at home as well.I am missing it all this year too..sigh!!

Last week,we celebrated "Suthan Punnav",or "Avani avittom" as it is commonly known as.It is a yearly ceremony of changing the sacred thread-"Jannave/poonnool".We celebrated it a day later[On Thursday],the day we reached Ekm.Amma had made typical Konkani festival fare.We had Hittu,Soi bhajil ghashi &Surna Adgai for breakfast and Dudhiya alchikeri&Kellya ambat for lunch.We celebrate Rakhi/Raksha bandhan on the same day so some more goodies were on the cards..:)

Ashtami/Krishnashtami is one festival where sisters have special preference.We have a custom called "Phallar divche",which is basically a gift for the married sister by the brother[s].It is given to the sister few days before Ashtami.Usually,the phallar contains homegrown vegetables,fruits and then some sweets and yes,money for the sister.Amma makes sure she packs her home made goodies along with the phallar.The main attraction is no doubt,her Banana chips.Tastes simply superb and this time,I made sure I helped her out with the preparation.

I did much more than taking the pics,I swear!!

Banana Chips


Raw Banana[Naadan nendrapazham] – 2 kg
Coconut oil – 1 litre
Salt – 4 tbsp
Haldi – 1 tbsp
Water-as required


Wash and peel the bananas.Keep them in a bowl of water to which a tbsp haldi is added-this prevents the bananas from getting sticky.

Wipe them dry with a kitchen towel and keep aside.
Mix haldi and salt-add 3-4 tbsps of water and make a thin paste.

In a kadai,add oil and wait till it becomes hot.
Using a mandoline,slice the bananas directly into the hot oil.[Or slice it very thin using a sharp knife].
Stir once so that they don’t stick together-but don’t keep stirring or else it will become oily.
Add 1-2 tbsps of haldi-salt water into the oil.
Keep the flame on high and wait till the chips become yellow and crispy.

Drain them into absorbent paper.
Let cool and then store in an airtight container.
Crunch and munch..!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Veg Pulao

Feeling lazy?..make Pulao.Too much work during a get-together party?make Biryani or rather,..feel like eating something tasty but no time?make pressure-cooker pulao!!There’s nothing like a Pulao or Biryani to save you time on a busy day.Though it is often associated with lots of prep work and stuff,like many other dishes,this one too has got many easier versions.

Hubby is not too fond of the Veg variations of pulao and keeps raving about the Non-veg Biryani and how much I am missing it and stuff..I stuff tablespoons of pulao with lots of vegetables in my mouth and tell him that I am more than happy to be eating it all by myself..;).

A while back,we were invited for dinner at a dear friends’ place.R,is a very good cook and she had prepared Veg Pulao for us along with some other goodies.Though reluctantly,hubby put some in his plate and I saw him relishing it.Before we left from there,he asked me to get the recipe from her and make it for him..hmmm.Though there was much scope for some”I told you so”moments,I noted down the recipe instead and made it for him..We ♥ed it absolutely.Thank you R for a simple and tasty recipe!!

Veg Pulao


Basmati rice – 1 cup[I used normal Sona Masuri rice]

Mixed vegetables –
Carrot – 1,chopped
Beans – 3-4,chopped
Green peas – about ¼ cup
Onions – 2,chopped

Ghee/oil[or a mix of both ] – 4 tbsp

Mixed nuts – Cashewnuts & Raisins – a handful

Whole spices – crushed a little
Cinnamon – 1’ stick
Cloves – 3-4
Cardamom – 2 pods

Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Red chilly powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Salt to taste

Wash the rice well,drain and keep aside.
In a pressure cooker/pan,add 2 tbsp ghee/oil and fry the cashewnuts and raisins till they turn brown in colour-drain and keep aside.
Add the remaining ghee/oil and fry the onions.
Add the crushed whole spices & the ginger garlic paste and sauté well for a minute.
Add the powders-red chilly powder,coriander powder and haldi and mix well.
Now add the vegetables and salt to taste.
Mix in the drained rice and add 2 cups of water.
Close the pressure cooker and cook for exactly 1 whistle.
Wait for about 10 minutes-open the cooker and fluff with a fork.
Granish with the fried nuts.
Serve hot with papad and raita.

Every pressure cooker is different and the cooking time also varies from the kind of rice used.So use your instinct and go with your cooking experience!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Chocolate Orange Gateau

It was on Friday late-afternoon that hubby called me up and told me that we were having a get-together on Saturday night at a friends’ house to celebrate his wife’s birthday.Along with some dishes,I was requested to bake the Birthday Cake:)!!Though my heart did a leap at the prospect of a new baking experiment,it started pressing the panic button too soon at the thought of serving the cake to the guests-which btw included hubby’s boss and wife!!

When in doubt-twitter..I know that mantra works all the time.The thought of having a helping hand a tweet away is a pleasure we tweeters enjoy.”Tweet tweet”,I got Ria as my Guru.Poor thing,she kept giving me ideas after ideas,but I was too scared to try out something new and something elaborate.She then suggested Deeba’s Chocolate Orange gateau,which she had tried out recently and got rave reviews from friends and family.Though that sounded quite a tough task to achieve for a limited baker like me,I calmed down and went through the recipe slowly.It wasn’t too hard after all..:)

I baked the cake immediately,lest I change my mind later.Then one by one I went about making the filling and the frosting.Since the birthday was a day later,I had lots of time to re-do if at all things went wrong[which,Thank God was not required].

The cake was a breeze to make.[Now I can say this..but while making it I was jumping up and down the floor in tension].Whipping the cream was a tough task,but I was very patient[for a change]and got the required results.Making the ganache was the easiest step-I really don’t know why I kept shying away from ganache all this while.Ganache frosted I come..:).

Transporting the cake was another hiccup.I placed it on my lap and the AC was on full blast lest the frosting decide to do a melting game.But nothing like that happened and I was able to present the cake to the birthday girl-
lady in its proper avatar.The cake was ♥ed by all,chilled to perfection and the flavours gelled with each other,one of my best cakes so far-lookswise and tastewise.

Changes I made-
I cut the cake into two[was too chicken to attempt 3-4 layers].
Skipped the almond paste in the whipped cream.
Mixed some leftover ganache with the whipped cream and went crazy piping swirls and designs and what not.

Take my word for it and bake it for your friends family or why,even for yourself.If I can make it look like this,believe me,anyone can!!

Thanks to Deeba for the wonderful recipe and Ria for the required push..:).♥ ya peeps:).

Chocolate Orange Cloud Gateau
adapted from Mandarin Orange Cloud Gateau by Sue Ross, pg 17;Re-adapted from Deeba.

Plain flour - 150gms (1/2 cup + 1/8 cup)
Cornflour - 25gms (1/8 cup)
Baking powder - 2 tsps
Pinch of salt
Icing Sugar - 150gms ( 1/2 cup + 1/8 cup)
Oil - 5 tbsps (I used sunflower oil)
Water - 5 tbsps
Eggs - 3 / separated
Zest of 1 orange
Orange juice - 1 tbsp


Whipping Cream - 200ml
Almonds - 3 tbsp (ground)-I did not add this
Castor sugar - 2-3 tbsps


Cream - 150 ml (15% fat)
Dark chocolate - 150gms / broken into pieces
Some extra chocolate for garnishing (grated, scrolls etc)
Silver dragees, orange slices, powdered sugar etc for garnishing.


Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Line an 8" springform tin. (the original recipe uses 2 8" sandwich tins)-I used a normal 8' cake tin.
Sift the cornflour + flour + baking powder + salt + icing sugar (yes, it's correct) into a mixing bowl.
Beat the egg whites till they stand in soft peaks & keep aside.
Lightly beat the oil + water + yolks together & stir into the dry ingredients.
Beat until smooth, & stir in the juice & zest.
Fold the whites gently into the yolk mixture.
Turn into lined tin & bake for about 45 minutes till well risen & golden brown. Check if it is done with a wooden pick.( Slide a sheet of foil lightly over the top if it begins to brown too fast).
Leave in tin for 10 minutes, & then cool completely on rack.
Once cool, cut into 2 or 3 layers.


Whip the cream + sugar till firm. Whisk in the ground almonds.
Reserve a little cream for the topping, & sandwich the layers with the rest.

Put the cream & dark chocolate into a pan heat over low heat till all the chocolate has melted, stirring constantly. Stir well, & leave to cool.
Frost the sides & top of the cake with the ganache.
Decorate the top with grated chocolate curls & pipe a design with the reserved almond cream.
Top with a few slices of orange, chocolate shavings & silver dragees etc.
Dust with some powdered sugar.

Chill well & serve right out of the fridge! This gateau doesn't need to sit at room temperature for a while; it's great! -Believe me,it truly is!!

[Am off to Kerala for a while,so will be MIA for a couple of days.Till then,all of you take care and have fun..Happy blogging;)]
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