Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Choco-Nut Tea Cake

Surprised to see a baked goodie here after so much rant about a diet?Worry not,you've come to the right place,lol.Thanks to all of you who sent me mails asking if I was ok,the diet part aside,I am doing great.But blog wise,I've been a bit off since I've been not cooking anything new and the least exciting.So I thought I should give a small treat to all of you and to myself for successfully[almost] going on with the diet and shaking off my weight here and there.

A tea-cake is called so because it is generally served with afternoon tea but can be applied loosely to any kind of cake that is sturdy enough to be picked up with the fingers.[source]

I've always been a tea-cake fan because it is the perfect answer for those cake-cravings sans the frosting.Though I've never actually baked a tea-cake per se,this and this are very similar to these.With the strong taste of butter and vanilla along with the melt in the mouth goodness and the crunch of nuts and chocolate chips in every bite this one's a winner for sure!!

Choco-Nut Tea Cake
Recipe source - Lakshmi Nair


Flour - 1 cup
Cornflour - 4 tbsp
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Butter - 1/2 cup[100 gms]
Powdered sugar - 3/4 cup [ I took a heaped 1/2 cup of sugar and powdered it]
Eggs - 2
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Milk - 1/2 cup
Nuts - 1/4 cup[I used cashewnuts and walnuts]
Chocolate chips - 1/4 cup


Preheat oven to 180C.
Grease and line a loaf tin.
Sift together flour,cornflour and baking powder,reserve.
Cream together butter and powdered sugar till light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time and beat well.
Mix in the vanilla essence.
Spoon the flour mix about 3 tsp at a time alternately with milk and beat well till you get a smooth batter.
The batter would be thickish,not a flowing one--mix in the nuts and chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.*
Remove the cake to a wire rack and let it cool down.
Cut into slices and serve.
You could also bake this in a square pan and cut the cake into small squares,choice is yours!!
*[I had some leftover batter and I baked it in small tart molds.]

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mixed Vegetable Kurma

Kurma or Korma as it is sometimes called is the most battered dish,according to me.Anything and everything is added to the dish and is conveniently called Kurma.Most of the times it consists of uncooked potatoes,a medley of vegetables,strong taste of masala and a watery consistency.99% times,this is what you get if you order Vegetable Kurma at restaurants.Vegetarians like me,sometimes,have no choice other than to gobble it down.Either it is this,or the the cloyingly rich,creamy Kurma which would make you choke with all the cream and nuts added into it.

I do not claim that mine is a better version than the restaurants,heck--I am not even comparing the two.This one is a very simple kurma,which goes well with Ghee rice,Chapathi and even Appam.No fancy ingredients,gets done in a jiffy and tastes delicious!!

Mixed vegetable Kurma
Recipe courtesy - Radhika,my sis-in-law


Mixed vegetables - about 2 cups--I used Potatoes,Carrots and Green peas
To be ground into a paste

Grated coconut - 5 tbsp
Cashewnuts - 4-5
Tomato - 1,chopped
Whole garam masala - 2 cardamoms,2 cloves and a 1' piece cinnamon stick
Haldi - a pinch

For the tadka/seasoning

Oil - 1 tbsp
Green capsicum - 1,chopped
Salt to taste

Coriander leaves to garnish


Cook the vegetables till soft.
Grind the ingredients given for the masala to a smooth paste.
In a kadai add oil and saute capsicum.
When the capsicum becomes soft[not cooked] add the ground masala and mix well.
Add salt to taste and then the cooked vegetables and let it come to a boil.
Simmer for 5-7 minutes till the kurma starts to thicken,garnish with coriander leaves.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Broccoli Soup

I feel like baking,not so much for the eating part[that too,yes] but for the whole exercise of baking-measuring out the ingredients,sifting the flour,beating the batter,lining the tins and waiting for the cake to bake while the whole house is filled with the yummy aroma coming out of the oven..Hell,I miss baking!!

So many great recipes are doing the rounds,I've especially bookmarked this cake from Deeba's this one from Baking Bites,The Food Librarian is tempting me with her Bundt Cakes,I will be baking a Bundt Cake for sure on November 15th!!Not to give in to temptations,I've cleared my stock of butter,flour and eggs..ah the miseries of one trying to lose weight!!

Why all this banter for a simple soup post??Well,this explains the plight of the poor soup.I had some yellowing broccoli in the fridge and it was pureed into a soup.Doesn't sound much exciting,right?But if you are not dieting,there are different ways to pep up this simple soup.I had the same soup once in The Wharf,Mahabalipuram where cubes of Cheddar was added to the soup and every mouthful was so flavorful with the slight aroma of Broccoli and the strong taste of Cheddar..ah,bliss!!

Broccoli Soup


Broccoli - about 1 cup of florets
Onion - 1,chopped
Milk - 1 to 1 1/2 cups
Water - 1 cup
Salt and pepper to taste


In a kadai add a tsp of oil and saute onions.
When the onions start browning,mix in the broccoli florets and give a good toss.
Add a cup of water and let it cook for 5-7 minutes.
Switch off the flame and let it cool down to room temperature.
Blend to a puree in the mixer adding milk as required.
If it is too thick,you could add more water or milk.
Put it back into the kadai and cook it for another 3-5 minutes.
Add enough salt and pepper to taste.
You could add cubes of Cheddar just before serving the soup for a gourmet touch!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Babycorn Stir-fry

What would you do if you are hit with a sudden craving to have something?And moreover,if you are on a so-called diet and can only dream of having such things??Sigh..same story,different post.If it was before starting the diet,I would have picked up the phone and ordered made some Baby Corn Manchurian and relished it all by myself since Ajay is not a big fan of the same.But it was not to be.

I tried to find solace in digestive biscuits and tea but the craving was staring at me right across my face and I seriously had to do something.I did the next best thing-made a low-fat version of the same.I have tried No-fry Gobi Manchurian before and loved it,but I was in no mood for the laborious process,I was hit with a craving,remember?

I wanted it and wanted it quick.Perfect for the craving and tastes almost like the yummy counterpart Manchurian.Craving satisfied-Mission accomplished!!

Babycorn Stir-fry
Recipe source - Vanitha


Babycorn - 5-6,sliced
Capsicum - 1/2 of a small one,sliced
Onion - 1 small,sliced
Cornflour - 1 tsp
Soya sauce - 1 tsp
Tomato sauce - 2 tsp
Ginger garlic Paste - 1 tbsp
Green chilly - 1,chopped
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt and pepper to taste


In a kadai,add oil and fry the onions till golden brown.
Mix in the sliced baby corn and give a good stir.
Close with a lid and cook for 5-7 minutes till the baby corn starts becoming soft.
Add ginger garlic paste and green chillies and stir well.
Make a paste of cornflour,soya sauce and tomato sauce and add to the cooked baby corn.
Mix in the Capsicum,salt and pepper and stir well.
Keep the flame on high and stir till the baby corn becomes dry and coated with the sauce.
Serve hot.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mixed Vegetable Sabji

"You know it is time you went on a diet when your brother starts calling you names like MRF tyre".

Doesn't matter he always called me names.I tried to pacify myself saying that maybe the medicines are taking the toll or that I just look bloated but I am not.Sadly,the mirror and the weighing scale are honest beings and don't usually lie..sigh.

So the moment I was back from my 4 days Ekm trip,I chalked out a diet plan.A very strict plan.It's been 4 days and it is still going strong,so I hope next time he calls me Polo mint or something.So don't be surprised if you see only the so-called healthy stuff on Easycooking.It is tough,no doubt.I sure seem like someone on vengeance while doing my morning walk and Ajay wonders if I would destroy the weighing scale one of these days for not showing me the weight I want to

I tried out this Cauliflower Sabji from DK's blog but with slight modifications.I added some Broccoli and Green Capsicum too.Tastes great on its own to munch away and even better with rotis.So if you are dieting or not,this one's a pretty quick and easy sabji you can whip up in no time!!

Mixed vegetable Sabji
Adapted minimally from Chef In You


Cauliflower - about 250 gms,cut into florets
Broccoli - about 250 gms,cut into florets
Tomato - 1,chopped
Capsicum - 1,chopped
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Cumin-coriander powder - 1 tsp
Haldi - a fat pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves - to garnish


Wash and clean the cauliflower and broccoli florets.
In a kadai add a tsp of oil and splutter the cumin seeds,take care not to burn.
As soon as the cumin starts becoming aromatic,add in the spices and tomatoes along with the salt.Cook for 1-2 minutes.
Now add the florets and  capsicum and give it a good toss.
Close the lid, lower the heat to low-medium and let it cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the vegetables are just cooked enough[We like the veggies a bit crunchy and not too soft,so cook accordingly].
Add the coriander leaves and serve hot!!

Off this goes to Priya for this month's Tried and Tasted event which features DK of Chef in You this month.An event originally started by Zlamushka and now taken over by Lakshmi.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Molten Lava Cake

As I was getting this post ready,I tried to recall when was the first time I tasted this beauty.I think it must have been Dominos Choco Lava Cake.I have ordered Pizza only so that I could have it,have to admit,they taste awesome.But I've got good news,not the obvious one hmpf--I can make better tasting Lava Cake--yes and that's what this post is all about!!

This month,Sweet Punch challenge is hosted by yours truly and I chose this super easy recipe from being a very do-able recipe,this one scores points on the number of ingredients too.Just 5 ingredients and in under 20 minutes,you can get everything done from start to finish,isn't that great??

I was jumping in joy literally when the cake got baked and was smelling so good.I wanted a gooey molten center so I baked for a shorter time.After some pics,I took a deep breath and inverted the cake to a plate,waiting to see the molten center and when I saw it..God,just couldn't stop myself from having it,burning my lips and tongue in the process..hehe,still worth it!!Loved this month's challenge--truly a punch!!

Molten Center Lava Cakes
Recipe courtesy - Hetal & Anuja @


Chocolate - 4 oz,113 gms
Butter - 4 oz,113 gms
Eggs - 2
Sugar - 1/3 cup
All purpose flour - 1/4 cup
Butter - for greasing the ramekins


Preheat oven to 180C.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler OR Microwave it for 2 minutes with 30 second intervals,checking in between.
Once the chocolate melts completely,mix in the butter and stir well-let it cool.
In a mixing bowl,beat eggs and sugar till light and fluffy.
Mix in the chocolate-butter mix and flour and beat well till you get a smooth batter.
Butter bottom and sides of your ramekins and pour the batter about 3/4 full.
Place the ramekins on a baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes,shorter for gooey insides and longer for stiff insides.I baked for 12 minutes.
Serve hot with whipped cream or Vanilla ice-cream.

Am taking a short break for a few days,so seeya guys after a while..tata!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Dahi Vada ~ Urad dal Vadas soaked in Yogurt Sauce

The moment I set my eyes on Ria's post,I knew I was going to try it out too.Though not a big fan of the original Medhu Vada or Uzhunnu vada,I am a big sucker when it comes to the adorned vadas-in curd,sambhar or even rasam.Amma used to make these crispy vadas when we were young as an after school snack,but I developed a taste for it only much later.

Surprisingly,I have not tried to make it myself even once.I always thought it was a tedious process.Well,any recipe which calls for steps a bit complicated makes me averse to it.In this case,the careful grinding of Urad dal-not too thin,not too thick.To top it,I wasn't sure if I would be able to make them into the famous doughnut shapes.

But Dahi vada is a totally different recipe altogether.No need to make the vada look pretty since you are anyway going to dunk them in curd.Ever since I came across this method to shallow fry vadas,I've been planning to make this.Though I am of strong opinion that food must look as well as taste good,I let go of the not-so-vada-looking looks because the taste was not one bit compromised.Perfect for those snack cravings and the star ingredient-Dates and Tamarind chutney takes the Dahi vada to a totally different level!!

Dahi Vada
Recipe minimally adapted from Ria's Collection

For the vada

Whole Urad - 1 cup
Water- 1/2 cup
Salt -to taste (about 1 1/2 tsp)
Green chillies- 6-7,I used 3-4
Rice flour- 5-6 tsp,I used Fine semolina-about 2 tbsps
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Whole peppercorns - 1 tsp
Oil- for deep frying,I shallow fried them,so used about 2-3 tbsp oil

For soaking

Warm water - 2 cups

For the dahi/Yogurt sauce

Thick yogurt- 2 cups
Water *- 1/2 c
Salt-to taste
Sugar- to taste

For garnishing

Homemade Tamarind chutney- 4 tbsp (optional)
Red chilli powder- 1 tsp
Coriander powder-1 tsp
Cumin powder-1 tsp
Cilantro/Coriander leaves- 4 stalks, chopped fine.


For the vada

Wash the urad 3-4 times until the water is clear.
Soak the whole urad for 4-5 hours or overnight. In the morning, drain the excess water.
Grind it to a thick smooth paste along with 1/2 cup of water and salt.Add curry leaves,green chillies and whole peppercorns and pulse again.
The batter should be on the thicker side,you should be able to scoop it out.
Add the rice flour/semolina to achieve that consistency. 
Deep fry the vadas in hot oil OR use a Unniyapam pan/Aebleskiver pan.
Pour 1/4 tsp oil in each depression and pour a tbsp of Urad dal batter into each.
Close with a lid and let it cook for about 2-3 minutes.
Flip over and cook the other side for another 3-4 minutes.
Drain the excess oil on a tissue paper.
Soak them in water +salt (add only if you need more salt for the vadas) for 2-3 mins and squeeze out the excess water.I kept a bowl of warm water and dipped each vadas on both sides and squeezed them out immediately.
Arrange them in a big serving bowl. Keep aside.

For the Yogurt sauce

If your yogurt is thick, add water to a thick but pourable consistency.
Add sugar and salt to taste.Keep aside.

Sprinkle red chilli powder, coriander powder and cumin powder over the dahi.
Drizzle few tablespoonful of homemade tamarind chutney over it.
Garnish with coriander leaves. 
Serve chilled!

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