Monday, November 29, 2010

Thingalavrya Phanna upkari ~ White Navy Beans Curry

I remember reading somewhere that cooking is not difficult,it is the variety in cooking and the decision making which is difficult.I agree cent percent.Majority of my time is spent in deciding "what to cook".Ajay,I should say,is of least help in this since he seldom asks me to make something,it is always--anything you like,or anything easy.Which is an even more difficult task!!

I have tried many times ,but in vain-to keep a menu planner for the week and cook accordingly.It just doesn't do the trick for me.Do you have a menu planner or more important,do you follow it?I would love to know!!

I came across this curry during my regular browsing on KAF on Facebook.I have mentioned before about this group where the members post unique Konkani dishes,as well as some innovative recipes.I have become an ardent follower of KAF since it helps to an extent in my menu planning.This is a different take on Thingalavrya Saung.Though both the dishes look familiar,the recipe is slightly tweaked in this one.A spicy and tangy curry,perfect with rice!

Thingalavrya Phanna Upkari
Recipe courtesy - Madhukantha Kamath on Konkani Amchi Food


Thingalavro/Navy beans - 1/2 cup,soaked for 4-6 hours or overnight
Onion - 1,finely chopped
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Red chilly - 1,broken into pieces
Green chilly - 1,chopped 
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Tomato - 1,boiled for 5 minutes
Tamarind - a small pinch
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tbsp


Cook the beans in a pressure cooker for 20-25 minutes till soft.
Make a paste of the boiled tomato and tamarind and keep aside.
In a kadai add oil and splutter mustard seeds.
Add both the chillies,curry leaves and onions and saute for 5 minutes or till the onions start browning.
Mix in the tomato-tamarind paste and red chilly powder and let it come to a boil.
Add the cooked beans and salt to taste.
Simmer for 10-12 minutes or till the curry starts thickening.
Serve with rice.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Masala Pappad

I try not to stock up my pantry with snack items-mostly deep fried items like chips,bhujias etc.Whenever we have the urge to eat it,we make sure we buy very small quantities so that it finishes as soon as our craving is satisfied.It works out fine for us but I am in a fix if someone drops by unexpectedly.I have served salt biscuits and tea with a sheepish grin to friends,but then only our closet pals come by unannounced and it is actually not a problem at all.

Sometimes I take a peep into my kitchen and open endless dabbas[boxes/containers] hoping to find some unfinished packet of snack or chips and am always disappointed.Like last time--it was raining heavily outside and I really wanted to have my cup of chai with a plate of piping hot bajji or bonda.No such luck.I had what my amma calls "sukhi chai" or dry tea,though I don't understand how tea can be dry!!She means chai without any accompaniments!!

Ajay has this habit of having roasted papads as a snack while watching tv.I find roasted Lijjat papad too hot for my taste buds.But there was nothing else on offer so I decided to pep it up a little by making this instant papad snack--Masala Pappad.Ready in under 5 minutes and reminiscent of street side chats,this one's a winner totally!!

Masala Pappad


Lijjat pappad - 1 or 2[I used pepper pappad]
Onion - 2 tbsp,finely chopped
Carrot - 1 tbsp,finely chopped
Tomato - 1 tbsp,finely chopped
Coriander leaves - 1 tsp,finely chopped
Lime juice - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Chilly powder - a pinch,optional


Cut the pappad into 4 wedges [ you could serve the pappad whole too,but this way the pappad does not turn soggy once you add the masala].
Roast on a low flame on a gas stove till browned well or else you could microwave them too.
Mix together the rest of the ingredients.
Arrange the papads and the masala on a serving tray and serve.
You could either put the masala on the papad and serve or use the masala as a dip,which would keep the papad crispy till the last bite!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Eggless Orange Cake with Orange-Cocoa Buttercream Frosting

It is here again and I am doing jigs of joy in sheer bliss.Yeah,I am crazy that way once in a year[if not throughout,hehe].I am overwhelmed by the birthday wishes through mails,Facebook messages,sms's,calls-especially from a dear reader of this blog Neena,who called me from US.She made me feel so special that for sometime I was behaving like a celebrity!!

Majority of the messages were wishes + queries as to what I was baking today.A cousin even told me not to cook at all-and Mads wanting to serve me her Dark Chocolate Orange Gateau since I was craving so much for it!!Thank you so much people--you sure made me feel special!!

As to what was to be the star attraction for today,my birthday cake-Surprisingly,I didn't put much thought into what I was going to bake and at one time it looked as though I might even skip baking it.Thank God,I chose against it.Thought of baking an eggless sponge since I didn't stock up on eggs.I had a pale orange sitting inside the fridge and immediately decided that it was going to be an Orange flavored Cake.Baked the cake first thing in the morning and started cooking up lunch all the while thinking of the frosting.

Fell back on my tried and tested recipe for buttercream-this time with cocoa and orange juice with some zest thrown in.It was going to be a Chocolate+Orange combination in a plain cake,I was getting excited.As always,while frosting,I lost my cool and was getting impatient.Finally dressed up the cake in chocolate cigars and curls and decided that "too much chocolate can never go wrong"!!

Eggless Orange Cake with Orange Cocoa Buttercream Frosting
Recipe minimally adapted from Anushruti


Flour - 225gms[about 1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp]
Baking Powder - 2 tsp
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Butter - 100 gms,at room temperature
Condensed milk - 400gm/1 can
Milk - 200 ml
Yogurt - 4 tbsp
Vanilla extract - 2 tsp OR 1 tbsp freshly grated Orange zest

For the Orange-Cocoa Buttercream frosting

Butter - 1/2 cup,softened
Icing sugar - 2 cups
Cocoa Powder - 3 tbsp
Orange juice - 4-5 tbsp
Orange zest - 1 tsp


Grease and line the bottom of a 9” round cake tin with greaseproof paper/baking parchment/butter paper. 
Preheat the oven at 150 degrees centigrade.
In a mixing bowl, assemble the flour, baking powder and baking soda, mix with a spoon and sieve once to make the mixture uniform. 

In a bowl assemble the butter and the condensed milk and beat (with a hand mixer or a wire whisk) until the mixture is combined, about a couple of minutes. 
Mix in the yogurt and beat again. 
Pour in the milk and beat until the mixture is well mixed.
Stir in the flour mixture and mix with a spoon, whisk or the legs of the hand mixer before starting to beat again. This will prevent the flour from getting dispersed outside the mixing bowl. 

Beat until the mixture is uniform and smooth and there are no lumps. 
This shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes with an electric hand mixer/beater. Be careful not to over beat as this tends to make the batter stiff which might result into a harder textured cake. 
Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for an hour at 150 degree centigrade.

For the Buttercream - Beat together Butter and cocoa powder.Mix in the icing sugar and orange juice alternately till you get a smooth glossy frosting.Mix in the zest and refrigerate till required.

To assemble the Cake-

Place the cake on a cooling rack and trim the top[mine was crowned a bit].Moisten with a few tbsps Orange juice[optional].
Apply the frosting on the sides and top evenly and cover with Chocolate curls and Chocolate cigars.
Remove carefully to a serving plate.
Chill and serve!!

Verdict- As always,the combination of Orange and Chocolate made me go weak in the knees.Loved every bite of it,but due to the arrival of the 5-star Birthday cake my thoughts were diverted there.I was actually confused which one to finish first!!I love Birthdays!!

Here's the Birthday gift from Ajay I was talking about.I have my own copy now,amen.

A big Thank You to my dear friend Mary,who sent me a Chocolate Cake from The Muffin Tree,Courtyard Marriot.My birthday is getting more and more surprising!!

Once again,Thank You all for making my Birthday so exciting and full of surprises!!

Lots of Love,

Friday, November 19, 2010

SoNo Brownies

I miss blogging..and I miss baking.Okay,my last post was a few days back and it was a baked goodie-a Cake then why am I saying this?I know it,I simply know it--the gaps between my posts has increased drastically and my bookmarked folder is bursting,with me showing no signs of ever getting it done.As I was wondering what was wrong with me and whether to put the blame on my laziness came my birthday gift,or rather one of my birthday gifts!!

It came a week early and I feel it couldn't have come at a better time.I was shaken out of my slumber being and was all set to start baking.But before that I had some to-do bakes and this one topped the list.

Ever since the Bundt fever,I've been hooked to The Food Librarians blog and the way she's been churning out one goodie after the other,I can see myself putting on all the extra weight I had shed off.But anything--absolutely anything for a Brownie.These Brownies looked so so good that I HAD to bake them.Slightly chewy and oh-so-chocolatey..loved it.Now I am scared if they will last long enough for the dinner party at home!!Planning to serve these with Chocolate excess Ice-cream and Hersheys Sauce--Too much chocolate,did I hear you say..??Is there anything like too much chocolate??

The recipe is from The SoNo baking company Cookbook.

SoNo Brownies
Recipe source- Mary-The Food Librarian


Flour - 1/2 cup
Cocoa Powder - 1/2 cup
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Baking Powder - 1/4 tsp
Baking soda - a pinch
Unsalted Butter - 1/2 cup/1 Stick/100gms
Sugar - 1 cup
Light corn syrup - 1 tbsp[I added equal amount of honey]
Eggs - 2 large,room temperature
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Chocolate chips - 1 cup


Grease/Line an 8-inch square baking pan. 
Preheat over to 350 degrees. 
Whisk together flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and soda. 
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the sugar and corn syrup[or honey], whisk to combine. 
Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Whisk in vanilla. 
Fold in the dry ingredients. Fold in the chocolate chips. Don't overmix. 
Pour into pan, smooth the top. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes. 
Cool in pan and then eat! 

SoNo Brownie makes it way to Madhuri of Cook-Curry-Nook's Chocolate Fest,have you sent in your entries yet??Check out her blog for a cool giveaway to celebrate her blog's first anniversary!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dulce de Leche Bundt Cake

Dulce de Leche-come on,say it with me -dool-say deh lay-chay,sounds cool no?Let me tell you,it would be hard to remember what it is called once you taste it.I mean,who would want to learn how to pronounce or spell this when it is right in front of you and all you have to do is get a spoon to start tasting it??As Purple Foodie says here,it truly is Holy Yum!!Many a times I have planned to make this at home but in the end,I develop cold feet,what with the stories of can bursting and all that.More than the cleaning up job,what worried me most was the wastage of one full can of sweet nectar-good ol' condensed milk!!

Some time back,my Vanni got me a jar of this wonder and I have been looking for THE recipe to use up my own can of dulce de leche.First recipe which cropped up was Banoffee Pie then this sinful Brownie from Purple Foodie.But as always,all of it remained my plans and did not materialize into baked goodies.

I decided to bake a Bundt Cake.Why Bundt??Coz today is National [International!] Bundt day and I too like Big Bundts and have been following the Food Librarians posts like never before.Some serious Bundt lover she is,30 Bundts in 30 days..commendable!!

From complaining to confusing-I have been looking for a Bundt pan of my own since a long time and when I got it--I have not one or two but four Bundt pans now and I am confused which one to choose!!The recipe is the same as this one,I just replaced the condensed milk with dulce de leche.A li'l bit too sweet for a cake but tasty nevertheless!!

Dulce de leche Bundt Cake


All purpose flour or Maida - 1 1/3 cups
Dulce de Leche- 1 cup [ I used Nestle]
Powdered sugar - 1 Scant cup
Unsalted butter at room temperature - 1 cup - Approximately 200 gms
Eggs - 2
Baking powder - 3/4 tsp
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
A pinch of salt


Sieve the flour and baking powder until well combined. You can also whisk it well in a bowl until combined, if you don't have a sieve.
Beat butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy - 5 minutes by hand, 2 minutes by electric beater. Then add the dulce de leche and repeat for the same time, until well combined.
Whisk eggs in a bowl for 2 minutes with a fork and set aside.
Add the flour to the butter-sugar-dulce de leche mixture and mix until just combined without beating too hard.
Add the eggs, vanilla essence and salt and combine well again.
Transfer to a well greased bundt pan[I used a 6 cup bundt] and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C/325F for 30-35 mins.

Following this method,I poured half the batter into the pan and then spooned in some dulce de leche like a ring and then poured the rest of the batter and smoothened the top with a spatula.This method creates a tunnel of dulce de leche in the middle of the cake..I slightly overbaked the cake,so the tunnel is not clearly seen.
Insert a toothpick at the center to test if the cake is done.
Cool, slice and serve.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Instant Triple Chocolate Mousse

With the blink of an eye,November is here.Wasn't it only a few days ago we did the October Punch and more important,wasn't it only a few weeks ago I celebrated my birthday??Gosh,time really flies.

So here we are back with another punch,this time a Mousse/Souffle.I was intrigued when the recipes were posted,this time,we had not one but three recipes to choose from.November Punch is hosted by Ria of Ria's Collection who chose Tomato Souffle,Chocolate Mousse and Triple Chocolate Mousse for our Mousse challenge this month.We were given an option of choosing any one of the lot.

I am not a Mousse fan,not because of the raw eggs syndrome-that too,yes but I somehow never fancied eating through something which was so creamy that it would choke me.But a challenge is to be done and no prizes for guessing,I chose the easiest of the lot-Instant Triple Chocolate Mousse recipe by Nigella Lawson.Though I never,never fiddle with the recipes,I did a total leap from my usual self this time and happy to say--it worked out!!I did not measure the ingredients,not a good thing,I know but the Mousse was yummilicious and totally won our hearts.We are instant converts,only this one though!

My co-sis tried the same recipe without adding butter and she got a very delicious mousse too.That explains,this recipe is quite forgiving,whichever way you try you would end up with a delicious bowl of Mousse which you wouldn't want to share with anyone!!

Instant Triple Chocolate Mousse
Recipe Source - Nigella Lawson


Mini Marshmallows - 150 gms-I used regular
Butter - 50 gms,softened
Chocolate - 250 gms-I used a mix of Dark and Milk Chocolate
Hot water - 60 ml
Cream - 284 ml- I used one Amul tetrapack of 200 ml
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp


Put the marshmallows, butter, chocolate and water in a heavy-based saucepan.
Put the saucepan on the stove, over heat, though keep it fairly gentle, to melt, stirring every now and again. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile whip the cream with the vanilla until thick and then fold into the cooling chocolate mixture until you have a smooth, cohesive mixture.
Pour or scrape into 4 or 6 glasses or small dishes and chill until you want to eat.
We couldn't wait till it set completely and dived in..delicious nevertheless!!

Instant Triple Chocolate Mousse makes it way to Madhuri of Cook-Curry-Nook's Chocolate Fest,have you sent in your entries yet??Check out her blog for a cool giveaway to celebrate her blog's first anniversary!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mocha Chocolate Chip Muffins

Anything Coffee and Chocolate immediately catches my attention.I remember once while in Bangalore,a cousin of ours had come straight from Coffee day holding his take-away cup of chilled coffee to our place and me and vanni literally attacked him and got his cup for ourselves.Whether it was because we got it unexpectedly or whether it was because it was someone else's cuppa,we don't know-we loooooved it and are still searching for "that" taste while having Mochachillo from Coffee day!!!

So it is no wonder that I always add a little bit of coffee powder to my chocolate cakes.The smell by itself is so enticing.It was for the same reason I had bookmarked and even written down this recipe from Baking Bites.It is the perfect combination of Chocolate and Coffee and if you are a fan,you should definitely try these!!The muffins are not too sweet with the right hint of coffee and chocolate,crusty on top and soft inside,with every bite filled with the burst of chocolate chips..Perfect!!!

Mocha Choco-chip Muffins
Recipe courtesy - Baking Bites


Flour - 2 cups
Sugar - 1 cup + 2 tbsp
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Butter - 1/2 cup
Cocoa powder - 2 tbsp
Espresso - 1 tbsp[I used Bru Instant coffee granules] 
Eggs - 2
Milk - 2/3 cup
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Chocolate chips - 1 cup

Preheat oven to 375F/190C.
Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Place butter in a small, microwave-safe bowl and melt. 
Stir cocoa power and espresso powder into melted butter while warm. Allow to cool for 1-2 minutes. 
In another small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.
Add butter mixture and egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until well-combined. Batter will be thick. Stir in chocolate chips.
Divide batter evenly between prepared muffin cups. Cups will be heaping with batter.
Bake for 19-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Cool muffins completely on a wire rack.

Mocha Chocolate chip Muffins makes it way to Madhuri of Cook-Curry-Nook's Chocolate Fest,have you sent in your entries yet??Check out her blog for a cool giveaway to celebrate her blog's first anniversary!!

Have you started your Diwali preparations already,I know I have!! If you need any ideas for sweets and savories,here's a small list which you can try during this Diwali!

Chocolate Barfi - Gets done quickly,in the Microwave
Churmundo - Wheat flour Laddoo
Coconut Laddoo - An instant Laddoo with just 2 ingredients
Dates and Dry fruits Laddoo - Healthy and low-fat
Gajar ka Halwa - A quick method
Gajar ka Halwa - In the Microwave
Kadi aka 5 cups Barfi - 5 cups of ingredients and a tasty sweet
Rava Laddoo - A very foolproof recipe

No compulsion to stick only to Indian sweets.You could try baking eggless delicacies for yourself as well as for sharing!!

Eggless Oats Brownies  - Low fat with goodness of Oats
Eggless Dates Cake - a very forgiving recipe,perfect for beginner bakers
Eggless Fruit and Nut Cake - Full of dry fruits and nuts,suits the Diwali mood perfectly
Eggless Blackforest Cake - perfect for a Diwali Party

Try these super easy snacks too

Wishing all of you a very Happy and Prosperous Diwali!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Paneer Ghee Roast

Many a times,no make that most of the times I am at a loss when we go to speciality non-veg restaurants and find myself staring at a menu loaded with non-veg dishes with a very small space dedicated to veg dishes.No prizes for guessing those dishes would be utterly boring.Usually,me and ma-in-law,the only vegetarians in the family stick to something safe-Pulao or Roti with side dish or such alternatives.

I had this yummy Paneer Ghee roast at a restaurant in Bangalore named Abhimaani Vasathi which specializes in Mangalore cuisine.No visit to Bangalore is complete without a visit to this place.I've heard so much about the original-Chicken Ghee roast that I wanted to see how it actually tastes,the veg counterpart that is.Spicy and loaded with ghee,but tasty nevertheless.

I wanted to recreate the recipe myself and came across this fabulous pictorial by Kudpi Raj on could hop over there for the original recipe or scroll down for my modified recipe with Paneer.

Paneer Ghee Roast
Original recipe by Kudpi Raj


Paneer - 200 gms
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves for garnish

For the Marinade

Thick curds - 3 tbsp
Juice of half a lime
Salt and Pepper to taste
Haldi - a pinch

For the Masala

Kashmiri Red chillies - 5*
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Methi/Fenugreek - 1/4 tsp
Tamarind - a small piece

Chop paneer into small cubes.
Mix all the ingredients mentioned under marinade and tip in the cubed paneer.Mix well so that the paneer cubes are coated well with the marinade.Keep aside for 1-2 hrs.
In a kadai,roast together the ingredients for the masala for about 5 minutes.Grind to a smooth paste adding enough water as required.
Back to the kadai-add 1 tbsp ghee and the ground masala.Saute till the masala starts leaving oil on the sides.
Tip in the paneer and the remaining 1 tbsp ghee.Check for salt.
Roast on simmer for about 10 minutes or till the paneer cubes are well coated with the masala.
Garnish with freshly chopped coriander and serve hot.

*Though I added the less hot Kashmiri Chillies,I was still left with very very spicy Ghee roast.So if you are heat-intolerant,reduce the chillies to 2 or 3.

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