Sunday, July 31, 2011

One-Bowl Triple Vanilla Cupcakes

It is turning out to be more difficult than I imagined to get back to blogging,baking and cooking in general.I think a 'home' holiday does that to you.I am still mentally stuck at my home in Ekm,with my baby boo[bro's kid] and family around.Luckily,I had a few posts in my drafts to see me through the so-called blogger's block.

Lack of anything 'nice' to eat made me bake these cupcakes.The name itself says it all.It is a one-bowl cupcake with minimal fuss.You throw couple of ingredients together in a bowl and tada,your cupcakes would be ready.By the time I started to put everything together,I got excited and decided to use my precious Vanilla beans that I had stashed away in my cupboard.

Using just one vanilla bean,these cupcakes can be turned into triple vanilla cupcakes and you'd end up with a cupcake with a highly pronounced vanilla flavour,which is so different from the regular cupcakes.
IMG_5585One-Bowl Triple Vanilla Cupcakes

Ingredients[makes 18 cupcakes]

Butter - 125 gms,unsalted-at room temperature
Powdered Sugar - 1 cup
Vanilla bean - 1,cut into half lengthwise using a sharp knife and scrape the seeds
Flour - 1 1/2 cups [I used Cake flour]
Baking powder - 2 1/2 tsp
Eggs - 3 [I used 2 and the cupcakes turned out just fine]
Milk - 1/2 cup
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp


Preheat oven to 180C.Grease/line a cupcake tin.
Powder the sugar with the used vanilla bean to get vanilla sugar.Sieve and keep aside.
Sift together flour and baking powder.
Cream the butter and powdered sugar along with the scraped vanilla seeds for a minute.
Add the flour,eggs,milk and vanilla essence and beat on low speed till everything gets mixed.Beat on high speed for 2-3 minutes till the batter becomes pale and fluffy.
Divide the batter equally among the cupcake moulds and bake for 20-25 minutes or till the cupcakes become golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack and dust with powdered vanilla sugar before serving.

*Recipe courtesy - Lakshmi Nair

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Methi Thepla/Paratha

Though I love Methi,I totally detest the task of cleaning the leaves.Ever since I started making this pulao,methi makes a very regular appearance during our vegetable shopping.I finally sat with the bunch one morning while watching a Mohanlal movie on tv.I was hoping the movie would see me through the cleaning process,but the multitude of ads made sure I finished the task even before the interval!

I've been meaning to make Methi thepla/paratha ever since Raks posted this on her blog.I remember tasting it at a friends' place and was hoping to recreate the taste.I looked around for a few recipes and found that though all the recipes sounded very similar,every recipe had a unique ingredient very different from the other.So while one made use of Dried Methi leaves/Kasoori methi,one made it with the addition of banana.This recipe uses Besan and  this one used ginger and garlic!


I followed Raks' recipe
mostly and should say it came out very close to the one I had tasted.Though it did not score any marks in the looks department,I am still wondering why it didn't come out round:-O,it tasted great.I served it with some Raita and Mango Chundo and it made for a very delicious meal.


Methi Thepla/Paratha


Atta/Whole wheat flour - 2 cups
Methi leaves - 1 cup,loosely packed
Besan/Channa dal flour - 2 tbsp
Sambhar powder - 2 tsp[or a mix of red chilly powder and coriander powder]
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Haldi/turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Jeera - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 3-4 tbsp
Buttermilk* - as required to make the dough


Cut off the methi leaves from the stem using a kitchen scissor-makes the job much easier,clean and roughly chop it.Saute the cleaned leaves in a non stick kadai till it slightly changes in colour and reduces in volume.
Add the sauteed leaves along with all the other ingredients in a shallow pan and mix well to form a dough.Start with 4-5 tbsps of buttermilk and add more if required.
Knead for a few minutes to form a soft and pliable dough.
Make equal sized golf-ball sized balls and thinly roll into a round shape or whichever shape you fancy;).
Heat a tava and add a tsp of oil and cook the thepla on both sides till it is well cooked and starts browning.


  • *I used around half a cup of yogurt diluted with a couple of tbsps water to make the dough.
  • Methi thepla/paratha has a higher shelf life which makes it ideal travel food.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I love your Blog - Aparna's My Diverse Kitchen

There was a time when I hopped on to the internet and searched..and searched..and kept searching for easy cake recipes.That was the time when I was still taking baby steps in blogging and had got myself an oven.Armed with a few trusted recipes,I kept searching for easy baking recipes I could try out in my kitchen.'Quick Blender Cake' sounded quick and easy and try-able.I wrote down the recipe in my cookbook and decided to try it out.

To this day I haven't tried the recipe.Nothing wrong with the recipe,far from it.I was hooked to the blog and the other recipes in it and kept bookmarking one recipes after the other and the first recipe went down further in the long list.Here's one among my immediately-try list-

One-Bowl Vanilla Yellow Cake

Yes,I am talking about Aparna's My Diverse Kitchen.One look at her blog and you'll get mesmerized with the pictures she takes and her way of writing.In fact,once I openly admitted to her that someday,I'd love to take pictures like she does--simple,no-nonsense,precise and clear.In this post,the prep pictures look so pretty,don't you think?

Eggless Spiced Cranberry & Chocolate Bread Pudding with a Lime-Vanilla Sauce

Aparna started the blog to feature Palakkad Iyer cuisine,but as the name of her blog states,it is much more than that.Her repertoire of recipes include Kerala specialties,Palakkad Cuisine,North Indian fare and much more.She bakes extensively and even says people mistake her blog to be a baking blog!!No wonder!!She has a knack of turning baking recipes into eggless ones as she is not very fond of eggy smells in her bakes.Like this one-

Figolli-Eggless Version

Every post of her's comes with a detailed history about the recipe,the ingredients used the method of cooking etc.Just goes on to show how much time and effort she puts in every single post.Here's an example,where she has made Rasgulla from scratch!

Rasgulla & Rasmalai

As much as she loves trying out different cuisines,she says she's a South Indian by heart and like every Southie she loves pickles and dedicated one entire day to try out pickles from different cuisines.There's Avakkai,Stuffed Chilli Pickle,Lime pickle and many more and she makes it all look so easy!Check out this post and you'll know how!

Pickle Mania:)

As she says,her recipes are a good mix of traditional Iyer cuisine as well as International fare.Either ways,the recipes are well-researched and tried out.Like this Nombu adai which is typical festival fare.

Kaaradayain Nombu Adai

I have tried out many a recipes from her blog.All have come out well though please do not compare the picture quality:)

Coffee and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies

Paneer/Ricotta Cheese Pound Cake

Onion and Paneer Calzone

Dates and Nut Bundt Cake

One-Bowl Cocoa Brownies

&last but not the least

Eggless Custard Powder Snack Cake

Looking forward to trying many more recipes from Aparna's Diverse Kitchen!!

*All pictures published with the bloggers permission.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Parippu Vada

Parippu vada and chaya.Two words which could make any Malayali homesick and nostalgic.For me,it brings back memories of train journeys.As children,we used to long for the attractively displayed vadas of all kinds from the food vendor inside the trains as well as on the station platforms.But anything openly displayed was considered unhygienic and denied.

Amma had solutions for that too.Whenever we traveled,she made sure there was a big pack of homemade parippu vadas carried along with our luggage.But we wanted other vadas then....Now when I travel alone with all the 'freedom' to buy vadas from the railway food vendor,I want amma's homemade one.Sigh!

Amma made this while it was raining heavily outside.My brother decided to do the clicking part and I enjoyed the vada with my mug of chaya and the rains:).

Parippu Vada


Peas parippu/Vada parippu/Yellow split peas dal - 1 cup
Shallots/small onions - 4-5,thinly sliced
Green chillies - 2-3,finely chopped
Curry leaves - 1 sprig,chopped
Ginger - 1'piece,finely chopped
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying


Picnik collage
Soak the parippu/lentil in enough water for at least 2-3 hours.Wash well,drain and grind to a very coarse paste in a mixie/grinder using very little water.

Mix in the chopped onions,green chilly,curry leaves,ginger and add salt to taste.
Make small flat patties and deep fry 5-6 patties in hot oil.
Let the vadas turn a golden brown colour then flip and cook the other side too.Drain on to a colander.
Serve hot with a cup of tea.

Sending this to Kerala Kitchen

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Salt n Pepper

I would have been terribly homesick had I seen this video while I was in Chennai.But no,I am taking a full one week break in Ernakulam with my family,two chubby and adorable dogs and last but not the least--the new member in the family--Krishnaa,my bro's baby girl:)

Since anything food catches a food bloggers attention like nothing else,I thought of sharing this video with you all.It is a promo video from a movie named Salt n Pepper.It mostly features dishes from Kerala.I don't know if I'd be watching the movie,but this video,yes again and again.The music is lovely too!!Enjoy!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Kellya Koddel - Raw Banana & Drumstick Curry

I recently had a mock-argument with a friend of mine regarding Konkani cuisine.Incidentally,the friend happens to be a non-konkani so you can only imagine the my-cuisine-is-better-than-yours debate!She felt that we only cook ghaas-poos and most of our dishes are 'inspired' from other cuisines and we cook only with coconut.I disagreed with her outright,except for the last charge.We can't live with our daily dose of coconut:).

There are so many dishes which i myself am yet to try because Konkani cuisine is so vast and diverse.

More than the recipes itself,I think what makes a difference to the final dish is the way you try it.Many a times I find my m-i-l adding extra ingredients to a particular dish which actually do not feature in the original.This Koddel* is such a dish.The first time I had it,it was with Raw bananas only.Next time with Jackfruit seeds and another time with drumsticks.
*Koddel is a coconut based curry seasoned with whole garlic cloves.

Kellya Koddel


Raw Banana - 1 medium,sliced into half vertically and then chopped into semi circle pieces
Drumstick - 2-3,cut into 2' pieces
Jackfruit seeds - 4-5,crushed[I did not have it,hence skipped adding it]
Salt to taste

For the Masala
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Roasted red chillies - 4-5[I used the long variety called Byadge]
Tamarind - a small pea size

For seasoning
Oil - 2 tsp
Garlic - 4-5 cloves crushed[with skin]


Cook the banana,drumstick and jackfruit seeds[if using] in just enough water till cooked and soft.
Grind the ingredients given for the masala into a smooth paste.
Add the ground masala and salt to taste and let the curry come to a boil.
Simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes.Add water if the curry is too thick,it should be of pourable consistency.
In a kadai add oil and crushed garlic cloves.Keep the flame on simmer and let the garlic brown.Add to the curry and cover with a lid.
Stir before serving.

Also check out Kulitha Koddel[Horsegram curry] and Maggya Koddel[Colored Cucumber curry].

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ponsa Karo ~ Jackfruit Chips

I've been trying to write a post for sometime and each time I am facing a blank.Looking at the pics is not helping either as I am transported back home where amma is frying up those chips for me and we sitting in the veranda,with a cup of chai and chips enjoying the rain outside!

Amma made this for us when we were in Ernakulam for a short visit sometime back.Our dear neighbor gave a small piece of jackfruit from her 'parambu'[compound]and within minutes amma got this chips ready.

Ponsa Karo - Jackfruit Chips


Raw jackfruit - 1 medium 
Salt - 5 tbsp
Water - just enough to mix with the salt -about 5 tbsp
Coconut Oil - for deep frying[or any refined oil of your choice]

Picnik collage


Oil your hands and cut the fruit into half.
Remove whole jackfruit bulbs and deseed them.
Chop the whole bulbs as thin as possible into long slices[just as you would for french fries].
In a thick bottomed kadai heat oil for deep frying.
Mix together salt and water,keep aside.
When the oil is smoking hot,tip in the sliced jackfruit and stir once till they are evenly placed.Add just enough for the amount of oil and do not crowd them.
Add 1-2 tsp of the salt solution to the oil--at this point the whole mix would bubble up.
Stir once in a while so that the heat is evenly distributed.
Keep the flame on high and let the chips become golden brown and crispy.
Drain into a colander,let it cool and then store in airtight containers.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Orange Pound Cake

I've always,always wanted to try an Orange version of the pound cake.In fact,many a times I decided to try it and then chicken out thinking of the amount of butter which goes into it and then let fate take its decision on the lone Orange sitting inside the fridge.Depending on the time it has been sitting inside the fridge,sometimes it goes into this and sometimes this.
But when the Sweet Punch team decides it is Pound Cake this month,then it has to be.

The recipe we chose is from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible.Rose's recipe uses a slightly different technique from the regular creaming of butter and sugar first and then adding the rest of the ingredients.Also,it does not call for pounds of butter and sugar like old times' but the taste is not compromised one bit.This method,according to Rose,ensures a tight crumb,similar to that of a Sara Lee Pound Cake which is as perfect as a Pound cake can be!

I played safe this time and got a pretty Orange only when I decided for sure it is going inside this cake.The buttery pound cake with a faint hint of Orange with a perfect melt in the mouth texture..oh boy,I feel so proud I baked this.I have never come across such a cake in a bakery[flavored with Orange I mean],now please don't break my heart and say it is widely available in a shop next to you.


Perfect Pound Cake ala Orange Pound Cake
Recipe source - The Cake Bible


Milk - 3 tbsp
Eggs - 3 large
Vanilla - 1 1/2 tsp
Cake flour - 1 1/2 cups,sifted
Baking powder - 3/4 tsp
Sugar - 3/4 cups
Orange Zest - 1 tbsp
Orange juice - 2 tbsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Butter - 184 gms/13 tbsp,softened


Preheat your oven to 350 F. Butter an 8 inch by 4 by 2.5 inch loaf pan, or any six cup loaf or fluted tube pan.[I used a 6 cup bundt pan].
Picnik collageLightly whisk together milk, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl.
Mix together orange zest and sugar with your finger tips till the sugar becomes moist and fragrant.
Place dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix on low speed for 30 seconds, until blended. 
Picnik collageAdd the butter and half the egg mixture, and mix until dry ingredients are moistened. 
On medium speed, beat for one minute. This will aerate and develop the cake’s structure. Scrape down sides.Mix in Orange juice.
Add the remaining egg mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds between each addition. Scrape down sides.Picnik collagePour batter into prepared pan. Smooth surface with a spatula. Bake for 55-65 minutes (35-45 minutes if baking in a fluted tube pan), until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
Let cake cool on a rack in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a greased wire rack. 



  • You could skip the Orange zest and juice if you want a plain Pound cake.Or add a double dose of Vanilla as in Vanilla beans and Vanilla sugar for a super delicious Pound cake.
  • Wait for the cake to cool down completely before cutting to get neat slices.
  • Check out the video at Joy of Baking where Stephanie Jaworski has made it following Rose's recipe.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How to make Cake flour

Type 'Cake flour' on Google and you'll get so many links on how to make it with just 2 ingredients in your pantry.Or if you are lucky enough to spot it in your supermarket,nothing like it.Then why am I posting a well-known how-to on my blog.Well,I am making a cake which requires Cake flour and I don't get to buy it off the shelves here and have to make it on my own.Might as well tell you people how I went about it!

As I said,you just need two ingredients.All purpose flour and cornflour.


Measure out 1 cup of all purpose flour.


Remove 2 tbsp from the measured flour and 

add 2 tbsp cornflour*.


Sift together for 3-4 times so that both the flours are mixed well.There,you have your cake flour.Now go bake the cake and eat it too!!

*I ran out of cornflour,so substituted it with Vanilla flavored Custard powder.Did that make any difference to the final product,ie the cake I baked?Stay tuned and I'll let you know;)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Deepa's Pudina Pulao

Apart from us food bloggers,I find people who garnish and decorate day to day food and click pictures of it and post it on facebook truly out of the world.I find so many of my friends and relatives who post pictures of what they cook and post it on facebook daily that no sooner I asked them to do a guest post for my blog.

I was so happy when Deepa,my bro's friend's wife replied immediately in positive.She very quickly clicked a pic of this yummy Pudina Pulao and sent me a mail replete with the picture and a full post!Thank you so much Deepa!

So here's the whole thing,in Deepa's words.

First let me thank Divya for inviting me to do  a guest post...Thanks Divya.It is my pleasure to do something for your blog..Divya,your blog JUST ROCKS!!!!!!  I  met  Divya after my marriage .She is my hubby’s close friends sister.

I am not a person who has a great passion for cooking.I first tasted Pudina pulao when I happened to go to my friends place for lunch.The pulao,she prepared was just awesome.That was the first time I got the opportunity to get a taste of pudina/mint...I immediately fell in love with the flavour.I had no second thoughts on the menu when my hubby invited one of his friend home for dinner...It came out quite well and the second time i made it,was even better..So,here goes the recipe.

photo pulao
Pudina/Mint Pulao

For the pudina juice-( I use a watery juice instead of pudina paste)
  • Pudina(Mint)leaves  - 1 cup loosely packed
  • Coriander leaves- Half a bunch
  • Grated coconut-Half a cup      
  • Cinnamon-1 big
  • Cloves- 4-5
  • Bay leaf-1
  • Green chillies- 2  or (as required)
  • Ginger-Garlic – 1 small piece of each ( I did not use garlic)

Other ingredients

  • Basmati Rice- 1 Tumbler( I use the regular steel tumbler)
  • Onions – 2 big
  • Carrot -1 big
  • Fresh peas- Half a cup
  • Beans- 10 -12 in number
  • Ghee-1 tbspoon
  • Oil- 1 tbspoon
  • Jeera-1 teaspoon
  • Water- 1 and a half tumbler...(Water has to be adjusted with the amount of pundina juice obtained)
  • Salt to taste

For the pudina juice
Grind together the required ingredients[mentioned above,for the juice] with enough  water.
Strain it to get a clear green pudina juice.Keep it aside.

For the Pulao
In a pressure pan add the ghee and oil.
Add jeera  and sauté it till u get the aroma of jeera.
Then sauté the onions till golden brown.Add  the rest of the ingredients and sauté for a few seconds.
Now,add the washed basmati rice.Stir well and add water (water has to be adjusted with the pudina water obtained)  
I used 1 tumbler of pudina juice and half tumbler of water.Add salt to taste.
Close the lid.After 1 whistle,simmer it for 2-3 minutes. 
Mix it well.Garnish the pulao with roasted cashewnuts  if required.
Cucumber or onion raita,and Lijjat papad can be served as a side dish.

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