Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cauliflower Varuval~Deep Fried Cauliflower Fritters

Bajo and Phodi are an inevitable part of a festival lunch menu in our households.Baje/bajo are made using vegetables dipped in a spicy batter made with chickpea flour,red chilly powder,hing and salt and then deep fried.Generally vegetables like cauliflower,capsicum,potatoes,sweet potato,raw banana and the likes are used while phodis are generally smeared with red chilly powder and salt and shallow fried on a tawa.

I have always made only similar kinds of fries with cauliflower,so when I saw a different recipe for the same on Prabha's blog,I was intrigued.More so,the name sounded so interesting.Varuval's are mostly non-vegetarian,at least those that I have come across.So decided to try this one out.

Cauliflower Varuval


Cauliflower - 1/2 of a medium one - about 2 cups of florets,cleaned and wiped dry
Oil to deep fry
Curry leaves to garnish

For the Marinade
Curd - 2 tbsp
Cornflour - 1/2 cup
Lime juice - 1 tsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste


Mix together the ingredients listed under marinade,it should be of thick consistency.Mix in the cauliflower florets and toss well.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes-1 hour.
Heat oil in a kadai for deep frying and drop the cauliflower florets about 4-5 at a time.Cook until the florets turn brown and crispy.
Drain to an absorbent paper towel.
Garnish with fried curry leaves.

  • Make sure the batter is not watery.Add water while mixing only if necessary,if the batter is thin the cauliflower will become oily after deep frying.
  • Add only 4-5 florets at a time,crowding the florets will cause it to stick and not cook well.
Blog-hop Wednesdays is an event started by Radhika,wherein we are assigned a blog every alternate Wednesday and we are supposed to cook from that blog and blog about it.What a great way to get to know each others blogs and bring variety to the dining table!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things...

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad"

Picnik collage
Baby pink,bubblegums,candies,cupcakes,chocolates..there are so many things which reminds me of baby girls.I've always wanted to have a girl child(when I have one),or maybe two.There is something sweet and cute about having baby girls around.I've been lucky to be surrounded by 3 lovely baby girls now,my nieces.One of them celebrates her birthday today.
(photo taken on her 8th Birthday last year)
My mother-in-law follows a lovely tradition,of celebrating everyone's birthdays and anniversaries(in our family)with a sweet,irrespective of whether they are around or not.Likewise,I've always tried to bake a special birthday cake for my loved ones,especially my nieces on their special days.Last year it was a Rich,Moist Chocolate Cake and year before last a Steamed Chocolate Cake.

This year I decided to make these yummy Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes I'd bookmarked from Ria's space.The recipe is quite a simple one,almost a one-bowl recipe which gets done in no time.I decided to keep it plain with a simple dusting of powdered sugar.Just as the name says,the cupcakes are very moist and fudgy,perfect for the birthday girl.I wish you were around to taste these Rakshu--Happy birthday to you!!

Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes
Recipe source - Ria's Collection,Original recipe by Alice Medrich


Flour - 1 cup
Cocoa Powder - 1/4 cup + 2Tbsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Butter - 100 gms
Brown Sugar - 1 1/4 cups
Eggs - 2
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Hot water - 1/2 cup


Preheat oven to 180C.Grease/line a cupcake tray.(the recipe makes 12 cupcakes).
Sift together the dry ingredients(this step is optional,I did it out of practice).
Melt the butter in a pan and let it cool.Mix in the brown sugar and beat well using a wooden spoon.
Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
Dump in the dry ingredients all at once and mix till everything comes together and you get a smooth batter.
Pour in the hot water and mix using a spatula.
Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake tray and bake for 20-25 minutes or till the cupcakes rise and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
On another note,I happened to taste my first ever Cinnamon Rolls from the baking diva herself.I had won a Giveaway at Ria's space for her Homemade Cinnamon Rolls and am happy to be relishing it to the last bite.YUM!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Subz Badami ~ Mixed Vegetables in Onion-Almond gravy

I've been watching cookery shows ever since I can remember.During my school days,gosh it seems so long ago!,there weren't many but whenever Khana khazana aired on Zee Tv,I sat down with my diary in which I jotted down the recipes hurriedly.There was also a show called Jhatpat Khana where all the recipes were done under 30 minutes,from start to finish.
Long before I learned to converse(or rather communicate)in Tamil,I used to watch Mallika Badrinath's cookery show.Most of the times,I couldn't even make out what she was saying but I sat through the whole show without batting an eyelid.I loved the way she presents her shows,no fuss and in very simple language which made any newbie confident in cooking.

Subz Badami is from one of her tv shows and the recipe looks very vague to me(probably I was more interested to see what she was cooking rather than writing it down).I've made it a couple of times with modifications and now it has become our favourite.It pairs well with Ghee rice,Porotta and Idiyappam.
Subz Badami 


Potato -1 medium,cubed
Carrot - 1 medium,cubed
Beans - 4,chopped
Fresh/Frozen Green Peas - 1/2 cup
Cauliflower florets - 1 cup
Capsicum - 1 medium,cubed
Onions - 2,sliced
Thick curd - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp(divided)
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp,chopped
Salt to taste

For the badam paste

Almonds - 10-12,blanched
Red chilly -2-3
Ginger - 1' piece
Saffron - a few strands
Milk - as required to grind the paste


Cook the vegetables till tender-potato,carrot and beans can be pressure cooked together for 2-3 whistles and cauliflower and peas can be steamed till soft.Wash the vegetables in cold water immediately and keep aside.(this prevents the vegetables from cooking further and not turn mushy while the curry simmers).
In a thick bottom kadai,saute onions till they turn golden brown.Switch off the flame,let it cool and then grind to a smooth paste.
Grind the ingredients given for the badam paste using milk to a smooth paste.

In a kadai,add oil and saute capsicum till it starts turning brown.Mix in the cooled and drained vegetables and give a good mix.
Stir in the onion paste,badam paste,sugar and salt.Mix well.
Whip the curd lightly and mix in,simmer for 5-7 minutes.If the gravy is too thick,add milk to 'loosen' it.
Add garam masala and coriander leaves and switch off the flame.

How did we like it - We like mixed vegetable curries as it is wholesome with rice or rotis.The vegetables can be of your choice,I've made it with Broccoli and baby corn too and it tastes equally good.The original recipe does not call for garam masala(I think!)and I felt it lacked something,a tsp of homemade garam masala gave the curry an extra punch.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cinnamon Tea Cake

I've not been baking much off late and every time I go through such a phase,I start panicking thinking,what if I forget to bake completely!?What a horrid thought,and then I start looking for the perfect recipe to get back and bake.Does it show I'm completely lacking words to start the post?It happens,when you stay away from the blog for a while.

Life's been busy and time is flying in the fastest pace ever.Baking and mostly anything blog related has taken a back seat for a while.Usually,I schedule posts when I have drafts ready,but this time that too didn't happen.Anyway,let's head straight to the cake recipe since it is a very simple recipe and doesn't require such a boring introduction:).

I've baked this a couple of times before but it never got featured in the blog.The recipe is from Nita Mehta's Cakes and Cookies,one of the first baking books I've owned.It is a basic tea cake recipe[original recipe uses Cardamom]and can be tweaked according to flavors of your choice.(I am thinking Vanilla bean,Coffee,Orange,Nutmeg next).
Cinnamon Tea Cake

Recipe source - Nita Mehta


Flour/Maida - 2 cups
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Ground Cinnamon - 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1 cup
Oil - 1 cup
Eggs - 4,yolks and whites separated
Curd - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 3 tbsp


Preheat oven to 180C.Grease/line a 8/8 square pan or a 9' round pan.
Sift together flour,baking powder and cinnamon.
Beat egg whites in a bowl till it forms soft peaks,keep aside.
In a mixing bowl,beat together sugar and oil for 2-3 minutes.Mix in egg yolks and beat till sugar dissolves.
Mix in half of the flour and curds,beat.
Add in the other half and beat well till you get a smooth batter.
Fold in the whites in a slow upward and downward motion till no visible specks of egg whites remain.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle sugar on top and bake for 35-40 minutes or till the cake is risen,golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then invert and cut into squares.
Serve with tea.

How we liked it - As the name says,the cake tastes best when served with tea.Mildly spiced and not very sweet,the cake makes for a great snack too.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Gokulashtami Recipes

Are you done with your preparations for Gokulashtami tomorrow?Or are you like me who is still scratching her head and yet to decide what to cook??If it is the latter,come join the club.But worry not,the blogosphere is here to help us with so many talented bloggers preparing yummy dishes way in advance for eleventh-hour folks like us.

Raks has made Kai Murukku,
Uppu seedai and 
Vella seedai.

Sharmilee has welcomed Krishna into her home a bit earlier for her blog readers with Homemade Butter and Aval Urundai.

Chitra Amma's Kitchen has been posting Five favourites of Sri Krishna for Janmashtami starting with Badam Poori Payasam,Carrot-Rava Laddoo,Bennae Murukku&Shatti Thair 

Vardhini has made Thattai

Shanthi Krishnakumar has compiled a mini-round up of Bhakshanams for Krishna Jayanthi.

Priya Suresh makes a Seedai with a twist - Rava Uppu Seedai

You could also check out posts from my archives-
Homemade Banana Chips

Banana Halwa


Wishing all my readers(who celebrate)a very Happy Krishna Janmashtami!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Matar Tamatar - Tomato & Peas Curry

What do you turn to when you want to make a quick curry for dinner along with roti?I sometimes plan exhaustively for something and forget to stock up the main ingredient and have no choice but to whip up something with available ingredients.Onions and tomatoes always come to rescue as,a simple curry with stir-fried onions and tomatoes taste great with rotis. 

I signed up for Blog-hop Wednesdays a while back and was looking forward to cooking from the blog assigned to me.I was paired with Nisha and the moment I got to know I started browsing her blog.I finalised on this Mushroom thoran but,yes you guessed right,forgot to buy a packet of mushrooms for today.I didn't want to delay posting this,so went ahead with this simple curry.
Blog-hop Wednesdays is an event started by Radhika,wherein we are assigned a blog every alternate Wednesday and we are supposed to cook from that blog and blog about it.What a great way to get to know each others blogs and bring variety to the dining table!

Matar Tamatar Curry

Recipe source - Nisha's Kitchen


Tomato - 2 medium,finely chopped
Onion - 1 small,finely chopped
Peas - 1/2 cup
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Haldi - 1/4 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp,finely chopped
Salt to taste


In a kadai,heat oil and splutter mustard seeds and jeera.
Add onions and ginger garlic paste and saute on low flame till the onion starts browning.
Mix in the masala powders-haldi,red chilly and garam masala,give a good stir.
Add tomato and peas and salt to taste.Close with a lid and cook till the tomatoes turn mushy and the peas becomes tender.
Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Haldi panna Pathali

If you are wondering about the strange name,let me assure it is nothing but an Ela ada steamed in Haldi paan aka turmeric leaf,and if you are wondering why am I posting a recipe which is already there in my blog,well this one is similar yet different from that one.

We made a very short trip to Bangalore this weekend and ma-in-law tried to stuff in as many goodies as possible in those three days.It also helped that we had Suthan Punnav[Upakarma],Raksha Bandhan and Choodi Pooja in between so it just made a good excuse for us to gorge on the goodies.

Haldi panna Pathali is a delicacy only if you love the flavor of turmeric.Though it is very faint,it is quite an acquired taste and I love it.

*Choodi Puja is a puja done by ladies in the month of Shravan.You can read more about it here.

Haldi panna Pathali 


Haldi paan/Turmeric leaves - a few or as required
Rice flour - 3/4 cup
Maida - 1/4 cup
Salt a pinch
Water - as required to make the batter

For the filling

Grated coconut - 1 cup
Grated jaggery - 1 cup
Cardamom -seeds of 2-3,crushed
Ghee - 1 tsp


Mix together rice flour,maida and salt and slowly add wtare without forming lumps till the batter is of thick dropping consistency.[If it becomes thin,add more flour]

Make the fillingMelt the jaggery in a saucepan over medium heat.Add the grated coconut and keep stirring till everything comes together.Add a tsp of ghee and powdered cardamom and keep aside till it cools down.

Making the pathali Picnik collage
Wash the leaves and wipe them dry with a kitchen towel.Pour one small ladleful of batter on the leaves and tilt slightly so that the batter spreads into a thin round shape.

Place a tbsp of filling in the middle and seal the leaf by closing it.Picnik collage
Steam in an idli cooker or steamer or pedavan for about 15-20 minutes by which time the leaves would have become a pale green and the aroma of haldi paan and the choorna fills the entire house.

To serve - Ideally,Pathali is served warm with a blob of ghee smeared on it though it tastes as good without it too.But it is a festive occasion,so you are pardoned the calories:)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Neichoru ~ Ghee Rice

There were very few dishes I knew to cook before getting married and Ghee rice was one of them.I've been cooking Ghee rice/Neichoru since my schooldays.I got the recipe from a very dear friend who used to prepare it very often and I thought I should try it out too.It came out perfect each and every time and I thought I must be a very great cook.Fact is,the recipe is quite foolproof.

Neichoru/Ghee rice is a delicately spiced rice with a strong flavor of ghee.There are many ways one could go about making it but the recipe I have follows a pressure cooker method.It gets done in less than 20 minutes from start to finish and is perfect for potluck parties since it pairs up well with spiced curries as well as simple raitas.Ideally,it is made with a special variety of rice called Jeeragashala[jeera rice],I have used Basmati.

Neichoru ~ Ghee Rice


Basmati rice - 1 cup
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Onions - 2,thinly sliced
Cashewnuts - 10,halved
Cardamom - 2
Cinnamon - 1' stick
Cloves - 3
Water - 2 cups
Salt to taste


Wash the rice well under running water 2-3 times or till the water runs clear.Soak in enough water for 10-15 minutes and drain.
In a pressure cooker add 1 tbsp ghee and saute the cashewnuts till golden brown,drain and reserve.
Saute half the onions till the onions become dark brown,drain and keep aside.
Add rest of the ghee and mix in the whole spices and then remaining onions.Saute till the onions start turning golden brown.
Mix in the drained rice and give a good stir.
Add water and salt to taste and let the mix come to a rolling boil.
Shut the pressure cooker with the lid and cook for 1 whistle.Switch off the flame immediately and let the cooker come to room temperature.
Open the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.Garnish with sauteed onions and cashewnuts and serve.


  • Basmati rice can be replaced with regular rice too.I have used Sona Masoori rice with great success.
  • You could make this rice with vegetables too which would make it more wholesome.
Sending my plate of Neichoru to Kerala Kitchen.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Eggless Apple Banana Muffins

Till sometime back,I didn't know what made Muffins different from Cupcakes.Ignorant me thought both were the same and they probably differed only in sizes.Here,cupcakes are sold unfrosted and many shops showcase muffins the size of a doughnut,so you cannot blame me!

Only after I started baking and looked through several recipes I realized the difference.So if there are still people like me[I doubt!]who think muffins and cupcakes are similar,here is the real deal--"Cupcakes are small cup-sized cakes,often frosted with buttercream or whipped cream whereas Muffins are small versions of quick-breads which are fruit-based and often had as breakfast".
Having had plain cupcakes all my life,I honestly do not find any major difference between both.But yes,upon close watch you can make out a difference in texture.Cupcakes are soft and fluffy and muffins are often dense and chewy.

Well,enough cupcake-muffin talk,let's head straight to the recipe.The Sweet Punch time is here again and this month we bake Muffins.Ria chose this Strawberry-Banana Muffins from Joy of Baking but since Strawberry season is long gone here,I decided to substitute it with Apples.Worked just fine and I felt it tasted very similar to Dorie's Apple-nut Muffin cake[which apparently is a muffin recipe which Dorie converted into a cake!].
Apple-Banana Muffin


Butter - 1/4 cup
Egg - 1[I did not add egg]
Vanilla - 1 tsp
Bananas - 2,ripe
Apple - 1 cup,chopped
Flour - 1 1/8 cup
Brown Sugar - 1/3 cup+1 tbsp
Baking powder - 3/4 tsp
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp
Cinnamon - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp


Preheat oven to 180C.Grease/line a muffin tray.
Melt the butter and keep aside to cool.
Mash the bananas with a fork and mix in the sugar and vanilla and beat till the sugar blends well into it.Add the melted and cooled butter and give a good whisk.
Mix together flour,baking powder,baking soda,cinnamon,apple and salt.Mix the  flour mix into the wet ingredients with a spatula and fold it in just until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups and bake for 20-22 minutes or till the muffins have risen and become golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Dust with powdered vanilla sugar and serve.


  • I halved the original recipe and got 7 muffins.
  • The batter is quite thick[not a pouring one],so if you find the muffins browning too much on top,cover the pan with a buttered foil paper to prevent overbrowning.
  • The original recipe calls for eggs,but I substituted it with a banana.
  • I drizzled the muffins with some Strawberry crush for some extra punch and should say the pairing worked well!

On another note,Easycooking got featured on Deccan Chronicle Kochi edition on August 5th.I was happy and overjoyed to say the least.I would like to say a BIG thank you to all of you whose support and encouragement made this feat possible.Thank you!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Instant Oats Rava Idli

Breakfast times are generally hurried times in most of the households where there would be a mad rush to finish chores and generally get done with stuff.Elaborate breakfasts are pushed to the weekend to be enjoyed in leisure.In such times,instant foods come as a great boon.How about a healthy and nutritious breakfast which gets done in less than 30 minutes from start to finish including prep work?

If you have tried MTR Rava idli and liked it,you'll like this idli too.Spongy,flavorsome and healthy and more so homemade and instant.Do you need any more reasons to try this one out?
Instant Oats Rava Idli
Recipe source - Sharmi's Passions


Instant Oats - 1 cup [ I used Baggreys]
Rava - 1/2 cup
Curd - 1/2 cup
Water - 3/4 cup or as required
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Green chilly - 1,finely chopped
Carrot - 1 medium size,grated
Hing - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp,finely chopped
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Oil - to grease the idli plates
Cashewnut halves for garnish - optional


In a kadai dry roast the oats for 3-4 minutes,let cool and then grind to a fine powder.Keep aside.
In the same pan,roast rava for 3-4 minutes,transfer to a mixing bowl.
Add a tsp of oil into a kadai and splutter mustard seeds.Mix in green chilly,grated carrot and coriander leaves and saute for a minute or so.
In a big mixing bowl,combine oats powder,roasted rava and the sauteed carrots along with the tempering.Add hing and salt to taste and give a good mix.
Mix in the curds and enough water to make the batter.

Prepare idli - Grease idli plates with a little oil and place one cashewnut half in the middle and pour idli batter on top.The said recipe yields 10 idlis.
Steam for 10-15 minutes.
Serve hot with chutney or sambhar.

  • The original recipe uses wheat rava,since I didn't have it,I replaced it with regular white rava.
  • The batter should be slightly thicker than the regular idli batter and would be a bit sticky.Pour less amount of batter per idli plate to get soft,porous idlis.
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