Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Semiya Payasam / Vermicelli Kheer | Onam Sadya Recipes

Semiya Payasam/Vermicelli Kheer
What is it about Sadya that makes it worth looking forward to?No doubt the fare of Payasams served at the end of the meal.Any Sadya is incomplete without at least one payasam to be devoured after the huge spread.In Kerala,most of the time,the sadya would have 2-3 payasams,at least one of which is Paalada.Growing up,I was not a big payasam fan.Maybe it was my taste buds then,but now give me a good bowl of payasam and I'll be one happy person.

Semiya/Vermicelli payasam is one of the most simple and delicious payasam that one can whip up in no time.A staple dessert when sudden guests stop by for lunch/dinner or to celebrate a joyous occasion in the family,a big batch of semiya payasam fits the bill perfectly.I learnt to make it while in school and still remember the feeling of satisfaction when I tasted the first spoon.It really is that simple,a totally foolproof recipe.
Semiya Payasam/Vermicelli Kheer
I usually make it with very less ingredients.So wanted to try this slightly different method by DK.It is a very similar recipe but uses condensed milk in place of sugar.As it is,the payasam becomes thicker as it sits,but the inclusion of milkmaid makes it creamier and rich in taste.I like my payasam sweet,very sweet,so I added some extra sugar as well:)
Semiya Payasam/Vermicelli Kheer
Semiya Payasam /Vermicelli Kheer
Recipe source - DK

Ingredients-serves 6

Ghee - 2 tbsp
Cashewnuts/Badam - 2 tbsp,chopped
Roasted Semiya/Vermicelli - 1/2 cup
Warm milk - 2 1/2 cups
Milkmaid - 1/2 cup*
Crushed cardamom - 2-3
Saffron strands - a pinch,soaked in 1 tbsp warm milk


Semiya Payasam/Vermicelli Kheer 
In a deep pan add ghee and roast the nuts till golden brown.Remove and keep aside.In the same pan,roast the vermicelli till it slightly changes in colour.
Semiya Payasam/Vermicelli Kheer 
Now mix in the boiled and warm milk and stir well.Let it come to a boil.
At this stage add the nuts along with the milk and let it cook or else you could add it during the last stage.
Cover and cook for 7-10 minutes or till the semiya is cooked.
Semiya Payasam/Vermicelli Kheer 
Mix in the milkmaid and stir well.Add the crushed cardamom and keep stirring.
Mix in the saffron soaked in warm milk.
Cook for a further 2-3 minutes and then switch off the flame.
Garnish with saffron strands and serve warm.
Semiya Payasam/Vermicelli Kheer
  • I added an extra 1/4 cup sugar as I like the payasam real sweet.You could do a taste test before serving and add sugar accordingly(or not add any at all!)
  • I add cardamom as a whole,crushed a little.I feel this adds more flavour to the finished dish.Yo can remove the peels of cardamom before serving.Or if you prefer,add crushed cardamom seeds alone.
  • Adding the nuts while the semiya is cooking makes the nuts soft and delicious.However,if you like some crunch in the nuts,add half in the payasam while cooking and the other half as garnish.
On another note,Easycooking has been nominated for the Indiblogger Awards in the food section.If you enjoy reading my blog and want to show some love,please hop over there and let me know through a comment.Thanks a bunch for all the love and encouragement :)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Orange-Chocolate Marble Cake

Chocolate Orange Marble Cake
I don't know what it is with Marble cakes,every time I bake one and am about to cut it,I wait in anticipation.How would it look inside,did I overdo the marbling or was I too preoccupied with getting the patterns right,so on and so forth.But believe me when I tell you,planning never works with marble cakes.However you do the marbling,you would not end up with same patterns.Every marble cake,for this same reason,is unique.

Unlike the regular combination of Vanilla and Chocolate,marble cake can be made with different flavors.Cinnamon can be replaced with vanilla and coffee with chocolate.Or maybe mint and chocolate,or caramel with banana?I somehow went back to my favorite flavors of all time-Orange and Chocolate.
Chocolate Orange Marble Cake
As I was getting the ingredients for this cake ready,I was reminded of the very-artificial-flavored Orange Marble cake of my schooldays.I think it was called Wondercake,beautiful patterns in orange colour and chocolate,it used to taste delicious then and was regular picnic fare as it was easy to carry and many flavors to choose from.

However,one bite into this one and I realized how better a homemade version tastes.No artificial colour or flavor,just the tang of freshly squeezed orange juice and zest paired with dark chocolate in a buttery and moist cake.Do try this simple recipe and you wouldn't go back to the store-bought version,I guarantee.
Chocolate Orange Marble Cake Orange Chocolate Marble Cake
Recipe source - Joy of Baking


Bittersweet/Semisweet Chocolate - 140 gms,chopped(I used Morde Dark Compound)
Instant Coffee powder - 1 tsp
All purpose flour - 2 1/4 cups / 295 gms
Baking powder - 2 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Unsalted butter - 3/4 cup / 170 gms
Granulated white sugar - 1 1/4 cups / 250 gms
Zest and juice of 1 Orange
Eggs - 3 large,room temperature
Yogurt/sour cream - 1/3 cup /80 ml
Milk - 1/2 cup /120 ml


Preheat oven to 180C.Grease and line a 10' Bundt tin or a 2lb/9' by 5' loaf pan.
Chocolate Orange Marble Cake 
In a small bowl mix together sugar and orange zest until the sugar becomes moist and flavorful.Keep aside.
In a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate with the coffee. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.OR
Chocolate Orange Marble Cake 
Microwave the chocolate in a heatproof bowl for 1 minute on full power.Stir in the coffee powder,mix well and keep aside to cool.
Chocolate Orange Marble Cake 
In another bowl sift together flour,baking powder and salt.
Chocolate Orange Marble Cake 
In the bowl of your stand mixer(or use a hand mixer with a bowl)beat the butter until smooth.Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Chocolate Orange Marble Cake 
Add eggs one at a time beating after each addition.Beat in the vanilla and sour cream/yogurt.
Chocolate Orange Marble Cake 
With the mixer on low speed,alternately add the flour and milk to the batter in three additions beginning and ending with the flour.
Chocolate Orange Marble Cake 
Remove a little more than half of the batter and place into a separate bowl. To the remaining batter stir, or beat, in the melted chocolate and juice of 1/2 an orange. Place the batters into the prepared loaf pan by alternating spoonfuls of vanilla batter with the chocolate batter. Then, with the end of a wooden skewer or knife, gently draw swirls through the batter to marbleize it. Don't over mix.
Chocolate Orange Marble Cake 
Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes before removing the cake from the pan to cool completely. Prick a few holes on top with a toothpick and drizzle in the rest of the orange juice.Can dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder or powdered sugar.
Chocolate Orange Marble Cake
Serve warm or at room temperature. This cake is best the day it's made, but it will keep for a couple of days at room temperature or it can be frozen.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Savoury Kugelhopf Bread ~ We Knead to Bake # 7

Savoury Kugelhopf Bread
If someone had told me a while back I'd be baking a Kugelhopf bread I'd have asked them how it is pronounced rather than how it is made.That was my first thought when I saw the bread bake of the month in WKtB.I mean,how does Aparna do it,month after month?Choose a unique bread and shake us out of our comfort zones?I should have taken her word literally when she said we'd be baking different breads for each month of the year.

For someone whose baking was limited to sweet bakes,I am taking baby steps in savoury baking as well now.I'd put off baking savoury muffins fearing it wouldn't match my expectations,I think I should rethink about it now.Anyway,to play it safe I halved the recipe,still it made a decent quantity of bread.So,if you are a savoury bread fan go ahead and bake the full recipe.
Savoury Kugelhopf Bread
Kugelhopf (also spelt as Kugelhupf, Gugelhupf, Gougelhof, Kugelhoph, Kugloff Kuelopf, Kouklouf, Köjlhopf, Koejelhopf, Koïlopf, Köjhupf!) is a yeasted sweet cake well known in the Alsace region of France, as well as in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, and variations of this are also found in some countries of Eastern Europe.

This bread/ cake contains eggs because they are a characteristic part of this bake, but feel free to substitute powdered flax seed for the eggs if you don’t eat them. You may also use sun-dried tomatoes and toasted pine nuts instead of the tomatoes/ bell pepper and walnuts.I used Cheddar cheese as per Aparna's recipe as well,but you can use a cheese of your choice.A sharper cheese would taste better.
Savoury Kugelhopf Bread
This Kugelhopf bakes in an 8” Kugelhopf pan, but you should also be ableto bake it in an 8” Bundt pan, a regular loaf tin (or 2 small ones), smaller Brioche tins or even muffin tins. If you’re baking this in muffin tins you might want to use half the recipe, though I understand that this bread freezes well. 

Savoury Kugelhopf
Recipe source - Aparna

3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
75gm butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten lightly
1 tsp oil
1/3 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/3 cup deseeded, pulp-free and chopped tomatoes
1 cup onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup diced cheddar cheese (preferably sharp)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tsp coarsely crushed black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
I used a food processor to knead the dough but this can be done by hand but it will be a bit sticky to handle. 
Savoury Kugelhopf Bread 
Put 3 cups of flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of the processor. Pulse a couple of times to mix. 
Savoury Kugelhopf Bread 
Then add the butter, a little at a time, and process till incorporated.

Savoury Kugelhopf Bread 
Add the warm milk and process till mixed. Now add the eggs and process till mixed. You will now have a soft and sticky dough.  Savoury Kugelhopf Bread 
Knead some more, adding more flour, a little at a time and just enough till the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Do not be tempted to add more flour than absolutely necessary.
Your dough will be very soft, elastic and just short of sticky. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover and let it rise until double in volume. This can take from 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours!
Savoury Kugelhopf Bread 
In the meanwhile, heat 1/2 a tsp oil in a pan. Add the chopped green bell pepper, the tomato and a pinch of salt and stir-fry till the raw smell disappears but the vegetables are still crisp/ crunchy. Remove and keep aside. To the same pan, add the remaining 1/2 tsp oil and sauté the onions with a pinch of salt till they turn golden brown. Remove and add to the bell peppers and keep aside.
Grease an 8” kugelhopf mould or bundt pan well especially around the centre (or whatever pan/ tin you plan to use). Place some of the chopped walnuts in the bottom of the mould. If you’re using a loaf tin or brioche moulds, then don’t do this. Instead press in the walnuts on top of the dough after the second rise, just before baking.
Savoury Kugelhopf Bread 
Once the dough has risen, deflate it. Then work the cheese, stir-fried onions, bell pepper and tomato, the remaining walnuts, black pepper and thyme into the dough.
Savoury Kugelhopf Bread 
The best way to do this is to flatten the dough out and spread all this over the surface, fold the dough over and then knead it. This will ensure a more uniform incorporation of the “filling”. The dough will be a bit sticky, so use a scraper to help you with the kneading. Do not add more flour!
Roll the dough into a longish log, long enough to fit into the mould comfortably. Lift the “log” of dough and place it in the mould in a circular fashion and pinch the two ends together to close the “circle” of dough. Cover and let the dough rise for about an hour or so, until it reaches the edge/ rim of the mould.
Savoury Kugelhopf Bread 
Bake the Kugelhopf at 200C (400F) Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes until the top is golden brown and sounds hollow when it is tapped.
Savoury Kugelhopf Bread

Unmould the Kugelhopf and let it cool on a rack. Slice and serve. This Kugelhopf should serve about 10 people and is also good for breakfast, as a snack or served with a simple soup.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Malai Kofta - North Indian Side Dishes

Malai Kofta
When you think of a rich,creamy North Indian gravy,many dishes come to mind.Malai Kofta does feature somewhere in the first three.With a mildly spiced kofta dunked in a creamy gravy,it makes for a perfect side dish with roti or pulao.Unfortunately,not many prefer the taste and being the lone vegetarian in the group,I have to look out for commonly liked dishes so that at least some of it is shared!

I'd made a cheat's version sometime back but always wanted to try out the real thing.Before I get into the recipe and ingredients,I want to confess something.Though this one tasted great,it wasn't THE Malai kofta I was looking for.If you are wondering why else I am putting up the recipe if I am not satisfied with it completely,it is only because this indeed is a good recipe which yields great results.I was trying to recreate something I'd eaten in a restaurant in Bangalore and in that way,it hasn't given me full satisfaction.
Malai Kofta
Malai Kofta,the name itself suggests how rich the curry is.Mildly spiced vegetables/potato/paneer is fried and dunked into a gravy which is rich with the addition of cream and nuts,it really is an indulgent gravy.

I made up the recipe as I went adding ingredients of my choice and liking.Also,I used my paniyaram pan to make the koftas rather than deep frying them.Contradicting the name,I haven't added any cream to the gravy as I felt the addition of the nuts paste made it quite rich,so I added milk instead.I'd made some Paneer Kulchas to pair with the curry and the combo tasted delicious.I am still looking for recipes,so you can expect some more Malai kofta recipes in Easycooking in the coming days :)
Malai Kofta Malai Kofta


For the kofta

Paneer - 100gms,grated
Potatoes -3 medium,mashed and grated
Capsicum - 2 tbsp,chopped (optional)
Carrots - 2 medium,grated
Onion - 2 tbsp,chopped
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Cornflour - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Mixed nuts - 2 tbsp,I used Cashew and Almonds
Oil as required to make the kofta

For the gravy

Almonds - 10-12,soaked in 2 tbsp milk
Oil/ghee - 1 tbsp
Whole garam masala - 1 bayleaf,1' stick cinnamon,3 cloves,2 cardamom
Onions - 2 medium,ground to a paste
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Tomatoes - 2 big,pureed
Red chilly powder - 3/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 3/4 tsp
Haldi powder - 1/4 tsp
Jeera powder - 1/4 tsp
Milk/cream - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Kasoori methi - 1 tbsp

For garnish

Grated paneer - 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves,chopped - 1 tbsp
Almonds - 1 tbsp,thinly sliced


For the kofta 
Malai Kofta 
Mix together all the ingredients mentioned for the kofta except the nuts.Knead it to form a smooth ball.
Malai Kofta 
Take a tablespoon full of the mixture into your palms and flatten it.Keep a little crushed nuts in between and close it all over forming a smooth ball.Repeat with the rest of the kofta mixture.
At this point,you could either deep fry the koftas in hot oil until brown or use a paniyaram pan to cook the koftas.
Malai Kofta 
Heat the paniyaram pan and add 1/4 tsp of oil in each of the holes.Place one kofta in each and let it cook on one side.Flip over and cook the other side as well.Drain into a paper towel and repeat with rest of the koftas.

For the gravy 
 Malai Kofta 
Soak the almonds in warm milk and grind to a smooth paste,reserve.
Malai Kofta 
In a deep kadai add oil/ghee and saute the whole garam masala.Mix in the ground onions and saute till it starts changing colour.Mix in the ginger garlic paste and tomato puree.Stir and let it come to a boil.
Malai Kofta 
Add the spice powders-red chilly,coriander,haldi and jeera powder.
Malai Kofta 
Mix in the almond paste and milk and cook the gravy for 3-4 minutes.
Malai Kofta 
Add salt to taste,garam masala and crushed kasoori methi.Cook the gravy further for 2-3 minutes and then switch off the flame.
Malai Kofta
For garnish - Place the koftas in a serving dish and pour the prepared gravy on top.Garnish with grated paneer,coriander leaves and chopped almonds.Serve hot.
Paneer Kulcha
  • Make the koftas and the gravy before hand and mix only before serving.Or else the koftas may get soggy.
  • If you want to add cream,do so in place of milk.
  • You can make koftas using only paneer and potatoes.Adding vegetables is a personal choice.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Eggless Baked Doughnuts ~ We Knead to Bake # 6

I almost thought I'd miss baking this one.Had planned to bake this as soon as we reached back from our holiday since I thought new baking tools and a new mixer might make me very excited when it came to baking something new,especially for WKtB.That was not to be,however.I went into a fortnight-long slumber without baking anything and I even started questioning myself whether I would update my blog anytime soon.
Eggless Baked Doughnuts
I got myself a Breville Stand mixer and was wondering what to bake first to inaugurate it.Finally baked a batch of Vanilla cupcakes and guess what,there's no stopping me ever since.Baked Death by Chocolate and Brownies for a friend's niece and then some Jam rolls for a friend's daughter and then slowly the blog saw new updates,I'm relieved!

Making doughnuts have never been on my list.We are not quite the doughnut loving crowd.I'd avoid it thinking I can accumulate calories in other stuff,why waste those on doughnuts;).But when Aparna sets forth a challenge,it has to be baked.Wait,is it a recipe for doughnuts which do not require frying and eggless,that had me motivated to bake a batch.
Eggless Baked Doughnuts
Given a choice,I thought I'd go for the Chocolate dougnuts,but I was mistaken.The Cinnamon sugar ones had me eating one after the another.Thankfully,I'd baked those in small heart shaped sizes,which took care of the guilt part.Those were really delicious and I think would make for a perfect snack.
Eggless Baked Doughnuts
Since I was making these for the first time,I carefully followed the instructions
  • make sure the dough is 1/2' thick before cutting out the doughnuts.
  • make sure the doughnuts do not lose their shape when you transfer them from your work surface to the baking sheet or else you will end up with wonky shaped ones.
  • make sure that whatever you use to cut your doughnuts is sharp so that it makes it easy to lift them off the work space without much difficulty.
  • make sure you do not use a twisting motion while you cut the doughnuts which would not make them rise properly.
Eggless Baked Doughnuts
Eggless Baked Yeasted Doughnuts
Original recipe from Lara Ferroni's Doughnuts


1/4 cup superfine sugar
1 cup warm milk (45C/115F)
3/4 tbsp instant yeast (or 1 tbsp active dry yeast)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups cake flour (or all-purpose flour) divided, plus more for kneading
100gm butter, cut into 1 inch cubes 

For the topping:

75 to 100gm butter, melted
1 cup superfine sugar + 2 tablespoons cinnamon (more or less, depending on your taste), mixed together
For the Glaze
1 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa OR 1 tsp Vanilla 
2 tbsp milk
jam to fill your doughnuts
Using a processor to knead helps but you can do this by hand.
Eggless Baked Doughnuts 
Put the sugar, milk, yeast, salt and vanilla in the processor bowl and pulse to mix well. 
Eggless Baked Doughnuts 
Add the cake flour and 1 cup of all-purpose flour and process, adding a little more of the flour as necessary till the dough is thick and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Eggless Baked Doughnuts 
Now add the butter pieces one at a time and process till there no large chunks of butter are left in the bottom of the bowl. Now add a little more flour until your have a soft, pliable and elastic dough that is most but not overly sticky.Eggless Baked Doughnuts 
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently until the dough no longer sticks to your hands. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased large mixing bowl., turning it to coat well. Cover with a damp towel and let it rise till double in volume. This should take about an hour. 
Eggless Baked Doughnuts 
Punch down the dough and roll out to a thickness of 1/2" thickness. Cut out doughnuts using a doughnut cutter or whatever you have on hand to cut out 3” diameter with 1” diameter holes. If you’re making doughnuts to fill with jam, then do not cut out the holes. Place the doughnuts and the holes on parchment lined or lightly greased baking sheets, leaving at least 1” space between them.

I did not bake the 'holes' as such.Re-rolled those and made heart shaped small ones which I later dipped in cinnamon sugar.
Eggless Baked Doughnuts 
Re-roll the scraps and cut out more doughnuts. Eggless Baked Doughnuts 
Let them rise for about 20 minutes or till almost double in size and then bake them at 200C (400F) for about 5 to 10 minutes till they’re done and golden brown. Do not over bake them.
Eggless Baked Doughnuts 
For the glaze,mix together all the ingredients mentioned,choosing your flavor-vanilla or chocolate.I made two batches of each and added a pinch of food colour to the vanilla glaze.

This recipe makes about 12 to 14 doughnuts and holes.

Take them out of the oven and immediately brush them with the melted butter and then dip them into the cinnamon sugar mixture. If filling the doughnuts with jam, let them cool.
Put the jam into a piping bag with a writing nozzle/ tip and press into the doughnut from the side and gently press out the jam into the doughnut till it starts oozing out. Jam doughnuts do not need too much jam to fill them.Eggless Baked Doughnuts 
If glazing your doughnuts, let them cool completely and then dip one side of the doughnut in the glaze of your choice and let it set.

Eggless Baked Doughnuts

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