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As a kid, I loved sleeping in. Obviously, with school on weekdays, it was hard to keep my eyes shut with Mom screaming from the kitchen for me to get dressed. But not weekends. Aah… weekends were when I could get as much shut eye as I wanted – or rather, as much as my parents allowed me! There was a time when my Dad had to scan the markets to find an alarm loud enough to break my sweet slumber. Alas, even then Mom would come running to my room to shut it off before the neighbours heard the deafening shrill. But me, I did not even twitch a muscle. I truly believed that had I been Sleeping Beauty, the fairy tale would’ve ended very differently! But who am I kidding? That was eons ago, in a time when sleep for me was more of a sport than a luxury. I think all moms reading this can nod their heads in agreement that once the home has welcomed its first baby, our sleep and life as we know it, takes a completely different turn!
Baby Dear is a morning person in every sense of the word. He wakes up bright-eyed and bushy tailed every weekend when the sun comes out and announces his rising through the baby monitor as loud as he possibly can. Either Hubby Dear or I will then, in our dazed half asleep state, bring him into our room and put him in the middle of our bed under the covers with the cartoons turned on. Then, we fall back to sleep. In the meanwhile, our Tarzan baby who has learned that no amount of coercing will wake up his sleep-deprived parents, will entertain himself with the TV, reading his books or playing – all the while nestled between the both of us. But this will only last a few minutes till he realizes that its no fun talking to yourself and not getting any responses back. And Baby Dear is nothing if he can’t talk and be talked back to.
So there we are, up and early on a Saturday morning at the kitchen table. And that’s exactly why I tend to always have a stash of some delicious baked goodies to tie us over till I’ve had my first sip of coffee and can actually start thinking of what to feed my family. This recipe is one of our favourites, and one that I’ve made upmteen number of times. It’s perfect to take with you on the go for a quick morning bite. Or, if you’re fortunate like us and have a happy early riser to shake you off your deep, sweet slumber, then it’ll feel like a godsend to have them at arm’s length!
STRAWBERRY BANANA ALMOND MUFFIN
Prep time: 10 min | Cooking time: 20-25 min | Makes: 12 muffins Ingredients:
3 ripe bananas, mashedDirections:
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
1 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix the mashed bananas with sugar, butter, vanilla extract, baking powder and soda. Add in in flour and mix well to form a smooth batter.
Fold in almonds and chopped strawberries, and fill a greased muffin tray three-fourths full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, till muffins are done and brown on top.
Have you come across this situation… What if you could eat one of the food items you like very much only once in a year? It’s difficult to even imagine such a thing in this era of instant gratification, right? Well, this particular recipe belongs to that category. You can make this only once a year on Maundy Thursday, in remembrance of Passover. You can read more about it’s significance here.
As a child, I always used to wonder why these grownups were making so much fuss about cooking this? I mean, the preparation of this Appam and Paal is taken very seriously, at least at my place. It’s usually done by the eldest female member of the family. The mood in the kitchen would be completely different from normal days. The Appam and Paal is prepared with extra care and caution. The preparation would start around noon time and once the batter is ready, a small prayer is said while placing the Cross on the batter. By evening time, the whole family comes together for prayer and cutting the Appam.
On a regular basis I like my space in the kitchen. I like to move things in my own pace and everything remains where I keep it, yep I’m a bit of control freak when it comes to my space ;) Ok, what I was trying to say is, how-much- ever I like my space in the kitchen, every year when I make this by myself, standing alone in the quietness of my kitchen, I cannot help but wish, there is total chaos in my kitchen with people and dishes all over the place! Strange isnt it, how emotions can affect your normal self?
Though I’m making it since 2005, every year without fail, I’d be calling my Amma and Tesschechy (my aunt), at least 10 times while making this. I’ve become one of those fussy grownups! By trying to be extra cautious I become extra clumsy :( I tend to have ‘n’ number of doubts every year, may be because it’s made only once in a year or may be because I’m weighed down by its importance, sigh!
So, last year I thought enough is enough and decided to write down each and every detail about it and also take step by step pictures. I wanted to share with you the step by step pictures and the updated recipe. The qty of the ingredients remains the same. There is a small change in the method. However I’ve kept the old post too, if in case you’re used to that recipe :)
Again, even if all the details are in place, I’m sure I’ll be calling or What’s – apping Amma this year too, you know just to make sure that I’m not alone in the kitchen on this day :) After all, no man is an island!
Here you go with the step by step pictures…
Combine salt and roasted rice flour. Add boiling water gradually and using a wooden spatula mix the dough. Add water till the dough comes together. Using your hands (be careful the dough can be very hot), knead together until you get a smooth and soft dough…
Grind coconut with garlic, small onion and jeera with 1/2 cup water, until everything is combined well…
Transfer the batter to a well greased (I use coconut oil for greasing the tin) steaming tin. Place the cross made with palm leaves on the middle of the batter. Steam in appachembu/steamer for 25-35 minutes…
Melt jaggery with a little water. When it is completely melted, strain it…
Add 3 cups medium thick coconut milk and stir continuously and when more than half of it is evaporated, add thick coconut milk and stir well…Print Pesaha / Indri Appam Author: Maria Jose Martin Serves: 5-6 Ingredients For Pesaha Appam
You see… I wanted to post something special for Vishu, more like a Payasam recipe. I even zeroed down on Kadalaparippu Pradhaman, but then I happened to remember one of my “proclamations” – I’m giving up sweets from 1st April till Easter.
I’m not sure why I go around making such announcements and proclamations, when I’m almost certain that I wont be able to keep them. I think I like to make myself believe that I’m capable of leading a very disciplined and ordered life… it’s all about perceptions! Do you do such things? I mean… trying to make yourself believe that you are capable of doing certain things, when in reality, even when you’re not so keen about it?
Ok, before I go on blabbering and waste your time, let’s go to the recipe. Here’s one more recipe for Unniyappam. I’ve already posted a recipe before, which uses a combination of rice flour and plain flour. I’ve been getting mails asking for Unniyappam recipe with just rice flour. Came across this one and it worked out well :) It’s pretty easy recipe, the only thing you’ve to be careful about is the frying part. If you get the right temperature for frying, there is no looking back. Unlike the earlier recipe I posted, this recipe doesn’t call for resting of the batter before frying. So if you’ve all the ingredients, it’s pretty easy to fry it up ;)
If you are planning to make Sadya, please check out the recipes here.
Wish you and your loved ones a Happy Vishu!
Here is the recipe…
Melt jaggery in 1 cup water till it becomes syrupy, but not thick…
Add the melted jaggery to the rest of the ingredients and mix well. The batter should be of dropping consistency. If the batter is too thick, add water to loosen it…
Recipe adapted from “Flavours of the Spice Coast” by Mrs.K.M.MathewPrint Unniyappam Author: Maria Jose Martin Recipe type: Snack Cuisine: Indian, South Indian, Kerala Serves: 10 Ingredients
Over six years ago when I first introduced the Intro to Indian Cooking series of this very blog, I had no idea I was about to start a cult following. What started as a simple desire to help a few of my friends and readers learn the basics of Indian cooking, enabling them to enjoy good food cooked in the comforts of home using fresh, readily available, and healthy ingredients, turned out to be one of THE best decisions I ever made in my writing/blogging career. The series was soon picked up by The Mississauga News as a monthly feature in their food section. Over the years, I’ve received a ton of emails and comments on those posts from folks eager to learn more, much more, about Indian food. And it has been a true pleasure for me responding to each and every one of those queries.
I’ve been reading through a lot of feedback from you guys on the kind of content you’d like me to showcase more of on HoH. Let me just say that I have a couple of fun features/ideas that should take off soon that I’m sure you’ll enjoy very much. One of them that makes me giddy with excitement is a spin off from my Indian 101 series. I know that a lot of you have asked me to bring that back, but I think I can offer you something a step further. Join me, as I cook my way from A to Z of Indian Home Cooking. Each post in this series will showcase a recipe of a dish that begins with a letter from the alphabet. I’ll try my best to pick a variety of vegetarian, non-vegetarian and vegan recipes – both restaurant favourites, and simple home cook secrets.
Okay, so I’m back with the next episode in this series and today we’re on to the letter B. B for Bhuna Chicken. Bhuna is technique of cooking, which simply means to fry the flavour base or masala really well till it starts to caramelize and give out oil along the sides. This method of cooking ensures a robust burst of flavour in the dish and the end result is always a warm, comforting bite. It does take a bit of extra time and a watchful eye to make sure that the masala is cooking well without getting burnt. The secret to this, I believe, is low and slow. Keep the heat low and stir slowly every now and then.
This recipe is perfect for a weekend meal when you have the time and mood to putter about in the kitchen with nothing much else to tug at your attention. It also tastes even better the next day since the spices and flavour and enough time to penetrate and mingle through. Because of this, I love to serve this dish at dinner parties when I know I can cook it either the previous night or early that morning. Other than the little bit of extra time it takes to bhuno the masala, this recipe is fairly simple and a treat to eat.
PREP TIME: 15 MIN | COOKING TIME: 30 MIN | SERVES: 2-4 AS MAIN, 6 AS SIDE Ingredients:
2 tbsp light cooking oilDirections:
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1 lb boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
water, as needed
a hefty pinch of kasoori methi
salt, to taste
handful of finely chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
Heat oil in a large deep pan on medium heat and add in the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. As soon as they start to sizzle, add in onion and fry for 2-3 minutes till lightly browned.
Add ginger, garlic and spices, and fry for a minute or two till fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste and combine well with the onion and spices.
Add in tomatoes, stir well, and continue to fry the masala, stirring occasionally till the tomatoes start to pulp and blend with the spice mixture.
Add in the chicken, season with kasoori methi and salt and cook covered for 7-8 minutes on low heat. If you prefer a bit more of gravy, add some water and bring it to a slow simmer.
Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve hot with fresh made rotis or a side of rice.
|Source: Wikimedia commons|
|Used with permission from Arundati Rao- arundati.wordpress.com|
I’m one among the millions of people who love chocolate flavored baked treats but unfortunately my husband is not. So I have to keep alternating between chocolate and non-chocolate treats to please my son and husband respectively. My son like me will just drool when he hears the word chocolate. So he gets upset if I don’t bake anything chocolaty. He has been requesting me to bake chocolate cupcakes/muffins for a very long time now. I have been baking a lot of non-chocolate muffins like these vegan mango muffins, high-fiber carrot bran muffins and gluten-free banana muffins recently. So it was time for something decadent and very chocolaty. I knew which recipe it had to be because I have this pending in my bookmarks list for almost a year now. It’s chocolate ricotta muffins!. As usual I have made changes to the original recipe to make it egg free, slightly healthful and to make a smaller batch. And as usual like my other chocolate flavored recipes this one didn’t fail me and was devoured by everybody other than my husband. Poor him, he doesn’t know what he’s missing. Just leave it at that!
|Eggless Chocolate Ricotta Muffins||5.0 from 1 reviews|
Paneer Kathi Roll also known as Paneer Frankie is a delicious Indian wrap filled with curried paneer (Indiancottage cheese). Frankie Roll is a popular Indian street food in which different types of curries such as paneeer, aloo (potatoes), gobi (cauliflower), meat are stuffed and rolled in a flat bread or roti made from all purpose flour or wheat flour.
A popular chain of fast food known as Tibb’s Frankie is a place where we used to get these delicious wraps. Even now when I go to India I don’t forget to stop at Tibb’s. You can make these wraps and pack it for lunch by wrapping it in an aluminum foil. These are also perfect for picnics.
Preparation time: 60 minutes + 2 hours resting time
Yield: 12 rolls
For the Roti:
Method of Preparation:
Making the Roti or Flat Bread:
Mix all purpose flour, wheat flour and salt. Add 2 tsp of oil and knead it to a smooth and soft dough. Knead it for about 8 to 10 minutes. Grease a bowl with the remaining oil and place the dough. Cover and let it rest for 2 hours.
Make big lime size balls from the dough. Dust with flour and roll it into thin round shape like roti. Heat a griddle and add the rolled rotis one by one and cook both the sides. Brown spots will appear on both the sides. Place it in a hot pack or wrap it with a foil.
Preparation of Paneer Stuffing:
Grate paneer. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. When it splutters add ginger, garlic, green chilies and curry leaves. Saute for a minute and add onions. Saute until it becomes translucent.
Add grated paneer, mix well and cook for 5 minutes and turn off the stove. Add chopped cilantro.
Preparation of Wraps:
Spread green chutney and hot sauce on the rotis. Add a couple of tablespoons of Paneer stuffing. Sprinkle a pinch chaat masala (optional). Fold the bottom portion and roll it.
You can wrap it in foil and pack it for lunch or for picnics.