December 28, 2007

Bread Upma - How to Make Bread Upma

I am not an upma lover and haven't been ever since I can remember. But my fried Darsh has made me a convert. With her simple yet elegant, yummy and spicy Bread Upma.

{For a different spin on bread upma, check out this Masala Bread Upma Recipe}

The behind the scenes story is that we spent Christmas eve at her place and woke up late the next day. There was nothing in the house to cook with except 2-day old bread and some tomatoes and chillies. With utmost confidence, she chopped, diced and sliced and made this yummy bowl of amazing brunch! So this recipe here is an ideal one for all those bachelors left at home with stale bread in hand and no time to cook a proper meal.

I was watching very closely for the ingredients used and the amounts of each but she is an intuitive cook - who does not measure! She was talking and cooking at the same time, hardly looking at the cooking pan! So here is what I could make out in between all the fun we had!


Serves : 4

Bread Slices, cubed - 15
Onions, chopped - 4 medium
Green chillies, chopped - 4
Ginger, chopped - a 2" piece
Tomatoes, cubed - 3 large
Hing - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 2 tsp
Pepper powder - 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 2 tsp
Fresh coriander leavs - for garnishing
Salt - to taste

How She Made It:

1. Heat oil, cackle the mustard seeds, add onions, green chillies and ginger and fry till golden brown.

2. Add the hing, garam masala, pepper powder, coriander powder and fry well for 2-3 mins.

3. Add the tomatoes next and cook for another 3 mins. At this time, the gravy becomes loose and a little watery. Add salt to taste.

4. Next, add the cubed bread pieces and mix well. Cook for another 2 mins, garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

It was so yummy that I made it again for dinner the next day at home.

This is my dedication to a super cool and super fun friend who I've had tons of fun with wherever we've gone together. You rock babes!

December 26, 2007

Mom's Delight - The Easiest and Yummiest Chocolate Dessert

Its been raining chocolate in the blogosphere for a while now. Not to mention all those delicious looking fruit cakes and yule logs.

The moment I read about Bindiya's 'These are a few of my Favourite Things - Chocolate' event and AFAM - Dry Fruits, I knew what I had to make. This is my favourite, my best and the yummiest of all desserts. Its so easy to make that I used to make it when I was in the 8th standard. And many times over after that too.

December 22, 2007

Tomato Rice Recipe - Thakkali Sadam Recipe

Tomato Rice Recipe or Thakkali Sadam

My dad's sister, Vanaja athamma, makes the best tomato rice. During our yearly stay at her place in Salem, she'd make a large aromatic bowl of tomato rice usually the first week we are there and we'd all enjoy it with a cool raita to beat the summer heat. Those are the simplest, best meals of my childhood. While my version of thakkali sadam can't beat hers, I'd like to believe it's quite close in taste.

During those days TH prefers to take lunch to work, a quick thakkali sadam is my saviour. He loves the flavour more than than of lime rice or tamarind rice or coconut rice (his least favourite) while not being as time-consuming as a vegetable biryani or vangi bhath which he loves.

Tomato Rice (Thakkali Sadam) Recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients for Tomato Rice:
Tomatoes - 4 medium
Green chillies - 4
Onion - 1 small
Garlic - 6 cloves
Cinnamon stick - a 3" piece
Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Jeera powder - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds and urad dal - for tempering
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Cooked rice - 2 cups


1. Heat oil and cackle mustard seeds and urad dal. Add chopped onions, cinnamon, and slit green chillies. Fry till golden brown.

2. Now add the chopped garlic, turmeric, jeera, cinnamon powder and fry for 2-3 mins.

3. Next, add the chopped tomatoes and mash nicely while on fire. Adjust salt and let it cook for about 10 mins or so, until the tomatoes are cooked soft and take a sauce-like consistency.

4. Turn off fire, add the cooked rice and mix well.

Garnish tomato rice with mint leaves / coriander leaves and serve warm with a cold raita and papad.

December 20, 2007

Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

I spent 10 mins trying out different names for this post. Chicken soup, Chicken noodle soup, Chicken soup for the soul (yeah, I know!), Noodle chicken broth, etc etc. Finally settled on Chicken Noodle Broth.

If you check recipes of chicken noodle broth online, you will invariably find chicken pieces added to it or atleast shredded ones. What I have here is just plain chicken broth with noodles in it, spiced up with some pepper and salt.

Wikipedia says that Chicken broth is the liquid part of chicken soup. Broth can be served as is, or used as stock, or served as soup with noodles. Broth can be milder than stock, does not need to be boiled as long, and can be made with meatier chicken parts.Its great to have when you have a cold or a bad throat. As the weather is cold these days, its great to have a hot cup of chicken broth to curl your fingers around and watch some TV.

December 17, 2007

Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownies - Fudge Brownie Recipe

The Arusuvai Friendship Chain has been inspired by the Amish Friendship Bread Starter chain doing the rounds outside of India. It has been quite active and as part of it, I received a surprise ingredient from Lakshmi of Yum Blog. It was none other than my favourite - Chocolate!!!

It was a 500gm bar of Morde Dark Chocolate. I received her packet in office and throughout the day, me and my cube mate were treated to the lovely smell emanating from the box.

If you love brownies, then check out this eggless brownie recipe, dulce de leche brownies, and this no-bake biscuit brownie recipe.

There are so many things I could have made with this amazing ingredient and I started the search. Zeroed in on an easy, yet popular dish, Chocolate Brownies. Recipes adapted from Jugalbandi and Lakshmi's basic brownie recipe which she sent me via email.

Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Makes 10 medium sized browniesWhat I Used:

Bittersweet chocolate - 125gm
Butter - 6 tbsp
Sugar - 5 tbsp
Maida - 1/2 cup
Cocoa powder - 2 tsp
Instant coffee powder - 1 tsp
Almonds - 20 nos
Eggs - 2
Vanilla - 1 tsp
Salt - one pinch


1. Melt chopped chocolate pieces and butter in a pan placed in another bigger one with simmering water. Once melted, keep aside until warm.

2. Powder sugar and add to the above mixture, along with vanilla.

3. Add the eggs one by one and stir well.

4. Then add the maida, salt, cocoa and coffee powder and mix till everything has blended in well.

5. I laid the top of this mixture with chopped almonds that were blanched first. To blanch almonds, pour boiling water over them, keep covered for 3-4 mins. Then plunge them in cold water, leave for 2 mins. Slide the the skin off and use.

6. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degree centigrade for around 20 mins.

Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream or homemade chocolate ice cream :)

December 14, 2007

Christmas Sugar Cookies-Sugar Cookies-Christmas Cookie Recipes

The Christmas spirit is really beginning to settle in with carol practices and white gifts and fruit cakes and cookies all around. I have a list of events happening in the food blogosphere this month and the one thing that has been upmost in my mind is Susan of Food Blogga's event, 'Eat Christmas Cookies'. I mean, when else do you eat them.

I haven't baked much cookies in my life. The one recipe that clearly comes to my mind is the butter cookies I used to make often when I was in college. It called for copious amounts of butter so I was on the lookout for a low fat Xmas cookie recipe. Found a simple one here and tried it out. Came out nice and crunchy and yummy. I halved the ingredients amount.

Christmas Sugar Cookies | Christmas Cookie Recipes

Makes 15 medium-sized sugar cookies

What I Used:

Softened butter - 2.5 tbsp
Sugar - 5 tbsp (Add more if you like sweet cookies, after all they are called sugar cookies!)
Egg - 1
Flour - 1 cup
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Vanilla essence - 1/2 tsp
Salt - one pinch

How to make Christmas Cookies:

1. Sift flour, salt and baking powder till all three have mixed properly.

2. Cream butter and sugar.

3. Slowly add the lightly beaten egg and the flour mix to this to make a dough that will be slightly crumbly.

4. Wrap in a plastic sheet and refrigerate for 2 hours.

5. Once cool, roll out the dough and cut into desired shapes. I dont have any cookie cutters so I made smal balls and flattened them out with my hand. I also sprinkled some sugar on top before baking.

6. Preheat oven and bake the cookies at 350 degree F/180 degree C. They were done in 8-10 mins, so stick around!

December 10, 2007

Mochakottai Sundal-Navratri Sundal Recipes

Mochakottai is one of my dad's favourite additions to any gravy or 'pulusu' that we make at home. I was home on vacation last week and mom had made 'mochakottai kozhambu' with it. There was some left over, so the next day evening, our maid, Mary made this simple, yet extremely popular, tamil preparation with the beans. Was a nice evening snack with some hot tea.

Mochakottai Sundal Recipe

Mochakottai / Butter Beans - 100gm
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Red chillies - 5
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Mustard - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 strand
Oil - 1.5 tbsp
Salt - to taste

How Its Made:

1. Pressure cook the beans till its soft.

2. Heat oil, add mustard seeds and let them cackle. Add the urad dal, red chillies and curry leaves and fry for a min.

3. Add the cooked butter beans, coconut and required salt. Stir well and cook for another 2 mins.

Serve warm with a hot cup of tea/coffee.

Sundal is also prepared as a festive dish in tamil festivals and is more commonly prepared with chickpeas. Check here for Chickpeas Sundal Recipe.

December 6, 2007

Stir Fried Chilli Noodles Recipe

I belong to the class of people who believe that Maggi Noodles is one of the best of human creations. During many weeknights I have found solace in that one bowl of quick-fix dinner, often reminding myself of how my mom would disapprove of the preserves and other stuff added in their masala. Recently, I found plain noodles in the stores, called Chinese Egg Hakka Noodles. I bought two packets and made quick and light noodles for dinner one night. Came out so well that I photographed it immediately :DF

December 5, 2007

Potato-Cabbage 'Grindless' Gravy-Aloo Cabbage Curry Recipe

I don't know how many of you have actually been over to Sra's blog to check out her unique event Grindless Gravies. I read through her instructions with great interest till I reached the line where it said 'It can't be all lentils or all curds...' Now that makes it really tough. So I put on my thinking cap.

It was a weekend and I had nothing to do except cook. Opened the fridge and saw an entire cabbage sitting there. Its very difficult to cook for one and I really hate that. This cabbage made me feel lonely because whatever I make, its going to be extra, and eventually will go to waste. I sighed and took it out, and then rummaged through my potato-onion-garlic basket kept in the kitchen. Most of the potatoes had small shoots coming out of it, a sign that it has spent one too may days in the kitchen, waiting to be cooked. Without thinking much, I chopped up the cabbage, peeled and halved the potatoes and dunked both into my pressure cooker.

Thus was born the idea behind this lip-smacking (?) aloo-cabbage gravy that's ridiculously simple and satisfies (phew!) all of Sra's conditions to qualify for her event.

Aloo-Cabbage 'Grindless' Curry

What I Used:

Potatoes - 3
Cabbage - 200gm
Onion - 1
Tamarind paste - 1 tbsp
Garlic paste - 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 3 tsp
Jeera - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp or to taste
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 strand
Mustard seeds - for tempering
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp

Utentils I Used:

5 litres pressure cooker - 1
Thick bottomed aluminium kadai - 1
Wooden spoon to mix - 1
Serving bowl, so that the picture looks nice - 1
Small spoons to measure the ingredients during cooking - 2

Total cooking time : Not more than 30 mins

How I Made It:

1. Pressure cook the chopped cabbage and the halved, peeled potatoes for one whistle. You can coarsely chop the cabbage and save time that way.

2. Mash half of the potatoes and some of the cabbage to form a thick gravy around the other pieces.

3. Heat oil in the kadai, add mustard seeds and then fry onions till they become transparent.

4. Add the garlic paste, coriander, jeera, turmeric and curry leaves and fry for another 3 mins.

5. Add the aloo-cabbage mix to this and some water if its too thick.

6. When the gravy begins to boil, add the tamarind paste, mix well, adjust salt and remove from fire.

I had the aloo cabbage curry with rice, but that same night, I realised it goes well with roties and chappathis as well.

December 2, 2007

Dates-Biscuit Pudding Recipe - Biscuit Pudding Recipe with Dates

This month I was determined to do a fairly good job with all the events. I mean, in terms of participation, of course. One of my favourites is AFAM but unfortunately I wasn't able to participate in the last one because of the unavilability of peaches in the near vicinity of my home.

This month's fuit, dates, is a real delight because it is so readily available and in so many different varieties and prices. I bought a tub of lion dates from Food Bazar yesterday. I am going home in vacation for 10 days and may not be able to cook with dates at home, so was determined to come up with something simple for this month's AFAM, hosted by Chandrika of Akshayapatra.

I love puddings with biscuits in it. Soggy, crunchy, however they may taste. I especially love Marie biscuits for its subtle crunchiness and added flavour. So this is a humble attempt from me to make something nice with biscuits and dates.