January 30, 2008

Marie Biscuit Chocolate Logs Recipe

This is an extremely easy-to-make, yet yummy chocolatey dessert for a kid's party or even to make just for fun. I have always been a huge fan of making anything with Marie Biscuits. When a colleague friend of mine told me about a recipe she uses, I decided to try it out. It was simple and really really yummy!

Marie Biscuit Chocolate Logs Recipe

Marie Biscuit Chocolate Logs Recipe

What I Used:

Marie Biscuits - 12
Cocoa Powder - 1 tbsp
Unsalted Butter - 4 tbsp
Powdered Sugar - 4 tbsp
Instant coffee powder - 1/2 tsp
Warm Milk - 1/4 cup

How I Made It:

1. Mix the coffee powder in the milk. Dip each biscuit into this mixture and stack neatly one on top of the other.

2. Cream butter and sugar together and blend in the cocoa powder. Lay this mixture evenly on all four sides of the stacked biscuits.

3. Refigerate for 2 hours, remove and cut into slices.

* These are called logs cuz my friend told me how you can make a log-like design on it by running a fork over the chocolate layer once its cooled. I didn't try that cuz I didn't have enough biscuits to make a log-sized stack. Do try it if you can, though!

January 28, 2008

Onion Uthappam Recipe | Onion Uttappam Recipe | Easy Breakfast Recipes

When I was young, I never knew that uthappam was just a different variety of dosa. Whenever we went out to eat at a vegetarial restaurant, amma invariably ordered uthappam because of its soft and thick texture as opposed to my papery butter roast that came cone-shaped!

Of late, I have begun to enjoy the uthappams better (a sure sign I am getting older, I guess!) and I didn't have to think further to come up with an entry for this month's JFI - Onions hosted by Radhi's Kitchen.

Onion Uthappam Recipe

I used readymade batter for the dosa. To make the batter at home, take rice : urad dhal in 3 : 1 ratio, soak overnight (or atleast 5-6 hours) in water separately, grind separately and then mix together, adding salt. This batter should be kept covered for another 5 hours or so before you can start making the dosa.

Once the batter is ready, pour enough batter on a hot griddle and spread in a round, even shape. It should be thicker than the normal dosas. Then, lay finely chopped onions over the uthappam. Sprinkle some gingelly oil and turn to cook the other side.

I normall add fresh finely chopped cilantro leaves and red chillies too, but didn't get any this weekend and I was out of red chillies too. Do try the variation. The crunchy onion pieces that you come across while you eat is divine!

Serve hot with coconut chutney and sambhar.

January 26, 2008

Beans Carrot Thoran | Kerala-Style Thoran for Onam Sadya {Recipe}

Since it's Republic Day, I wanted to make a tri-coloured green-orange-white dish today. I thought of making a tri-coloured sandwich with carrot and cilantro chutney. I thought of using the chutneys on a dosa. Finally, zeroed in on one of my favourite dishes, thoran, using carrots and beans.

Thoran is an everyday recipe in Kerala often made with pretty much any vegetable that comes our way. Freshly grated coconut is coarsely ground with jeera, ulli or shallots, green chillies or red chilli powder, and added to the par-boiled vegetables of choice. While cabbage thoran is the most popular thoran I believe, using a mix of carrots and beans can make a great-tasting Kerala thoran too.

Beans Carrot Thoran Recipe
Serves 4

2 carrots
10-12 French beans
1/2 cup grated coconut
1 tsp jeerakam or cumin seeds
2-3 shallots or ulli
2 green chillies
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp split urad dal (uzhunnu parippu), optional
2 tsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
A few curry leaves

How to Make Beans Carrot Thoran

1. Cut the beans and carrots into small pieces of equal size.
2. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and uzhunnu if using. When the mustard pops, add the curry leaves and cut vegetables. Add turmeric and salt. Lower flame and cook stirring occasionally.
3. Coarsely grind coconut + jeera + shallots + chillies without adding water.
4. Once the carrots and beans are almost cooked, add the coconut mixture. Stir well and continue to cook until the vegetables are cooked through.

Serve hot with rice and any non-coconut based gravy like Ulli Theeyal or Kara Kuzhambu.

Here is wishing all my Indian readers a very happy Republic Day.

May we all live in peace and harmony just like the vegetables, coconut and masala in this curry blends to make a great-tasting dish.

January 23, 2008

Soy-Oats Sugar Cookies Recipe-Cookies with Soy Flour

Weekend breakfasts are mostly lazy affairs for which normall I make an omelette or scrambled eggs or have just toast with kothamalli chutney. But when Rajitha inspired us to think about a soy breakfast, I started thinking of what I could make and finally settled on some low sugar cookies. I had these warm cookies on a Sunday morning with a hot cup of chai.

Soy-Oats Sugar Cookies Recipe

What I Used:

Makes 8-10 cookies

Soy flour - 1 cup
Maida - 1/3 cup
Oats - 1/4 cup
Butter at room temperature - 3/4 cup
Powdered sugar - 1/2 cup (this makes the cookies mildly sweet, so you can adjust according to your taste)
Cinnamon powder - one pinch (optional)
Salt - one pinch

How I Made It:

1. Sift the maida and soy flour with salt until its totally blended.

2. Mix the butter and sugar with cinnamon powderand then add the flour to form a loose dough. Then mix in the oats gently.

3. Roll out gently and cut with a cookie cutter in desired shapes. I don't have cookie cutters so I made small balls of the dough and flattened it on my palm.

4. Lay on a greased tray and bake in a pre-heated oven for 15-18 mins, until the edges are golden brown.

Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee/milk/tea.

January 21, 2008

Simple Tomato Soup Recipe with Garlic Toast (Recipe)

I had been racking my brains to come up with a good recipe that focusses on garlic for Sunita's Think Spice event. This is one of my favourite spices and I almost went ahead and made my first pickled garlic. Well, note that I said almost. My laziness got the better of me, of course! So last weekend, I made something much simpler yet really tasty and filling. Tomato soup and garlic toast!

Tomato Soup Recipe

January 19, 2008

Vazha Pindi Thoran / Banana Stem Cooked with Coconut

The banana plant is one where almost all parts of it is edible or useful. The fruit of course is versative and even finds place in religious poojas. The leaves are used to serve meals (sadya) and also to wrap food when you need to carry it with you. I can almost smell the lovely after effect of wrapping warm rice and curries in wilted banana leaves. Its gives the food an authentic flavour. Then comes the vazhapoo or the banana flower, which again can be cooked with coconut. The process of cleaning and cutting it is quite unique to the southern parts of India and honestly, I don't think I will have the patience, even though the taste of the curry is worth every bit of it.

The stem of the banana plant, also known as pindi, is rich in fiber and also edible. Check out how to clean and cut banana stem. During my vacation to Kottayam in December, amma had made this amazing pindi thoran and I immediately wanted to document it. Simply because I don't see myself going through this tedious process.

So here is amma's PINDI THORAN RECIPE

January 16, 2008

Palak Dal Recipe | Dal Palak | Spinach Dal Recipe

Palak dal (or spinach dal) is a healthy dal recipe using palak or spinach, a very common ingredient in Indian cuisine. You can make palak dal with either toor dal or moong dal(or even masoor dal) and this version I have used toor dal to make palak dal.

A true comfort food, palak dal makes for the best accompaniment with hot rice and subzi on a weeknight. The apartment we live in right now is very convenient to buy basic groceries and vegetables. On every Sunday, a van full of the freshest vegetables from the farmer's on the outskirts of Hyderabad come to the road below our place and people flock to it to buy their week's worth of vegetables. They are cheaper than the stores too! I rush down each time I see the van and although I buy 1/10th the amount of vegetables others buy, the vegetable vendors treat me well :D

I bought a bunch of palak yesterday and have been wondering what to make with it. I considered palak paneer, but I didn't have any paneer in hand and was too lazy to buy paneer or make my own. I always have a stock of dal (of course) and decided to take the easy route and make some palak dal instead. No regrets!

Palak Dal Recipe

January 14, 2008

Stir Fried Sweet Potatoes With Onion-Carrot Salad

I was alone at home for yet another weekend and was dying to make something other than dal, sambhar, wheat dosa and all the other normal dishes I make over the weekend, especially if I am alone. So I went to the corner vegetable wallah, looked around and my eyes caught a pile of sweet potatoes in the corner. I immediately decided to buy it, not giving much thought to what I would make with them.

To my horror, I got back home and came to realise that my internet connection had conked off. I was relying on looking up online for some recipes to cook the potatoes. Since that option was ruled out, I just started putting together my own recipe and it turned out so well that I was sad there was nobody to share it with.

Stir Fried Sweet Potatoes With Onion-Carrot Salad


For the Stir Fried Sweet Potatoes:Sweet potatoes cut in round slices - 150gm

Curd - 1 tbsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Chilly powder - 1/4 tsp
Jeera powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Pepper - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste

How I Made It:

1. Keep the sweet potato slices marinated in the marinade for 1 hour.

2. Shallow fry till both sides are golden brown and keep aside.

For the Onion-Carrot Salad:

What I Used:

Carrots - 2
Onions - 1, big
Fresh Coriander Leaves - a bunch
Chilly powder - one tsp
Lime juice - of half a lime
Salt - to taste

How I Made It:

1. Cut the onions and carrots into long strips.

2. Mix in the chilly powder, salt and lime.

3. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve with the stir fried sweet potatoes.

January 11, 2008

Kerala Fish Curry with Coconut {Recipe}

Kerala fish curry is amazing in its taste, flavour, and simplicity. While the fiery red, spicy red fish curry is more popular in Kerala, this version which amma makes that has coconut ground into the base of the fish curry is my favourite. This fish curry with coconut goes really well with rice and all you need is a papadom to go with the meal. While the curry tastes good with any type of fish, I'd recommend white fish with a firm flesh for optimum taste. The curry tastes good as you keep it longer and if you make it in the traditional mud pots in Kerala, the flavour is excellent. You can keep it at room temperature for up to a day and refrigerate for up to three days.

Kerala Fish Curry with Coconut {Recipe}
Kanambu Fish / Mullet or any other medium sized fish with firm flesh - 1/2 kg
Grated coconut - 1 cup
Chilly powder - 1 tbsp (adjust to tate)
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Jeera powder - 1/2 tsp
Garlic - 4 cloves
Shallots, ulli - 4-6
Tamarind paste - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 strand
Mustard and fenugreek - for tempering
Gingelly oil (Indian Sesame oil) or coconut oil - 2 tbsp
Salt - to taste

How to Make Kerala Fish Curry:

1. Grind coconut, pepper, garlic, shallots, turmeric and jeera to a paste with some added water.

2. Heat oil and crackle mustard seeds. Fry fenugreek for a while and add a couple of chopped shallots. Then add curry leaves and chilly powder.

3. Add the gound paste, tamarind salt. Half a cup water may be added at this stage if gravy is too thick. Boil for 2 mins.

4. Add the cleaned and cut fish pieces, close and cook for 10 mins.

5. Serve hot with rice and any thoran.

Note: Replacing tamarind paste with one or two kodam puli (cocum) would change the flavour of the curry. But we use kodam puli only in curries that use no coconut like the Kerala red fish curry.

More Kerala Fish Recipes:
Karimeen Pollichathu
Kerala Fish Fry
Nethili Fry

January 9, 2008

Papaya Burfi Recipe - Easy Sweets for Diwali

I am surprised I am sharing a dessert recipe with papaya today. It's not even a favourite among the many fruits available out there. But contrary to what we may have thought about this modest fruit, its loaded with nutrients too. We have always had papaya trees around our house wherever we lived in Kottayam and it was normally cut up and had with breakfast or at tea time but I never knew how nutritious this fruit really is.

Lets see what whfoods.com has to say: Papayas offer not only the luscious taste and sunlit color of the tropics, but are rich sources of antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C and flavonoids; the B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid; and the minerals, potassium and magnesium; and fiber. Together, these nutrients promote the health of the cardiovascular system and also provide protection against colon cancer.

Now do you need more reasons to start 'cooking' up recipes with this wonder fruit also known as 'fruit of the angels?'.

Papaya Burfi

Grated ripe papaya - 1 cup
Coconut - 1 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup, adjust according to taste
Milk powder - 2 tbsp
Cardamom powder - a pinch
Ghee - 4 tbsp

How to Make Papaya Burfi:

1. Heat ghee in a kadai and add the grated papaya. Cook well, stirring continuously for 4-5 mins. It becomes a mushy pulp that starts leaving the sides of the kadai.

2. Add coconut and sugar and stir well for another 3-4 mins.

3. Mix in the milk powder and cardamom and remove from fire.

4. Place the burfi, when warm itself, on a flat plate and press well. Let it cool. Cut into squares and serve.

I didn't even get a chance to cut it into squares. My mom and uncle helped themselves with spoons directly from the plate :)

January 7, 2008

Vellarikka Parippu Curry / Cucumber Dal Curry - Kerala Style

I made this vellarikka parippu curry (cucumber dal curry) last month when I had invited a fried and her grandmom for lunch, which was me reciprocating for all the dinners I had at their place the previous week. It is simple, easy, protein-rich and requires minimum amount of oil since the little amount of added coconut gives it a nice flavour.

Split yellow peas or moong dal is considered one of the most healthiest foods in the world and Indian cuisine uses it extensively, be it North, South, East or West. Kerala Cuisine is definitely not as lentil-rich as its northern counterparts, but there are some wholesome curries which use minimum oil and are still protein-rich.

Also check out Kerala Parippu Curry that's used for Onam and wedding sadya.

Vellarikka Parippu Curry

Vellarikka Parippu Curry / Cucumber-Dal Curry - Kerala Style

January 3, 2008

Chuttaracha Chammanthi - Authentic Kerala Roasted Chillies & Coconut Chutney

Chuttaracha Chammanthi, also known as Chutta Mulaku Chammanthi literally means roasted (chutta) chillies (mulaku) chutney (chammanthi). It is an authentic kerala accompaniment to kanji (rice gruel) and is mostly seen as the common man's food. I especially love the flavour the roasted chillies give the chutney. And what's more, its oil free!

Kerala-Style Chammathi Recipe

Grated Coconut - 1 cup
Dried red chillies - 4
Shallots - 4
Garlic - 2 cloves (optional)
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Tamarind - half a lemon size
Salt - to taste

How to Make Chuttaracha Chammanthi

1. Heat a non-stick pan and roast the red chillies dry (without oil) till it reaches the stage just before burning.

2. Add the coconut, chopped shallots, garlic and coriander powder and roast for another 2 mins. The coconut will start getting brittle. At this stage, remove from fire.

3. Grind this mixture in very little water with salt and tamarind.


You can also roast the coconut pieces on an open flame with tongs for a more authentic burnt coconut flavour and smell in the chutney. Traditionally this is done on coal fire that's used for cooking but our gas flame would work as a good substitute. The coconut pieces should become charred and practically burnt in some areas for the flavour to come through fully. The best chuttaracha chammanthi is made my this family friend of ours whose mom loves it. I have never been able to replicate that taste and flavour in my chutney, ever.

January 2, 2008

Announcing A Fruit A Month - January

An event with key ingredient - Papaya. Update: please find the list of papaya recipes here. Thanks to everyone who contributed recipes.  

Event hosting is always special for me. Seeing an entry in my email, checking out the post, compiling it into a label in my gmail account (I am yet to become perfect at not forgetting even a single entry), and everything else associated with it.

It's now my turn to host A Fruit A Month (AFAM) for January. 

It didn't take me that long to zero in on a particular fruit. The only criteria was that it should be easily available and reasonably versatile. You can use it in a salad, in a dessert, as a garnish, even raw papaya is more than welcome!

So here it is, the fruit for January, 2008 is PAPAYA.
I am not giving out the normal nutritional information or recipes link since all this is just a Google Search away :)

Here are the event guidelines:

1. Prepare a dish with papaya as the main/one of the main ingredients and post it on your blog in the month of January. You can adopt any cuisine and use the fruit in any form, raw or ripe. The dish can be savory, sweet, or even a salad.

2. Have a link back to this event announcement so that others may also join us if interested. Feel free to use the logo above too.

3. Send in your entries to naagu.v[at]gmail.com. Last date for sending in your recipes is January 30, 2008.

Please include the following details in your email:

- AFAM Papaya in the subject line
- Name of your blog
- Name of dish
- Permalink of post
- Pic if any

4. Non-bloggers, feel free to send me the recipe and pic if any, and I will do the honours.

Hope this new year is filled with amazing experiments and fun at the kitchen for each and every one of you.