October 31, 2011

Strictly Pancakes, Singapore | Restaurant Review

I love pancakes. Especially thick not-too-sweet ones doused in maple syrup. Not the maple-flavoured syrups but the real deal. Ah, bliss. While homemade pancakes are all good, I do like it when someone makes me a batch. Who doesn't eh?

Strictly Pancakes, Singapore

Strictly Pancakes is not a place I would call a restaurant. It's a refurbished old shop house near Dhoby Ghat, Singapore. The menu is almost exclusively pancakes.

Strictly Pancakes, Singapore

We decided to go with savory pancakes since I have never tried them at home and these sounded delicious. We ordered and waited around 15 mins for this plate of thick, spongy, warm leek, potato and cheese pancakes with sauteed mushrooms on the side, called Potatoes Leeking Cheese. Heh. 

Strictly Pancakes, Singapore

Each order comes with a portion of good quality maple syrup and a flavoured butter of your choice. We chose the herb and garlic butter. One grouse I have though is that this is all the maple syrup you get and if you want more, you get the same quantity but for an extra dollar. Since TH doesn't like maple syrup, I got the entire thing but if you want to share, this is really not enough.

Strictly Pancakes, Singapore

Oh, and we got some hazelnut chocolate milkshake to share as well. It was thick and quite delicious. Almost like drinking diluted liquid Nutella... which is probably what it was anyway!

Strictly Pancakes, Singapore

TH and I went in the evening and it was almost empty, very laid back and we shared our plate of pancake which was perfect portion-wise. 

Overall rating: 3.5 / 5
Average cost per person: SGD 10 if you share

44A Prinsep Street
Singapore 188674

October 25, 2011

Vella Cheedai-Vella Seedai-Krishna Jayanthi (Gokulashtami) Recipes

Vella Cheedai | Diwali Sweets Recipe

This is my last Diwali Sweet recipe for this year because sadly that's all there is time for. I had never heard of vella cheedai before June this year. Mom in law made the thenkuzhal and vella cheedai on the same day. It's very easy to make and a popular festival snack. I love any sweet with jaggery in it and generally anything with rice flour as a base so this is a clear winner.

Vella Cheedai / Seedai Recipe

Source: MIL
Makes about 50-60 cheedai

1 cup of rice flour
2 tsp of urad dal flour
1 heaped cup of jaggery, grated
3 tbsp of grated coconut
1/2 tsp of cardamom powder
A pinch of salt

How It's Made:

1. Place the grated jaggery in a pan and add enough water to just cover it.

Vella Cheedai | Diwali Sweets Recipe

2. Bring to boil and mix well until all the pieces have melted in

Vella Cheedai | Diwali Sweets Recipe

3. Strain and set aside.

Vella Cheedai | Diwali Sweets Recipe

4. Add the grated coconut, cardamom, and salt to the rice flour. Mix well until they are well combined.

Vella Cheedai | Diwali Sweets Recipe

5. Add the warm jaggery to this mixture in three additions.

Vella Cheedai | Diwali Sweets Recipe

6. Mix well to combine after each addition. The dough should be soft yet not watery. If you press with your fingertips, the shape should be defined on the dough.

Vella Cheedai | Diwali Sweets Recipe

7. Make into small balls, not too smooth, otherwise they will explode in the hot oil. Just rough balls will do.

Vella Cheedai | Diwali Sweets Recipe

Vella Cheedai | Diwali Sweets Recipe

8. Heat oil to just below smoking point and add a few balls at a time. Fry until golden brown. Drain on kitchen towels and store in air tight containers once cool.

Vella Cheedai | Diwali Sweets Recipe

Here's wishing everyone a wonderful, happy, and safe Diwali / Deepavali 2011 :)

October 24, 2011

Paal Vadai | Diwali Sweets Recipe

I was lamenting to amma on the phone on Sunday saying how I had wanted to make some sweets for Diwali but nothing really happened. Then she goes "have you posted paal vadai yet?"

Me: "Paal vadai? Have I eaten that before?"

Amma: "What are you saying? I used to make it all the time when you kids were smaller!"

Me: "I... don't.. remember.."

Amma: "OK, it's very easy. Here's how you make it"

And so I made it!

Paal Vadai | Diwali Sweets Recipe

Once made, it looks a bit like gulab jamun but don't get misled by the looks. This sweet is remarkable in it's sheer simplicity.

Paal Vadai Recipe
Recipe source: amma
Makes about 6 vadai

1 cup of skinned, whole urad dal / ulutham paruppu
A pinch of salt
2-3 cups of milk (more or less)

For jaggery syrup:
5 tbsp of grated jaggery (or brown sugar)
10-12 tbsp of water
1 pod of cardamom

Paal Vadai | Diwali Sweets Recipe

How I Made It:

1. Soak the urad dal in enough water to cover it by 3 inches for about 1 to 2 hours.

Paal Vadai | Diwali Sweets Recipe

2. Grind the soaked dal with enough added milk to make a thick, custard-like batter. It should have the consistency of the batter you would grind for medhu vada. Add salt and mix well.

Paal Vadai | Diwali Sweets Recipe

3. Heat oil to almost smoking point and add small quantities of batter into it. No need to shape them, just make them into small lime-sized balls.

Paal Vadai | Diwali Sweets Recipe

4. Fry until golden brown and drain on kitchen towels.

Paal Vadai | Diwali Sweets Recipe

5. For jaggery syrup, mix the jaggery and water and bring to boil. Peel and add the cardamom pod, including the skin.

Paal Vadai | Diwali Sweets Recipe

6. Remove the syrup from fire and dunk the fried urad balls in. Keep covered and let it soak well.

Paal Vadai | Diwali Sweets Recipe

That's it! Serve warm or at room temperature. The flavour is predominantly that of urad dal so it's quite unique and delicious.

You can also make these in white sugar syrup, just omit the cardamom pod in that case, it may overpower the flavour.

October 23, 2011

Murukku Recipe | Thenkuzhal Murukku Recipe | Step By Step Recipe

This Thenkuzhal was made by my MIL in a jiffy as I made tea simultaneously. It's such a quick and easy snack that I feel I don't make it often enough. However, I should have known that when I make tall plans like "make more traditional and festival recipes", life will have other plans. Although I really can't complain about a one-month trip to New York, it did get in the way. So yet another Diwali is going to pass us by with very few Diwali recipes from me.

But, I do have a few, even if they are too few. Here's the first one for this year - Thenkuzhal Murukku Recipe

murukku | thenkuzhal | diwali savory recipes

The hands behind the thenkuzhal are amma's, my mom-in-law. When we went to Indian in June, I requested her to teach me a couple of traditional recipes. All her cooking is fast and delicious, and this thenkuzhal is no exception. Everything comes together in less than 20 mins and you can have crispy hot murukku within 30 mins. I am not kidding.

October 18, 2011

Bombay Potatoes Recipe - Spicy Indian Potato Recipe

Bombay potatoes or spicy baby potatoes recipe - I have taken a longer break from blogging than I would have liked but a lot of work-related (and fun) travel took a toll on my routine, not to mention some very exciting stuff happening on the work front. I am really swamped but in a good way!

This Bombay potatoes recipe is from my saved recipes collection, something I've wanted to share for a while because it's just too easy and delicious to hold back for long. I am yet to sort through the gazillion pics I took in New York, so hopefully that happens soon too.

Bombay Potatoes Curry Recipe

If you are from Bombay, I'd be very interested to know if you have actually heard about Bombay potatoes. I heard about it first from my British colleague whose first question to me when I told her I have a food blog was "oh, so can I find the recipe for Bombay Potatoes in there?". I contemplated telling her I've never heard of them and eventually did, to which she responded by describing the dish in detail.

Since then I have looked up several recipes for Bombay Potatoes and now here's my take on it. I don't want folks from UK searching on this and not finding what they believe is a dish that's originally from Bombay.

If you love Indian potato recipes with some spice in there, then you must try this potato beans curry, aloo bonda - a quick snack with potatoes, potatoes in coriander sauce, or spicy baby potato roast.

Bombay Potatoes Recipe

Serves 4

20 baby potatoes
1 large onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped (or 2 tsp tomato paste)
2 tsp of ginger garlic paste
1 tbsp of coriander powder
1/2 tsp of cumin powder
1 large pinch of turmeric
1 tsp of red chilli powder
2 tbsp of oil
1/4 tsp of mustard seeds
1 dry red chilli, torn into half
1/2 of a green bell pepper, cut into small pieces
A few curry leaves


1. Cook the potatoes in an open pan with enough water to cover it until it's tender when a fork is inserted. I usually pressure cook them for one whistle so that works too. You can either peel the potatoes or leave them as is.

2. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add the dry red chilli, onions and curry leaves. Saute until the onions turn a light golden brown.

3. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for another 2-3 mins until it turns fragrant.

4. Next, add the spices - red chilli powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander - and some salt. Mix well and fry on low heat for 4-5 mins taking care not to burn the mixture.

5. Now add the cut tomatoes and bell pepper and sprinkle some water. Cook until the tomatoes are mushy and the oil starts separating from the mixture.

6. Add the cooked potatoes, lower heat, and gently mix until the masala coats the potatoes. Cook until well combined and blended - around 5 mins. You can sprinkle some garam masala at this stage but I chose not to.

Bombay Potatoes Curry Recipe

Serve Bombay potatoes with some steamed rice and cumin dal or thakkali rasam

October 16, 2011

100 Diwali Special Sweet Recipes from IndusLadies

The folks from IndusLadies have been extremely kind and patient with me. Since I was a bit busy the past month, I wasn't able to contribute to the book but they offered to take a recipe from the site and make the job much easier for me. They have compiled a free ebook with 100 recipes - all sweets that too! - contributed by food bloggers so go download your copy today. I just checked it out and I definitely like what I see. My contribution is the Besan Ladoo I made for Vinayaka Chaturthi.

Download your copy here.


October 12, 2011

Farmer's Market Pics from Union Square - New York

Huge thanks to all of you who wrote to me about my long absence from here. I am alive and kicking, thanks for asking :)
Farmer's Market Images from Union Square New York

Phew. I had a busy month. In fact, it looks like it's going to be a busy month ahead too. I took a ton of pictures (around 4000) during my one-month stay in New York. Around half of that is food or related to food.
Farmer's Market Images from Union Square New York

I stayed in Union Square in New York and couldn't have asked for a better location. It's always buzzing with some activity or the other and every weekend there's a farmer's market that is set up with the most lovely things to gawk at.
Farmer's Market Images from Union Square New York

Fall is probably the best time to be around New York because you get to see gorgeous colours and taste unique fall dishes that just don't make it to tropical tables.
Farmer's Market Images from Union Square New York

I haven't seen corn like this before (except maybe in some blogs long back). They were called Indian corn, but I have never seen then in India. Or maybe they mean the other Indian.
Farmer's Market Images from Union Square New York

Freshly baked artisan bread.
Farmer's Market Images from Union Square New York

Such a gorgeous crust!
Farmer's Market Images from Union Square New York

Heirloom tomatoes. Tomato season was on in full blast so I saw a lot of different varieties!
Farmer's Market Images from Union Square New York

Farmer's Market Images from Union Square New York

Ostrich eggs, anyone? They are pretty expensive. $30 for 1, $50 for 2.
Farmer's Market Images from Union Square New York

Mini bell peppers
Farmer's Market Images from Union Square New York

Purple and yellow beans. They had the yellow kind in the office cafetaria one day for lunch so I tried them. They taste the same as the green ones, actually.
Farmer's Market Images from Union Square New York

Fresh fresh fresh!
Farmer's Market Images from Union Square New York

Poblano peppers and jalapenos at the back
Farmer's Market Images from Union Square New York

Herbs are sold fully grown and in the pots so they stay fresh until you use them up. Ingenious!

I will be back soon with results of my "best cupcakes in New York" hunt and some lovely recipes I have had in my drafts for the longest time. Until then, please stay tuned.

October 1, 2011

Vazhakkai Roast Masala / Raw Banana Roasted in Masala

vazhakkai roast / raw banana roasted curry recipe

Coming to think of it, this is very similar to vazhakka thoran which I have posted before. Raks and Jeyashri came over for a potluck lunch one day and Raks brought her roasted vazhakkai. It was delicious. She said the recipe is in her blog so I checked the next day. This is the closest one I saw so I followed that recipe, making small changes here and there to suit my taste.

Vazhakkai Roast Masala / Raw Banana Roasted in Masala

Serves 4

2 of vazhakkai / raw banana
1/4 tsp of salt

Grind Coarsely Together:
2 of dry red chillies
1 tsp of jeera / cumin
1 tsp of coriander powder / malli podi
1/2 cup of grated coconut
4 shallots / ulli / chinna vengaayam
A pinch of turmeric powder

For Tempering:
1 tbsp of oil
1/4 tsp of mustard seeds
1/4 tsp of urad dal
1 strand of curry leaves

How I Made It:

1. Peel and cut the raw bananas into small cubes.

2. Grind together the specified ingredients, without any water.

3. Heat oil in a pan and add the ingredients under tempering. When the mustard seeds pop and the urad dal turns a golden brown, add the cut raw bananas. Mix well and roast on low flame until almost soft. Keep stirring to avoid burning. This will take about 5-7 mins.

4. Add the ground masala paste with some salt and mix well. Keep on low flame and cook till the ingredients come together and the raw bananas are cooked through.

Serve with rice and any kozhambu of choice.

vazhakkai roast / raw banana roasted curry recipe

A must-try for all vazhakkai lovers!