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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

FRIED SOYA CHUNKS are my favorite. There is nothing much to it, just deep fried marinated soya chunks. These are spicy and crisp (though I prefer chewy ones) and are great appetizer. I love the combination of this with sambar rice too. 



You Will Need:

250g of Soya Chunks
1 tbsp Yogurt
Juice of Half a Lime
1 1/2 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
1 tsp Red Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Cumin Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
3 heaping tbsp of Cornflour
Salt to Taste
Few Curry Leaves
Oil to Deep Fry

The Cooking:


Boil soya chunks with enough water for 5 min or until they become soft. Drain and squeeze out the excess liquid thoroughly. OR cook them according to the instructions given on the back of the pack.

In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients and curry leaves together and toss in the soya chunks. Add ginger garlic paste, yogurt and lime juice and mix well. Marinate this for 15 - 30 min. No need to add water to this marinade, the yogurt, lime juice and ginger garlic paste has enough water to bring the marinade together.

Heat enough oil to deep fry. Now fry the marinated soya chunks in hot oil till they turn crisp, it should take around 5 min. 

Serve with lime wedges.
Happy Cooking!

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dry_measure_detail3
Stock Image
Baking needs to be very precise. Some recipes use cups to measure out the ingredients. Some grams, ounces and volumes. I hate it, when I convert a recipe to grams from cups or to volumes.  It is always confusing and stressing for me to convert the given measure into the metric units am comfortable with. Hence, this post. I have rounded off as much as decimals I could and all the measurements were done using an app, so its reliable.

BASICS

1 Ounce = 28.34g
1 Pound = .453g
1 kg = 2.2 lbs
1 Tablespoon = 14ml / 15g
3 Teaspoons = 1 Tablespoon
1 Cup = 14 Tablespoons


CONVERTING CUPS TO OUNCES AND GRAMS

BUTTER
CUPS OUNCE (oz) GRAMS (g)
1 8 230
3/4 6 170
2/3 5 155
1/2 4 115
1/3 2.70 75
1/4 2 60
1/8 1 30
1/16 0.51 15


ALL PURPOSE FLOUR & CONFECTIONERS SUGAR
CUPS OUNCE (oz) GRAMS (g)
1 3.5 100
3/4 2.62 75
2/3 2.33 65
1/2 1.75 50
1/3 1.17 30
1/4 0.88 25
1/8 0.44 15
1/16 0.22 5


COCOA POWDER
CUPS OUNCES (oz) GRAMS (g)
1 4 110
3/4 3 80
2/3 2.5 70
1/2 2 55
1.3 1.3 35


GRANULATED WHITE SUGAR
CUPS OUNCES (oz) GRAMS (g)
1 7 200
3/4 5 140
2/3 4.5 125
1/2 3.5 100
1/3 2.26 65
1/4 1.7 50
1/8 0.85 25
1/16 0.5 12


PACKED BROWN SUGAR
CUPS OUNCES (oz) GRAMS (g)
1 7 200
3/4 5 140
2/3 4.7 130
1/2 4 110
1/3 2.5 70
1/4 2 55
1/8 1 28
1/16 0.5 14


CASTOR SUGAR
CUPS OUNCES (oz) GRAMS (g)
1 7 190
3/4 5 140
2/3 4.5 125
1/2 3.4 95
1/3 2 60
1/4 1.7 45
1/8 0.85 20
1/16 0.40 10


HONEY, MOLASSES & SYRUPS
CUPS OUNCES (oz) GRAMS (g)
1 12 340
3/4 9 260
2/3 8 220
1/2 6 170
1/3 4 115
1/4 3 85
1/8 1.5 40
1/16 0.75 20


LIQUID MEASUREMENTS
CUPS FLUID OUNCES (oz) MILLILITER (ml)
1 8 240
3/4 6.22 180
2/3 5.5 160
1/2 4 120
1/3 3 80
1/4 2 60
1/8 1 30


GROUND NUTS
CUPS OUNCES (oz) GRAMS (g)
1 3 85
3/4 2.25 60
2/3 2 55
1/2 1.5 40
1/3 1 30
1/4 0.75 20
1/8 0.38 10
1/16 0.20 5


CHOPPED NUTS
CUPS OUNCES (oz) GRAMS (g)
1 4 112
3/4 3 85
2/3 2.7 75
1/2 2 55
1/3 1.37 35
1/4 1 28


CHOCOLATE CHIPS
CUPS OUNCES (oz) GRAMS (g)
1 6 175
3/4 4.7 130
2/3 4 115
1/2 3.15 90
1/3 2 55
1.4 1.6 45


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HAPPY MEASURING!
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ALOO PARATHA is one of the most popular dishes throughout the western, central and northern part of India. I have never really tasted Parathas before marriage. They are my husband's favorite and he introduced me to these. Parathas are thick roties with a filling inside. Aloo, which means potatoes are stuffed inside the dough and are cooked over hot tawa with ghee or butter traditionally. It is so versatile  that you can stuff the parathas with absolutely anything. Any vegetable or any ground meat can go into the dough. They don't need any side to go with, they taste yum just the way they are. But usually they are served with chutneys and pickles or a glass of lassi (Sweetened Yogurt). I like my paratha thick and soft. You can make it bit thin and crispy too either way they taste great.

Makes 4 Parathas 


You Will Need:

For the Dough:
A Cup of Wheat Flour
75ml (approx.) of Warm Water
1/2 tsp of Salt
1 tbsp Oil

For the Aloo Filling:
2 Large Potatoes 
2 tbsp of Finely Chopped Onions
1 tbsp Finely Chopped Green Chili
1 tbsp Finely Chopped Coriander Leaves
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2" Ginger Grated
1/2 tsp Chaat Masala
1/2 tsp Coriander Powder
1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
1/4 tsp Red Chili Powder
Pinch of Salt

For the Yogurt Dip:
1/2 Cup of Thick Yogurt
1 tsp Chaat Masala
1 tsp Sugar

Ghee/ Butter / Oil to brush

The Cooking:

Mix all the ingredients to make a soft non - sticky dough. Apply little oil to the dough and let it rest for 15 min. Now make lemon sized balls out of the dough and keep aside. 

For the filling, mix all the ingredients and divide into 4 equal portions.

Mix all the ingredients for the yogurt dip and let it cool in the fridge (I like mine chilled).

Now on a flat surface, roll the dough into a circle (if you are not good in geometry like me that's fine, it can be imperfect). Just make sure you don't roll it out too thin. 

Take the filling and place it in the center of the rolled out dough. 


See I told you am bad in geometry. The rolled out dough looks thin in the image, but trust me they are little thick. Now, bring the ends together and pinch the top to seal the stuffing safely inside. 


Again very very gently and carefully roll out the dough with the seam side up. DO NOT apply too much of pressure, if you do the stuffing will come shooting out. 



If there is a tear like mine on your rolled out paratha that's fine, but not too many.

Heat a tawa on high. When its hot place a paratha and cook on medium heat on one side for a min. Then flip and brush ghee or butter. Flip again and brush ghee or butter on the other side. Once the sides are cooked evenly and the paratha starts to puff up, its done. It will take around 3 - 5 min for them to cook thoroughly. 

Serve hot with the yogurt dip or any of your favorite chutney and pickle. 


Important Pointers:

  • The volume of water given in the ingredient is approx. I would suggest you to add enough water to make it non - sticky and smooth. The required water may vary from the volume mentioned.
  • Perfect dough will not stick to the surface when rolling. If it does just dust the surface with flour so it doesn't stick. 
  • After stuffing the paratha with aloo, dust the surface you are rolling out the dough. The aloo kind of makes the dough to stick to the surface a little.
  • Add spices according to your liking.

Happy Cooking!


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Monday, 25 February 2013

I know bad photography. This cake traveled with me 7 hrs all the way to my hometown, to be shared with my family. The cake was still in its mold uncut and plastic wrapped. I had a wedding to go as soon as I reached there and when I came back this was all I could find. Half the cake gone…I had to click fast before everything was gone!

CARROT LOAF CAKE…or just Carrot Cake, its loaf because I baked it in a loaf tin. This moist dense butter cake with specks of orange color from the carrots is a classic. The grated carrots, chopped walnuts and the spice gives a wonderful flavor and its such a favorite  I prefer plain cakes to frosted ones, and am yet to try frosting on this one. It was heavenly just as it was. But you can frost this with cream cheese frosting, buttercream or just glaze it. This recipes makes great carrot cake cupcakes too, simply frost them with cream cheese frosting.

Ok enough of reading, go preheat your oven…


You Will Need:

200g Unsalted Butter, Melted
150ml or 4 Large Eggs
110g or 1/2 Cup of Granulated Sugar
110g of Demerara Sugar
90g or 3/4 cup Roughly Chopped Walnuts
1 tsp Cinnamon Powder
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
170g 1 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp Plain Flour Measured and Sifted
185g or 2 1/2 Cups Grated Carrot
Pinch of Salt

The Baking:


Preheat the oven to 170c. In a bowl mix together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and keep aside. Place the melted butter in a large bowl and whisk in one egg at a time . Whisk for 30 sec after each addition to make sure the eggs are well incorporated with the melted butter. Now add the granulated sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Whisk till the sugar is melted. Now add the dry ingredients and fold it with a spatula. Add the grated carrots fold until there are no lumps seen.

Line an 8” baking pan with parchment paper and evenly spread the batter. Bake this in the preheated oven for 30 min or till toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Important Pointers:
  • Chopped walnuts are optional, if you don’t like nuts just leave it out. You can also use spices like grated nutmeg, mixed spices and raisins too.  
  • You can store this in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
  • Read Tips for Cake Baking for more important baking tips.

Happy Baking!
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Monday, 18 February 2013

This has been in my draft for a very long time. Though I made this a bunch of times I couldn't take a decent photo of these spicy lip smackers. But this time, I had to keep my husband off the table while I clicked hurried snaps of this. Ah And finally here it is. CHICKEN TIKKA The King Of Kabab....also a guilt free indulgence. Just skip the 'brushing with the butter' part and the oil in the marinate keeps the chicken moist, the excess just drips off. But you don't need to do this if you are serving it for parties or get together. 

The same marinade works great for a vegetarian version too. Just replace the chicken with button mushrooms and cauliflower. 




You Will Need:
500g Boneless Chicken
2  Onions Cubed
2 Firm Tomatoes Deseeded & Cubed
2 Bell Peppers Cubed
Chat Masala to Serve With
Lemon Wedges
Ghee / Butter / Oil for Brushing (Optional, I always Skip this)

Marinade 1
1 tsp Red Chili Powder
1 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
Juice of a Lemon
Salt to Taste

Marinade 2
2 tbsp Gram Flour
Cup of Yogurt
1 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 1/2 tsp Red Chili Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
Salt to Taste
3 tbsp Mustard Oil
Red / Orange Food Coloring  (Optional)

The Cooking:

Wash and Clean the chicken and marinate the chicken with marinade 1 for 20 min.

In a bowl whisk all the marinade 2 ingredients and keep aside. Now combine the marinated chicken and the veggies with marinate 2 and let this sit for at least 30 min.

In a skewer, alternatively stick through the onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and chicken and cook in a preheated oven at 200c for 10 - 15 min or till done. When the chicken is half cooked carefully take them out and brush with oil / Ghee or butter and continue to cook in the oven. 

Now, to get that charred look on your tikka you can either place it under the grill in the oven for few min. Or what I do is once the chicken is cooked I take it out of the oven and char them over high flame on my gas stove. 

Sprinkle little chat masala over the tikka and serve with lemon wedges. 

Important Pointers:

  • The chicken pieces needs to be small. Not too small, they will fall apart when you skewer them. Too big will not cook evenly.
  • The onions, tomatoes and bell peppers also need to be big enough to not fall apart when skewered through.
  • Metal skewers work well. But if using a wooden one soak them well in water. Use wet so that they don't catch fire.
  • The yogurt should be thick and not soar. 

Recipe Adapted from Harpal Singh Sokhi, Sanjeev Kapoor Khazana 

Happy Cooking!










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Its a pleasure to sink your teeth in a perfect brownie. As I said earlier, it is one of the easy bakes but with these few tips its assured you get it right every time.

Types of Brownies:
  • Fudgy Brownies are so dense and moist. They have less flour and no chemical leavening at all. Melting the butter rather than creaming them gives a fudge texture. Unsweetened chocolate is used and either granulated sugar or brown sugar is used. 
  • Cakey Brownies are really cake like. Cakey brownies have less butter, more flour and little chemical leavening like baking powder to give that lighter softer texture. Instead of melting the butter with chocolate, here the butter is creamed with the sugar to incorporate some air causing the brownie to raise higher.
  • Chewy Brownies gets their texture from extra eggs or combination of different chocolates. Unsweetened chocolate contains higher starches creating a stiffer texture. Semi Sweet chocolate gives smooth texture. When they are used together with cocoa powder gives a rich satisfying chewy texture. 
  • Blondies are butterscotch bars made with butter, brown sugar, eggs and nuts but no chocolate. Blondies have a cake like texture. 
Tips for Brownie Baking:
  • Line the baking pan with parchment paper or with foil so that there is no bits stuck to the bottom.
  • Use a proper pan. If the pan is larger than required, the brownie will turn out thin and dry. 
  • Don't over-mix the batter. Mix just till everything is combined  and fold in the flour with a wooden flour not stand mixer or hand mixer. If over mixed they will become tough. 
  • Less flour gives dense fudge texture and more flour gives cakey brownies. 
  • To ensure your brownie is cooked, a toothpick inserted in the center should come out with wet crumbs not wet batter. If it comes out clean then its overcooked.
  • Make the brownie one day before, so that they get time to firm up resulting less crumbly brownie.
  • Make sure the brownie is completely cooled down before you cut. It will be very soft and fragile when warm, so if you cut it while warm they will crumble and break. 
  • For that perfect squares, use a serrated knife and gently saw through the crust of the brownie. Then push straight down to cut all the way through.
  • For extra perfection, clean the knife after each cut in warm water and use slightly wet. 
  • It is hard to resist them as soon as they are out of oven but brownies are best the next day.
  • Cut brownies can be stored in an air tight container at room temperature for 1 or 2 days.
  • Uncut brownie can be wrapped in cling film or plastic wrap and kept for 4 days at room temperature or in freezer for up to 3 months. 

Happy Baking!
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Thursday, 14 February 2013


CHANA MASALA...Well this is how I do it. It may be a rude confession to make but I would say this recipe is the best of all.  I never follow any recipe exactly. I have this habit of making my own inclusion and exclusion to it. Once again I learnt this from my mom but I dare not make any changes to it. Very few ingredients actually and no store bought chole Masala or any other spices are used for flavoring  Everything comes from the chickpeas and the onion tomato gravy. Absolutely no other flavor interrupts that. Its just perfect with hot roties and poori. The same recipe also goes well for samosa Chana too. 
Serves 4



You will need

250 – 300g of Chickpeas
1 Onion Finely Chopped
4 Medium Tomatoes Pureed
2 tbsp Crushed Kasuri Methi
1 tbsp Coriander Powder
Approx. 2 – 3 cups of Chickpea Stock
4 tbsp Oil
Salt to Taste

Onion Paste
2 Medium Onions
7 Cloves of Garlic
1” Ginger

The Cooking

Boil the chickpeas with enough water till they are soft. I usually do this in a pressure cooker and cook it till it gives one sound. This way is easy and fast. Drain and reserve the stock for the gravy. Blend all the ingredients for the onion paste and keep aside. Heat the oil in a deep pan over high heat and sauté the chopped onions. Once the onions start to go brown add the onion paste and stir well.

Bring the heat to medium high and sprinkle the kasuri methi crushed between your palms. Now, this is a very important stage. Be patient and cook the onions till they turn dark brown (NOT BLACK) and they no long stick to the bottom of the pan. At this stage the onions are well caramelized and all the raw flavors are gone. This would take around 10 min. Sprinkle chili powder, garam masala, coriander powder and salt and sauté for a couple of mins.

Now stir in the pureed tomatoes, careful it will splatter all over. Stir the tomatoes well and cook covered for 10 – 15 min on low heat stirring occasionally. You will see the color of the gravy has changed to a bright red and now pour in the stock. This needs to boil well for another 5 min before you add the chickpeas. Toss in the chickpeas and cook covered on medium high heat for 20 – 30 min or till all the excess stock has evaporated and oil starts to separate from the gravy.

Important Pointers:
  • For any gravy sautéing the onions and tomatoes are very important. It will take some time and you must be patient. If you don’t you are sure to taste the raw flavours of onions and tomatoes in the end, and nobody wants that. 

Happy Cooking!
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CHOCOLATE FUDGE BROWNIES...This is melt in your mouth moment. Its so chocolaty and so dense that it give such a sugar rush. Brownies are very easy to bake. All you need to care is the selection of the chocolate that goes in. Make sure the chocolate is of good quality. Select a chocolate which you like to eat as it is. Its going to be chocolate all the way in your brownie so its wise to chose a chocolate that you like. 

Brownies are of three types. FUDGE BROWNIES are so dense, very moist and intensely chocolaty. CHEWY BROWNIES are moist but not as gooey as the fudge ones. And CAKEY BROWNIES are moist crumbed and slightly fluffy in texture like a cake. My pick is always the fudge.



You Will Need:

1/2 Cup (113g) Unsalted Butter
1/2 Cup (115g) Semi Sweet Dark Chocolate
4 Large Eggs
200g of Super Fine Sugar
50g of Demerara Sugar
100g Roughly Chopped Walnuts 
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
85g of Plain Flour
Pinch of Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt

The Baking

Double Boiler (Stock Image)




On a double boiler melt the butter and chocolate. Take off heat and let it come to room temperature. In a bowl whisk together eggs and sugar till the sugar has dissolved. Now add the vanilla and melted chocolate. Once they are well incorporated sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and fold the batter till there are no lumps. Line a baking pan with foil and evenly pour in the batter. Preheat the oven at 170c and bake for 15 - 20min or till a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 


Important Pointers:
  • Line the baking tray with aluminium foil leaving extra over the sides of the tray so that you can easily lift the brownie out of the tray. Or line with a parchment paper.
  • For the double boiler simmer boiling water in a pot and place a bowl over it. Make sure the bowl does not touch the simmering water. The chocolate will curdle if the water touches the bowl of chocolate. 
  • The melted chocolate and butter mixture should be cooled before adding to the eggs. If hot there are chances the eggs will scramble. 
  • Demerara sugar is optional, white sugar is fine. 
  • Refer Baking Tips for tips on perfect brownies. 
Happy Baking!


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Monday, 11 February 2013

BUTTER CHICKEN needs no introduction at all. Traditionally, butter chicken or Murgh Makhani is a rich buttery tomato gravy with shreds of Chicken tossed in and garnished with dollops of heavy cream. Its satiny smooth in texture and absolutely irresistible.

The chicken added to the gravy is tandoori chicken and not raw chicken. This tandoori chicken gives a nice smoky flavor to the gravy. The recipe I have given is the authentic way it has to be done and it does uses a fair amount of butter and cream (Its butter chicken after all)

Also do checkout my own version of Butter Chicken Masala!

Recipe Courtesy 
Chef Harpal Singh Sokhi, Original Recipe HERE

Serves 3



You Will Need:

For the Tomato Paste
6 Large Tomatoes Quartered 
1 tbsp Butter
3 green Cardamoms
1 Maze
1 tbsp Chopped Garlic

For the Gravy

1/2 Kg Tandoori Chicken, Shredded 
Tomato Paste
1 Finely Chopped Green Chilies, Seeds Out
1 tsp Finely Sliced Ginger
1 tsp Red Chili Powder 
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Cumin Powder
1 tsp Home Made Garam Masala
1 tsp Sugar
1 1/2 tbsp Butter
Salt to Taste

For Garnishing
2 tbsp of Heavy Cream
1 Finely Chopped Green Chili
Some Coriander 
1 tsp of Melted Butter 

The Cooking

Heat a wok with butter / oil  and crackle the cardamom, maze, chili and garlic for few seconds. Now add the tomato and saute on medium heat till the tomato becomes pulpy. Take off heat, cool and grind into a smooth paste. Now strain the tomato paste through a fine sieve and discard the pulp. This gives a very smooth and velvety texture to the gravy. 

Now, for the gravy saute chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and green chilies. Pour in the tomato followed by the sugar, cream and salt. Let this cook over medium heat for 20 min till the raw flavor has gone and the gravy has slightly thickened.

Toss in the chicken, sprinkle garam masala and cook covered on low heat till the gravy is done.  

Garnish with coriander, chopped chili, fresh cream and melted butter. Serve hot with any of your favorite Naan or roti. 

Important Pointers:
  • You can microwave the tomato for few min and blend, but this method keeps the color of the tomato intact.
  • Adding red food coloring is optional. 
Happy Cooking!












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Friday, 8 February 2013

Amma's Recipe #22

This curry really confuses me all the time. Big A is not fan of VADA CURRY. So I never prepare this at home. So whenever I am at my mum's place I ask her to cook this for me and when she asks me "with what would you like to have this?" My head just spins. Idly? Dosa? Roti? Poori? Idiyappam? Appam? A slice of Bread? becoz its goes so well with everything....

Vada / Vadai are deep fried Bengal gram that are soaked and coarsely ground with few spices and are shaped into balls and deep fried. This vada / vadai is put into a flavorful curry prepared with whole garam masala, onion, tomato and lots of curry leaves and coriander leaves...



Serves 5


You Will Need:

For Vadai
250g Bengal Gram
1 tsp Fennel Seeds
Salt to taste
Oil For Deep Fry


For Curry

1 tsp Fennel Seeds
1 Bay leaf
1 Stick of Cinnamon
3 Large Onions
3 Large Tomatoes
6 Slit Chilies 
2 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Chilli Powder
Lots of Finely Chopped Coriander 
Some Curry Leaves
5 Cups of Water (Yes, you need lot)
3 tbsp Oil
Salt to Taste


The Cooking


Wash and soak the gram dal overnight or at least 5 - 6 hours. Drain and coarsely grind together the gram dal, fennel seeds and salt.
 Heat enough oil to deep fry the vada. Once the oil is hot enough to deep fry put in small balls of gram dal. This needs to fry only few min, until the gram dal is just enough cooked. Fish them out of the oil and put on kitchen towel to observe excess oil. 



Now heat oil on a large pot and crackle the fennel, bay leaf and cinnamon. Add in the sliced onions and curry leaves. Once the onions turn light brown add the tomatoes and green chilies. Saute for few min and add the ginger garlic paste. Saute till all the raw flavors are gone, this would take about 5 min. Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, garam masala and salt. 


Pour in the water and let this boil on high heat. Now add the vada and bring the curry to boil once on high heat. Once it boils simmer completely and cook covered stirring occasionally in between.  Now be patient this would take some time. The vada needs to absorb all the excess water and the curry will begin to thicken. This would take anywhere around 30 min. The curry is done when there is no excess water and the curry is slightly thick. Garnish with lots of coriander.



Important Pointers:


  • The gram dal must be ground coarse, not paste like. The water absorbed by the dal at the time of soaking is enough to grind it. Do not add excess water.
  • Pinch and drop the dal in hot oil. No need to form equal sized balls or flatten between your palms. Just pinch the dal and drop it in the oil.
  • Don't let the vada cook crisp in oil or brown. Just cooked and it is supposed to be little soft.
  • The vada already has salt in it, so add accordingly in the curry.
  • The vada needs to be mixed with the curry. If you find big ones staring at you just break it down. Same time don't mash too much.  
  • If the curry becomes too thick, stir in enough boiling water to bring it to desired consistency. 
Happy Cooking!




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You Will Need:
50 Dry Red Chilies
100g Coriander Seeds
50g Cumin Seeds
25g Mustard Seeds
50g Fenugreek Seeds
50g Asafetida
100g Red Gram
Handful of Curry Leaves

The Cooking:
Simply dry roast the spices on a hot pan over medium heat. The spices will change color very slightly but do not brown the spices. Take off heat and cool the spices. Now finely grind the spices in a food processor. Make sure the powder is super fine. Store in an airtight container. This sambar powder can be used 10 times.


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Happy Cooking!
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When I got married, my grandma gave me a bottle of garam masala made by her as my wedding gift. She never uses the store bought ones in any of her curries. This is much flavorful even when you add just a teaspoon. You can use this garam masala for any spicy Indian curries. A secret recipe passed down to me from my granny. Use good quality and fresh ingredients for this garam masala.

You Will Need:
50g Fennel Seeds
20 Green Cardamom Pods
30 Cloves
8 Sticks of Cinnamon
1 Star Anise

The Cooking
Make sure all the ingredients are super dry. Then dry roast it on a pan over medium heat. The spices should not change color or brown. Just toss it or 4 - 5 min and take off heat. Let the spice cool and grind this coarsely in a food processor. Don't make it too fine. Store in an airtight container and use for any Indian curries. This garam masala is actually stronger than the store bought ones, one teaspoon itself will give a lot of flavor.

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Happy Cooking!
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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

PAAL KOZHUKATTAI is one of the many traditional sweets of Karaikudi. Am a huge fan of this. Whenever my mom makes this, it becomes my meal the entire day. Its actually not too sweet and it can be stored in the fridge for upto 2 days. Don't be alarmed by the numbers of pointers in the end of the recipe. This sweet is really easy, just three major ingredients and I got it right the very first time. 




You Will Need:
Cup of Rice Flour plus 2 tbsp 
2 Cups of Boiling Water 
Cup of Jaggery 
1/2 Cup of Water
Cup of Thick Coconut Milk
2 Cardamon Pods

The Cooking:



Now, in a bowl put the rice flour and slowly pour in the boiling water and mix well with a wooden spoon. It will come together quickly and the dough will start to come off the sides of the bowl. Take a small part of dough and see if its not sticking to your fingers. Now make very small balls out of it. Steam these for 5 - 10 min and keep aside.

Heat a pan on high heat and add the Jaggery and water. Let the Jaggery completely melt in the water. Once it boils, strain the jaggery and pour it back in the pan. Once the Jaggery starts to boil toss in the kozhukattai. In a small bowl mix 3/4th of the coconut milk with 2 tbsp of rice flour and add it to the jaggery. Bring the heat down and pour in the remaining coconut milk and cardamom pods. Let the paal kozhukattai boil once and take it off heat. 

Important Pointers:

  • Use hard plastic bowl to mix the rice flour. Metal bowls will become hot once you start adding the boiling water. 
  • Making Kozhukattai with boiling water makes them really soft. 
  • Make the kozhukattai balls very small. Smaller than the size I have made for better taste.
  • Make sure the kozhukattai don't stick together while steaming. If they do gently pull them apart.
  • There is an equipment available in all departmental stores which has stencils of different shapes that can be used to make the kozhukattai. If you don't have one just simply make small balls like mentioned in the recipe.
  • You must strain the jaggery once or twice as they tend to have grains of sand and you definitely don't want them in your dessert.
  • You can use sugar in place of jaggery but jaggery gives better taste.
  • Don't add too much of water while making the coconut extract. It needs to be bit thick. 
  • The dessert will be runny while hot but they will start to thicken in room temperature. 
  • If the dessert is too runny even at room temperature, add little rice flour to little water and pour into the paal kozhukattai and boil once. 
  • If the dessert is too thick at room temperature then pour in required BOILING water and mix well.

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