Monday, June 30, 2008

Sesame Bread

This bread has no different from other breads that I have made previously, except that with lots of sesame. I read an article that described black sesame high in calcium that each 100g of black sesame contains 2000mg of calcium whereas white sesame contains 440mg of calcium. Also described, black sesame contains 18 times more calcium than fresh milk!

After reading it, I decided to add in some sesame into my wholemeal bread to have more nutrition. I followed a wholemeal bread recipe which I believe it can be mixed with other plain bread or milky loaf too!
The first dough I baked was not covered with a lid as I purposely want to shape it like homemade country bread. Therefore, I egg-washed the dough and sprinkled it with lots of sesame seeds.
The bread was beautifully baked in golden brown color with very fragrant flavor. The bread crumb was very soft and its top with sesame provides a crunchy texture.
Then, I decided to make a second sesame loaf as my other half is crazy about it. I baked it with a Pullman tin with lid and added lots of sesame as well.

This time, the dough had turned into a square sandwich loaf. The texture has no different compared to the previous loaf I made.

Again, the fragrant of the sesame had given us another delicious and healthy breakfast!


1st recipe with 10% wholemeal (much softer version)

270g bread flour
30g whole wheat flour
6g sugar
6g salt
3g yeast
240g low fat milk
12g butter
30g white sesame (toasted)
50g black sesame (toased)

2nd recipe with 33% wholemeal (much healthier version)

250g bread flour
80g whole wheat flour
10g oat bran
30g sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
5g yeast
1 egg
150g ice water
15g low fat milk
30g butter
30g white sesame (toasted)
50g black sesame (toased)

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

  2. Gradually add in all the wet ingredients and mix it by a flat beater at low speed until everything has just combined.
  3. Add butter continue to mix for 1 or 2 minutes.

  4. Change to a dough hook continues kneading for about 20 minutes at medium speed.

  5. Off the machine and clear the sticky dough at side of the bowl. Continue kneading for few seconds.
  6. Knead the dough on a lightly floured work surface until the dough smooth but not sticky.

  7. Mix sesame into the dough.

  8. Shape it into smooth round dough, cover with cling film and let it rest for 20 minutes.

  9. Knead the dough and punch out the gas. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and roll to form three even 'ball' shapes.

  10. Flatten dough and roll out into a longish shape. Roll up the dough like a Swiss-roll.

  11. Flatten the rolled-up dough and roll out again into a long rectangular shape. Add in some dried fruits on top then roll up the dough tightly.
  12. Do the same for the other two remaining dough. Place the rolled dough in greased bread tin. Spray with some water around the tin. Place it in the oven with door close, proof for 60 minutes without lid on.

  13. Put the lid on when the dough rise near to the top. Take out the tin from the oven and preheat the oven at 190'C.

  14. Bake approximately 40 minutes or until golden brown. (I increased the temperature to 210'C for extra 10 minutes until the bread had a golden brown color).

  15. Take out the bread to cool down before slicing into pieces. Store leftover bread in airtight container without slicing it for keeping it fresh for the next serving.

Beans Parupu Usili

Beans chopped- 1/2 pound
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1/4 cup

For the paste:
Channa dhal - 3 tbsp
Hing - a pinch
Red chillies - as needed

Soak channa dhal in warm water for 1 hour.
Strain well and grind along with other ingredients to a coarse paste without adding water.
Pressure cook beans for 1 whisle or microwave it(with water) for 13 to 15 minutes until done.
Strain and set the beans aside.
Heat oil in a pan, tamper mustard seeds, add the ground paste. Fry well till it breaks down into small pieces and becomes dry(see picture below). Add steamed beans and salt. Cook for another 2 minutes.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mango & Coconut Chiffon

Chiffon cake is my favorite dessert. I've tried different flavors of chiffon and this has been added into my best flavor list recently. As this chiffon was not served for any special vocation, so I left it plain without any dressing to experience the natural flavor. I kept it in a fridge after it had cooled down from the oven for reserving a better texture.
We're totally refreshed by the little mango and shredded coconut with chilly sponge in the very hot and humid weekend.

Recipe for 17cm chiffon tin:

110g egg whites/55g caster sugar/5g corn flour

50g egg yolks/36g water36g/vegetable oil/55g plain flour/10g caster sugar/50g mango juice/25g dried mango (chopped)/24g shredded coconut

  1. Whip egg whites until peak form then slowly add in caster sugar continue whipping until a shiny and smooth consistency.

  2. Add in the cornflour and whip until just combine.

  3. Mix egg yolks, oil, water, peach puree, flour and caster sugar in another mixing bowl until everything combine.

  4. Then mix in chopped dried mango.

  5. Add in 1/3 of the egg white mixture into (2) until combine. Then add half of the left over egg whites mixture continue mixing. Then mix in the remaining egg whites until well combine.

  6. Add shredded coconut and mix until just combined.

  7. Pour into the baking tin and bake 35 minutes at 160'C.

  8. Turn the cake upside down for cooling before unmold it.

  9. Chill in a fridge for better refreshing texture.

VATTAL KOZAMBU - A tangy gravy made with sun dried berries


- Tangy Gravy made with sun dried berries
This is a very tangy and spicy gravy (kozambu) which can be prepared in no time. It tastes good with plain rice, chutney rice, and podi rice. The taste of dosas, idlies, ven pongal, uppuma, curd rice and numerous other dishes is enhanced when served with a spoon of vattal kozambu.
When Tara bought us a boxful of fresh dough nuts from Krispy Kreme we never thought that we would finish the entire box by the time we reached home. They were so fluffy, warm and so tasty and melted in our mouths, leaving us craving for more. We were so full that we decided to skip dinner that night. However,the sight of vattal kozambu in the fridge, tempted us to eat a meager morsel of vattal kozambu rice. After dinner we felt relieved and the feeling of heaviness had vanished!
Pati (grandmother) prepared Vattal Kuzambu in Kall Chatti (stone vessel. see pic) and stored it for many days as an emergency supplement for other side dishes even in our pre-refrigerator days.

We loved those moonlight dinners, when Pati sat in the courtyard , under the star and moon lit sky, with a 'kall-chatti-ful' of vattal kozambu rice. All of us sat around her in a semicircle with our cupped palms outstretched for a portion (Tuttu) of the vattal kozambu rice. She served us so lovingly. Her animated stories about princes and monsters made dinner time much more interesting that we never took notice of the fast emptying of the kall chatti. Many a time Pati had to mix more rice as we wanted to keep eating till the story got over!

Tamarind – enough to roll into a size of a ping-pong ball
Sambar powder – 3 tsps
Salt -2 tsps
Jaggery – size of a big marble
Sesame oil – 4 tbsps
Asafoetida – ¼ tsp
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
Bengal gram dal – 2 tbsps
Dried Red chillies – 2
Curry leaves – 10
Vattal of your choice – 1/2 to 1 tbsp, as per taste.
Vattals are sundried berries and vegetables. Some popular vattals are 'manathakali' - tiny pepper sized berries, 'chundaikai' - larger and very bitter berries, and kottoranga - dried beans.

If you do not have vattals, you can simply add any fresh vegetables such as carrots, brinjal, pumpkin, cucumber, bitter gourd. A tablespoon of groundnuts adds to the taste.

1) Soak tamarind in hot water for 20 minutes. Extract a thick juice, discarding the fibre and seeds and keep aside.
2) Heat sesame oil in a pan and throw in asafoetida and mustard seeds. When they splutter, add fenugreek seeds and Bengal gram dal and roast till golden in colour. If you want you can add ground nuts at this stage as well.
3) Next add the broken red chillies and the vattals. Fry until they are crunchy and crisp.
4) Slow down the flame and add the sambar powder and fry for two seconds.
5) Add curry leaves and stir.
6) Immediately pour in the tamarind juice.
7) Increase flame and add salt and jaggery. If you are adding fresh vegetables, you can do it now.
8) Let the kozambu boil and thicken until it gives out a very pleasant aroma. Remove from fire when the oil separates.

To eat this with rice, mix the kozambu with hot white rice, and a spoonful of ghee.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Eggless Mango Cake

I am sending this dish to Meeta's Mango Mania Event.
I followed this recipe and baked the bread for 45 minutes. It was not as sweet as I thought it would be. But I liked it that way. Cut the loaf when it is cool.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


First place in Magnificent Click event hosted by Gayathri.

My friends have passed me these beautiful awards! Thank you so much for thinking about me. I really appreciate it.

These awards are from:

A Culinary Odyssey! by
Enthaligai by
Welcome to yum world by
Chandrabhaga by
Gita's Kitchen by
Recipe Center by Trupti
Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes by
Sanghi's Food Delights! by
Appetizing Recipes by
Welcome to Vividha Ruchulu... by
Adlak's Kitchen by by Yasmeen
Second set of awards:

These awards are from:

I would like to pass the awards to all my blogger friends. Everyone deserves these :)

Milky Loaf 牛奶面包

First of all, thank you HHB for this wonderful recipe!
This is my first attempt on making white bread. Ever since I was crazy of making wheat bread but not white bread. So, I was thinking to try something different for our next breakfast.

I've got some advised before making this bread, so everything went very well with a very simple straight dough method.
The simplicity of making this bread was using some basic ingredients which normally would have stored in a kitchen. This bread recipe was using milk rather than water as I've got some references about milk could give a softer texture and that's why it named "milky loaf".

The dough rise very well and filled up the pullman tin within 60 minutes (not sure it's due to the warm weather). I was quite happy that the loaf was almost a perfect square.

The milky flavor was fantastic that I could smell it while it's still baking in the oven. I was very satisfied with the soft and cottony texture.
Lastly, we are so pleased to have a wonderful breakfast.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sesame Sweet Roti

I tried Usha's sweet roti recipe. It was yummy! Other than the ingredients listed for the stuffing in Usha's recipe, I added a 1/4 cup dry coconut and a pinch of elaichi(add just before grinding the powder). For detailed recipe click here

Progress outside

We decided to start outside. There is so much to do inside in so many different rooms, that we figured we can get the back in good enough shape to enjoy somewhat quickly.

While we still have more ideas - this is a good start. Mostly, it was filthy - years must have passed with only the weeds to enjoy the yard.



In Progress:

We hung this lattice by simply nailing furring strips directly to the cinder block wall - using my new favorite tool: a power hammer. This thing is amazing, and scary. You put a nail in the front and a .22 caliber round in a chamber - voila! We like the lattice look and have considered going down the other wall with it.

Craig just had to see what the stain looked like - we'll finish it soon enough.

Chutneys - Part 2


Freshly grated coconut – 2 cups
Roasted bengal gram (pottu kadalai) – 1 tbsp
Green chilly – 2
Fresh ginger – 1 small piece
Tamarind – a pinch
Salt – 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tsps
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
Black gram (urad) dal – ½ tsp
1.) Grind coconut, roasted gram, chillies, ginger and tamaraind with ½ a cup of water into a smooth chutney.
2.) Add enough water until you get consistency, you want. It can be thick, or like a sauce.
3.) Heat oil and season with mustard seeds and black gram dal.
This white smooth chutney can be served with all snacks.

Follow the recipes above. Add a cup of freshly chopped corriander leaves while grinding . This will give the chutney a different flavour and colour.

Instead of corriander, add 2 tbsp of freshly chopped mint while grinding for a variation.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

How to make Tasty Rasam?

Rasam(also called as "sathamudhu") tastes best when made with a lead vessel called "eeya chombu".
  • Always keep an eye on the vessel when you make rasam. Let it boil only in low flame. Otherwise the vessel will melt! :)
  • Switch of the gas when you see froth forming on top(see picture).

Healthy Fruit Shake for breakfast

I have read in books that everyday we should include smoothie or milkshake for breakfast. Blend any fruits you have on hand together with milk. It is not required to add to sugar.

Banana -1
Strawberries - a handful
Fresh Pineapple - chopped
Naked Mango juice - 1/2 cup (optional) or add any other 100% juice
Milk - 2 cups(add more if the shake is too thick)

Add all the ingredients except milk and blend together. Slowly add milk and blend to a smooth and thick consistency.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Fruity Wholemeal Bread

This is a wholemeal bread recipe given by a guru I knew recently. As he knows I'm very keen about wholemeal bread, therefore he shares this recipe with me. This bread contains nearly 25% wholemeal flour which is more than the basic wholemeal bread I have tried previously.

The original recipe was written it is optional to add some sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. I found that it is a good idea to add something in the bread so that it makes a little bit different from the previous bread I've made. Furthermore, added those seeds, nut or dried fruits could increase some nutrition. Therefore, I've added some sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds as well as some dried cherries and raisin to make it a fruity flavor.

When I cut out a slice, I found those little dried cherries looks quite pretty attaching the bread. If I will make this bread again, some dried apricot, dried mango, or other dried fruits and nuts will be adding in as well. I loves the wholemeal smell with every bite of dried fruits and seeds that I don't even need to spread jam or peanut butter on it. If you are a fan of wholemeal bread, why not give it a try!

Recipe from guru:

  • 250g bread flour
  • 80g wholemeal flour
  • 30g sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5g yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 150g ice water
  • 15g milk
  • 30g butter

Optional ingredients:

  • 10g sunflower seeds (toasted)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds (toasted)
  • some dried cherries, raisin or others dried fruits and nuts


  • Mix all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • Gradually add in all the wet ingredients and mix it by a flat beater at low speed until everything just combine.
  • Add butter continue to mix for 1 or 2 minutes.
  • Change to a dough hook continue kneading for about 20 minutes at medium speed.
  • Off the machine and clear the stick dough at side of the bowl and add 1 tablespoon bread flour. Continue kneading for few seconds.
  • Knead the dough on a lightly floured work surface until the dough smooth but not sticky.
  • Mix pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds into the dough.
  • Shape it into a smooth round dough, cover with cling film and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  • Knead the dough and punch out the gas.
  • Divide the dough into three equal pieces and roll to form three even 'ball' shapes.
  • Flatten a dough and roll out into a longish shape. Roll up the dough like a Swiss-roll.
  • Flatten the rolled-up dough and roll out again into a long rectangular shape. Add in some dried fruits on top then roll up the dough tightly.
  • Do the same for the other two remaining doughs. Place the rolled dough in a greased bread tin.
  • Spray with some water around the tin. Place it in the oven with door close, proof for 60 minutes without lid on.
  • Put the lid on when the dough rise near to the top. Take out the tin from the oven and preheat the oven at 190'C.
  • Bake approximately 40 minutes or until golden brown. (I increased the temperature to 210'C for extra 10 minutes until the bread had a golden brown color).
  • Take out the bread to cool down before slicing into pieces. Store leftover bread in airtight container without slicing it into pieces to let it stay fresh for the next serving.

Easy Palak Paneer

Onion - 1 cup chopped
3 tomatoes - chopped
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Jeera - 1 tsp
Cloves- 2
Cinnamon - 2 pieces
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander poder - 1 tsp
Garam masala powder-1 tsp
Spinach - 1 bunch
Paneer - a few pieces
Oil - 3 tbsp

Heat oil in a pan. Tamper jeera, cloves, cinnamon. Add onions, ginger- garlic paste and saute till onions turn golden brown and raw smell of ginger-garlic paste goes off. Add tomatoes, salt, chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, coriander powder and fry well till tomatoes are cooked. Add chopped spinach and cook on low flame for a few more minutes. Let it cool. Blend in a mixie or handblender. In another pan, heat a drop of oil and slightly fry paneer. Add fried paneer to the gravy.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More from Africa...

I got a notice today from KIVA that my funding of entrepreneur Sabina Twumasi has been disbursed to her.

Sabina is a divorced mother, 37, who lives in Ghana, and is proprieter of a clothing store. She needs additional funding to expand her offerings and fund her child's college education.

My daughter Lisa put me on to KIVA and even started me off with a gift certificate for my (January) birthday this year.

With all the uproar around here of late, I didn't log on to the KIVA site until recently to find Sabina and invest my certificate.

People from all over the world have invested a few dollars in Sabina's venture. She requested $975, so KIVA aggregated our dollars until the goal was met and then disbursed the sum. They will also collect Sabina's repayments on her loan.

Eventually our accounts will all be repaid so that we can invest in someone else; Sabina will be more successful in business and life; and KIVA will have another success story! The default rate on KIVA microloans is 2%. Not bad when you consider the good they are doing.

If you have a few dollars lying around maybe you should consider investing in a KIVA entrepreneur too!


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Chutneys - Part 1


This is one dish that we can not do without . Whether it is breakfast or tea, lunch or dinner, chutneys have become an inseparable part of our daily meals. It is usually served as an accompaniment with the main dish. However, there are chutney buffs who are never tired of indulging in a chutney and rice as a routine. My great grand mother who lived up to the age of ninety six was very particular to have one variety of chutneys every day. It was a treat for her sharp taste buds, and she could enjoy it with softly cooked steaming hot rice without having to worry about her missing dentures! Rajamma was her attendant. It was amusing to watch the short and stout lady and the big fat grinding stone (kuzavi) roll all over the stone slab (ammi) in an effort to grind smooth chutney! As the culinary expertise is growing with the interaction of people from various cultures, lots of new recipes for this dish are evolving. There are two parts. This part deals with the chutney variations that can be served with steamed white rice, along with a spoon of ghee or sesame oil; Part 2 will be posted soon, and has the variations that are served with snacks, idlis, dosas, sandwiches and so on. Here are a few basic chutney recipes.


Fresh coconut gratings – 2 cups
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Split black gram dal – 2 tsps
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Red chillies - 4
Tamarind – size of a small marble
Salt - ½ tsp
Cooking oil – 1 tsp
1 .Heat oil in a pan and add asafoetida and mustard seeds.
2. When the mustard splutters add black gram dal and roast till golden in colour.
3. Add red chillies and roast till they are crisp.
4. Grind the seasoning coarsely with salt and tamarind, and 1 tbsp of the fresh coconut gratings.
5. Add the remaining coconut gratings and run the mixer for a few seconds only to blend with all other ingredients.
6. Scoop out the coarse chutney into a dish and blend once again with a spoon.
7. Serve with plain hot rice.

Tuvar (Red gram) dal - 1 cup
Bengal gram dal -1 tbsp
Black pepper – 10 corns
Red chilly – 1
Freshly grated coconut – 1 tbsp (Optional)
Salt – ½ tsp
Fresh garlic – 2 or 3 pearls
Oil – ¼ tsp
Asafoetida – 1 pinch
1. Heat oil in a pan.
2. Add asafoetida, pepper corns and peeled garlic pearls.
3. Add red chilly, and both dals and roast till you get a pleasant aroma.
4. Dry grind the roasted ingredients and then add the coconut gratings and salt.
5. Add 1 cup of water and now wet grind the ingredients into smooth chutney.

This chutney can be relished with steaming hot rice. Chutney-rice tastes good when mixed with ¼ tsp of ghee or sesame oil. The best accompaniment along with paruppu chutney is roasted papad, and vattal kozambu tangy tamarind gravy with salted sun dried vegetables) or milagu kozambu (a spicy gravy with black pepper corns and tamarind juice). I will be posting these recipes soon.

Fresh mint leaves – 1 big bunch
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
Bengal gram dal – 2 tbps
Black gram dal – 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Red chillies – 4
Tamarind – enough to roll into the size of a small marble.
Salt - 1 to 2 tsps
Oil – 2 tsps
1. Clean mints leaves and keep aside.
2. Heat oil and add asafoetida and mustard seeds.
3. Add the dals and roast till golden in colour
4. Add red chillies and fry till crisp.
5. Add the cleaned mint leaves and sauté till the leaves wilt.
6. Grind all the above ingredients with tamarind, salt and a little water.
7. The texture must be slightly coarse and thick.

Big and smooth egg plant – 1
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Black gram dal – 2 tsps
Tamarind – enough to roll into the size of a small marble
Dried red chillies - 3
Salt – 1 tsp
Oil – 4 tsps
Tip: Since the egg plant is cooked whole without cutting, make sure you examine the egg-plant that you choose. They should not have any holes on the surface. These indicate that there are worms inside the vegetable!
1. Wash and wipe eggplant thoroughly.
2. Rub 2 spoons of cooking oil all over the vegetable.
3. Roast it on an open flame or grill until the outer skin cracks.
4. Allow the vegetable to cool, and then peel off the scalded skin.
5. Slightly mash the cooked vegetable with a spoon or a fork.
6. Heat the remaining oil and add the asafoetida and mustard seeds.
7. Add the black gram dal and roast to a golden colour.
8. Add red chillies and fry till crisp.
9. Grind all the seasoning coarsely with tamarind and salt.
10. Finally add the prepared egg plant and run the mixer to blend.
Tip: Cooking eggplant in the above manner provides a delicious smoky, charred flavor. If however, you dot not relish this flavor, simply cut the egg plant into pieces and sauté in little oil, before grinding.

Ripe tomatoes – 4
Peanuts – 4 tbsps
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
Black gram dal – 1 tbsp
Asafoetida – 1 pinch
Red chillies – 5
Salt – 11/2 tsps
Sugar – ½ tsp
Oil – 1 tbsp
Tamarind –a little (Optional)
1. Wash and cut tomatoes.
2. Heat oil and add asafoetida and mustard seeds.
3. When it splutters add black gram dal and roast till golden in colour.
4. Add peanuts and roast till they crackle.
5. Add red chillies and let them become crisp.
6. Lastly add the cut tomato pieces and stir well.
7. Cover and cook on slow fire for 2 minutes or until the tomatoes soften.
8. Remove from heat and cool.
9. Grind all ingredients with salt and sugar to smooth or coarse chutney as required.

I like to call this the ‘joker chutney’ as it goes well with any and every dish. Onion pieces can also be added with the tomatoes, for a different flavour.

Friday, June 20, 2008


My maternal uncle (Mama) was an agricultural officer, and he specialized in growing sugar cane. He lived in cool serene villages surrounded by trees and green fields. He had a ready stock of fresh green vegetables and fruits, and other farm produce at home. We visited him quite often and he took us round to show the age old temples and forts, and the forests and river sides around his place.

His wife (Mami) was a very enthusiastic hostess. She treated us with all the ethnic dishes which she prepared with great zest. She was a specialist in pickles, jams, chutneys, vattals (salted and sun dried vegetables used in various preparations), and vadams (these are prepared with lentils, puffed rice, raw rice, beaten rice or sago, and sun dried and stored during summer. This could be fried and used as side dish or as a snack just like chips.)Mama took us on awesome walks through the gentle stream which wound through at the bottom of our lane and Mami fried hot bajjis and sent them to us with a boy with a delicious and pudina (mint) chutney to go with it.The eroding sand grains tickling our feet under the soothing cool water, and the melting of the hot bajjis in our avaricious mouths was a unique experience which can not be explained in words.I can never forget the speed with which Mami pickled the freshly picked mangoes though her hands were full with all the cooking and packing the picnic lunch for our trips with Mama. Her mantra for a good pickle was “pick fresh, cook fresh and eat late.” Pickles do taste good as they age, as all the spices and seasoning take time to settle down in harmony.

1. Baby mangoes – 500 gms
2. Salt – 200 gms
3. Red chilly powder – 50 gms
4. Turmeric powder – 2 tbsps
5. Castor oil or olive oil or gingili oil – 4 tbsps
6. Mustard seeds – 1 tbsp
7. Fenugreek seeds -1 tbsp
1. Wash and dry the mangoes thoroughly.
2. Mix oil and turmeric powder into a paste and rub over all the mangoes.
3. Lay a fistful of mangoes in a clean and dry jar.
4. Spread little salt on the mangoes.
5. Add another fistful of mangoes
6. Again cover it with salt, and repeat the procedure till all the mangoes and salt are over.
7. Cover the jar and allow it to stand for 2 or 3 days.
8. On the third day you will find the shrunk mangoes floating in a large volume of brine.
9. Stir well and drain excess water.
10. Add red chilly powder.
11. Powder the mustard and fenugreek seeds raw, and add it to the pickle.
12. Stir well and enjoy with curd rice.

HOG PLUM PICKLE (Amtakai) can also be prepared similarly.

Here is Mami’s recipe for a mouth watering pickle prepared with the fresh juicy yellow lime, each the size of a badminton ball- which hung on the tree in her back yard.
1. Lime - 12
2. Salt – 250 gms
3. Red chilly powder – 250 gms
4. Turmeric powder -1 tbsp
5. Sesame oil - 2 tea cups
6. Mustard – 1 tsp
7. Asafoetida – a small piece
8. Fenugreek seeds – 2 tsps
1. Wash and wipe lime thoroughly. Cut each into 8 or 16 pieces.
2. Lay the pieces and salt alternately in layers in a clean dry jar. Cover and let the lime soak and soften in the salt for about 4 or 5 days.
3. Add chilly powder and turmeric powder, and do not stir yet.
4. Heat oil in a pan.
5. Fry the asafoetida .
6. Add the mustard seeds into the hot oil and allow it to splutter.
7. Pour the seasoning and the oil over the powders.
8. Dry roast fenugreek seeds until dark in colour.
9. Powder fried asafoetida and roasted fenugreek seeds and add to the pickle.
10. Stir well and store after it is thoroughly cooled.

When the pickle settles a thin film of oil stands on the top protecting it from molds. Enjoy with curd rice, chapattis, dosas, bread or any other dish of your choice.

Follow the same directions as for lime pickle for 6 mangoes. Care should be taken to dry excess mango juice after cutting. Use a tissue to blot away the juice or allow it to dry in air before pickling.

1. Firm raw mangoes - 6
2. Chilly powder -250 gms
3. Salt – 250 gms
4. Turmeric powder – 50 gms
5. Mustard seeds -100 gms
6. Fenugreek seeds -100 gms
7. Chick peas (kadalai) - 100 gms
8. Sesame oil – 2 tea cups or more

Cutting raw mangoes for Avakkai is an art. With the help of a sickle the mango is cut along with the tough seed so that each piece holds on to a small piece of the seed .This type of cutting needs a lot of tact and precision. If this is not possible, cut the mangoes into large pieces excluding the seed.
1. Wash and dry the mangoes before cutting.
2. Sponge off the excess juice and let the mango pieces to dry.
4. Powder mustard seeds and keep it aside.
5. Take a bowl with a wide mouth and spread the mango pieces in it.
6. Add the chilly powder, salt, turmeric powder, mustard powder, whole raw fenugreek seeds and the chick peas.
7. Add oil and blend all Ingredients thoroughly with a wooden spatula.
8. If the pickle is still dry, add more oil and blend for a pickle consistency.
9. Store in a clean dry jar.
10. Allow the chick peas and the fenugreek seeds to soak and swell in the spice for a week.
11. Keep stirring the pickle with a dry spoon every day.

Enjoy the hot and pungent spicy pickle with curd rice. It can even be relished with steaming hot rice.

1. Gooseberries – 500 gms
2. Sesame (also called til) oil – 2 tbsps
3. Mustard seeds -1 tsp
4. Asafoetida powder – ¼ tsp
5. Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
6. Salt - 2 tbsps
7. Chilly powder -2 tbsps
1. Wash and dry gooseberries thoroughly .With a sharp knife, make slits in the berries taking care not to cut them to pieces.
2 . Heat oil in a pan and add asafoetida and mustard seeds.
3. After the mustard splutters add the prepared gooseberries and mix in half the salt and cover with lid.
4. Cook over low flame for 2 minutes till the berries are done.
5 . Remove lid and add the remaining salt, chilly powder and turmeric powder and cook for 2 more minutes.
6. Remove from fire and allow it to cool.
7. Add one cup of whipped curd and blend well.
8 . Store in a clean dry jar.
The pickle with spicy curd gravy tastes excellent with plain hot rice. If you like the pungent aroma of raw mustard and fenugreek powder add the powder and blend just before removing from the stove.

1. Grated raw mango – 1 cup
2. Sugar – ½ cup
3. Salt – ¼ tsp
4. Chilly powder – ¼ tsp
5. Turmeric powder – 1 pinch
6. Cooking oil – 1 tsp
1. Heat oil in a pan and add the grated mangoes and salt.
2. Stir in the red chilly powder and turmeric powder .
3. Cover with a lid and cook for 2 minutes in low flame.
4. Remove cover and add sugar and stir.
5. Stir vigorously till the sugar melts completely in the mango juice.
6. Now cook in high flame till it boils once and switch off the flame.
7. The pickle will have the consistency of a jam
Enjoy it with bread, dosas or chapaties and poories.

1. Lime – 6
2. Salt - 10 tbsp
3. Green chillies – 10
4. Fresh ginger – 1 finger length
5. Turmeric powder -1/4 tsp
6. Mustard seeds -1/2 tsp
7. Asafoetida powder – ¼ tsp
8. Sesame oil – 2 tbsps
1. Wash and dry lime and cut them to pieces.
2. Wash and dry green chilies and slit them length wise.
3. Wash and dry ginger, remove the skin and cut it into thin slivers.
4. Combine all these with salt.
5. Heap the turmeric powder on the pickle .
6. Heat oil and season with mustard seeds and asafoetida powder.
7. Pour this seasoning on the heaped turmeric powder.
8. Shake all the ingredients together and store in a clean dry bottle.
This pickle is ready to use after 4 or 5 days.

Baked Chocolate Cheesecake

I have been waiting to bake this cheesecake for quite some time. Due to the high fat of cream cheese, I don't think we would like to eat a whole cheesecake just by two of us ( though how I wish :P ). So, I was waiting for some guests to pay me a visit so that I could bake cheesecake and share it together.

I was so pleased to have my friends with me weeks ago and shared this cheesecake together with them. I drizzled over some chocolate glaze before serving to make it much chocolaty.

This is a very strong and rich chocolate cheesecake. You would rather let it melt slowly in your mouth for few minutes and swallow it slowly before the next bite.
Chocoholic will not miss this!

Original recipe from Nigella Lawson (Nigella Feasts)

For the base:
125g digestive biscuits
60g butter
1 tablespoon cocoa

For the filling:
175g dark chocolate
500g Philadelphia cream cheese
150g caster sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
150 ml sour cream
½ teaspoon cocoa, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

For the glaze:
75g dark chocolate, finely chopped
125ml double cream
1 teaspoon golden syrup

To make the base, process the biscuits to make rough crumbs and then add the butter and cocoa. Process again until it makes damp, clumping crumbs and then tips them into a 23cm springform tin. Press the biscuit crumbs into the bottom of the tin to make an even base and put into the freezer while you make the filing.
Preheat the oven to 180’C. Put a kettle on to boil. Melt the chocolate either in a microwave or double boiler, and set aside to cool slightly.
Beat the cream cheese to soften it and then add the sugar and cornflour, beating again to combine. Beat in the whole eggs and then the yolks, and the sour cream. Finally add the cocoa dissolved in hot water and the melted chocolate, and mix to a smooth batter. Take the springform tin out of the the freezer and line the outside of the tin with a good layer of clingfilm, and then another layer of strong foil over that. This will protect it from the water bath. Sit the springform tin in a roasting pan and pour in the cheesecake filing. Fill the roasting pan with just-boiled water to come about halfway up the cake tin, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. The top of the cheesecake should be set, but the underneath should still have a wobble to it.

Peel away the foil and clingfilm wrapping and sit the cheesecake in its tin on a rack to cool. Put in the fridge once it’s no longer hot, and leave to set, covered with clingfilm, overnight. Let it lose its chill before unspringing the cheesecake to serve,
To make the chocolate glaze, very gently melt the chopped chocolate, cream and syrup. When the chocolate has nearly melted, take off the heat and whisk it to a smooth sauce. Let it cool a little, and then Jackson Pollock it over the chocolate cheesecake on its serving plate. Use the remaining glaze as an accompanying sauce.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Potato Paneer Cutlet

There is no hard and fast rules to make the stuffing for cutlet. Be creative and mix whatever veges you like.
This is how I made it-

  1. 2 potatoes -cooked and mashed
  2. Slightly steamed cabbage and peas(microwave cabbage and peas with little water for 6 minutes and drain well so that there is no moisture) - 1 cup
  3. Grated paneer - 1/2 cup
  4. Chopped ginger - 1 tsp
  5. Chopped garlic(optional) - 1 tsp
  6. Salt
  7. Chopped green chillies- 1 tsp
  8. Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
  9. Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
  10. Garam masala powder- 1/2 tsp
  11. Chopped coriander leaves - a handful
  12. Maida - 3 tbsp
  13. Bread crumbs made with 4-5 bread pieces
  14. Oil to deep fry

Mix ingredients 1 to 10 and roll into small balls and flatten them in the shape of cutlet. Heat oil in a pan. Make a thick paste of maida and water. Dry grind 4-5 bread pieces and keep it aside.
Dip each flattened ball in maida paste and roll it in bread crumbs.
Deep fry till golden brown on medium flame.
They are too tasty to resist!