Friday, April 29, 2011

Sheera in Microwave

Sheera is a popular sweet in Maharashtra. This is similar to the Kesari of South India. The ingredients are similar but the proportion  is different. Sheera is less in calories when compared to Kesari. Since the amount of sugar used is less, its not cloyingly sweet and can be had anytime of the day. I tried making it in microwave and it got done in less than 10 minutes.

You need
  • Rava/semolina - 1 cup
  • Milk - 1 cup
  • Water-1 cup
  • Sugar -1 cup
  • Ghee - 2 tblspn
  • Cardamom powder -1/2 tspn
  • Cashewnuts,raisins - 1 tblspn


Take a tablespoon of  ghee in a bowl. MW for 30 seconds. Add cashew and raisins. MW for another 30 seconds. Remove the fried cashews and raisins. Add rava. Microwave for a minute. You can smell the aroma of roasted rava. I slightly roast and store the rava. If not, it might take another half a minute or so.

Measure out milk, water and sugar in another bowl. Microwave for 6 minutes. Stir in between so that the sugar is dissolved. It should be heated till the liquid starts bubbling. It took 6 minutes at 100% power in mine. Add the roasted rava to the liquid. Mix well. MW for 3 minutes. The liquid would have dried by now. It should be moist. Don't cook till it is dry since it will turn more dry on standing. Add cardamom powder, a tablespoon of ghee and garnish with roasted cashewnuts and raisins.

Sending this to Microwave Easy Cooking event hosted by Lata Akka , an event initiated by Srivalli.

Graduation cupcake ( Siane, Grogol )

Ini pesenan cupcake dr temen kantor, Nene buat dikasi ke kembaran diriku. hihihihi abis ultahnya sama, namanya mirip yaa bolelah ya Ne menyamakan diri jadi kembaran ama ade lo.

Jadi cupcake ini buat Onal, ade kesayangan nya Nene yang mo wisuda bsk/minggu lupa..Hehehehehe

Cekidot :

Happy Graduation ya Onal, cepet kerja,sukses pokoke. Hidup kembaran! wkakakaka. Piss Ne..

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I am posting here a delicious dish which is suitable for breakfast as well as dinner. The vegetable vermicelli kitchadi  is a wholesome food and needs no side dish. If a side dish is required, then a curd salad with tomato, onion and cucumber is very suitable for this.

வெஜிடபிள் சேமியா கிச்சடி
vermicelli- 3 cups
finely chopped onion-1 cup
finely chopped tomato- 1 cup
ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp
turmeric powder- 1 tsp
chopped carrot- half cup
chopped potato- half cup
chopped beans- half cup
frozen green peas- 3 tbsp
chopped mint- half cup
chopped coriander- half cup
small garlic flakes- 2 tbsp
salt to taste
ghee- 2 tbsp
oil- 1 tbsp

grind the following ingredients with a little waterto a coarsely paste;

green chillies-3, cinnamon- 1" piece, fennel seeds- 1 tsp


Heat a pan and pour the ghee and the oil.
Add the onion and fry them to golden brown.
Add the GGpaste and fry for a few minutes.
Then add the vegetables with tomatoes, the turmeric powder and a little salt.
Cook them till the vegetables are almost done.
Now add the ground paste and cook for a few minutes.
Add the greens and fry for a few seconds.
Now pour 4 cups of water.
Add enough salt.
When the water starts boiling sprinkle the vermicelli gradually
Cook on modeate fire.
When the kitchadi is fully cooked, pour a tsp of ghee and oil around it, mix well and put off the fire.
The delicious vegetable vermicelli kitchadi is ready now!!

Milagai Podi / Idli Podi / Chutney Powder | Side Dish for Idli Dosa

Milagai Podi / Idli podi is a common side dish for South-Indian delicacies - idlis and dosas. Often referred to as gun powder (I don't know why), there are 'n' number of methods to make podis with numerous varieties of dhals used in different proportions of each. This recipe is a traditional one by grandma. I am yet to try many varieties including my sister's specialty, my MIL's and the one I

The Versatility of Rice

The smell I find the most comforting is the one that filled my mom's kitchen - starchy steam rising out of a pot of parboiled rice. Nearly every night, she scooped a heaping cup of granules from the 25-pound bag in the pantry and boiled them in a pot of water (much like Italians prepare pasta). While the rice cooked, she moved on to more daring feats like chopping onions in her palm and whacking open a coconut with a frightfully large cleaver. My mom insisted on two rules when it came to rice: it should never be sticky and it always had to be served hot. So when she placed the plump granules into a colander to drain, I knew it was time to set the table.

Jolly Auntie's Iddiyappam, Susan Pachikara (COPYRIGHT 2011)

Rice forms the cornerstone of the Kerala table. So much so that when you want to know whether someone has eaten, you ask, "Choru undo?" which literally translates to "Have you eaten rice?" On most days we consumed Uncle Ben's parboiled rice paired, like a blank canvass, with other highly spiced dishes. However, rice takes on numerous other forms among Malayalees (making the region a gluten-free paradise).

I savored many rice-based dishes on my recent trip. For breakfast, I sat down to servings of putu (rice flour steamed with fresh, shredded coconut) paired with chickpeas or iddyappam (steam rice noodles) formed with a copper press. My auntie paired the noodles with boiled eggs that she cooked with coconut milk, coriander, and a mix of other spices. When we took day trips, my relatives and I lunched at vegetarian cafes. At Mummy's Restaurant, we ate ghee roast dosas, prepared from a rice-based batter. The dosas were cooked on a large griddle and layered with a pepper-onion chutney. We also enjoyed steamed idlis (rice buns) served with sambar (vegetable stew) and coconut chutney, that added zing to the meal.

Mummy's Ghee Roast Dosa, Susan Pachikara (COPYRIGHT 2001)

My Auntie Iysha tracked down toddy, an alcoholic beverage prepared from the sap of coconut blossoms and used it to prepare kallappam. A Syrian Christian specialty, the fluffy pancakes get their lift as the alcohol ferments in a rice-based batter.

Iyshakochamma's Kallappam (Susan Pachikara COPYRIGHT 2011)

Iyshakochamma (kochamma means aunt) also introduced me to pidi. Together, we stirred up a rice-based dough, set aside a pinch, and rolled the rest into an army of one-inch circular dumplings. We seasoned a large pot of water with shallots, curry leaves, coriander, and salt and thicken the broth with the rest of the dough which had been liquified with coconut milk. Then we set the dumplings in the broth to boil. When they firmed up, each of us rounded up a plate full and smothered them with chicken coconut stew for a mid-day snack.

Iyshakochamma, (Abe Pachikara COPYRIGHT 2010)

When people ask me to describe Kerala, my memory takes me to the plush paddy fields that once covered the region's fertile plains like a vast ocean. Unfortunately, the low profit margins associated with growing rice has made it untenable for many farmers. So many have receded. However, rice continues to dominate the table in one form or another.


Serves 6-8

This pilaf features my favorite spice trio: cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon. Their flavors become weak in the knees yummy when combined with basmati rice. (So you can skip the saffron if your jar is empty.) I use basmati rice from the foothills of the Himalayas, which has more floral flavors than any domestically produced rice I've come across. Be sure to let the onions soften completely. Also, take time to "fry" the rice as it helps to keep the granules from sticking. This pilaf pairs beautifully with fish mappas and will appear again in a recipe for chicken biryani.


1 cup Indian basmati rice
3 tablespoons butter or canola oil
1 cup diced onion
4 cardamom pods
4 cloves
1 stick of cinnamon
2 cups of water
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
Pinch of saffron (optional)
1 teaspoon salt


Soak rice in water for 20 minutes.

Rinse rice until water becomes clear. Drain. Let sit for another 20 minutes.

Heat butter or oil in a saucepan on medium-low heat. Add cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon. Saute for 1 minute.

Stir in onion and cook until it becomes translucent.

Add rice and stir to coat granules with butter or oil. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly to "fry" rice.

Add water, lemon juice, saffron, and salt. Stir. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until rice is tender (10 to 15 minutes).

Remove cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon before serving.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I'm away....

Hey hey... please stay with me, I'm the Kitchen Corner and you are at the right site. Sorry that I've been away without any news as my life is upside down now with my little one.

For this reason, I hardly bake anything at this stage but your comment is always welcome. Hopefully, I could be back to the kitchen soon as I really miss my oven and mixer. 

So, for those bloggers who are on my list please don't be lazy when I'm not around ok, I'm still checking and reading your updates from time to time although I might not be able to give any comments :) Miss you all!!

Paneer Capsicum Stir-Fry , Microwave Version

Paneer Capsicum Stir Fry, an aromatic side-dish, which goes great with your Roti's. This Recipe is from Tarla Dalal's Paneer Cookbook. The reason, i tried this in MW is, this recipe doesnt have tadka!!!! :) Doing tadka in a MW, is something i m still not confident with. I Keep my fingers crossed if i do a recipe with tadka and stand near the MW, to switch it off in-case of any mishap. Some Mental Block!!!! Sending this recipe to MEC - Lunch Box, happening @ Lataji's Blog Flavors and Tastes, Event by Srivalli.

Ingredients (Serves 2 Adults)
100gms Paneer (i used store-bought), thinly sliced
2 Capsicums (1 red, 1 green), thinly sliced
2 Medium Tomatoes, Chopped
3 cloves of Garlic
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ginger juliennes
1/2 tsp Coriander seeds
1 whole dry red chilli
1/4 tsp Kasuri Methi
1 tbsp Oil 
Salt to taste
Fresh Coriander for Garnishing

To Prepare Store-bought Frozen paneer
In  a Microwave-safe deep bowl, add 1 cup of water and Microwave high for 40 seconds. Take it out of the oven and add the frozen paneer to the water and let it sit covered for 4-5 minutes. Paneer will turn soft, Drain the water and Slice them thin.

The Stir-fry
Grind the Garlic to a fine paste. Pound Coriander seeds and red chilli together. In a Microwave-Safe Bowl  heat oil for 1 minute @ MW high. Add Garlic Paste and Cook @ High for 2 minutes, Stirring in-between. That will give-out a very nice aroma. Add Capsicums and Cook @ high for 3 minutes, Stirring for every 1 minute. Next add the Pounded Spices and mix well. Cook @ high for another 2 minutes. Add Chopped green chilli and ginger juliennes, mix well and Cook @ high for another 2 minutes. Next Add tomatoes and Cook @ high for 5 minutes. Stirring in-between. By this time, tomatoes must have cooked very well or else cook for 2 more minutes @ high. 
Next add Kasuri methi and mix well and Cook for another 1 minute. Finally add, sliced Paneer and Cook for another 1 minute. Garnish with Fresh Coriander and Serve Hot with Roti's.

Sambar Puli - A Powdery And Spicy Tamarind Relish


Sambar puli in Tamil means 'spicy tamarind' or 'spice tamarind' to be precise. My great grand mother had very active taste buds all through her ninety sixty years of life. She loved to savour spicy and tangy dishes and had them cooked with her expert instructions. As kids we hovered around her to taste her favourite yummy dishes which she lovingly shared with us. Her sambar puli mixed with rice and a spoon of pure ghee used to be a great relish. But we as kids pinched spoons of sambar puli , rolled them into marble size balls and dumped them into our eager mouths.The spice and tang caressed each and every taste bud on our rolling tongues and it was an undescribable experience by itself!
Fresh green coriander is used in the preparation of sambar puli. Instead I have used curry leaves here as per a friend's request. Sambar puli ensures great relief after a grand feast or after a prolonged bland diet. It is a good digestive and relieves nausea.


Curry leaves separated from the stalks - 2 cups
Tamarind - 1 small lime size
Split black gram dal - 4 tbsps
Red chillies - 6
Asafoetida - one small piece
Sesame oil - 2 tsps
salt - 1 1/2 tsp




1. Separate curry leaves from the stalks and wash them thoroughly.
2. Spread the washed leaves on a towel and blot them dry.
3. Shread the tamarind into tiny bits and keep aside.
4. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the asafoetida. ( If asafoetida powder is used add it after the red chillies are fried - Step 6 )
5. Add the split black gram dal and roast till it is golden brown in colour.
6. Add red chillies and fry till they are crisp and switch off flame.
7. Cool the fried ingredients and process in a mixer till it is coarsely powdered.
8. Add shreaded tamarind and salt and blend by running the mixer for a few seconds.
9. Add the curry leaves and again run the mixer so that all the ingredients of the smbar puli blend together  till you get the required texture.


Cool it and store in a clean dry jar. Sambar puli is neither a dry powder nor a wet chutney. The tamarind and the raw curry leaves give it a damp texture. Enjoy with steaming hot rice and a spoon of desi ghee.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Quinoa Savory Pancakes

I know I cannot be so late in posting something for the Breakfast Club event I am hosting this month, but better late than never. I was planning to make some fruity pancakes, but thought why not something savory. After all my DH loves pancakes though he is not a big fan of sweet dishes. So decided to make it savory by adding onions, spinach and one of my recent discovery - Quinoa. I was quite

Monday, April 25, 2011

Grilled Pineapple Rings

I had wanted to make something for the Veggie/Fruit event for this month and was thinking really hard to make something with Pineapple. Pineapple smoothie was the first which came to my mind, until I came across this one. I saw this simple and beautiful pineapple rings recipe in my supermarket's spring special recipes magazine. Tried it this weekend and loved this new recipe absolutely.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spiced Corn Cake/Corn Dhokla - Day 7, Blogging Marathon #4

Today is the last day of the 7 Day Marathon, tired of Sweet bakes, wanted to bake a spiced cake. Decided to make Corn Dhokla, i have tried the normal steam version, this time i wanted to try baking it. It came out good, but took about 45 minutes to get out of the Oven. My Hubby's Verdict, Baked Version tastes better than the traditional Steam-Cooked Dhokla.:)
1 Cup Corn (i used frozen)
1 cup Semolina/Sooji
2 Green Chillies
1 tsp ginger juliennes
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 Cup Yoghurt
1 tsp Fruit Salt
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease the muffin pan. Blend Corn with Green chillies, ginger, curry leaves and yoghurt to a smooth batter. Transfer it to a bowl, add Semolina and mix well. Add Salt, at this stage.  Add fruit salt  and lemon juice and give a gentle stir. Fill the batter up to 3/4th of the Cup and Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cooking time, differs from oven to oven. Do the Skewer Test to confirm the done-ness of the dhokla. 
You can even try reducing the temperature to 150C and cook for some more time. This way, may be the top would also stay soft.  Let it cool a bit in the pan.Transfer it to a Serving Plate. Add a tadka of mustard seeds and hing.  Serve Warm with Mint chutney.

Check out my Blogging Marathoners doing Group 3 BM#4 along with me 
Diabetes Diet/Management: Kamalika, Smitha, Suma 
Kid Friendly Recipes: Anusha, Cool Lassi(e) 
Seven Days of Soup: Priya Suresh 
Seven Days of Indian Bread: Jayasree, Pavani 
Seven Days of Cakes:  Me 
Seven Days of Preserves: Gayathri Kumar, Vaishali 
30 Minutes Meals: Priya Mahadevan, Srivalli

Missi Roti

Today is last day of the Blogging Marathon. I thoroughly enjoyed blogging various rotis. Hope you readers also liked the various rotis I posted here. So here comes the last  recipe in the seven day series of Indian bread. I chose to blog missi roti. Missi roti is a combination of besan/chana dal flour and wheat flour/atta. Unlike other rotis where atta is not the main ingredient, this missi roti is very easy to roll. It can be rolled very thin too to make khakhras. With slight dusting with wheat flour, rotis doesn't break/stick to the board while rolling.

You need
  • Besan - 1 cup
  • Wheat - 1/3 cup
  • Salt - 1/4 tspn
  • Oil - 2 tspn
  • Water to make soft dough

Take all the ingredients except water in a bowl. Add water to make a soft dough. Add water in parts else you will end up with a sticky dough due to besan. Rest the dough for 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6 parts. Roll out each portion into circle using wheat flour for dusting.  Heat a tawa. Place the roti. Flip and cook on both sides. Drizzle oil lightly. Enjoy the aroma of  besan while cooking the roti.

I served hot rotis with baingan ka bartha.

Check out my Blogging Marathoners doing Group 3 BM#4 along with me

Diabetes Diet/Management: Kamalika, Smitha, Suma
Kid Friendly Recipes: Anusha, Cool Lassi(e)
Seven Days of Soup: Priya Suresh
Seven Days of Indian Bread: Jayasree, Pavani
Seven Days of Cakes:Priya Vasu
Seven Days of Preserves: Gayathri Kumar, Vaishali
30 Minutes Meals: Priya Mahadevan, Srivalli

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Energy Saving Home Improvements in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Top 10 Best South Carolina Energy Savings Home Improvements

These are the Top Home Improvements that you can make in South Carolina, whether it be Myrtle Beach SC or Columbia SC.  What this list is based off of is cost vs. return on investment, because many Energy Saving Home Improvements are espensive to install, and paybacks vary from product to product.  Keep in mind these are only my opinions, however I have been working in the "Green" product industry for quite a few years now, and this is based on feedback I have recieved from thousands of customers.  As the cost of oil rises, the cost of Energy is going to go up, so it is a good time to consider lowering your home or office's energy consumption, to offset rising energy cost.  The company I listed in my last blog, Retro-Solutions Roofing and Insulation Contractors of Myrtle Beach, SC, offer a variety of Energy Saving products, and if your willing to pay for the newer technology, you can actually reduce your energy bill to nothing.  This is not something they recommend because most of these new "green" or energy saving products are still new technology, and very expensive to purchase and install.  Hopefully this will explain why even some of the products I list may not be the best energy saving product, just the most affordable option for most South Carolinians.

  1. Spray Foam Insulation - As you can tell from the title of my blog, I am biased on this one, however in the matter of 3-5 years,  you'll be praising yourself for making this investment as it saves 33% more then my second rated energy saving home improvement.  You will have then, in 3-5 years, seen how much you saved, as most homes had fiberglass insulation to begin with.  Last but not least is why this is my number 1 energy saving home improvement, is that it is a lifetime product, and never has to be redone.  The more efficient "building envelope" created by SPF, improves overall performance of your HVAC system, thus reducing energy consumption by the most expensive appliance in your home.  New HVAC technologies have decreased the consumption many heating and air conditioning units use, but so have the other energy consuming products in your home as well.  Insulation and HVAC technolgy go together, however being an insulation guy myself, I rank insulation higher then replacing a functioning HVAC unit, due to price and installation cost.
  2. Fiberglass Insulation - The reason why I have put Fiberglass Insulation as number 2 on this list, is because it can be done by the homeowner, thus making it a very cheap energy saving home improvement.  New insulation will show energy saving results immediately, and improve comfortability, however over time these energy savings will deplete as the insulation settles and looses R-Value.  If your looking for short term energy savings and not looking to stay in your home or business for more than 5 years, then this is probably the best energy saving home improvement you can do. 
  3. Metal Roofs - Metal Roofs have now been recognized as "Energy Star" products and are generally not too more expensive then traditional architectural or 3 tab shingles.  Metal Roofs provide Reflectivity, thus reducing the overall temperature of your attic.  Even though the metal gets very hot, it reflects the heat, thus reducing the temperature of the undersurface, whereas traditional shingles absorb heat, and often radiate heat.  Metal Roofing combined with Spray Foam Insulated rafters in SC or NC is the ultimate energy saving combo, based on cost and ease of installations.  The drawback is not everyone needs a new roofs, and roofs last a long time, but it is definitely a great option if your in the market for a new roof.
  4. Energy Monitoring Systems - Energy Monitoring Systems are an affordable solution for most any homeowners or building owners.  Most commercial real estate and major corporations when to Energy Monitoring Systems a decade or so ago as standards in there stores or buildings.  These energy monitoring systems could help them regulate energy consumption in there stores, thus reducing expenses for the company.  These systems are now becoming more affordable to the average home owner and many people are starting to take advantage of these systems.  Quick, easy installation, and you can find out how much energy that red light on the dvd player is actually consuming, and you might be shocked to find out how much energy usage goes into some of the things around you have plugged in that you never use. Retro-Solutions Insulatioin Company below provides these services and have been given very positive feedback from customers.
  5. Solar Energy - Though number one in what solar energy can do for how much power you need from the power company, the installation and cost of materials for solar energy are still too expensive for the average homeowner.  If you can afford a solar powered home or business, and looking to stay in your home or business for a long time, then this is definitely the best energy saving investment you can make in South Carolina.  As you know we get lots of sunshine, so these systems really produce to capacity.  One positive move in the solar energy sector, is the operation of more expensive appliances in the homes, like solar powered water heaters and lighting.  You will definitely see a decrease in your homes energy bill with these simple products, but the energy savings don't add up to the products listed above.
  6. Alternative Insulations (i.e. loose fill, cellulose, paper, etc.) - I am grouping all of these together because they provide about the same amount of energy savings as each other, and they are also higher priced then traditional fiberglass insulation.  These new insulations do have better R-Value and Energy Savings as traditional fiberglass, however there small in comparison to what spray foam insulation saves, and the more inexpensive fiberglass is the better choice if your not willing to invest the extra money in spray foam insulation.  The one major advantage these "green" insulation products offer, is installation does not release potentional harmful vapors that you get from the curing process of spray foam insulation.  I suggest to most customers to rent a hotel room for a couple days just to make sure all vapors are cleared.  After the curing process, SPF is completely safe, and very enviromentally friendly.
  7. More Energy Efficient HVAC Systems - If your heat or a/c is about to go out in South Carolina, then this would be your number one option because going thru a hot SC summer, especially Myrtle Beach, without a/c would be miserable.  Also if your building or have already insulated and looking to upgrade to a new HVAC system, you should definitely look into some of the new energy efficient systems HVAC contractors have to offer.  Very Energy Efficient, Quiet, and compatable with spray foam insulation systems.  Ductworking has also developed in the past few years, improving HVAC efficiencies dramatically as well.  These are long term investments, and often very expensive to purchase and install, and many homeowners recognize the importance of maintenance of there HVAC systems, and the great service HVAC contractors have provided in recent years due to increased competition.
  8. New or Updated Interior Appliances - Most of you reading this blog have been into Sears, Lowe's, or Home Depot looking for Home Improvement ideas and see the huge selection of appliances they carry.  These stores are operating on profits, so they wouldn't put all those appliances out there if they didn't sell, and the reason they sell is because they can increase energy savings tremendously.  In addition to offering energy savings, you can also change the look of your kitchen or home as well when buying appliances, thus making it a more appealing option to many homeowners.  Energy Monitorying Systems like listed above, can identify poor performing appliances, and let you know when to buy new.
  9. Energy Star Rated Lightbulbs - If  your like me, then you like to have the lights on so you can see what your doing day or night, so they're on the most part of the day.  This is one of the most inexpensive ways to save energy, as installation is easy, and the price of lightbulbs is inexpensive as well.  This is also something that is quick today, and can start saving you on energy instantly. 
  10. Changing Your Habits - Little things like cutting the lights off, closing the door, cutting the temperature a degree lower or higher in the winter or summer, and you can see savings on your energy bill as well.  I rank this number 10 because it is free and a good habit to get into if your into saving energy for the planet as a whole.  The reason it is listed last on my list is because of the new energy efficient products coming out also have timers and use less energy staying on, then starting them up. 
For anybody reading this blog, I hope it has been helpful, as I have been in the "green" product or energy saving industry, long before it was affordable alternatives to the average consumer.  Now that technology has improved, and cost of installation for most of these products have came down tremendously, it offers homeowners and business owners alike many different ways to cut energy cost in South Carolina.  These top 10 Energy Saving Home Improvements can save you not only in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and North Carolina, but across all of the United States.  Climate and temperature can change these ratings, however this is personal experience that I have had with feedback interviews from former customers.  If your looking to make some energy saving home improvements in the South Carolina area, then call 706-951-0158 for some more information on saving energy in the Carolinas.  Also, be sure to check out Retro-Solutions new webpage, and they have free estimates for most of the products I have listed above.

Eggless Zebra Cake - Day 6, Blogging Marathon#4

Zebra Cake, has been in my list for a very long time.   I made two cake mix, One White and another Chocolate and have alternated to get the Zebra Pattern. 
I baked this for the Weekend. My Kiddo was watching Spiderman Movie, He was super excited to see the Spider-Man Cake!! So before i could take the snap of the whole cake, Father-Son Duo have already devoured 2 slices of it!!! So, i couldn't take snap of the Full Cake. Here is a Slice for you all.

Ingredients : White Cake Mix
3/4 Cup Al-purpose flour/Maida 
6 tbsp Powdered Sugar
3/4 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Baking soda
Salt – a pinch
1/2 Thick curd 
1/4 Cooking oil 
1/2 Cup Warm Water.
1 tsp Vanilla essence 
Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Sift the flour twice and set aside. In a bowl, mix the curd and sugar until the sugar dissolves completely.Once done,add the baking powder and baking soda into the curd mixture. Mix well and set aside for 2-3 minutes. The curd will turn frothy and start rising and increasing in volume.Add the oil and vanilla essence to the curd mixture. Stir gently so that the air in the mixture is not lost.Next, gently fold in the flour. Dont stir very vigorously. Add the warm water and give it a nice, gentle Stir!!!!! Keep this aside.

Ingredients for Chocolate Cake Mix
10 tbsp All Purpose Flour
2 tbsp Cocoa
6 tbsp Powdered Sugar
3/4 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Baking soda
1/2 Thick curd 
1/4 Cooking oil 
1/2 Cup Warm Water.

Sift the flour and cocoa together twice and follow the above procedure.
To Make the Zebra Pattern
Grease an 8"inch Cake pan. Add the a tbsp of white cake mix, wait for a second, let it spread a bit. Now add the Choco-Cake mix. Wait for it to spread a bit. Go on, alternate like this with white cake mix and Cocoa Mix. Giving a little time for the batter to spread.
Once done, you can make web pattern with a tooth-pick. Bake @ 200 C for 20 minutes and reduce the temperature to 170C and bake for another 15 minutes. Let the cake sit in the oven for few seconds. Take it from the Oven, Let it cool!!! Go head Slice and enjoy!!! Baking time differs from Oven, so to the tooth-pick test to confirm the done-ness of the cake. 
While Making the Cake Batter, First Mix the Curd and Sugar and add Baking Powder and soda and Keep it aside. While the Curd is rising for both the batters, Sift the Flour and Keep it ready. This way, you don't have to make the batter sit for a longer time and avoid thickening of the batter, which makes spreading a bit tough. I m a novice baker, i m sharing what i know and how i did, in-case i m wrong somewhere, please let me know, i love learn!!!!!

Check out my Blogging Marathoners doing Group 3 BM#4 along with me Diabetes Diet/Management: Kamalika, Smitha, Suma 
Kid Friendly Recipes: Anusha, Cool Lassi(e) 
Seven Days of Soup: Priya Suresh 
Seven Days of Indian Bread: Jayasree, Pavani 
Seven Days of Cakes:  Priya Vasu 
Seven Days of Preserves: Gayathri Kumar, Vaishali 
30 Minutes Meals: Priya Mahadevan, Srivalli

Bhatura ~ Deep Fried Indian Bread

For the Indian Bread series of the Blogging Marathon, today I decided to post a deep fried bread. Soft and fluffy bhatura served with chole is very hard to resist. As a kid, I liked to order bhatura for its big size. Bhatura is usually made with maida or all purpose flour. I have used half and half of maida and whole wheat flour/atta. Once its deep fried, though maida or atta, doesn't make much difference

You need

  • Wheat flour/Atta - 1 cup
  • All purpose flour/Maida - 1 cup
  • Yogurt/curd - 1/2 cup
  • Cooking soda - 1/2 tspn
  • Salt - 1/2 tspn
  • Water to make the dough
  • Oil to deep fry


Sift atta, maida, cooking soda and salt. Add yogurt to the flour mix. Knead to a soft dough by adding water.  Apply oil on the surface of the dough and cover with a damp cloth and leave it for an hour. 

Divide the dough into equal sized balls. Roll out the dough into circles. The size depends on the size of the kadai in which it will be deep fried later. I don't roll out into big circles, since that will call for more oil and I don't want too much of left over oil after deep frying.

Enjoy hot baturas with Punjabi Chole.

Check out my Blogging Marathoners doing Group 3 BM#4 along with me

Diabetes Diet/Management: Kamalika, Smitha, Suma
Kid Friendly Recipes: Anusha, Cool Lassi(e)
Seven Days of Soup: Priya Suresh
Seven Days of Indian Bread: Jayasree, Pavani
Seven Days of Cakes:Priya Vasu
Seven Days of Preserves: Gayathri Kumar, Vaishali
30 Minutes Meals: Priya Mahadevan, Srivalli

Pan Fried Okra (Bindi)

We love okra and especially when it's sauted or fried in a pan. Anush liked to eat it raw. I remember my Mom saying that if you eat raw okra, you will do good with mathematics. I don't know how true it is, but I really laugh at Anush when he eats it. I can eat cooked but not raw because I feel it's slimy and mushy. I know raw or half cooked vegetables are good for you, but raw okra is not in my list, but definitely will appreciate Anush eating it. :-)

1 lb Orka
1/4 Gram Flour (Besan)
1/4 cup Coriander powder
2 tsp Chili powder
1 tsp Cumin powder
1 tsp Gram masala powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 1/2 tsp Oil

1. Wash okra, drain all the water and wrap in a paper towel or kitchen towel so that there is no moisture and the okra should be dry, else it will make the recipe mushy and will not fry well.
2. Slice the okra into quarters.
3. In a small bowl add gram flour, salt and pepper, cumin, chili, coriander and garam masala powder. Sprinkle this flour over the okra and make sure all the okra is well coated and keep it aside for about 15-20 mins.
4. In a large pan add oil and when it's hot add the okra, make sure that you don't over crowd the pan and keep the flame in medium high, stirring it occasionally until the okra is cooked and crisp on the outside for about 10-12 mins.
5. Serve this hot or warm with any steamed rice or roti.

Arachivitta Sambar / Sambar with Fresh ground spices / Indian Lentil Vegetables Stew | Side Dish for Idli Dosa

Arachuvitta sambar, literally translated as Ground spices Sambar is a tasty, spicy and authentic south-indian dish prepared with fresh ground spices and coconut, unlike using sambar powder. Though the process is bit more than the regular sambar, it is worth the effort. The aroma of the spices fills in the kitchen and when it served with spongy idlis, our day is made.

Toor dhal

Friday, April 22, 2011


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Eggless Vanilla Tutti Frutti Muffins - Day 5, Blogging Marathon #4

Its actually mid-night, nearing 12!!! i m sitting before my laptop, hearing the snores of my kid and hubby!!!! Weekend Dear, so had a bit of shopping/outing, reached home just now. Today's recipe is from Nithya's Fourth Sense Cooking Eggless Vanilla Tutti Frutti Muffins. Muffins were awesome, though the top turned a bit crispy, due to my over-enthu, over-baking!!!! 
Nithya has sprinkled some tutti's on the top too, i havent done that, coz my Kid, never likes anything propping out of his cake except for Nuts/Choco-chips. so, i have hidden them inside the muffins.
3/4 Cup All purpose flour/Maida
3/4 tsp Corn starch/flour
3/4 tsp Baking powder 
Salt a pinch
6 tbsp Powdered sugar 
2 tbsp Butter 
6 tbsp Milk 
1/2 tsp Vanilla essence
3 tbsp Tutti frutti 
Sift the all purpose flour, corn flour, baking powder and salt together and keep it aside. Preheat oven to 180C. I have used individual silicon muffin cups. Line the Muffin cups with liners.
Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl using a beater/whisk till it becomes light.  Mix in the vanilla extract to the milk. Add the milk and flour alternatively to the creamed butter mixing it well.  Finally Fold in the tutti frutti to the cake batter. Fill the batter upto 3/4th of the cup. Bake it for 20 mins.
Do the Tooth-pick test to confirm the done-ness of the muffins. Baking time varies from Oven to Oven.  Keep a watch after 18 minutes.  I have acutally baked it a bit more, and top of the muffins have turned a bit crispy. 

Check out my Blogging Marathoners doing Group 3 BM#4 along with me 
Diabetes Diet/Management: Kamalika, Smitha, Suma 
Kid Friendly Recipes: Anusha, Cool Lassi(e) 
Seven Days of Soup: Priya Suresh 
Seven Days of Indian Bread: Jayasree, Pavani 
Seven Days of Cakes:  Me
Seven Days of Preserves: Gayathri Kumar, Vaishali 
30 Minutes Meals: Priya Mahadevan, Srivalli

Value service agreements, Home Service Plxx, Annual Inspection...Which one is for me?

Depending on where you live or who you may have invited into your home, there is a good chance you have been offered some type of service geared toward either maintaining your mechanical appliances or repairing them when problems arise.

There are companies, both local and national, that will offer programs for major repairs to a fixed group of appliances in your home in exchange for a monthly fee.  The fee is usually based on how many and what type of appliances are covered under your selected service.

These "programs" can be useful for most people not inclined to getting down and dirty with their washing machine on a Saturday morning because a belt is broken and when you wanted to wash your favorite shirt you instead installed a new swimming pool in the basement.  ~Don't ask....

In this contractors opinion, these monthly service agreements are valuable but only when a
[cost vs. benefit] analysis has been considered under simple scrutiny.  Consider this: The home you live in is less than ten years old, all appliances were installed new at construction and no major problems have arisen to date.  Would you benefit by paying a monthly service fee, some can add up to as much as $40-$75 per month? Keep in mind you will be paying this monthly premium every month, problem or not.  Think of it as insurance for your major appliances, with a repair company ready and willing to come out and fix the problem.

My guess is that many homeowners would consider this service to be useful, especially those of us in older homes with not so new appliances.  I caution my customers to read the fine print, however, and do not assume anything.  For instance, when your 25 year old furnace/boiler breaks down and the cause of the problem is not a simple replaceable component you may be left footing the bill for not only the repair parts but also the labor for the service tech.  And in no circumstance should you consider this a insurance plan geared for replacement should the need to install a new refrigerator or washing machine arise due to complete failure.  The service is only good for repairs of equipment that is otherwise in good working order.

So what is the alternative?

The alternative to a monthly bill and "insurance" program is simple really. Annual maintenance. All of us have been told one time or another "Have your heating/air system checked by a certified technician to make sure it is operating properly", maybe you are one of the savvy homeowners who have actually taken the time to read the appliance manual for this suggestion.....if so, you-da-man!

Having your heating and air conditioning system, water heater or washer/dryer inspected annually in my opinion is the best insurance policy against unforeseen problems.  The great thing about this type of "program" is the offering of these services for a one-time fee.  Should a problem be detected upon inspection you are likely to be charged for the repair but, honest pricing and contractors to go along with it should have you up and running again at a low cost when compared to adding up all those months of paying for a service and then only using it to replace a very minor part.

As my friend Mr. Barba says "Do the math".  If I pay $40 a month under the assumption my repairs are covered (for this example lets say they are actually, covered) for the next six months and find myself without heat, making a call for service.  Maybe the problem is a simple repair, after all our example here tells us the repair is covered, and the cost would have only been around $200 total (maybe something like a standard gas valve replacement)

Service plan scenario: $40.00 x 6 (months) = $240 total out of pocket 
Simple service call scenario: $85 service call fee + $115 (gas valve) = $200 total out of pocket

Remember, this is only a hypothetical situation but the completely perceivable nonetheless.  The math does not add up, in at least this example and many cases the problem would have been addressed during the annual inspection. 

Either situation presents a means to have your problems taken care of.  The "program" will insure you have a company you are somewhat familiar with at your service come out to take a look at and [hopefully] repair the problem with no extra charge to you.  The annual service will address the potential of problems and insure your system is performing properly now, with the option to service any problems should they arise in the future.  I can't make the decision for my customers but, in my experience the annual service offers the best value.