Monday, October 31, 2011

Roasted Peppers and Pasta Salad

Pasta(Bows or spirals or penne) - 2 1/2 cups
Green and Red Peppers - 2(1 each)
Olive oil or cooking oil - 1 tbspn

Italian Dressing;
Olive oil - 2 tbspn
Garlic - 4 flakes(crushed and chopped)
Tomatoes - 4 large(blanched and pureed)
Tomato Sauce - 2 tbspn
Vinegar - 1 tbspn
Salt - according to taste
Sugar - a pinch
Red chili flakes - 1 tsp
Oregano - 1 tsp

Boil 8 cups of water with 2 tsp water. Add pasta. Cook for 12-15 minutes until tender. Drain. Rinse under cold water. Keep in the strainer for 10 minutes to drain out the water. Transfer to a salad bowl and pour 1 tbspn olive oil on it. Mix well. Keep aside.
Pierce the green and red peppers with a fork and hold it directly on the gas flame. Roast it on all sides for 1-2 minutes till the outer skin of the peppers turns slightly soft. Cool and lightly brush the chard skin. Wash and chop the roasted peppers into small pieces. Add to the pasta. Keep aside.
To prepare the dressing, place the tomatoes in boiling water and boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from water and cool. Peel the tomatoes and blend in a blender to a smooth puree. Keep aside.
Heat 2 tbspn oil in a pan. Reduce heat and add garlic. Stir and add the blanched and pureed tomatoes. Stir for 2-3 minutes and add the tomato sauce, vinegar, salt, oregano, sugar and chili flakes. Mix.
Add 1/2 cup water and give one boil. Simmer for 3-4 minutes till it becomes slightly thick. Check seasoning and remove from heat. Cool slightly and pour over the pasta. Toss gently.

Recipe Courtesy: Nita Mehta's "Menus from around the world"

Tip of the day: Adding salt to the water when cooking pasta will help firm the pasta and bring out its flavor.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Cookies

All purpose flour - 2 cups 
Baking powder - 1 1/4 tspns
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Ground cinnamon - 1 tsp
Ground ginger - 1/4 tsp
Ground cloves - 1/8 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Large eggs(room temperature) - 2
Light brown sugar - 1 1/4 cups
Canola oil or Corn oil(or other flavorless oil) - 1/2 cup
Pure vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Pumpkin puree - 1 cup
Chopped nuts or chocolate chips - 1 cup

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, and salt.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until light and smooth (about 2 minutes).  Beat in the oil, vanilla extract, and pumpkin puree. Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. Now fold in the nuts or chocolate chips. Using 1/4 cup of batter (can use a small ice cream scoop or measuring cup) place small mounds of batter onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.
Bake for about 15 -18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cookie comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store cookies in the refrigerator.

Recipe Courtesy: Joy of baking

Tuesday, October 25, 2011



Whole white urad dal/Muzhu ulutham paruppu - 3/4 cup
Rice flour (optional) - 1 tsp
Orange food color - 1/2 pinch
Salt - a pinch

For Sugar syrup:
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Water - just to immerse the sugar
Lemon juice - 1/2 tsp
Rose essence - 4 drops
Orange food color - a pinch

Soak urad dal for 2 hrs and grind with very little water as we do for grinding vadas. 
The batter should be fluffy and smooth. Mix a pinch of salt, food color and rice flour(if desired) and mix well.
Heat the sugar with water just to immerse it and after it starts boiling, let it boil for 3-4 minutes. Add lemon juice, food color and lastly essence and mix well and switch off the stove. Take a zip lock cover and make a hole with a thin nail. The hole should be very tiny.
Fill half the cover with the batter and practice doing in a plate. Draw two circles and over it, draw small swirl like circles as shown in the picture.

Then heat a broad, flat bottomed pan (keeping the flame low or low-medium flame, other wise, the jangris will blow to a bigger size and become brittle or soggy) with only little oil say 1 inch depth. The oil should not get fully heated, when it starts forming small, small bubbles in the bottom, then draw jangris in the oil, repeat the same to make many.
Once the jangris gets cooked and becomes light, turn over and cook till crisp and then take out carefully and transfer to the sugar syrup (the sugar syrup must not be too thin and also not too thick). You can use Chop sticks for this, which works out very well.
Dunk the fried jangris in hot sugar syrup for 1-2 minutes and take out carefully and arrange it a plate(you can warm it if the syrup becomes cold). Let it rest for 30 minutes.

Keep for a day if you dont feel that the sugar syrup is not absorbed well by jangris. Also you can try dunking the jangris twice in the hot syrup. 
And lastly, if you are not comfortable with drawing the jangri shape, do make a comparatively bigger hole and make mini swirl like rings (mini jangris).

Recipe Courtesy: Rak's Kitchen

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ribbon Murukku


Rice flour -  2 cups
Gram flour/Kadala maavu/Besan Flour -  1/2 cup
Pepper powder(coarse) or chili powder - 3/4 tsp
Butter - 1 tbspn(softened)
Oil - 2 or 3 tspns
Asafoetida powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt & Water As needed
Oil - for deep frying

Mix rice flour, gram flour, pepper powder, butter, oil, asafoetida, and salt well.
Then add water little by little to make a stiff, non-sticky dough. Heat oil in a kadai. Fill the murukku press with the prepared dough, with the ribbon murukku plate. Press the dough in hot oil in a circular way to form a single layer. Don't layer so much, just one layer to ensure even and quick cooking.
When the bubbles reduces, flip the murukku and cook again till the bubbles ceases and the   color of the murukku changes. Drain it in the paper towel. Cool down completely and store it in an airtight container.

Recipe Courtesy: Rak's Kitchen

Tip of the day: To effectively strain debris from used cooking oil , use a coffee filter placed in a funnel.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pottukadalai(Split Roasted Gram Dal) Murukku

Rice flour - 2 cups
Pottukadalai flour (split roasted gram dal) - 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Butter - 1 tbspn
Oil for frying

Dry roast the split roasted gram dal and grind it to a fine powder.
Sieve both rice and split roasted gram dal together. Take this sieved flour in a large bowl and add the cumin seeds, asafoetida, butter and salt and knead as a stiff dough with enough water. 
Heat oil in a kadai to deep fry the murukkus. 
Make out enough balls from the dough, put in the murukku press. Squeeze out the murukku over a greased plate and drop them gently into the hot oil, fry on both sides until the oil stops bubbling and the murukku turn golden in color. Drain in a paper towel and cool completely. Store the murukkus in a airtight container.

Tip of the day: Storing flour in an airtight container and refrigerating it doubles their storage time.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Whole Green Moong Dal Dosa with Ginger Chutney

Whole Moong Dal - 2 cups
Raw Rice(Ponni) - 1/2 cup
Green Chili - 3-4
Ginger - small piece
Salt - according to taste   

Soak the whole moong dal and rice in water overnight. Next day drain the water and grind the dal and rice along with green chilies, ginger and salt to a fine paste of medium consistency. Remove the batter and mix it thoroughly adjusting the salt.
These dosas need no fermentation and you can make dosas immediately.
Heat 2 tsp of oil in a cast iron flat pan or a non stick pan. Make sure that the pan is hot by sprinkling some water. Pour one ladle full of batter into the center of pan and spread it around in a circular fashion shaping the batter into a thin round. 
Then sprinkle 1 tsp of oil around the edges of the batter. Wait for few minutes until the bottom turns golden brown and then reverse it. Cook the other side now for few seconds.
Remove from the pan and serve hot with Ginger chutney(recipe follows).

Ginger Chutney

Channa Dal - 2 tsp
Urad Dal - 4 tsp
Ginger - 1/4 cup (chopped finely)
Green Chili - 2
Tamarind - a small piece
Salt - according to taste


Peel off the skin, wash and keep grated ginger ready.
Heat oil in a pan/kadai and add the dals, tamarind, green chilies and finally add chopped ginger. Fry these contents for 5 minutes.
Cool off the contents and finally grind to a paste adding only little water (if required).

Tip of the day: To preserve ginger fresh for a long time, peel the skin off and place it in a Ziploc cover and store it in the freezer.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter melted
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup Hershey's cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts(optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Grease a 9 inch square baking pan or muffin pan.
Stir together butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl. Add eggs and beat well with a spoon.
Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Gradually add these dry mixture to the egg mixture, beating well blended. Stir in nuts. Spread the batter evenly in the pan.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of the pan. Cool completely.

Tip of the day: To keep the cake soft, place half a apple in the sealed container where the cake is kept.

Recipe Courtesy:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ennai Kathrikai Kulambu(Spicy Brinjal Gravy)

Small Kathrikai / Eggplant (Green or Purple) - 6
Shallots / Pearl onions - 10
Green chili - 2
Round Red chili - 2
Tomato - 2
Grated Coconut - 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 2 tsp
Mustard - 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves - 2 strand
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Red chili powder - 2 tsp
Sambar powder - 2 tsp
Tamarind - small piece (grape size)
Gingelly oil - 3 tsp
Jaggery - pinch


Slit eggplant into quarter and soak in water with salt and turmeric powder for 15 mins. Soak tamarind in water and squeeze the pulp, add turmeric powder, red chilly powder, coriander powder and sambar powder. Grind coconut, 1 tsp cumin and tomato to paste. 
Heat a kadai, add oil and mustard, 1 tsp cumin, fenugreek, pepper, curry leaves, slit green chilly, red chilly, shallots, eggplant and fry till its skin shrinks, add tamarind paste mix and ground coconut paste. Cover and cook for 20 minutes . Switch off stove add jaggery, drizzle gingelly oil on top and stir. Server with white rice and papad.

Tip of the day: Before cooking the eggplants, slice them and place them in a bowl with water mixed with a spoon of milk. The eggplants will keep their color without blackening.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Citrus Kiss

About 2 tbsp. superfine sugar
1 cup ice
1/3 cup blood orange sparkling cider or sparkling cider with few orange food color mixed
1 tablespoon mandarin orange or tangerine juice
2 tablespoons Lemon-Lime Juice 
2 tablespoons Simple Syrup or 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

Simple Syrup: Equal parts sugar and water, heated until the sugar dissolves. (Your yield will be the same as the amount of water you use.)
Lemon-Lime Juice: Equal parts freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice, for adding acidity in a flash.
1. Put sugar on a plate. Run a lemon or lime wedge around the rim of a martini glass to wet it, then twist rim in sugar.
2. Put remaining ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake until cold, about 1 minute. Strain drink into prepared glass.

Tip of the day: Fruits must be washed shortly before eating it; rinsing it long before eating it, increases the decomposition process.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Baby Corn Pulav


Basmati rice - 1 cup
Baby Corn - 10-12
Onion - 1
Coconut milk - 2 cups
Bay leaf - 1
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Cinnamon - 1 inch piece
Cloves - 2 or 3
Elachi - 2(optional)
Salt - according to taste
Oil/ghee - 2-3 tbspns

To Grind: 
Coriander leaves - 1/2 bunch
Garlic - 4-5 cloves
Ginger - 1/4 inch piece
Grated coconut - 2 tbspns(optional)
Green chili - 4
Garam masala powder - 1/4 tsp(optional)

Soak rice for 1/2 hour and then drain the water and fry it with 1/2 tsp of ghee for 2 minutes, keep aside.
Cut onion to length wise and cut baby corn into bite size pieces.  
Pressure cook baby corn upto 3 whistles.
Grind all the ingredients under "to grind" table.
If you are cooking directly in pressure cooker, heat ghee/oil in the cooker and add the whole spices-bay leaf, cinnamon, elachi and cloves.
Then add the onions, fry till translucent, then add the ground masala and fry till raw smell disappears. Then add coconut milk and cooked baby corn and bring it to boil.(Coconut milk should not be too thick or too thin, if its thick then dilute to adjust it to make 2 cups)
Add the rice, turmeric, salt and mix well and cook covered in lowest flame, without pressure regulator for 8-10 minutes.
Now pulav is ready and serve hot with onion raita or raita of your choice!

Tip of the day: Adding salt while frying onions makes it quicker to cook.