CHOCOLATE BABKA




Babka is a sweet Jewish dessert. It's a cross between a bread and a cake. It is made from yeasted dough...................rolled out and filled with chocolate, cinnamon, fruit or cheese and then rolled up, braided and then baked to perfection!

Here I've made a Chocolate Babka..........Now ain't that a gorgeous loaf? and I can tell you ....it's not only beautiful to look at but it tastes fantastic!


As you all know I just loved working with yeast and making breads! It's a skill and beauty by itself. 
Ive been wanting to make this beauty for a long time! and finally I've ticked it off my list. It was a new experience and I thoroughly enjoyed making it. 
That dark chocolate filling really comes through.......I cant explain! You need to try it out for yourself!
the whole house was smelling divine and we enjoyed every slice of this chocolate loaf. The kids took it to school in their snack boxes as well.............so it was done in 2 days! 
Already looking forward to making variations in this Babka recipe! Maybe add some nuts?? We'll just have to wait and see ;)




INGREDIENTS:
for the dough:
bread flour- 2 and 1/4 cups
salt - 3/4 tsp
instant yeast - 1 and 1/2 tsp
caster sugar - 2 tbsps
egg, lightly whisked - 1
warm milk - 1/2 cup
unsalted butter, melted - 5 tbsps

for the chocolate filling:
dark chocolate - 60g
cocoa powder - 4 tbsps
unsalted butter - 60g

for the sugar syrup (for brushing):
caster sugar - 1/2 cup
water - 65 ml
 
PROCESS:
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, add in the  flour,salt,instant yeast and caster sugar. Roughly give it a mix and then add in the egg.
  • Using the dough hook, mix on low speed.
  • Add in the warm milk and butter and continue kneading on low speed and then gradually increasing the speed to medium.
  • Let it knead on medium speed for about 8 minutes or so. You will get a smooth and slightly sticky dough. If you think at the end of the kneading time your dough is too wet to handle just add in a few spoons of flour and knead. This dough will be much softer than your usual dough.
  • Form a dough ball and keep in a greased bowl and cover with cling wrap and place in a warm corner in your kitchen and let it rise for about 90 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

  • While it is proofing you can make the chocolate filling.
  • In a saucepan, on the lowest heat possible melt together the dark chocolate, cocoa powder and unsalted butter. Keep stirring. Once melted, remove from the flame and let it cool.
  • Grease a loaf pan and keep it ready.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size lets roll it out.
  • First, lightly flour your work surface. Gently deflate the dough and place it on the surface.
  • Start rolling out the dough in a big rectangle with the longer side closer to you. Mine was approximately 16x12 inches.

  • Then, smear the cooled chocolate filling all over the surface leaving a gap of 1 inch from the sides.
  • Next, start rolling the dough as tightly as possible starting with the side closest to you and work upward. Pinch the dough shut. Place the pinched side down. Adjust the log so it is nice and compact.

  • With a sharp knife cut the log in the middle leaving a gap of about 2 inches before you start cutting.
  • Next,  treating the dough like a baby, gently place the halves one on top of the other(alternating) like a braid. Tuck the ends below. Check the pictures below.


  • Gently lift it and ease it into your greased loaf tin. Cover loosely with a cling wrap and again leave it in a warm corner in the kitchen for the second rise. Say about 30 minutes or till almost doubled.

  • Preheat the oven at 180 degrees celcius.
  • Now to make the sugar syrup- In a saucepan, place the caster sugar and water and bring it to a boil. stir. Once it starts bubbling, switch off the flame. Keep aside.
  • After the babka has risen, bake at 180 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the tops have become browned.
  • Remove from the oven and brush with the sugar syrup. Do it again after 10 minutes till the sugar syrup it almost done. (you can use up everything if you want. I used only 3/4th of the sugar syrup)
  • After it has cooled a bit (but still warm)using a knife ease the corners and remove the loaf from the tin. Place on a wire rack to cool.
  • Cool completely before cutting.

NAWABI/ MUGHLAI STYLE PANEER GRAVY



This dish is simple and rich with the addition of dried nuts and cream. The gravy is smooth, creamy and utterly delicious!
You can add in milk, more yoghurt or reduce the cooking cream as per your like. they all add to the creaminess of the gravy.

Goes best with chapathis, parathas, idyappam or any Indian flat bread. 








INGREDIENTS:

to saute and puree:
oil - 1 tbsp

cinnamon - 1/2 inch piece
cardamon - 2
cloves - 2
onion, cubed - 1 big
cumin seeds - 1 tsp
cashewnuts - 12
almonds - 10
green chillies - 2
salt

for the curry:
butter - 2 tbsps
ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tbsp
yoghurt, lightly whisked  -2 tbsps
pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
coriander powder - 1 tsp
kasuri methi - 1/2 tbsp
cooking cream - 1/4 cup
paneer/ cottage cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes - 250 g
garam masala - 1/4 tsp
salt to taste
saffron - pinch (optional)

PROCESS:
  • Blanch the almonds in hot water for 15 minutes and remove and discard the skin.
  • To saute and puree- In  a wok, heat the oil. 
  • Add in the cinnamon, cloves and cardamoms.
  • Next, add in the cumin seeds.
  • Once they start to splutter, add in the onions, green chilies and salt and saute.
  • After a minute add in the cashewnuts and almonds and saute further.
  • Add in 1/2 cup of water. close the lid and let in simmer on low flame for a few minutes till the onions have cooked and become soft.
  • Now switch off the flame and let it cool. 

  • Once cooled, transfer to a blender jar. If there is very little water in the onion mixture add 1/2 cup water and blend to a smooth paste.
  • Strain the puree so we are left with a smooth paste.
  • Return the pulp back to the blender adding 1/2 more cup of water and blend again.
  • Strain again. Keep the puree aside. Discard the pulp.
  • Now to make the gravy- (on low flame) In the same wok, heat the butter.
  • Add in the ginger garlic paste and saute for about 30 seconds.
  • Next, add in the onion and nuts puree and mix well. Simmer and bring to a boil.
  • Add in the yoghurt and mix well.
  • Add in the pepper powder and coriander powder and stir.
  • Next,add in the kasuri methi and stir for about 10 seconds.
  • Then add in the cooking cream.
  • After a minute, add in the paneer cubes. Cover and close for a minute.
  • Then add in the garam masala and cook for another minute. Check for salt and add the required amount.
  • Lastly, add in the saffron and switch off the flame. Cover and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.
NOTES:
  • This gravy must always be cooked on low flame as the only gravy here is the puree mixed with some water. So the gravy level will go down quickly and easily. 
  • You can also add 1/2 cup milk to the puree while cooking the gravy. (if you need more gravy) 

NADAN KOZHI CURRY/ NADAN CHICKEN CURRY



Nadan kozhi curry is a famous Kerala dish. As you know kerala dishes are known for their high usage of coconut and coconut oil....... and this dish is no different.
There is absolutely no cumin used in this dish.........it gets its flavour from the coconut, curry leaves and the other spices used. It's an easy dish to make and everyone must be already having these ingredients in their pantry.


You can use any cut of chicken. I have used chicken drumsticks coz that's what we all prefer. It goes really well with Idyappam/string hoppers or Malabar Parotta! although it can be served with rice too!




INGREDIENTS:

for marination:
chicken drumsticks - 6
ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tbsp
red chili powder - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
salt 

for the curry:
coconut oil - 3 to 4 tbsps
fenugreek seeds/ vendhayam - a pinch
onions, chopped - 2
green chilies, slit - 2
ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
grated coconut - 2 tbsp
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
red chilli powder - 1/2 tbsp
black pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
coriander powder -1 tbsp
tomato, chopped - 1
garam masala - 1/2 tsp
curry leaves - 1 sprig
coconut milk - 1/4  cup
coriander leaves, chopped - 1 tbsp (optional)
salt to taste

PROCESS:
  • In a bowl, marinate the chicken with the ingredients stated under 'for marination'. Mix well and keep it aside for about 20  minutes.
  • In a wok, heat the oil. add in the fenugreek seeds. After about 8 seconds, add in the onions and green chilies. Saute till slightly browned.
  • Add in the ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute. 
  • Add in the grated coconut and let it fry nicely in the oil. Add in splashes of water if need be to prevent burning at the bottom.
  • Add in the turmeric, red chili powder, pepper and coriander powder. Again, let this fry in the oil for a minute
  • Add in the tomatoes and the required salt.(we have already added a bit in the chicken marinate) Stir well and add in a few splashes of water again. Close the lid and cook on low flame for a minute or two till the tomatoes have softened and become mushy.

  • Next add in the chicken and stir well so it is well coated in the masala paste. Cook for about 2 minutes.
  • Then, add in about 2 cups of water and let it simmer on low flame. Cover and cook till the chicken is completely cooked and the water level has gone down giving you a nice thick gravy.
  • Add in the garam masala. stir and cook for a minute.
  • Finally add in the coconut milk and chopped coriander. Cook for a further minute or two and then switch off the flame and cover.
  • Serve hot with rice, idyappam or any flat bread of your choice.
NOTES:
  • You can use any other cooking oil if you do not have coconut oil.


VAZHAKKAI CHIPS/ RAW BANANA CHIPS



These Vazhakkai/ raw banana chips are a favourite in the house at any time of day! They go specially well as a side for white rice and rasam/ sambar.
Or you can simply enjoy them over a hot cup of tea in the evenings!

My mother in law sent us some raw bananas from her garden last week! So you can guess what we've been making with the whole bunch! Yup! you've guessed right! Also we made some mutton dalcha over the weekend!
Don't be alarmed over the quantity of red chilli powder that goes into marinating these chips. It really doesn't get that spicy. But you can reduce it if you want.





INGREDIENTS:
vazhakkai/ raw bananas - 5 (it was 460g after a peeled them)
red chilli powder - 4 tbsps
turmeric powder - 3/4 tsp
rice flour - 2 tbsps
oil - 2 tsp +more for shallow frying
salt to taste

PROCESS:
  • Remove the skin and slice the vazakkai in thin circles. 
  • In a bowl, add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder, rice flour and salt. Mix well.
  • Add in the sliced vazakkai and give it a nice mix. Add in the 2 tsps oil and mix well, making sure the masala gets on the surface of each slice.
  • Choose a shallow frying pan which has a wide base. Heat enough oil in the pan to shallow fry. Once the oil is hot, on low flame fry the vazhakkai slices. Take the time to separate them one by one and place them in the oil. Fry them in batches and avoid over crowding.
  • When you can see that the masala is cooked and the vazhakkai slices have slightly browned move them around/turn them if need be so that they cook on both sides evenly.
  • Drain on a paper towel and enjoy immediately.
NOTES:
  • Make sure to slice the vazhakkai as thin as possible. Otherwise it may not be crispy. You can even use a slicer to do this.

  • Take the time to separate each slice before putting them in the oil. If you just dump them in the oil, they will not cook evenly nor will they be crisp.
  • You can always re heat them in a pre heated oven so that they get their crispiness back. Never re-heat in a microwave!

SAGO GULA MELAKA




Sago Gula Melaka is a Malaysian dessert. It is made from coconut milk and gula melaka syrup. Gula Melaka is coconut palm sugar. So you can also substitute palm sugar or coconut sugar for this recipe!

This dessert is so simple and so refreshing! Especially after a spicy meal. This dessert is so easy to put together. You can it down below..........so without further delay lets get down to the recipe!





Makes 3 portions
INGREDIENTS:
sago/ sabudhana/ javarisi - 3/4 cup (100g)

for the flavoured coconut milk:
coconut milk - 1/2 cup(I used the tetra pack. see notes)
pandan leaf , knotted - 1
pinch of salt

for the palm sugar syrup:
gula melaka/ palm sugar, chopped - 3/4 cup (100g)
water - 1/4 cup
pandan leaves, knotted - 2

PROCESS:
  • In a saucepan, boil the sago in about 3 and a half cups of water. Boil till the sago balls turn translucent. Then, remove from the flame and strain it. Run under cool water till most of the starch washes off. Then transfer into 3 serving bowls. Cover and refrigerate them for atleast 30 minutes.
  • Next, to make the flavoured coconut milk- In a saucepan gently heat the coconut milk and water along with the pandan leaf and salt. Simmer till it thickens slightly. Remove and cool. Chill before serving.
  • Next, to make the palm sugar syrup- In a saucepan, place the water, pandan leaves and chopped palm sugar and heat on low flame. simmer and stir till the palm sugar has completely melted. then, remove from the flame and cool.

  • To serve, simply pour the coconut milk over the sago and pour the required amount of palm sugar syrup on it. Give it a good mix and enjoy.
NOTES:
  • If u are not able to find pandan leaves, you can use pandan essence. if not you can just subsitute it for vanilla essence. although it's not authentic, it will still be nice.
  • if you are using coconut milk from tetra pack just add in about 1/4 cup water to it because tetra pack is usually very thick. 

CUMIN RICE/JEERA RICE




Serving a flavoured rice like cumin rice or ghee rice or coconut milk rice is much more preferred and special when compared to our usual and boring white rice.                                                                    

Especially when we have some vegetarian curry ........serving some variety rice elevates the taste of the meal on the whole!
This cumin rice is so simple to make and delicious.........the taste of the cumin really comes through and the cooking of the rice with some coconut milk really adds more depth and flavour!




1 cup =250 ml
INGREDIENTS:
ghee - 3 tbsps
bay leaf - 1 
cinnamon  1/2 inch small piece
cloves - 3
cumin seeds - 3 tsps
basmathi rice - 2 cups 
water - 2 and 1/2 cups
coconut milk - 1/2 cup (See notes)
salt to taste

PROCESS:
  • Wash and soak the basmathi rice in water for 30 minutes. Drain 
  • In a pan heat the ghee and add the bay leaf, cinnamon and cloves.
  • Add in the cumin seeds. When it starts to splutter add in the basmathi rice and let it coat in the ghee for 30 seconds.
  • Add in the water, coconut milk and required salt and bring to boil.
  • Then, bring the flame to low and close the lid. Let it cook till the water completely evaporates and the rice is fully cooked.
  • Open and using a fork fluff up the rice and cover again and don't open the lid for atleast 15 minutes.
  • Serve hot with any gravy of your choice.
NOTES:
  • For cooking basmathi rice, the ratio of rice to water is normally 1: 1.5
  • You can skip the coconut milk and let the rice cook with only water. Although coconut milk adds more flavour.
  • You can cook the rice as usual in a rice cooker or in a pressure cooker following the same measurements and process.

GREEK SALAD



What a gorgeous looking salad! Salads are a lovely way to eat veggies! 
The worst part of making a salad is the cutting and chopping. But once you've got that sorted out .............its a breeze! What an easy way to please the guests at a dinner party! 
Don't miss out on any ingredient! Each one lends flavour to this salad in its own way!




INGREDIENTS
:

For the salad:
english cucumber, halved lengthwise and then chopped - 1
capsicum, cubed - 1
red onion, sliced thin - 1
cherry tomatoes, halved - 10
black olived, pitted - 10
dried oregano - 1 tsp
feta cheese, cubed or crumbled - 100g
pepper to season

for the dressing:
extra virgin olive oil - 5 tbsps
lemon juice - 3 tbsps
garlic cloves, minced - 3
dried oregano - 1/2 tsp
salt to taste

PROCESS:
  • Combine all the ingredients under 'for the salad' in a big salad bowl and keep ready.
  • In a mason jar or any glass jar with a tight lid, lets make the salad dressing. Add in all the ingredients under the 'for the dressing' in the mason jar and give it a good shake.
  • Just before you are ready to serve, pour the dressing on the salad and give it a good toss.
  • Serve immediately.

CHICKEN HANDI



A 'Handi' is a deep, wide mouthed cooking vessel used mostly in North Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani cooking. Although many of us don't really have Handis at home, any wok should do! I guess it is just traditionally done this way.


Chicken Handi is a creamy and mild chicken curry and tastes great with chapathis, parathas or even rice! We had some with cumin rice for lunch yesterday................. and it was oh so yum!
You can skip the cream and just add in more yoghurt too! the crushed coriander and cumin lends an amazing flavour to this dish. This recipe has become a regular at our household and is so easy to make. It is a very simple and straight forward recipe. I have even started using boneless chicken since its super easy to clean too!






INGREDIENTS:
boneless chicken thighs - 1/2 kg
ghee/ oil - 3 tbsps
onions, chopped - 2
tomatoes, chopped - 2
ginger garlic paste - 3 tbsps
green chilies, slit - 2
coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
cumin seeds - 1 tsp
red chili powder - 1/2 tbsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
yoghurt. lightly whisked - 1/2  cup
kasuri methi - 1 tbsp
cooking cream - 1/2 cup
garam masala - 1/2 tsp
fresh coriander leaves, chopped - to garnish

PROCESS:
  • In a mortar and pestle add the cumin seeds and coriander seeds and pound them till crushed. Keep aside.
  • In a wok, heat the oil/ghee.
  • Add in the onion and fry till browned. 

  • Add in the ginger garlic paste and green chilies and saute for a minute.
  • Add in the tomatoes and saute till nice and mushy. You can add splashes of water if need be, if the mixture is sticking to the pan.
  • Next, add in the crushed cumin and coriander seeds. Give it a mix and add in the chili powder and turmeric too. Stir and let the masala fry in the oil.
  • Then, add in the chicken. stir to coat with the spices. Add salt and stir for a minute.
  • Add in the yoghurt and mix well. Close and cook for a minute or so.
  • When you see the oil separate, add in the kasuri methi. Stir  well.



  • Mix and add in 1/2 cup water.  Cover and let it simmer till the chicken has cooked and you get a thick gravy. the chicken cooks very fast.
  • Lastly, add in the cooking cream and the garam masala and cook for another minute.
  • Switch off the flame and close the lid.
NOTES:
  • You can skip the cream and add more yoghurt instead.

PASTA IN ROASTED RED PEPPER SAUCE



I love the flavour of roasted capsicum!  It gives such a lovely flavour to soups, sauces, salads................u name it!

This is yet another pasta sauce to hide the veggies from the kids. So delicious, so simple and quick!.........don't we all love such quick and nutritious meals??
Both my girls love pasta...........so I find it easy to sneak in veggies in the form of pasta sauce:)

INGREDIENTS:

red pepper/ capsicum- 2 (400g)
penne pasta - 160g
oil - 3 tbsps
garlic cloves, minced - 3
cooking cream - 1/4 cup
milk - 1/4 cup
dried italian herbs - 3/4 tsp
salt to taste 
chilli flakes to taste
chopped sweet basil - 3 tbsps to garnish (optional)
grated parmesan cheese - to garnish(optional)

PROCESS:
  • Pre- heat the oven at 200 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Cut the red pepper in half, remove the stems and the seeds.
  • Place them cut side down on the baking tray and place them in the oven on the top rack.
  • Bake them for about 20 minutes or so or until the tops are burnt.

  • Once done, remove them from the oven and place them in a bowl and cover it for about 15 minutes. This makes it easier to peel off the charred skin.
  • remove the skin and discard it.
  • Place the capsicum flesh in a blender and puree it. Keep aside.
  • Boil the pasta as per the instructions on the packet. Drain and keep it ready.
  • In a wok, heat the oil.
  • Saute the minced garlic on low flame.
  • Add in the red pepper puree and stir. Add in a tiny bit of water into the blender and give it a few swishes to completely get the bits of precious puree stuck in the jar.
  • Add in the milk, cream, herbs and salt. Once you can see bubbles on the corners, switch off the flame and add in the cooked pasta.
  • Garnish with chopped basil and parmesan cheese if using.
  • Stir and serve immediately.
NOTES:
  • You can skip the cream if you want and add in more milk.
  • Or if you don't mind the extra fat, you can add in more cream instead of the milk.
  • If it thickens up before you eat, just add in more milk or cream to give you the saucy consistency.

KARI IKAN/ MALAYSIAN FISH CURRY



'Ikan' in Bahasa Malaysia means fish. 'Kari' is curry.
I learnt this recipe for fish curry from my mother in law recently. It's definitely a Malaysian style one...........coz she uses the fish curry powder from the Malaysian brand 'Babas'. You definitely wont get this taste if you are using any other indian brands like Mtr or Achi etc.

I'm not a big fan of this fish curry coz I simple just love our super sour darker looking fish curries from  the south. Just made me realize that I haven't  made nor posted a recipe of that yet. My kids hate fish! But..............Definitely soon!

To tell you more about this fish curry............it's super easy to make as you can see. Doesn't involve too much sauteing and frying etc. Just tempering the curry base. Although this technique is followed in the villages of India...... this Malaysian fish curry powder makes all the difference.
 Also its not too sour............. which is probably why I'm not a big fan. I'm a huge sucker for tamarind and anything sour! My younger one, Miesha goes one step ahead and loves sucking on just plain lemon! hahaha





INGREDIENTS:

fish - 6 slices (washed and cleaned well)

to make the curry base:
'babas' brand  fish masala powder - 5 tbsps
tomatoes, chopped small - 2
onion, sliced - 1/2
thick coconut milk - 1/2 cup
tamarind - 1 lime sized ball soaked in 1 cup water
green chilies, slit - 2
salt to taste

to temper:
oil - 3 tbsps
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
fenugreek seeds/ vendhayam - 1/2 tsp
curry leaves - 1 sprig
onions, sliced - 1/2
red chili powder - 1 and 1/2 tbsps
lady fingers/okra, head removed and make a score with a sharp knife down the middle - 8

PROCESS:
  • To make the curry base- Crush, squeeze and extract the juice of the tamarind. Add another 1/2 cup water to the pulp. Nicely squeeze and get the second extract by passing through the sieve.
  • Now pour the tamarind extract in a big bowl. Add in all the ingredients under 'to make the curry base.' give it a mix and keep it ready.
  • Now, lets do the tempering- In a wok heat the oil. 
  • Add in the mustard seeds.
  • When it starts popping add in the curry leaves, fenugreek seeds and onions.
  • When the onions have softened, add in the chilli powder. Saute for 30 seconds or so.
  • Add in the tamarind curry base.
  • Also add in the okra and fish slices.
  • Close the lid and let it simmer on low flame for about 15 minutes or so or until the fish has cooked and you get a nice thick gravy consistency.You can add more water if need be.
  • Switch off the flame and cover.

QUICK AND TASTY VEGGIE STIR FRY




This dish I've learnt from my mother in law. I love the way she makes it. It's my absolute favourite. Just give me plain rice and a bowl of these veggies and I'm a happy girl! It goes with almost any dish.
This veggie dish is super easy to make ...........just look at the ingredients!! Nothing much right? But its so delicious! 

The best part is that the veggies are so crunchy! So make sure you keep an eye on that ! If you over cook it it will lose its crunchiness and it wont taste too great! dont skip the onions too! love the crunchiness of that that too! the dish gets its flavour from the garlic and oyster sauce.



INGREDIENTS:

french beans, cut diagonally into 1 inch pieces - 2 cups 
carrots,cut into 2 inch pieces (slightly thin) -1 
broccoli, cut into small florets - 1
soda bicarb - a pinch(optional)
oil to saute
onion, cut into big cubes - 1
garlic, pounded - 8 cloves
sugar- 1/4 tsp
oyster sauce - 3 tbsps
salt and pepper to taste

PROCESS:
  • Boil some water in a big pan(enough to fit all the veggies).
  • Once it has come to a boil, add the carrots first. You can add in the soda to retain the colour of the veggies. But it is optional.
  • After a  minute, add in the broccoli and beans and boil for another 2 minutes. 
  • Switch off the flame and drain. Rinse under running water and keep aside.
  • In a wok, heat the oil.
  • Add in the garlic and saute for a few minutes.
  • Just before the garlic changes colour, add in the onions.
  • Stir on low flame for 1 minute.
  • Add in the veggies. Season with salt (dont add too much because oyster sauce is salty) and pepper. Add in the sugar too.
  • Still on low flame add in the oyster sauce and mix well. Check for salt and remove from the flame. Don't cook too much. We need the veggies to retain its crunch.
NOTES:
  • The veggies are already a bit cooked. So no need to cook them too much otherwise it will lose its crunch.

PODI DOSA





This dosa needs no introduction. It is popular in South Indian restaurants and an easy dish to make at home! This recipe comes in so handy when the fridge and pantry is empty and you want a simple yet homecooked meal.
The recipe for my homemade idli/ dosa milagai podi I/ve linked down below under the ingredients. Or you can even use the store bought one.



INGREDIENTS:
dosa batter - recipe here
dosa/idli  podi - recipe here
sliced onions (optional)
capsicum, chopped (optional)
salt to taste
ghee/oil - to cook the dosa

PROCESS:
  • Dilute the dosa batter with the required water and add some salt. Mix well. The dosa batter must be of pouring consistency. 
  • Heat the dosa pan. take a ladle of batter. pour it on the pan, and smoothen it out in circles. starting at the middle and moving towards the corners.
  • Sprinkle some onions and capsicum and the required dosa podi on the entire surface.
  • Drizzle with oil or ghee. Let it cook on medium flame.
  • After it browns and becomes crisp, turn it over. Cook for a further minute or so. 
  • Serve hot!




MAC AND CHEESE



Mac and cheese hold many childhood memories for many living outside India. It's comfort food for many just like we have our rasam and sambar :)

I personally am not a big fan of mac and cheese. But my kids love it! Yes........big cheese lovers! Aali the bigger cheese fan outta the 2, would eat this everyday if given the chance. When I tell her its got wayyyyyyy tooo much cheese, she says "Amma, don't be silly! there's no such thing as too much cheese!!" LOL

This is so easy to prepare.......and makes a great friday night treat for kids! Mac and cheese is heavy as it is. So I didn't overdo it with the cream or anything. Just kept it simple with milk and cheese. It gives great flavour. So don't worry.




I dint have panko breadcrumbs so I have just made my own. Hence the breadcrumbs are wayyyy darker.
You can skip the breadcrumbs topping. it tastes great without it!:)

INGREDIENTS:
elbow pasta - 220 g
milk - 1 cup + 1/4 cup
all purpose flour - 1 tbsp
sharp cheddar cheese, grated - 2 cups
butter - 1 tbsp
salt and pepper to taste

for the topping:(optional)
panko bredacrumbs - 1/2 cup
red chilli powder - 1/4 tsp
dried italian herbs (seasoning) - 1/2 tsp
melted butter - 3 tbsps

PROCESS:
  • Boil the pasta as per instructions on the packet. Drain and keep aside.
  • In a small bowl mix the 1/4 cup milk and the flour. Whisk well and make sure there are no lumps.
  • Now, in a saucepan on low flame, bring  the 1 cup milk to boil. 
  • Add in the flour mixture and continuously mix well. There will be tiny bubbles on the surface.
  • Continue cooking and whisking on low flame for about a minute or so. 
  • The milk will start to thicken. Add in the grated cheese and whisk well. Switch off the flame. Add in the butter.
  • Add salt and pepper to season.
  • Add in the cooked pasta. Mix well.
  • This cheese sauce thickens very fast. So serve immediately.
  • If  it does thicken just add more milk to loosen it. It tastes so good just like this without the breadcrumbs topping.
  • To make the breadcrumbs topping- In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients under the 'for the topping'.
  • Place the pasta in an oven proof dish. top evenly with the breadcrumbs mixture. 
  • Bake in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees till the tops become slightly browned. It just takes a few minutes. 10 minutes or so.
  • Serve immediately.

NOTES:
  • Just add milk when re-heating. 

KADALA MITTAI/ GROUNDNUT CANDY




I don't think there is any Indian that hasn't seen or tasted a groundnut candy before. We all grew up eating the famous Rajarams groundnut balls/ bars. I remember snuggling in bed with a favourite book......... and some Rajarams! Cheers to those days when I had nothing to do!

Even now whenever my mum visits me, probably the first thing she will put into her suitcase are these groundnut candies for me! hahahahaha..........somethings will never change! and now, my younger one loves them too!:)
These candies are so easy to make. Those of you staying far away from India or still under lockdown................you can thank me later! These candies are literally so quick to put together and your snack for the week is sorted. Just don't forget to send me the pictures later! Would love to know what you think!! 




INGREDIENTS:
peanuts - 1 cup
jaggery powdered - 1 cup
cardamom powder - slightly more than a pinch(optional)
ghee - 1 tbsp + more for greasing

PROCESS:
  • Grease a 17cms x 11 cms pan with ghee and keep it ready. You may use a slightly bigger size for a thinner slab of groundnut candy
  • Dry roast the peanuts on low flame without changing its colour. Let it cool and gently press and rub them to remove the skins. Keep aside.
  • In a saucepan heat the jaggery and 1/4 cup of water. Bring to boil and then turn off the flame once the jaggery has completely dissolved.
  • Pass the jaggery syrup through a sieve just to get rid of the impurities if any.
  • Now, return the strained jaggery syrup back to the same pan and heat on low flame.
  • Add the ghee and keep stirring so the bottoms don't burn.

  • Now, keep a small bowl of water ready. this is to check the consistency of the jaggery.
  • Drop a few drops of the jaggery syrup into the bowl of water. If you are able to roll the jaggery with your fingers, then you need to continue cooking. This is NOT the right consistency.
  • After cooking for a few more minutes, drop a few drops of jaggery syrup into the bowl of water to check again. The jaggery must break into 2. this is the correct consistency.


  • At this point, switch off the flame and drop the peanuts and cardamom powder into the jaggery syrup and mix quickly.
  • it will harden very fast. so we must be quick to mix. 
  • Quickly transfer the mixed peanuts into our prepared tin and flatten it out with the help of a greased spoon.
  • Then, quickly overturn it onto a plate cut it into small pieces.(desired size)
  • let it cool. Store in an airtight container.

NOTES:
  • The most important thing that we need to pay attention to here is the consistency of the jaggery. If we remove the jaggery syrup from the flame before it has reached the right consistency the groundnut candy will be soft and chewy. Not crunchy.
  • After the peanuts have been mixed with the jaggery we need to act quickly because it hardens very fast. Also, as soon as we flatten it out in the tin  we must quickly remove it from the tin and cut into pieces. If we let it harden in the tin, it's very difficult to remove from the tin despite greasing the tin. 

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