Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blueberry Muffins

I am extremely sorry, my fellow bloggers if I have not been regularly visiting your blog. Things have been very busy at work and home. Barely having time to do anything other than the mundane stuff.

I finally had a day off today and wanted to share this goody with you all!
Why pay big bucks for breakfast muffins when you can make some at home. Now that berries are in season, make use of them to whip up this real easy blueberry muffins.

The muffins look a little pale coz I used white granulated sugar instead of brown. But you can replace with whole wheat flour or brown sugar for a darker color.
I personaly find using whole wheat flour gives more denser muffins.I don't know if it's just my poor technique or something else?
Anyways, enough said, lets get to those muffins!

Get Ready:  (Yields 6 muffins)

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup Self rising flour + 2 tbsp ( you can use all purpose flour, but make sure to use baking powder with it)
  • 1/2 cup bluberries

  • Preheat oven to 350F. line muffin pan with paper cups or spray with non stick spray.
  • Mix the blueberries with a tablespoon of flour and set aside. this will help them not to sink at the bottom.
  • Cream, butter and sugar well.
  • Add egg and whisk well till incorporated.
  • Add sour cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest,cinnamon and mix.
  • Fold the flour and blueberries. Remember not to over mix as it will give tough muffins.
  • Fill 3/4 of the muffin well with the batter.
  • bake for 20 -25 mins or till the tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
Let it cool and enjoy.

The blueberries burst inside the muffins and the lemon zest just boosts the flavor significantly!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Popeye Pasta

I am so glad that Spring is finally here! The blossoming trees and the bright colored daffodils and bulbs bring such a great treat to your eyes. Spring and fall are my favorite seasons.

We all have seen popeye, dunking all that spinach and becoming strong! don't you want your munchkins to get the goodness of fibre, iron and vitamins from spinach?
 No worries, you are at the right place! I made pasta with some left over spinach and some red kidney beans and it was absolutely delicious. My 2 year old gobbled a lot and i was pretty pleases as she got a good serving of her greens! You can throw in any beans you want, I had some red kidney beans and I made use of it. Replace elbow macaroni to any of your favorite pastas like fusili, penne or etc...

Get Ready: (serves 2)

  • 2 cup thinly chopped baby spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 hand full Cherry tomatoes hlaved
  • 1/2 onion thinly chopped
  • 1/2 cup red kidney beans ( i used canned, thoroughly rinsed)
  • 1 cup elbow pasta uncooked
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • red chilli flakes to taste.

  • Cook pasta,drain & reserve about 1/3 cup pasta water.
  • Add 1 tbsp Olive oil ina pan. add the onion and garlic and saute till translucent.
  • add the chopped spinach and cook for a few mins till it has  wilted
  • throw in the cherry tomato halves.
  • add the kidney beans and salt to taste.
  • saute for few mins
  • Add the cooked pasta and couple of tbspoons of pasta water. add more pasta water if needed
  • add 1 tbsp of olive oil and toss everything well. turn the heat off.
  • Serve with some chilli flakes for an extra kick.

I did not have chilli flakes, so i dry roasted one red chilli, powdered it and added on top of my pasta.Oh.. spicy!!!
 I am not a big cheese person, but if you wish add some grated parmesan/ romano cheese!

Packed this for school lunch and my son brought the container empty!

Also wanted to share these beautiful blooms from my back yard!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ghee Rice

Ghee rice or nei choru is a speciality from the malabar region of Kerala. It's generally served with a spicy kurma, mainly non veg. I made this yesterday and served with vegetable and tomato kurma. The name is self explanatory that it uses ghee, but i did some swap with vegetable oil instead of all ghee.
I used my time trusted pressure cooker to make this rice, but is usually made on stove top. I had some friends over and we all thoroughly enjoyed this rice dish.

Get Ready:

  • 3 cups basmati rice
  • 4 1/4 cup water
  • 1 big red onion thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 6 tsp ghee
  • 3 tsp oil
  • salt to taste
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 or 1 & 1/2  inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 star anise
  • A pinch of sugar




For garnish
1/3 cup cashews
1/3 cup golden raisins



  • Wash and soak the rice for 20 mins. after 20 mins drain the water and set aside
  • In a deep pan, add 3 tsp of ghee and 1 tsp of oil and fry the cashews till golden and set aside.
  • Now fry the raisins till plump and set aside
  • Add about 1/2 cup of the thinly sliced onions and fry till translucent.
( add some oil if needed)
  • Now add a pinch of sugar to caramalize them and fry till brown. set aside this is for the garnish.
  • In a pressure cooker or heavy bottomed pan, add the remaining ghee and oil.
  • Once oil is hot add the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, staranise and let it splutter.
  • Add to the remaining sliced onion and fry till pink.
  • Add the garlic and saute for a few mins till nice and fragrant.
  • add the rice and fry till they are pink and opaque.
  • Add water, salt to taste, mix well.
  • Cover the pressure cooker and let it cook for 2 whistles and turn the heat off. take it off the stove.
  • if you are cooking on a stove top, let the rice boil for 5 mins, simmer and cover and cook till the grains are done. fluff them in between.
  • Once the pressure is released, transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the cashes, raisins and caramalized onions.
I served with some cucumber slices  ( may be went a bit over the top) and kuruma.

Had a wonderful evening with friends and food !

Thursday, March 17, 2011


If you haven't read this book yet, please do soon! It's an easy read and was very popular last year.
This is a story told by a 5 yr old who is trapped inside a room. It's interesting to see life narrated by a 5 yr old and has its own twists and turn.

source: Google images

Emma Donaghue, the author is an excellent writer and this is her first book that I read.

Cutting for stone, Abraham verghese

A story about twins born to an Indian nun and a famous british Surgeon set in Addis Abba, Ethiopia. There is a lot of medical jargon here, but i enjoyed it a lot. Ethiopia always brings picture of starving, hungry looking children to me. But this book shows the beautiful side of Ethiopia.
So folks, get these 2 books and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Microwave therattipal

"Therattipal"! It is such a wonderful south indian milk sweet, similar to Khoa I guess! it takes a lot of time to make it on the stove top,as you reduce the milk with sugar and until it almost crumbles!

 I made this in literally 3-4 mins, thanks to the best thing in the world aka "Condensed Milk"
I used to beg my mom to lick that milkmaid tin back home. Condensed milk was used on special occasions to make payasam, when you need that rich taste.
Now my son begs me to lick the can!
To make this therattipal, all you need is a deep bowl and few ingredients!
The cooking time depends on the power level of your microwave. It took me 2 mins and 10 seconds

Get ready:

  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp yogurt
  • 2 tsp Ghee

  • In a micro wave safe bowl, add the condensed milk, yogurt, ghee and mixwell.
  • Cook uncovered  for 1 min, open the MW door, stir well
  • Cook again for 1 min
  • By this time it will start not to stick to the container
  • Stir well and cook in increments of 10 seconds till it leaves the sides well.
  • Let it cool and enjoy!
Leena of nammaruchi was so sweet to share an award with me! I am so honored and would like to covey my special thanks to her. Do check out her blog as she has some really good recipes!

Feel free to pick this award from here as everyone is my friend!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Karadaiyar Nombu Adai

Karadaiyar nombu/ vrat is usually celebrated during the beginning of the tamil month" Panguni"and the end of ' maasi".The legened behind this vrat is that ( from mahabharatha) savithri fought Lord Yama to save the life of her husband Satyavan.  if you want to read about the story Check here!
 Nombu or vrat is celebrated by women offering  prayers to be together with their beloveds for ever and offer &"adai".
Savithri had to be a minimalist in the middle of the forest and immense sorrow. So she made offerings with what she had to save her husband.
But I have no idea how adding  beans, cilantro and all other exotic spices to these adai came! Yama was tired of eating all the tasteless ones I guess!

We usually make sweet and savory adai during this pooja.  best results are by using fresh rice flour.

Get Ready: (yields 10 sweet and 10 savory ones)

Vella Adai

  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1 tbsp black eyed beans
  • 2-2/12 cups of Jaggery powdered
  • 1 tbsp coconut grated ( ideally thin wedges of coconut are used)
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 cups water

Uppu Adai

  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1 tbsp black eyed beans
  • 1 tbsp cocnut
  • 1 green chilli
  • a pinch of asafetida
  • salt to taste
  • 1& 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp urad dal
  • cilantro and curry leaves

The first couple of steps in the preparation is the same for both vella and uppu adai.
  • In a pan add a drop of oil and fry 2 tbsp of black eyed beans for a couple of mins.
  • Let it cool and cover with water and pressure cook for 3 whistles.
  • In a pan dry roast the 1 cup of  rice flour till pink or nicely fragrant. set aside and divide into 2 half cups.

For the vella adai:

  • In a pan,add 2 cups of water and the jaggery. once dissolved, strain the jaggery water to remove any dirt.
  • let it boil after straining.
  • Now add the 1/2 of black eyed peas, coconut, cardamom powder and 1/2 cup of rice flour and stir well.
  • It should come together without sticking to the pan. turn the fire off and set aside. If it looks too dry, sprinkle some water.

For the uppu adai:

  • In a pan, ( yes, lots of dishes to wash!) add 1 tsp of oil and do tadka with mustard seeds and urad dal, curry leaves and hing.
  • Add 1 & 1/2 cups of water. once it comes to a boil, add the remaining BBP, coconut, salt to taste, cilantro and the rice flour.
  • Mix well till it is in the same consistency as the sweet dough.
  •  turn the fire off.
Final step:
  • Once you can handle the dough, make small balls, flatten them and make a hole in the centr like vadai. use some water to prevent it from sticking.
  • In a greased idli stand, steam these adai for 10 -15 mins or till they look shiny.
  • Offer to god with butter and enjoy his blessings!
This year the nombu is on March 14th in the evening.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Colorful Bell Pepper Subzi

Bell Peppers!

I just love them, Don't you? If not please start loving them soon!

Bright orange, red, green wonderful feast for one's eyes and crunchy, juicy and sweet, an orchestra of tastes for your palate.

I make sambhar, curries, rice, chutneys, dips so many things with them. I usually use a powder of roasted channa dal, coriander seeds, redchilli and some coconut when I make a dry curry.
This time I used peanuts and sesame seeds and they were wonderful.
So, let us get to the recipe soon!

Get Ready : serves 3

  • Bell peppers 3 ( I used green, yellow and red) chopped
  • 1/3 cup dry unsalted roasted peanuts
  • 5-6 tsp sesame seeds
  •  1 & 1/2 red chilli
  • 1 tsp dhania/ coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida/ hing
  • 1/4 lemon juice
  • 2 tsp oil
  • mustard seeds, urad dal for tadka
  • Chopped cilantro


  • Dry roast the peanuts, I know they are roasted already! Just toss them for a few seconds, set aside
  • Dry roast the sesame seeds constantly stirring till they pop and fragrant.
  • Add a drop of oil and fry the red chilli and coriander seeds.

  • Once cool, dry grind the roasted spices with 1/4 tsp asafetida to a coarse powder. make sure you addthe sesame seeds, redchilli, dhania first and add the peanut at the end.
  • In a pan, add 2 tsp of oil and do the tadka with mustard seeds and urad dal.
  • Add the washed bell peppers, salt and mix.
  • Reduce heat, cover and cook them till soft.
  • Check salt to taste, add the dry roasted spice powder and mix.
  • Cook of low fire, open till the spices are well coated and well incorporated with the peppers. Takes about another 10 mins.
  • Turn the heat off, squirt juice of a quarter lemon and garnish with cilantro.

Goes well with rice, chapathi or sandwiches!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ramekin Eggplant Bake


Here is a very easy eggplant bake, similar to eggplant parmesan with no carbs! They are so cute baked in ramekins and easy to serve and make especially if you are making for less number of people.

I love eggplant, but not my husband and son. I made this for lunch one day and my two year old loved it! Thanks, there is another egg plant lover in the house.

Get Ready : (serves 1- 2)

  • 1 small egg plant ( not indian, japanese variety)
  • Store bought marinara/ pasta sauce
  • Part skin ricotta cheese
  • Cilantro
  • salt to taste
  • sambhar powder
  • Olive oil


  • Pre heat oven to 400F
  • Cut egg plants into 1/4 or < 1/4 "' thick rounds.
  • Drizzile oilve oil, salt, a pinch of sambar powder. Rub it over the eggplant till well coated
  • In a foil lined baking sheet, bake the egg plants till soft or until 10 mins.  I also tried to cook them on the tawa, but liked the oven better.
  • Grease ramekin with non stick spray.
  • Spoon some marinara sauce at the bottom of the ramekin.
  • Put a layer of egg plant round, spoon some ricotta and cilantro.
  • repeat the layer with sauce, egg plant, ricotta and cilantro till the ramekin is full.
  • Sprinkle some parmesan and bake uncovered at 350F for 20 mins till the cheese is bubbly.
  • I did not have parmesan and hence omitted the top cheese layer.
Invert on a plate once a little cool to serve ot dig in from the ramekins.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mushroon Paneer Masala

Browsing through  Aipi's curries with gravy, this one caught my attention. I had mushrooms and all the other stuff needed for this yummy gravy, and before I knew I was making this!

Couple of things that i did differntly was did not microwave the onions, ginger, instead just ground them raw and fried them. I did not use yogurt to the gravy as i mine was the right consistency for our family with water alone.

On the whole, it was an awesome side  dish to go with rice or bread.

Get ready:

  • 1 medium onion chopped and ground to a paste
  • 2 cups tomato pulp ( got from 4 medium tomatoes)
  • 10 -15 button mushrooms chopped
  • 1/3 cup peas
  • 1 tbsp xashews soakedwith 1 tbsp water
  • 3/4 diced paneer
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp redchilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/8th tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp kasoori methi crushed
  • salt to taste
  • 4 tsp oil
  • cilantro to garnish

for the tadka

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • a pinch hing

  • In a deep pan, i used a small pressure cooker, add 1 tsp oil and saute the paneer till golden and set aside.
  • Let the cashews soak for 20 mins and grind to a paste, set aside.
  • Add 3 tsp oil in the same pan, add the cumin and hing
  • Once the cumin splutters, add the ground onion paste and fry till pink.
  • add the ginger garlic paste and fry for few seconds till aromatic.
  • Now add the pureed tomatoes,cashew paste, turmeric, corainder, cumin and other masala powders and  cook till the oil separates.
  • Now add the mushrooms, peas, 1 cup of water, salt to taste and mix well.
  • Let it come to a boil and simmer for 15 mins till the peas and mushrooms are cooked.
  • Add the kasoori methi, paneer, mix well and turn the heat off.
  • Garnish with cilantro and dig in!
Sending this for tried and tasted of US masala , started by Zlamushka and now owned by Kitchen chronicles

Thanks Aipi for this recipe!