Monday, May 30, 2011

Mani Kozhakattai / Ammini Kozhukkatai

I don't know whatz happening with blogger. Are some of you guys experiencing the same problem as I am? I am not able to post comments on certain blogs at all.
So my dear friends, please don't be mad at me for not posting comments. I have been reading all your updates, but unable to post comments on some blogs. Hope blogger will fix these issues, if real soon!

We were invited by our friend for a special pooja this weekend. I made mani kozhakattai which are basically mini steamed rice dumplings. This is usually made as an evening snack on Ganesha Chathurthi with leftover dough from mornings. Let's get ready!

Get Ready (serves 2):

For the rice dumplings
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • Pinch of salt

For seasoning:

  • 2 tsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. Urad dal
  • 1 red chili (split)
  • A few curry leaves
  • A pinch of asafetida
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. grated coconut
  • Salt to taste


  • In a heavy-bottomed pan, add the water, oil, & pinch of salt. Let it come to a boil.
  • Add the rice flour to the boiling water and mix well without any lumps.
  • Keep the heat on medium and mix it so it forms a ball of dough.
  • Cover with a lid and turn the heat off.
  • Once you are able to handle the dough, apply oil to your palms and make them into small chickpea-sized balls. Use ALL the dough to form balls.
  • Grease an idli stand and steam these rice balls for 10 mins. in a pressure cooker. They will look shiny when they are done.
  • In another pan, add oil. When hot, do the tadka with mustard seeds, Urad dal, red chili, curry leaves, and asafetida.
  • Add the grated coconut, red chili powder, the steamed dumplings, salt to taste and mix well. Let it cook  on low heat for 2 mins.
  • Turn the heat off.
  • Serve hot with some garnished cilantro.

Rice dumplings ready to be steamed!

A perfect evening snack. Enjoy your Memorial day weekend!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

White Chocolate and Cranberry Fudge

Everyone is a bit sceptical when making fudge. It's like making mysore pak, I guess. You have to get the right consistency. The traditional way is use milk, sugar getting it to the right temperature to reduce it.

But, hey when you have the easy way of doing it with Condensed milk, why fret over a tedious process.
The first time I tried to make chocolate fudge, was a failure. The taste was good, but it never set.

Tried again this time and it came out perfect. My husband and kids love white chocolate fudge and I made this specially for them. To jazz it a little, I added some pistachios and cranberries.

This is perfect dish to take for parties or as a teacher appreciation gift.

Here is the recipe:

Get ready:

  • 1 14 oz. can fat free condensed milk
  • 2 x 12 oz. bag white chocolate morsels
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extrtact
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
  • 1/2 cranberries (dried)


  • Line a baking/pyrex pan with foil or parchment paper so that the paper hangs out from the sides
  • On medium heat, heat the condensed milk
  • Add the chocolate chips and stir till the chocolate melts and combines with the condensed milk
  • Turn the heat off
  • Add the vanilla extract, salt, nuts, and cranberries and mix well
  • Pour into the foil lined baking pan and smoothen the top
  • Refrigerate  for 2-3 hrs. for it to set
  • Lift the foil and cut into pieces of desired shape
keep them in the refridgerator covered.

Enjoy these sweet babies anytime!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Zucchini Rice


Zucchini and rice!

That was my first reaction to it too! But I was brave enough to try it and it proved I was wrong.

A very simple and yummy rice dish. My kids loved it too!





We were in a rush this saturday. Kids had swim lesson in the morning and hubby had to catch a flight at noon. It is ridiculous that the airline companies charge for your first check in baggage and don't give yoyu anything on board. ( except for Jet Blue). I made this quick one pot meal. I had bookmarked this recipe some time ago and wanted to give it a shot!

So people, don't think, get your zucchini and a grater and let's start cooking! The rice can be cooked in a pan or a cooker. i used pressure cooker and reduced the water. use 2 cups of water if using a sauce pan to cook the whole thing.


Get Ready: ( serves 2-3)
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1&1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup grated zucchini with skin
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1" cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp jeera
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1 tsp cashew broken into pieces
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp butter

  • Soak basmati rice in water or 20 mins, drain and keep aside.
  • In a pressure cooker ( directly) add the oil and butter. once hot add the jeera, cinnamon, bay leaf, red chillies and cashews..
  • When they all sizzle, add the rice and fry for 5 mins.
  • Add the zucchini, 1& 1/2 cups water, peas,lemon juice, salt to taste and mix well.
  • Close the cooker and cook for 1-2 whistles.
  • Take it iff the heat.
  • Once the pressure is released, fluff the rice, garnish with cilantro.
  • Serve hot with any curry, pickle or raita.

I served them with home made potato fries!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chole Paalak/ Chick peas & Spinach curry

Living in Virginia feels like living in the Pacific North West! It rains almost everyday here. It's good for the plants etc etc.. but I am so done with this rain. I want some sunshine, real bad!

Made this chole with left over spinach from my paalak paneer. It was super good and tasted awesome with chapathi's.

Chole Paalak ( serves 2)

Get ready:
  • 1/2 cup  cooked chick peas or 1 15 oz can
  • 3 cups chopped spinach
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds/ jeera
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tsp oil
  • salt to taste

  • In a blender puree tomato, ginger and green chilli, set aside
  • In a pan, add oil and once hot crackle the jeera and asafetida.
  • Add the tomato puree, turmeric powder,coriander, cumin powder, a little salt. cover and cook for 5- 10 mins.
  • add the chopped spinach, 2/3 cup water. cover and cook till spinach is soft for about 5 mins. add salt to taste.
  • add chick peas, salt to taste and mix well.
  • If too thick add little water till you get the right gravy consitency.
  • mash a few chick peas with in the pot to give thickness.
  • Add garam masala ( optional) and let it come to a boil.
  • Turn heat off and serve with chapathi or poori's.
 Chatpata chole paalak is ready!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Chilli Paneer

Spring  is for showers, flowers and Pollen!

The allergy season is on and people who suffer from allergy will tell you how hard it tis to have stuffy noses and itchy eyes! Just some tips from me to keep your allergies under check,

Keep your windows closed, pollen counts are high in the morning between 5- 10 am.
keep A/C on, vaccum the floors/ carpet frequently.
If your child has stuffed animals in her bed, make sure you wash them regularly. More than pollen, house dust mite is the common allergen.
Try over the counter medications for allergy. If not improving consult your doctor.

Now, let's get out tongue tickling chilli paneer dish!

Chili paneer is a fiesty indo chinese dish made with mixed peppers and paneer. It can be served as dry or a gravy based curry. the measurements I used gave medium spicy curry, but one could always increase the spices to suit your taste. Paneer is usually deep fried and added to the dish. I shallow fried them without any corn flour and still had a wonderful taste.

Get Ready: ( serves 2-3)

  • 1 cup paneer small dice
  • 1 cup mixed peppers (I used red and orange)
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 spring onion chopped green and white separately
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  •  1 tsp dhania powder/ coriander powder
  • 1 tsp redchilli powder
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  •  1 tsp chilli sauce
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • salt to taste
  •  cilantro to garnish

  • In a pan, add 1 tbsp oil. when hot add the paneer and shallow fry till they are golden crispy on the outside. set aside.
  • In the same pan, add the remaining oil. once hot add the cumin seeds and let it crackle.
  • Add the white part of chopped spring onions, fry for few mins
  • add the ginger garlic paste and fry till aromatic.
  • add the coriander powder, red chilli powder and saute for a minute
  •  add the tomatoes and cook till mushy.
  • add the peppers, a little salt and fry on medium to high heat till they are soft yet crunchy.
  • add the ketchup, soy sauce, chilli sauce and salt to taste.
  • Mix everything well and let it cook for a minute or two.
  • Add the paneer cubes and toss everything well.
  • Tyrn the heat off.
  • garnish with cilantro and green of spring onions.
  • serve hot with chapathis.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Strawberry Muffins

I've never used cake flour to bake. i had picked up a box of cake flor sometime back. Also had some strawberries shrivelling inside the fridge. Googled and found that cake flour gives a much lighter texture.
Combined the above 2 and made these yummy muffins. They were so fluffy, almost like the blueberry muffins you get in Dunkin donuts. i used 3/4 th sugar, it was little sweet, you can always reduce the sweetness if you want to. Adding nuts might be another good idea. my kids don'y like nuts in their muffins and I skipped it. They were soft and moist the next day as well.
Get Ready: (Yields 7 muffins)

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup coarsely pureed stawberries
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 stick butter melted
  • 1/2 tbsp sourcream or yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  •  salt a pinch


  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Line muffin tin with liners or spray.
  • Cream melted butter and sugar till smooth.
  • Add egg, and all wet ingredients.
  • Mix well till all are well incorportaed. I used an electric mixer, medium speed for 3 mins.
  • add the flour, stawberry puree and fold.
  • Do not over mix.
  • fill 3/4 of the nuffin tin and bake till a tooth pick comes out clean.
Enjoy for breakfast or any time as a snack!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Paalak Paneer

Palak paneer is pretty popular in the western world, next to Chicken tikka masala and channa masala. One could compare it with creamed spinach minus the aromatic spices, right!
This is a simple and very nutritious curry to go well with roti, naan or rice. I am sure ebery household have their way of doing this. some may fry the paneer, some not etc etc..

I did not deep fry my paneer and used fresh spinach rather than frozen. Addig cream gives very rich consistency to the gravy, but i replaced it with whole milk. Evoparated milk works fine too.

Get ready ( serves 2)

  • 1/2 box of fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 2 large tomatoes pureed
  • 1 medium onion , mushed up in food processor or blender
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 cup paneer cubed
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 "' cinnamon stick
  • 1 clove
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 2-3 tbsp whole milk
  • salt to taste.


  • In a large sauce pan, add the spinach leaves, a little water to wet them. let it  boil till the spinach leaves wilts.
  • turn the heat off. remove the spinach leaves without water and puree them. keep aside.
  • In a pan, add oil and let the cumin seeds,cinnamon, clove nd cardamom and let it sizzle.
  • Add the onion and fry till golden.
  • add the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes.
  • Add the coriander powder, garam masala, redchilli powder and fry till raw smell disapperas for a minute.
  • add the tomato puree, salt to taste. let it come to a boil
  • Cover, and let it cook for 5 -10 mins.
  • Add the spinach puree and check for salt and spices.
  • let it come to a boil uncovered
  • Add the paneer cubes and gently fold them into the gravy.
  • let it cook for a minute or so uncovered
  • Add 2 tbsp of milk and turn the heat off.

Serve hot with roti, chapathi or rice.

Enjoy this green goodness!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

2 min Chocolate cake in a mug, Seriously!

2 min Chocolate cake in a mug, Seriously! No kidding!

The Moment I saw this cake here and  there , I was determined to make it.

I liked the idea of adding coffee and used the recipe from not quite nigella.
It looked simple, no fuss and yet a tasty treat. Adding instant coffee bring out a great chocolatey flavor to this cake. The cooking time varies slightly with the power of your microwave. I stringly recommend the initial cooking for 1 min and then increase by 30 seconds as needed. I cooked mine for 1 min and 20 seconds.

Get Ready: ( serves 2 )
  • 1 Mug
  • 4 tbsp  all purpose flour
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt.
  • ½ tsp instant coffee powder (optional)
  • 3 tbsp chocolate chips ( optional)
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • A dash of vanilla
  • 1 large egg

  • In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, oil well.
  • Add the dry ingredients ( flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, instant coffee powder) and incorporate well.
  • Add chocolate chips, vanilla extract.
  • Grease 2 coffee mugs with cooking spray.
  • Divide the batter into 2 coffee mugs.
  • Microwave on high for 1 min. the cake will rise, but will not spill if you use a big mug.
  • Cook for additional 30 secs if you need a softer cake, or just 10 secs, if you want a gooey middle.
  • Serve warm with vanilla, or coffee ice cream or whipped cream.
Enjoy your Mother's day with this super simple chocolate cake in a mug!

PS: Ask your DH and children to read this post as they can make it in a jiffy too!

This recipe is sure a keeper!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Butternut Squash Raita

ButterNut Squash (BNS) is a frequent visitor in my kitchen. I use them for sambar, curry, Curried butternut squash soup and this yummy raita. As any other raita, there is yogurt and what makes it unique is using raw mustard seeds with coconut. I learnt this recipe years ago from my aunt. It goes well with rotis. or any spicy pulao or vathakuzhambu.

The only pain in cooking butternut squash is peeling the lard skin. Life is made easier for those who don't want to do this by selling diced BNS.
I served it with rice and the left overs, was used as a spread on my tortilla rollups as lunch.

Get Ready:

  • 1 cup diced BNS, boiled and mashed
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 2-3 green chillies ( more if you like it hot)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup plain yogurt.


  • Grind mustard seeds, green chilli, ginger and coconut with little water.
  • add it to the mashed BNS
  • add yogurt, salt to taste and mix well.
  • Doesn't need any tadka.

Serve chilled.

Sending this to kiranjay and Priya's  cooking with mustard seeds event.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

No Knead Bread Rolls for Maitri

Many of you might have heard about Maitri  an awesome event for all bloggers in USA. This is a brain child of Priya and Reshmi. I was so excited to be a part of this. I was paired with Divya of divya-dilse and she sent me an ingredient with which I had to cook. Pretty cool right! For more information or if you would like to be a part of maitri check

Divya was so sweet to send me a card and cute potato peeler. She sent me Flax seeds to be included in the cooking.

 Flax seeds are rich in Omega 3 and help to lower cholesterol. I had book marhed a no knead bread roll from here.

I included flax seeds in the rolls and they were super soft and delicious too! I quarterd the recipe and it gave me rolls. The rolls get cooked in 20 mins ,but the hardest aprt is the waiting for 2-3 hrs! yes, you just want to see the dough rise and want to get your mouth into it! For the original recipe check PW!




Get Ready (yields 11 rolls)

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 and 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds coarsely ground
  • 1 and 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt



  • Pour 1 cup of milk into a pan. add sugar and oil and scald the milk.  let it bubble at the sides,but not boil.
  • Turn the heat off.
  • Wait to cool well, so that the when you touch the pan with the palm of your hand it feels comfortable. you don't want to kill theyeast if the milk mixture is very hot.
  • Once cooled, add 1 cup flour and 1 & 1/4 tsp yeast.
  • Mix well with a spoon. once the flour and yeast are well incorporated,add another cup of flour.
  • Stir well and allow it to sit covered with a tea towel for 1 hour.
  • The dough should double by now.
  • After an hour add the 2 tbsp of flour,baking powder, soda and salt and mix well.
  • ( it's ok, to kead if you want to!)
  • Butter any baking dish of your choice. I used a 9 " ci rcular cake pan.
  • Form balls of desired size from the dough, smoothen it and arrange in the baking pan.
  • Once you are done with all the dough, cover and let it sit in a warm place for 2 hrs.
  • Bake in preheated 400 F oven for 17 -25 mins till golden on top.
  • Rub with a little butter to get that extra shine.




Look how soft and fluffy the inside is! Thanks Priya, Reshmi and Divya, it was fun and totally enjoyed this event!