Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Thinai Sarkarai Pongal | Millet Sweet Pongal | Pongal Recipes | Millet Recipes

At times all you need is something healthy. At times all you need is something comforting and at times all you need is some sarkarai pongal. Sarkarai pongal to me is simply home... Amma's sarkarai pongal is the best. It hits every note right, not overpoweringly sweet, the right amount of ghee, correct consistency and is perfection in every aspect. My son loves sarkarai pongal and I make it a point to make it for him once every two weeks and sometimes I sneak in healthiness like this, by subbing the rice for millet. He never finds a difference and its a win-win for both of us. You can use any kind of millet here - kodo, jowar, barnyard or anything.

~*What U Need*~
Fox millet / Thinai - 1/2 cup
Moongdal - 1/4 cup
Jaggery - 1/2 - 3/4 cup
Saffron - 4 to 5 strands
Cardamom - 2 to 3 crushed
Cashewnuts - a handful
Raisins - 1 tbsp
Ghee - 2 to 3 tbsp
Water - as needed

How I Made it:
Wash and soak the millet and set aside. Heat 1/2 tsp ghee in the pressure cooker and fry the moongdhal till it turns light brown. Add the soaked and drained millet to this, add 2 1/2 cups of water and pressure cook for 2 whistles. Meanwhile, heat the jaggery with 2-3 tbsps of water till the jaggery melts. Strain the syrup and set aside. Once the pressure subsides, remove the lid, add the strained jaggery syrup and heat the mixture in medium heat for 3 - 4 mins. Remove from the flame. Roast the nuts and raisins in ghee. Add the nuts, ghee, saffron and cardamom to the pongal and mix well.
Serve warm.

So thats it Folks...
With Love,
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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Five Healthy Muffin Recipes| Guest Post by Craig of Cake Journal

I am glad to welcome Craig of Cake Journal to share some healthy baking... Over to him.

In most cases, the words healthy and muffin do not necessarily go together. By using alternative ingredients, it is possible to cut fat and sugar levels to a minimum. This decreases the muffin's caloric value and adds ingredients with nutritional value, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. The following five recipes produce muffins that are not only tasty, but full of health benefits. 

Orange Scented Almond and Olive Oil Muffins
To make Orange Scented Almond and Olive Oil Muffins, first preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. The recipe produces 18 muffins, so place liners in an appropriately sized tin. First beat one cup of sugar and four eggs for two minutes. Add 1/2 cup of room temperature orange juice, 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup room temperature plain Greek yogurt, one teaspoon each of vanilla and almond extracts, and the zest from a large orange and beat again. Combine one cup of almond flour, 1 1/4 cups of all
purpose flour, and two teaspoons fine sea salt in another bowl. Slowly mix the dry ingredients with the wet until well combined, and then add 1/2 cup of sliced almonds.
Portion the batter by 1/3 cup per liner and bake for approximately 20 minutes. When finished, the muffins appear golden and moist. Allow them to cool for 20 minutes, and then apply a light dusting of powdered to the tops.

Apple Muffins
Apple Muffins do not require pan liners. Instead, spray a 12 slot pan with nonstick cooking spray and set the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss 1/4 cup of chopped pecans, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon in a bowl and set aside until the batter is poured. Using a whisk, combine one cup each all purpose and whole wheat pastry flour, one teaspoon baking
soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a second bowl. In a third bowl, combine 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup canola oil, two eggs, one cup applesauce, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Whisk well, then slowly combine the dry ingredients with the wet, adding 3/4 cup of low fat buttermilk and 1/4 inch, peeled pieces of one golden delicious apple.
Divide the batter evenly between the 12 slots and top with the pecan mixture. Apple Muffins take 20-25 minutes to bake, or until an inserted toothpick can be removed cleanly. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing the muffins from the pan.

Blueberry Whole Wheat Muffins
Blueberry Whole Wheat Muffins require a baking temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place 12 liners in a tin before preparing the ingredients. Mix 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup each vegetable oil, reduced fat sour cream, and brown sugar, 1 teaspoon each of lemon zest and vanilla extract, and two eggs. Combine both bowls and fold in a cup of blueberries.
Place the batter evenly in the 12 slots of the tin. Bake the muffins for 20 to 24 minutes. The muffins will appear golden when finished.

Pumpkin Muffins
Bake Pumpkin Muffins at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Tin liners are not necessary; simply spray a pan fit for 12 with cooking spray.
Mix one cup each all purpose and whole grain pastry flours, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. In another bowl, combine 3/4 cup of brown sugar, three
tablespoons molasses, 1/4 cup canola oil, two eggs, and whisk. Add a can of canned pumpkin and one teaspoon vanilla extract before combining with the flour mixture and 3/4 cup of low-fat buttermilk.
Divide the batter evenly in the tin and distribute 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds among them. Bake for 20 minutes, followed by a 15 minute cooling period, and then remove them from the pan. You can find some more variations here

Carrot Muffins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a 12 slot tin with muffin liners before combining 3/4 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 2/3 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons wheat germ, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. In a separate container, whisk together two eggs, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, then add 2 cups of medium carrots and 1/2 cup of drained crushed pineapple.
Place the batter into the tin. Carrot Muffins bake for 30 minutes. In their final form, they are golden, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

So thats it Folks...
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Monday, June 18, 2018

Mango Sago Kheer | Mango Javvarisi Payasam

Hi my friends, how are things going on at your end? Life has been pretty hectic. We moved back from the US and still haven't got the hang of things. The weather was too much for us that I came to my parents' house in Nagercoil for the kid's summer vacay. Time seems to be flying with friends and family visits happening every now and then. The kid is enjoying to the fullest whereas I am eating to my fullest.

This kheer happened when my mama's family came to visit us. Making the dessert fell upon me and since mangoes are in season and there was this fully ripened mango smiling at me from the fruit basket, this is what I came up with. This payasam is perfect for the season, mildly sweet and slightly thick with the light hint of mango. I would suggest to serve this chilled because it brings out the flavors.

~*What U Need*~
Sago / Javvarisi - 1/2 cup
Milk - 2 cups
Water - 1 cup
Mango - 1, peeled and pureed
Sugar - 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup
Ghee - 2 tsp
Cashews - 6 to 7 broken
Dried grapes - 10
Cardamom - 3
Chopped mango pieces - 1/4 cup

How I Made it:
Soak the sago in water for 15 to 20 mins. Rinse and drain the sago. Add this to 1 cup of water and boil till the sago turns clear or cooked. Add milk and boil for 5 to 7 mins. Add sugar to taste and boil for an additional 5 mins. Add the mango puree. Bring it to a brief boil, add crushed cardamom and switch off the flame. Heat ghee in a pan, saute the cashews and kismis and add this to the kheer. Serve chilled topped with chopped mango pieces.

So thats it Folks...
With Love,
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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

So how was your Christmas? Mine was great filled with loads of fun, lots of gifts and cartloads of happiness and love and we are all set to receive the new year with the same spirit. Last two weeks were super busy with pappu's holiday party and Christmas baking and then followed by his Christmas holidays. This week has been a rollercoaster ride, first it was pappu down with the flu and then it came down to me. Boy O Boy, how I wish I was resistant to the cold.
Its been simple rasam saadam for the past one week and only today did I make something yummy, something simple and something that reminded me of my mom, childhood and nagercoil.

Coming to this recipe, I made these for my son's Chirstmas party. The kids enjoyed these totally diving in head first into the frosting. I don't know what but there is something about carrot cupcakes and cream cheese frosting that makes it totally divine and irresistible. This recipe is a keeper and it makes the softest of the soft cupcakes and the smoothest frosting that pairs perfectly with these cupcakes.

Adapted from here
~*What U Need*~
All purpose flour - 1 1/4 cups
Baking powder - 1/2 + 1/8 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Ground cinnamon - 1/2 + 1/8 tsp
Nutmeg - 1/4 tsp
Ground cloves - a pinch
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Carrots - 1/2 lb, peeled and grated
Granulated sugar - 3/4 cups
Light brown sugar - 1/4 cup
Large eggs - 2
Vegetable oil - 3/4 cup

For the frosting:
Cream cheese - 6 oz, not softened
Unsalted butter - 4 tbsp, room temperatue
Vanilla extract - 1/2 tbsp
Confectioners' sugar - 2 cups

How I Made it:
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line one cupcake pan with paper liners. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt; whisk together and set aside. Add the carrots to the bowl with the dry ingredients and set aside. In a stand mixer, whip the sugar and eggs until light and frothy. Add the oil with the mixer at medium speed. Beat till the mixture is light. Stir in the carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Scoop evenly into the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for about 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan at least 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. To make the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, add milk to bring to the desired consistency and then beat until smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

Serve with love!!!

So thats it Folks... With Love,
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Monday, September 26, 2016

Caramel Cashew Icecream | Icecream recipes period. Open my freezer and you can find a tub of icecream anytime of the year, be it summer or spring or fall or even during the peaks of winter. Sometimes I make it at home and sometimes I buy it from the store.
The huss is a big fan of nuts in icecream. The likes like butter pecan and caramel cashew from Kopps make him go bonkers and we end up buying a scoop or two whenever it is the flavor of the day at Kopps. Few days back there was a sale for cashews in one of our local stores and I picked 2 packets to stock up. I then felt it was way too much (thats how I roll, guys) and so wanted to use up atleast one packet. Half of it went into making this yummilicious caramel icecream. Well, dont ask about the rest.

~What U Need*~
Granulated sugar - 1 cup
Heavy cream - 2 cups, 1+1
Rosated salted cashew - 1 cup
Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp
Whole milk - 1 1/4 cup
Egg yolks - 5, large

How I Made it:
Bring 1 cup cream to a gentle boil. Heat 1 cup sugar in a thick bottomed vessel with 4 tbsp water swirling occasionally to melt the sugar evenly. Melt the sugar till it turns dark amber. Add the cream to the caramel and stir gently until it forms a homogeneous mixture. Be careful the caramel will splutter a lot as soon as you add the cream to it. Remove from the flame. Meanwhile, bring milk, remaining cup cream, to boil in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally.

Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Add the milk mixture in a thin stream into the yolk whisking all the time. Pour back into saucepan and cook over medium heat, until custard coats back of spoon and registers 170°F on an instant-read thermometer. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, and then stir in cooled caramel. Chill custard, stirring occasionally, until very cold overnight. When you are ready to make ice cream, add chopped salted roasted cashew to the custard mixture and make ice cream according to your manufacturer’s instructions.
If you don’t have ice cream maker, freeze the mixture for 45 minutes. Take it out, break up frozen bits with whisk. Repeat this process at 30 minute intervals for 2-3 hours. Freeze until ready to serve.

Yummy ice-cream is ready...

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

(Amma Cooks) Vadakari.. And I am back!!!

Well I know that the blog has been silent for quiet sometime or let me be honest and say quite a longtime. This time it was not the writer's block all through the way. It started off with the writer's block but then it extended to laziness and finally settled down on bloggers stats. There were days when there were 40+ comments on a single post and then there were days when there were 0 comments. The latter kept on extending which kinda demotivated me. Then came summer and days moved on like minutes.

It was only a few days back that I opened up my blog. As I read through it, I realized how much I had enjoyed writing, editing and posting up a recipe here. I decided to come back and what better way than my mom's traditional recipe. I clicked this picture way back in 2012 when I was an amateur photographer. Well I am no great now, I am still an amateur photographer but atleast I know something about lighting and natural light now. Back to the point, this is my mom's recipe, cooked by her and eaten by us. Good old days, huh!!!

~*What U Need*~
For the vadas
Channa dhal - 1/2 cup
Green chilli - 1
Red Chilli - 1
Shallots - 6-7
Hing powder - a pinch
Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Oil - to fry

For the Curry:
Onions(large) - 2
Tomato(large) - 1
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tbsp
Coriander leaves - a handful

To Temper:
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Cinnamon - 1" pinch
Cloves - 2
Cardamom pods - 2
Bayleaf - 1

To grind:
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Green chilli - 1
Grated Coconut - 1/4 cup
Poppy seeds - 1/2 tbsp

How I Made it:

Lets prepare the vadas first. Soak the chana dhal overnight. Chop the onions, green chillies and curry leaves finely. In a blender, add the chana dhal, red chilli and fennel seeds. Pulse it 2 - 3 times. You should have some whole chana dhal here and there. Put this mixture in a bowl, add chopped onions, green chillies, curry leaves, hing and salt and mix well. Pinch lemon sized balls. Heat oil and deep fry till evenly brown. Break these into 2 and set aside.

Chop the onions. Blend the tomatoes into a smooth paste. Heat oil in a kadai, add the ingredients under to temper. Add the onions and saute till soft. Now add in the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes off. Add turmeric powder and fry.

Add the blended tomato to the onions and fry till oil separates. Blend all the ingredients under to grind to a smooth paste. Add this paste to the cooked onion-tomato mixture.

Fry till oil separates. Add the broken vada pieces, garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

** My Notes:
** Add water to bring to the desired consistency.
** When thick this makes a perfect side dish for chapathis or dosas and when thin, would be great with hot rice. However, we always prefer this with dosas.

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Kerala Kadala curry / Kadala curry

There are a few dishes which are etched in my mind mainly because those dishes frequented our dinner tables quite often when I was a kid. We are not from Kerala but the influence of Kerala is a bit more in my place. We cook a lot with coconut oil and kappa puzhukku with meen kuzhambu is still my favorite. And then there is kadala curry and puttu, an all time favorite. Though I don't make the duo a lot, I make kadala curry often to go with our chapathis.

~*What U Need*~
Black chenna/Chickpeas - 3/4 cup, soaked overnight

For grinding:
Coconut - 1/2 cup
Water - 1/4 cup to grind to a smooth paste

For the masala:
Onions - 1, medium chopped
Tomato - 1/2 medium, chopped
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tsp
Green chilli - 1
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Corinder powder - 1 tsp
Coconut oil - 2 tbsp
Water, salt

How I Made it:
Grind the coconut to a smooth paste and set aside. Heat 2 tbsp coconut oil in a pan. Temper with mustard seeds and half the amount of curry leaves. Add the chilli and saute for a min. Add the onions and saute till golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw smell leaves. Add the tomatoes and saute till soft. Add the soaked chenna, enough water and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles or till soft. Once done. Add the spice powders and mix and cook for 3-4 mins. Add the ground coconut paste. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes on a low flame. Add enough water to bring to the desired consistency. Season with salt. Let the curry come to a boil and you see oil separate from the curry. Add the curry leaves and remove from the flame.

Serve kadala curry hot with puttu or appam or steamed rice or rotis.
So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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