Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wishing You All Merry Christmas with a glass of wine !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Grape Wine 5
Black Seedless grapes  --   ½ kg
Sugar                                  --   5 cup sugar
Egg White                         --   ½ of a large egg
Yeast                                  --   1 tsp
Wheat kernels                --   ¾ cup
Water                                 --   6 - 8 cups
Cloves                                --   3 - 4
Cinnamon                        --   1 small stick
Cardamom                      --   1 - 2
Grape Wine 2
Preparation of Wine:
Boil the water in a clean vessel. Let it cool completely.
In another cup of luke warm water,add yeast and set it aside for 15 -  20 min.
Clean and dry the grapes. Crush the grapes well. I used a mortar,but your hands should also do a wonderful job.Make sure it is clean.

Grape Wine 3

Take a clean dry jar, preferably a dark colour one with a tight lid. The jar should have the capacity to fill in double the quantity of the above ingredients.
Now add the crushed grapes,sugar, wheat kernels, spices, yeast, beaten egg white and water. Cover the mouth of the jar with a clean cloth and tie tightly. Close with the tight lid.

Grape Wine 1

Keep this in a dark corner for 21 days. I was using a glass jar and hence covered it with foil paper to make it dark. Stir this with a clean and dry wooden spoon every day.
On the 21st day, strain the mix with a muslin cloth / cheese cloth into a clean and dry glass jar. Keep this for minimum of 21 days, removing the sediments every 3 - 4 days until you get a clear water. Use dark colour jars/ bottles to store the wine to preserve its colour.
Grape Wine 4

Recipe Courtesy: Vanitha magazine

Monday, December 19, 2011


Unniappam 9
Rice Flour             --   1 cup
Ripe bananas      --   2 small ones/cherupazham - If using yellow robesta, use 1 ripe banana.
Jaggery                 --   250 gm
Maida / APF        --   2 tbsp
Baking Powder     --   ¼ tsp
Sesame seeds      --  1 tbsp
Coconut bits        --  1 tbsp (I used cashew nuts in bite size)
Ghee                        --  2 tbsp
Oil                            --  As required for deep frying - preferably coconut oil or ghee

Unniappam 1
Preparation of unniappams:
Melt jaggery with ¼ cup of water. Strain to remove any impurities and keep aside.Let it cool to a slight warm temperature.
Meanwhile mash the bananas and keep aside.
Heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a pan and fry the coconut pieces/nuts until slight brown. Add the sesame seeds and switch off the flame. Sesame seeds gets fried in the hot pan. Keep it aside.
Unniappam 3     Unniappam 2
Add the flours and baking soda to the warm jaggery syrup and mix well without any lumps. Hand works better here in place of ladles and spoons.Add the mashed banana and mix well. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of ghee and the fried coconut/nuts and the sesame seeds.
The batter should be in the consistency of dosa batter or condensed milk. You should be able to continuously pour it without breaking the line.
Add water / milk to adjust the batter to reach the above consistency. It is always better to add water / milk little by little to make sure you do not over do.
Keep it aside for 1 hour (optional). This helps to make the appams softer.
Place the unniappam pan on the stove and pour coconut oil into each rounds until they are half full. Heat the oil on a high flame and then reduce it to medium before you pour the batter.
Unniappam 4     Unniappam 5
Pour batter in a round until it is ¾ full. Remember, the batter should flow into one round without any breaks in between. Take a break and go to the next round.
Let it cook on one side and once the appams are firm turn around with the a metal/wooden skewer to cook the other side to a golden colour. Once it gets browned on both the sides remove it from the pan using a fork / skewer / spoon.
Unniappam 6   Unniappam 7
Here comes my moms trick to drain the oil. Keep a steel plate in a slanting position and place the appams on the higher part when removed from the pan. You can see oil flowing down. Once they are cool, transfer it on to a kitched towel to drain completely.  When preparing in large junks, my mom reuses the oil flowing down the unniappams.
Unniappam 8
Pour oil in the rounds whenever you feel necessary.
Unniappam 10

Snack anytime - be it breakfast or evening tea or let it be a dessert after a great lunch / dinner :). It stays good for 2 - 3 days @ room temperature and for a week or more in the refrigerator. If you store in the refrigerator, heat in a microwave for few seconds before you serve to get the soft unniappams.
Unniappam 11

Recipe Courtesy: Amma 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Paneer Butter Masala

Paneer Butter Masala 9

Ingredients (Serves 4 - 5):

Paneer                                     --   1 packet/250mg
Chilly powder                      --   ½ tsp
Coriander powder             --   1 tsp
Garam masala powder   --   ¼ tsp
Dried Kastoori methi leaves (crushed) - ¼ tsp
Tomato sauce                      --   1 tsp
Milk                                          --   1 cup
Cream                                     --   ½ cup + 1 tbsp for garnish
Water                                      --   ½ cup
Butter                                      --   1½ tbsp
Oil                                             --   1 tsp
Onion                                      --   1 chopped finely
Ginger garlic paste           --   1 tsp
Tomato                                  --   2 medium sized - to puree (comes to 1 cup)
Salt                                          --   to taste
Boil 2 cups of water and immerse the tomatoes in it. The skin of the tomatoes breaks up and now you can easily peel it off. Make a puree out of it and keep aside.
Add chilly powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder, dried kasoori methi leaves, tomato sauce and milk into a mixing bowl and whisk until they are well combined.
Paneer Butter Masala 1      Paneer Butter Masala 2
Chop paneer into cubes. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and fry it until the sides are slightly golden brown. Drain it. I like the non-fried ones and hence do not fry them usually. In that case, just make sure you do not break them in the gravy.
Paneer Butter Masala 7     Paneer Butter Masala 3
Add butter into the same pan. Once the butter is melted, add the ginger garlic paste and saute until the raw smell goes off. Now add the finely chopped onions and fry them until golden brown.
Paneer Butter Masala 4      Paneer Butter Masala 5
Now add the tomato puree and saute until the raw smell goes off and you get a slightly thick gravy. Simmer the flame and add the milk & spices mixture and water. Mix well and keep it for 5 - 6 minutes stirring in-between until the gravy is thick again.
Paneer Butter Masala 6 
Now add the cream little by little. Make sure you stir continuously when you add the cream to prevent it from curdling, even though cream doesn't curdle as quick as milk. You can also replace the cream with whole milk to reduce the fat & calories.
Simmer again until it reaches the required consistency. This should have a semi-thick gravy. Now add the fried paneer cubes and mix well - carefully to make sure that the paneer cubes retain its shape. Switch off the flame and let it remain on the stove for at least 5 min.
Paneer Butter Masala 8
Garnish with cream. You can omit this too, if u want to avoid the extra calories.
Serve hot with rotis or naan.
Paneer Butter Masala 10

Recipe Courtesy : Vahrehvah

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Triangle Cake

I was inspired by Ria to make this wonderful cake.Thank you Ria. It sounded so exciting to read through her post for this triangle cake with vertical layers of chocolate. Mr.AJ being a chocolate fan, I did not have to wait for an occasion to try this out.
Thanks a lot to Peggy Weaver too, who did a very good explanation of how to bring up this design.
Triangle Cake 3
It was fun doing this one. I was planning for days(even though it doesn't require much), looking at the procedure again and again to make sure that I do not go wrong. And since I could not get the continuous appointment of Mr.Time, it took me 5 days to complete the whole cake.
Day 1: Baked the pound cake. Let it cool. Wrapped in foil. Off to Fridge.
Day 2: Prepared the ganache. Placed the cake on the cake board and made 66666 layers out of it. Layered each one with ganache. Into my cake box and back to fridge.
Day 3: Cut the cake diagonally and made it into a triangle. Ohh.. I could see only horizontal layers.. weep.. weep.. weep.. Planned to throw it into the bin. Then decided to finish it anyhow so that I could learn to create the swirls on the cake. Tried to spread the ganache on top.. Ohh.. my ganache was over.. I need more whipping cream & chocolate.. Somebody take me to Wal-Mart. Weep.. weep.. weep..
Day 4: Bought the cream & chocolate. Made ganache and started spreading over. The face side of the triangle was not even because of the browned sides of the cake. Decided to cut a thin layer to make it even. ohhh... wow... my layers.. are vertical :P :P :P. Showed it to AJ and the look he gave me - priceless ;)
Day 5: Photo sessions
Now I know that this one is easy and less prone to mistakes :)
Triangle Cake 4
Ingredients (Serves 10 to 12 Chocolate lovers):
All purpose flour                      --   1½ cup
Baking Powder                         --   2 tsp
Salt                                                 --   ¼ tsp
Butter                                            --   1½ cup
Granulated Sugar                    --   ¾ cup
Large Eggs                                  --   2
Vanilla extract                          --   1 tsp
Sour cream or plain yogurt --   ¼ cup
Milk                                                 --   ½ cup
Heavy cream                           --   1½ cup
Semisweet chocolate           --   375 gms

Preparation of the cake:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter and lightly flour a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
In a separate bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt.
In a small bowl whisk the sour cream with the milk, and the vanilla extract.
Beat the butter until smooth. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Triangle Cake 1
With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and sour cream/milk mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
Pour into the prepared loaf pan. Bake in preheated oven for about 50 - 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely.
Courtesy: Joy of Baking
Preparation of the ganache:
Roughly chop the chocolate into small pieces and place it in a heat proof bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and pour over the chopped chocolate. Stir until combined. Let it cool for 20 - 30 minutes.
You can also prepare the ganache and store in the refrigerator. Lightly heat it to bring it back to the spreadable consistency. If the ganache is too runny, let it cool and if it is too thick, lightly heat it.
Cut the cake into thin horizontal layers. I made it into 6 layers. Spread a dab of ganache between each layers and stick them back. Cut the cake diagonally through the face of the rectangle.Now stick together the top of the top layer and the bottom of the bottom layer with a dab of ganache. For a better understanding visit Peggy's site . This forms a triangle  with vertical lines in front. If your cake is too much browned and if you have some crumbs after cutting the cake into layers, you might not be able to see the vertical lines as me. If you need to even the face of the cake, cut a thin layer and there you see the beautiful vertical lines.
Triangle Cake 2

Cover the cake with the left over ganache. You can decorate it as per your wish. I just made some swirls over it as Ria did. Next time, I am think about decorating it with some icing flowers.
Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream J
Triangle Cake 5

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Varutharacha kallumma kaaya / Mussels in fried coconut gravy:

Varutharacha Kallummakkaya 9
Ingredients (Serves 4 to 5):
Kallummakaaya / Kadukka / Mussels  --    ¼ kg shelled / 50-70 small sized
Potato                                    --   1 medium size
Finely Chopped Onions  --   1 medium size
Ginger                                    --   1 tbsp, chopped finely
Garlic                                     --   1 tbsp, chopped finely
Green chillies                      --   2 - 3, adjust according to your spice level. My chillies were really hot.The spice level mainly depends upon the chillies as we add only a little chilly powder.
Tomato                                 --   1 medium size
Turmeric powder             --   ½ tsp
Coriander seeds                --   1 tbsp (You can also use 1 tbsp coriander powder)
Whole Red Chilly              --   2 - 3  (You can replace this by ½ tsp chilly powder) + 2 for garnishing
Garam Masala powder  --   ½ tsp
Coconut                                --   ¼ of medium size
Mustard seeds                   --   ½ tsp
Curry leaves                       --   2 - 3 springs
Coriander leaves              --   2 - 3 springs
Small onions (Shallots) --   2
Ghee / Oil                            --   1 tbsp
Salt                                         --   to taste
Varutharacha Kallummakkaya 8
Preparation of curry:
The mussels I got here from Costco was the small ones with the shell - Around 50 - 60 nos. Roughly clean the shell using a brush and then steam/heat them in a large vessel without the lid on a low flame. DO NOT add water. Water comes out of the mussels. I used a pressure cooker without the lid.
The shells open wide when they are heated. Toss the vessel in-between to ensure that they are evenly heated and open. When all of them are open, switch off the flame and let it cool.
Now you can just pull out the flesh out of the shells. Few of them would have already fallen off. Instead of steaming the mussels, you can also open the shell by running your knife through the wedges and peel of the flesh from it.I usually do this only for big ones. Doing it this way is a pain for small ones.
Pour the water that came out of the mussels into another small bowl and let it rest for a while. The impurities/particles in the water will sediment and now use that water to clean the mussels. DO NOT use plain water as this mussels will lose it sourness if washed.
If you get larger ones devein them.
Varutharacha Kallummakkaya 1    Varutharacha Kallummakkaya 2
It would be much easier to get the peeled ones :) Now that the mussels are ready to be cooked, lets go ahead with the curry. There are different ways I prepare this curry.
Step 1:
Fry the shredded coconut with coriander seeds and whole chillies until coconut is brown in colour. Make sure you do this on a low flame and keep saute-ing as we need the coconut to be evenly fried and browned. Also make sure that you do not burn the coconut. Remove it from the stove as soon as it is done as there are chances that the coconut burns in the pan. If using coriander and chilly powders, add them a minute before switching off the flame and mix it well with the coconut. This gives a fried taste to the powders. Let it cool and grind it to a fine paste/liquid form.
Varutharacha Kallummakkaya 4     Varutharacha Kallummakkaya 5
Step 2:
Keep the mussels in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the chopped onions, tomatoes, potato, slit green chillies, ginger,garlic, curry leaves, turmeric powder, garam masala powder and salt to the mussels and mix well. Keep aside for 15 - 20 minutes.  OR  Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan, Saute the onions, slit green chillies, ginger,garlic, curry leaves until the onions are pink and soft. Add the tomatoes and saute until they are squishy. Then add the turmeric powder and garam masala and saute until the raw smell goes off. Add the potatoes and fry for few minutes and then add the mussels.
Varutharacha Kallummakkaya 3    Varutharacha Kallummakkaya 6
Step 3:
Cook the mussels on a medium low flame. Add water as required.
Once the mussels & potatoes are 90% cooked, mix the ground coconut and let it boil. Add required amount of water if you need more gravy and let it boil. Add the chopped coriander leaves, switch off the flame and close the pan with the lid. This helps the flavor to induce into the curry.
Splutter the mustard seeds and fry the chopped shallots and red chillies in ghee and garnish the curry. Serve hot with rice.
Varutharacha Kallummakkaya 10

Recipe Courtesy: Amma

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Chicken Samosa

Chicken Samosa 13
Ingredients - Wrapper:
Wheat flour                         --   1 ½ cup
All purpose flour               --   ½ cup
Salt                                          --   to taste
Oil                                            --   2 tsp + To deep fry
Ingredients - Filling:
Chicken                                 --   ½ kg
Ginger                                   --   ½ inch piece
Garlic                                    --   3 cloves
Turmeric powder            --   1/4 tsp
Coriander powder          --   1 tbsp
Red chili powder             --   1 tsp
Black pepper powder    --   ½ tsp
Fennel powder                 --   ½ tsp
Salt                                        --   to taste
Onions                                 --   2 medium ones
Green chilies                     --   4  (depending upon your taste buds. The chillies I get here are really hot.)
Curry leaves                     --   2 - 3 springs
Oil                                          --   2 tbsp
Preparation of the samosa:
Clean and cut the chicken into small pieces. Grind ginger and garlic into a paste. Marinate the chicken with all the masala powders and the ground ginger garlic paste.Keep it aside for 10-15 minutes and then cook until done, without adding water. If using a pressure cooker, close the cooker only after water comes out of the meat else, there are chances that it burns. If there are any excess water, keep on a low flame and let it evaporate, so that the whole masala clings onto the  chicken. Let it cool and then shred the chicken.
Chop the onions, green chilies and curry leaves into very fine pieces.
Heat the oil, and sauté the chopped onions, green chilies and curry leaves until the onion turns slightly brown. Add the shredded chicken and stir until it is well mixed and there is no water content.
Mix the flour, oil and salt. Boil a cup of water and add half a cup into the mixture. Stir it with a spoon and let it cool to a temperature to which you are able to touch it. Make a smooth and hard dough adding more water if required. It is actually hard to measure the exact amount of water required.
Keep it aside for 15 minutes. Divide into equal lemon sized balls.
Roll it into an evenly thick round - same as you do for a paratha - as shown below. Cut it into 4 pieces as shown.
Keep the filling in the center of one piece. Fold is as shown into a triangle. Dip your finger in water and spread it on one corner before sticking it on to the other side. This helps to seal it.
Chicken Samosa 14
Heat oil in a wok (cheenachatti). When it is really hot, reduce the flame to medium. Add the samosas 2 or 3 or more depending on the size of the pan. Turn it over as soon as you add it to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the pan. Fry it until golden brown.
Chicken Samosa 11
Serve hot with some tomato sauce or green chutney.
Chicken Samosa 12

Recipe Courtesy: Myself 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kerala Poratta with Beef Varattiyathu

Porattas are the most unhealthy food that you get in any restaurant in Kerala. Still it is hard to find someone who doesn't like this soft, fluffy, layered bread. I am pretty sure that anyone would have had this the most from the college canteens – Don't you guys agree?  Be it for breakfast, lunch, evening snack or dinner, it doesn’t matter what the curry is; this is always welcome.

In restaurants they use dalda instead of oil to get well layered fluffy parottas. I did not have that in my pantry and went with a mixture of ghee and canola oil. You need lots of energy to knead the dough as it really matters when it comes to the softness. Also in order to stretch the dough to the maximum during people kind of wave it in air on to the board(veeshi adikkuka). I did not have practice and did not know to do that, so used my rolling pin to stretch. You can see videos in youtube and try practicing it.

Parotta n Beef 11

Ingredients – Parotta (Yields – 10 - 12 small parottas):

Maida/All Purpose Flour --   4 cups
Egg                     --   1 large
Milk                    --   1 cup
Salt                     --   To taste
Oil                       --   ¾ cup  (¼ + ½) – I used equal amounts of ghee and canola oil.

Preparation of the parotta:

Take the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add salt. Mix the egg and milk and beat well.

Make a small hole in the center of the flour and pour in the egg - milk mix.

Mix softly to get crumbles.Make sure almost all the flour is wet. Now add the ¼ cup oil in divided portions and knead the dough well. It is easy to knead on a clean flat surface. The dough needs to be kneaded well, say for around 10 - 15 minutes with maximum pressure to get a smooth and soft dough.

Cover and keep the dough with a wet cloth, and let it stand for 4 -5  hrs.

Parotta n Beef 1

Grease your palms well and knead the dough once again for a minute or two. Make equal size balls out of it.

Apply oil liberally on a board and now roll the balls into its maximum stretch. Make sure not to tear a lot. Small holes are bound to appear and is acceptable for beginners like me.

Take 1 tsp of oil and apply it on the flattened dough. Make pleats as shown and then coil. This is done to make layers.

Roll it again into small circles using your palm, greased well(needs lots of pressure) OR you can use the rolling pin.

Fry it on a tawa on medium flame, applying oil on both sides. Once cooked keep it on a dry towel. When 3 -4 are done, pile it up, cover the parottas with the towel an beat from the sides. This helps to separate the layers.

Parotta n Beef 2

Enjoy with the beef varattiyathu. I love to have this with chicken curry or beef roast or vegetable kurma or kadala curry or green peas... the list is never ending J

Ingredients – Beef (Yields – 2 –3 servings):

Beef                                --    ½ kg
Ginger                           --   2 tbsp minced/finely chopped
Garlic                            --   3 tbsp minced/finely chopped
Green Chillies            --   4
Red/Pearl Onions   --    1 cup, finely chopped
Coconut slices/Thengakothu -- ½ cup
Curry Leaves            --   2 springs
Turmeric Powder   --   ½ tsp
Chilly Powder          --   1½ tsp
Coriander Powder --   2 tbsp
Salt                               --   to taste
Coconut oil               --   2 tbsp

For Masala powder: (Can be substituted with 2 - 2½ tbsp of Eastern Meat Masala)

Fennel Seeds           --   1½ tbsp
Whole Pepper         --   ½ tbsp
Cinnamon Sticks   --   2 to 3 - 1 inch sticks
Cardamom              --   2
Cloves                        --  2
Mace                          --  1 – I omitted this as I did not have it in stock; but try not to :)

Parotta n Beef 3

Preparation of Beef Varattiyathu:

Grind  the ingredients for the masala into fine powder.  Keep ½ tsp of masala aside.

Cut and clean the beef, preferably wash it 6 – 7 times. I also use a tsp of vinegar during my 3rd or 4th wash and then rinse it thoroughly.

Make a marinade with the rest of the masala, 1 tbsp of ginger, 2 tbsp of garlic, ¼ tsp turmeric powder and salt. Apply it thoroughly on the cleaned beef  and keep it aside for half an hour. Pressure cook without adding any water until the beef is completely cooked. It takes around 4 – 5 whistles in my pressure cooker.

Parotta n Beef 5   Parotta n Beef 6

Heat oil in a pan and add the slit green chillies, remaining ginger and garlic and saute until the raw smell starts leaving. Add the finely chopped pearl onions and saute until they turn slightly golden, on a medium- low flame. Add the remaining turmeric powder, chilly powder and coriander powder and let the raw smell go off. Make sure you do not burn the powders.

Parotta n Beef 4   Parotta n Beef 7

Now add the curry leaves and the coconut pieces and fry well. Then add the cooked beef and mix well with the onion masala. Let it boil and the water in the meat dry  slightly.

When the gravy/onions start sticking on to the meat, add the reserved ½tsp of masala and fry well until you get a dark brown colour. Make sure you keep on sautéing the beef at this stage.

Parotta n Beef 10

Add more curry leaves for a good aroma and flavor and mix well. Switch off the flame and close the pan with a lid to lock the aroma. Serve hot with the parottas. This goes well with appam, puttu, any Indian breads or even with simply steamed rice.

Parotta n Beef 8

Does this really pair with a black label ??? I have never tried – But so says my sweet heart !!!!!!!!!!!!!


Parotta n Beef 9