Monday, December 8, 2014

Aval Vilayichathu

The very first time I had this yummy snack was from Chennai – from my roommate Reni. Her mom used to prepare this for her every time she came back from home – And I used to finish that up J. I remember getting the recipe from her once and had scribbled it down then. I did not have that note with me but just remembered the ingredients. I knew it wouldn’t go bad as this was something sweet with all my favourite ingredients. Here goes the one with my measurements.

Aval 2

Ingredients:(Serves 2 - 3)

Jaggery                                           --   1 ¼ cup grated/powdered (adjust as per your taste. This is for ones with sweet tooth like me)
Water                                               --   ¼ cup
Aval                                                  --   2 ½ cup
Grated coconut                           --   1 cup
Cardamom powder                    --   1 tsp
Ghee                                                 --   2 tbsp (optional)
Chana Dal                                       --   2 tbsp
Black Sesame seeds                    --   1 tbsp
Coconut bites/ thenga kothu --   as required(optional), I did not add this.
Cashew nuts and raisins           --   as required, I used 8 - 10 each

Aval 3


In a heavy bottomed pan ,add jaggery with water and let it melt completely. Strain for any impurities and keep aside.

Heat ghee in a pan and add the raisins. Fry until they are blown up. Drain and keep aside.

Add the chana dal and fry until golden brown. Drain and keep aside with the raisins.

Repeat the same with the cashew nuts, coconut bites and sesame seeds one after the other and drain it and keep aside.

Add the aval and fry it until it is crispy. and keep is aside. This step is optional and this will give the snack a crunchy taste if eaten warm and on the same day. If you are planning to save this for later, you can omit this.

Add the jaggery syrup to the pan and cook over low flame until you get one thread consistency (When you lift your spoon, it should flow in without breaks or into a small bowl of water drop a small drop of the syrup and it should not get dissolved.) 

At this stage add the grated coconut and mix well. Cook for 2 -3 minutes until it is thick.Add the cardamom powder. Switch off the stove.

Add the aval and mix well until combined. Add the other fried items kept aside. Mix well.

Best if served with sliced bananas.

Aval 1

This stays good over the counter in an air tight container for a week or two. And for couple of months is refrigerated.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Vanpayar thoran:

This is a quick,easy, yummy & healthy dish. The only part that I dont like is that we need to plan well ahead for this dish. Soaking the payar for 6-8 hours really matters. At times I ve tried various other short cuts like soaking it in hot water for 1 - 2 hours or pressure cooking it for longer time etc.. You can get it cooked well in all ways.But the perfection comes only when you soak it for a longer time.

This pairs best with rice & moru curry or with Kanji . But I love to have this even with chapathi or puttu.

VanPayar Thoran 4

Ingredients (Serves 3 to 4):

Red gram                    --   1½ cup
Turmeric powder   --   ½ tsp
Chilly powder          --   ½ tsp
Coconut                      --   ½ cup
Cumin seeds              --   ½ tsp
Garlic                           --   2 to 3 pods (optional)
Shallots                       --   2 to 3
Mustard                      --   ½ tsp
Red Chilly                   --   3 to 4
Curry leaves             --   2 - 3 springs
Salt                               --   to taste


Soak red gram for 6 to 8 hours. Wash and cook it in a pressure cooker with turmeric powder and chilly powder.

Coarsely grind together coconut and cumin with a pinch of turmeric powder.

VanPayar Thoran 1       VanPayar Thoran 2

Heat oil in a pan and splutter the mustard seeds. Add the red chillies and curry leaves.Add the finely chopped garlic(optional) and shallots.

Add the ground coconut mixture and fry for a minute.

Now add the cooked lentils to this, mix well and switch off the flame.

VanPayar Thoran 5

Serve hot with rice or kanji.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Achinga Payar Mezhukkupuratti / Long Beans Stir Fry

Payar Mezhukkupuratti 3

Ingredients (Serves 3 - 4):

Achinga Payar / Long Beans  --   250gm
Turmeric Powder               --   ¼ tsp
Chilly Powder                     --   1 tsp
Shallots                                 --   2 - 3 (optional)
Mustard seeds                    --   1 tsp
Red chillies                          --   2
Curry Leaves                      --   1 sprig
Oil                                            --   2 tbsp ,  I use coconut oil
Salt                                          --   as required


Clean and cut the payar/beans; almost 2 inch . In a pan, add the cut beans, turmeric powder, chilly powder, salt and half a cup of water and let it cook until soft. Add more water only if required - we want the beans to be completely dry, by the time it is cooked. Keep aside.

Payar Mezhukkupuratti 1

Heat oil in another pan. Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add the curry leaves and broken dry red chillies. Add the chopped shallots, if using and saute until the shallots are brown.

Add cooked beans and mix well. Keep it on a low flame for few minutes, until any remaining water gets dried.

Payar Mezhukkupuratti 2

Serve hot with rice.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Potato Bonda

Aalo Bonda 6

Ingredients (Makes 20 medium sized):

Potato                        --   4 medium sized
Onion                         --   1 small
Green chillies         --   3-4
Turmeric powder --   ¼ tsp
Mustard seeds       --   ¼ tsp
Cumin seeds           --   ¼ tsp
Curry leaves           --  3 -4 leaves
Oil                               --  2 tbsp

For the cover:

Besan / gram flour --  ¾ cup
Rice flour               --   1/8 cup
Chilly powder      --   1 tsp
Asafoetida / Kayam --   ½ tsp
Baking soda          --   ½ tsp
Salt                           --   as required
Water                      --   ½ - ¾ cup

Oil                            --    as required to deep fry

Aalo Bonda 5


Clean the potatoes and cook them in a pressure cooker adding enough water. Or cook the potatoes as you do, preferably without peeling.

Peel the cooked potatoes and mash it.Keep aside It need not be mashed to very smooth consistency - depending upon how you like to bite them :)

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds Let it splutter. Add the cumin seeds. Then add the finely chopped onions and thinly chopped green chillies and salt. Saute until the onions are slightly brown. Add the thinly chopped curry leaves and turmeric powder. Saute for couple of minutes.

Add the mashed potato and switch off the flame. Mix and let it cool.

Give a good mix with your hand and make equal sized balls out of it. Keep aside.

Aalo Bonda 1

Mix all the ingredients for the coating.Add water little by little and make the batter. The consistency of the batter should be medium thick - like dosa batter, if you are familiar with it.

Heat oil in a deep pan, preferably a deep & wide kadai. Once the oil is really hot, reduce the flame to medium.

   Aalo Bonda 2                   Aalo Bonda 3

Dip the potato balls in the batter, roll it around to have an even coating and deep fry. Turn the bondas only after couple of minutes, once the coating really sticks to it. Otherwise, the spoon might tear the coating and oil gets into it.

Fry until the cover is golden brown as shown.

Aalo Bonda 4

Serve hot with chutney or ketchup.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Beef Biriyani

Beef Biriyani 2


Beef Masala:

Beef                                    --   ½ kg ( cut into big pieces)
Onion                                --   2 medium size
Green chilly                    --   4 - 5
Ginger                               --   1 inch piece
Garlic                                 --   8 - 10 cloves
Tomato                             --   1 big
Turmeric powder         --   ½ tsp
Chilly powder                 --   2 tsp
Coriander powder         --   1 tsp
Pepper powder               --   1 tsp
Garam masala                 --   2 tsp
Bay leaves                        --   1
Cloves                                --   3
Cinnamon Sticks            --   1 inch piece
Oil                                        --   3 - 4 tbsp
Salt                                      --   as required
Mint leaves chopped   --   ½ cup
Coriander leaves chopped --   ½ cup


Basmati Rice           --   3 cups
Water                         --   6 cups
Cinnamon                --   2 piece.
Cloves                       --   4
Cardamom              --   2
Bay leaves               --   2
Whole pepper        --   1 tsp
Ghee                                   --   3 tbsp
Lemon Juice                   --   4 - 5 tbsp
Cashew nuts & raisins  --   as required
Salt                                      --   as required
Mint leaves and Coriander leaves chopped --   ¼ cup (both together - for garnishing)
Garam masala        -- 2 tsp

Beef Biriyani 4


Beef Masala:

Clean and cut the beef into medium size pieces.

Marinate it with salt, half of garam masala and pepper powder and keep aside.

Grind the green chillies, ginger and garlic to a course paste.

Heat ghee in a pressure cooker and add the bay leaves, cloves and the cinnamon sticks. Saute for few seconds and then add the green chilly - ginger - garlic paste. Saute for a minute or until it starts turning light brown and add the thinly sliced onions.Saute until they are brown and mushy.

Add chilly powder, coriander powder,turmeric powder and garam masala and saute until the raw smell goes off. Now add the chopped tomatoes and saute until they are slightly mushy.

Add the marinated beef pieces and mix well. Add few drops of water if required and also add salt. I switch off the flame and keep this for 10 - 15 mins, before cooking.

Cook for 3 - 4 whistles(depending upon your cooker) until the beef is done. Open it once the pressure is released completely.If there is excess gravy, cook with the lid open until it has a semi thick gravy. Add the chopped coriander leaves and mint leaves and give a good mix.


Wash the rice and drain it in a strainer. Keep aside for 10 - 15 minutes so that the water is completely drained off.

Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a deep pan. Add cashew nuts. Fry until light brown. Add raisins.Let it puff up. Drain it and keep aside.

Add the whole spices. Fry for a minute or two.Add the strained rice.Meanwhile keep the water to boil. Fry the rice until the water boils. Once the water boil, pour it into the rice and mix. Add required amount of salt and do a salt check on the water. Close the pan and let it cook on a medium flame. The rice will completely absorb the water and will be cooked to 90%. Do not let the rice cook 100% as it ll be overcooked after the dhum process.  Let it cool. Spread the rice on a flat platter to cool it quickly. Use a fork to spread. Using a spoon might break the rice.

Beef Biriyani


Take a heavy bottomed pan or an oven safe dish, if baking. Spread the ghee at the bottom. Generously spread the first layer of rice. Sprinkle some garam masala and chopped leaves. Add some nuts and raisins. Sprinkle some lemon juice.(You can also add the lemon juice while cooking the rice. This is to make the rice softer.) Then add the masala. Top it with rice and the garnishing. Repeat this until the rice and the gravy is used. Make sure to top it with the rice and the garnishing. I use a flat pyrex dish and hence have only 3 layers – rice – gravy – rice.

Preheat the oven to 250 F. Cover the dish tightly with an aluminum foil and  bake it for 25 mins. If using a vessel, on stove top, layer and cover it with a tight lid ,and keep it on the top of a heavy tawa and heat it for 10-15 minutes.
Mix it well and serve with raita, pappad and chammanthi.

Beef Biriyani 5

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Prawns Stew

Prawns Stew 3

Ingredients (Serves 4 - 5):

Salad Shrimp / Small prawns --   250 gm
Potato                               --   3 - 4 medium size
Carrot                               --   1 medium size
Red Onion                       --   1 medium size
Ginger                               --   2 tbsp,thinly sliced
Garlic                                --   2 tbsp,thinly sliced
Green Chillies                --   2-3
Cardamom                      --   1
Cloves                               --   2
Cinnamon                       --   1" piece
Curry leaves                  --   1 sprig
Thick Coconut Milk     --   1 cup
Thin Coconut Milk       --   1 cup
Black Pepper powder --   1 tbsp, freshly made preferably
Coriander leaves          --   2 - 3 sprigs
Oil                                       --   2 tbsp, preferably coconut oil
Salt                                     --   as required

Prawns Stew 2

Preparation :

For the coconut milk: We need half of a coconut grated. Thick milk is usually extracted by squeezing coconut with your hands, or pulsing in a blender couple of times, adding a quarter cup of hot water. For thin coconut milk, add about ¾ cups of water to the squeezed coconut and blend it in the mixer. Strain it.

I used canned coconut milk. 1 cup of thick coconut milk = ¾ cup of canned milk + ¼ cup of water. 1 cup of thin coconut milk = ½ cup of canned milk + ½ cup of water.

Clean the shrimp and keep aside.

In a pressure cooker heat oil and add the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and sauté for a minute.

Add the finely chopped onions, ginger, garlic and slit green chilies and saute until the onions turn translucent.

Prawns Stew 1

Add the shrimp, diced potatoes, diced carrots and curry leaves and saute for few minutes until the water is completely evaporated. Add the thin coconut milk and pressure cook until the veggies are cooked.

Now add the thick coconut milk. As soon as the mixture starts to boil take it off from the stove. Garnish with pepper powder.and chopped coriander leaves.

Prawns Stew 4

Serve hot with appam / bread / ghee rice.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Chicken 65

Chicken 65 1
Ingredients (Serves 2 - 3):
Chicken                      --   1½ lb
Turmeric powder  --   ½ tsp
Kashmiri Chilly powder         --   4 tsp
Coriander powder --  3 tsp
Garam masala         --   ½ tsp
Pepper                       --    ½ tsp
Fennel powder       --   ½ tsp
Ginger                        --    1 tsp, crushed & 1 tsp finely chopped
Garlic                         --   1 tsp, crushed & 1 tsp finely chopped
Corn Flour               --   2 tbsp 
Egg                              --   1
Lemon Juice           --   1 tbsp
Salt                              --   To taste
Red Colour               --   a pinch, optional - I have never used this
Oil                                --   to deep fry
Curry leaves            --   2  - 3 sprigs
Green Chillies          --   3 – 4
Chicken 65 2
Clean and cut the chicken into small bite size pieces.Preferably use boneless thigh pieces.
Marinate it with all the ingredients except oil, chopped ginger, chopped garlic, green chillies and curry leaves. Keep it for at least 2 - 3 hours or overnight. I always marinate it over night.
Heat oil in a pan. Add the marinated chicken pieces in batches and deep fry it on medium heat. Roughly tear 3 - 4 curry leaves and add it along with each batch. Once done, drain it and place it on kitchen towel for further draining.
Chicken 65
The oil level should be above the chicken pieces. Make sure that the chicken is browned well, but not over cooked. Keep in mind that the colour changes / darkens slightly once it is out of the oil. If over cooked, the chicken will turn rubbery. It took around 10 - 15 minutes on the electric stove, but this can change on the type of the pan and the level of oil. Check the doneness in-between, so that you can judge your cooking time.
When the last batch is almost done, add the slit green chillies, finely chopped ginger and garlic and the remaining whole curry leaves to the pan. Let it fry along with the chicken and drain it together.
Finally give a good mix with remaining fried chicken and serve hot.
Chicken 65 3

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Perfect Pound Cake

Perfect Pound Cake 3


All Purpose flour  --   200g
Baking powder       --   ¼ tsp
Salt                              --   ¼ tsp                   
Unsalted butter     --   227g/2 sticks(softened)
Granulated sugar  --   250g
Eggs                            --   4 Large, at room temperature
Lemon zest              --   1 tsp
Vanilla extract      --   1 tsp
Heavy cream         --   80ml

Perfect Pound Cake 1


Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a 4 x 8 inch pan - Grease and line it with parchment paper.

Sift flour with baking powder and salt and set aside.

Cream the softened butter in a mixer at medium high speed until creamy (about 2 mins). Add sugar and continue beating for about 4 mins until light and fluffy.

Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, until well blended.

Perfect Pound Cake 0

Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract.

Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating it with heavy cream.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 60-70 mins (It took 68 mins for me) , until the cake turns brown and a skewer comes out clean.

Perfect Pound Cake 2

Recipe Courtesy: Shirley

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cauliflower–Egg Thoran

Cauliflower   Mutta Thoran 3


Cauliflower                --    250 gms
Turmeric powder    --   ½ tsp
Cumin seeds              --   ¼ tsp
Green chillies            --    2
Shallots                        --    2 small ones
Shredded coconut   --   ¼ cup
Eggs                               --   1 or 2 or optional
Black Pepper              --   ½ tsp
Mustard seeds           --    ½ tsp
Red chillies                 --    2
Curry Leaves             --   few
Oil                                   --   2 tbsp
Salt                                 --   to taste

Cauliflower   Mutta Thoran 5


Chop the cauliflower into required size. Mix the turmeric powder, cumin seeds, slit green chillies, chopped shallots,salt and shredded coconut into chopped cauliflower. 
Heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add the red chillies broken into small pieces and the curry leaves. Then add the cauliflower mixture and sauté for 1 - 2 mins.  Close the pan and let it cook for another 5 -6 min. Open the lid and sauté it at every 1 minute interval and make sure that it doesn’t burn. When the cauliflower is almost done, break the eggs into the pan and mix well. Let the egg cook. Keep sautéing at intervals to make sure that it doesn't stick on to the bottom. Do a taste check and add more salt if required. sprinkle the pepper and give a good mix.

Cauliflower   Mutta Thoran 1
If adding one egg, the cauliflower bit will just have a slight coating to give a different flavor. If adding 2 eggs, you can see small bits of scrambled egg along with the cauliflower bits. I have added 2 eggs in this one.

Cauliflower   Mutta Thoran 2

Serve hot with rice or chapathi.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Chicken Puffs

Chicken Puffs 3
Ingredients (Makes 9):
Puff pastry sheets  --   1
Egg white                   --   1 large
Chicken                      --   ½ lb
Onion                          --   1 small
Ginger                         --    1 inch piece
Garlic                          --   3 - 4 pods
Turmeric powder  --   ½ tsp
Chilly powder         --   1½ tsp
Coriander powder --  2 tsp
Garam masala         --   ½ tsp
Pepper                       --    ½ tsp
Fennel powder       --   ½ tsp
Coriander leaves   --   2 - 3 stalks
Oil                                --   1 tbsp
Salt                              --   To taste
Chicken Puffs 4
Clean and cut the chicken into small pieces.Preferable use boneless pieces. Marinate it with half of the turmeric powder,  chilly powder and required amount of salt. Keep if for couple of hours and cook it until done. Add water only if required. We can also cook in a pressure cooker for easy cooking.If in a pressure cooker, add ¼ cup of water.
Let it cool and then shred it. Save the stock, if you have any.
Heat oil in a pan. Add the finely chopped onions, ginger and garlic and saute until golden brown.  Add the remaining turmeric powder and chilly powder,coriander powder, garam masala, pepper and fennel powder. Saute until the masalas are well blended and the raw smell goes off. Add the cooked chicken and mix well. Add the saved stock or ¼ cup of water and mix well. Saute until the mixture is dry enough.
Keep it aside and let it cool.
Chicken Puffs 1               Chicken Puffs 2
Follow the instructions on the puff pastry to thaw. Most brands come with 2 sheets. The sheets will be folded in three, so it is always easy to divide it into multiples of 3. Depending on the thickness of the puffs required, we can make 6 or 9 from one sheet. I usually roll it a bit and make out 9 from one sheet. Cut and roll, if required, into required shape.
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Divide the masala into equal number of portions. Make sure that each portion is not more than 2 tbsp. If you have excess, then save it for later use.
Fill the masala in each portion of the pastry and fold it.Brush the edges with a little water and seal it. Line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper and grease it slightly. Arrange the prepared puffs on the sheet. Beat the egg white and brush it on the top of each puffs.
Keep the sheet on the middle rack and bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until the top turns golden brown.
Chicken Puffs 5

Monday, October 6, 2014

Rose Ombre Cake

Rose Ombre Cake 1
White Cake :
All purpose Flour --   2 cups + 2 tbsp (you can also use 2 cups + 4 tbsp of cake flour and eliminate corn flour)
Corn Flour               --   2 tbsp
Whole milk              --   1 cup
Egg whites               --   6 large
Vanilla extract      --   1 tsp
Granulated sugar --   1¾ cups
Baking powder      --   4 tsp
Salt                             --   1 tsp
Unsalted butter    --   1½ sticks / ¾ cup
Rose Ombre Cake 3
Heat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.Grease and prepare four 6 inch pans.
In a small bowl, add the milk, egg whites and vanilla extract and mix with a fork until well blended.
In the bowl of the electric mixer, add the flours, baking powder and salt. Mix it at very low speed for about a minute.Add butter (at room temperature) and continue beating for about 2 minutes until the mixture resembles moist crumbs.
Add all but ½ cup of milk mixture to the mixture and beat at medium speed for 1½ minutes. Add remaining ½ cup of milk mixture
and beat for a minute or until the entire mixture is mixed well.
Divide the batter into 4 cups and colour as per your wish. If not coloring, pour directly into the cake pans.
Pour each portion into the prepared cake pans. Place it in the oven with even spacing.
Bake until a toothpick / skewer inserted comes out clean. It took about 20 - 22 minutes.
Let it cool to room temperature and then prepare it to get frosted - level it if required.
Rose Ombre Cake 0

Confectioners sugar --   2 lbs or more
Butter                             --   1 cup
Vanilla extract           --   1 tsp
Heavy Cream              --   ½ cup or more as required
Rose Ombre Cake 4
Cream softened butter and vanilla in a stand mixer for 2-4 minutes. Add in the sugar, one cup at a time.Add the cream as required to reach desired consistency. You can also add the cream in-between the sugar, if the mixture is too thick for the mixer at some point.
Optionally you can also add couple of tbsp corn syrup for a smoother consistency - I haven't used this here.
Rose Ombre Cake 3
Recipe Courtesy: I am the baker

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Chicken Roast

Chicken Pattichathu 5
Ingredients (Serves 6 - 7):
Chicken                   --   1 kg, approximately
Onion                       --   3 big, thinly sliced
Crushed garlic      --   1½ tbsp
Crushed ginger     --   1½ tbsp
Shallots                    --   15 - 20nos
Black pepper          --   1½ tbsp
Turmeric powder --   ½ tsp
Chilly powder        --   1½ tbsp, adjust accordingly - this level is above medium spicy.
Fennel seeds          --   ½ tsp
Garam Masala        --   1 tsp
Tomato Sauce        --   2 tbsp
Soya Sauce              --   1 tbsp
Coriander leaves   --   6 - 8 stalks, chopped
Mustard seeds        --   1 tsp
Curry leaves            --   1 sprig
Salt                              --   as required
Oil                                --   2 - 3 tbsp, I used coconut oil
Chicken Pattichathu 6

Marinate the chicken with turmeric powder, crushed garlic, crushed ginger, pepper, chilly powder, garam masala, crushed fennel seeds, salt, roughly chopped shallots and one onion thinly sliced. Keep it aside for half an hour.
Cook the marinated chicken with half a cup of water in a pressure cooker / a wide pan until the chicken is well done. Cook with the lid open  until the gravy is semi thick consistency.
In a heavy bottomed pan, add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add the curry leaves and the remaining two onions, thinly sliced and fry until the onions are golden brown. Add the tomato sauce and the soya sauce and saute for a minute.
    Chicken Pattichathu 1              Chicken Pattichathu 2
Add the cooked chicken to the fried onions and mix well.
     Chicken Pattichathu 3                Chicken Pattichathu 4
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.  Serve  hot with rice / chapathi.
Chicken Pattichathu 7
Recipe Courtesy: Partially from Magic Oven