Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Achappam / Rosette Cookies kerala style


Ingredients(Yields - 40 medium size achappam):

        Rice Flour -- 1 cup
        All Purpose Flour --  1/2 cup
        Sugar -- 3/4 cup
        Salt -- a pinch
        Thick Coconut Milk -- 1 cup
        Egg  -- 1, beaten
        Sesame Seeds -- 1 tsp
        Coconut Oil / any refined oil -- as needed for deep frying



Mix together the rice flour, all purpose flour, sesame seeds, sugar and salt using a whisk. Add the beaten egg and coconut milk to form a semi thick batter - similar to or a little thicker than dosa batter. 

Set it aside for 30-45 minutes. 

Heat oil in a wok. Have the achappam mould in the hot oil while it heats and 2-3 after the oil is sizzling hot. 

The mould has to be really hot for the batter to really stick onto it. I used a nonstick mould and hence prior preparations were not necessary. If using any other metal mould, dip it in oil overnight or more before you start making achappams. 

When the mould is hot enough, take it out of the oil shake of any excess oil and dip in the batter until the mould is half covered , or 3/4th covered. Never ever allow the batter to over flow the mould, otherwise it would not get released. 

Take the mould out of the batter and dip into the hot oil. Wait until the sizzling reduces well and then gently shake off the mould to have the achappams detach from the mould. As soon as the batter is cooked, it should release by itself. 

Turn it over and cook until both the sides are golden brown. The colour darkens after you take it out as well. So take care not to burn it. Once they are cooked remove from oil and drain on a paper towel. 

Heat the mould again and repeat the process. I leave the mould in the same oil after detaching the achappam, so that it stays hot. Based on the size of the pan, you can make as many as long as they don’t overlap each other. 

This is not at all hard as it is being told 😊. The nonstick moulds are a blessing too. 

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Naadan Laddoo with camphor


Ingredients(Yields - 18 medium size laddoos):


        Kadala maavu / Besan Flour -- 1 cup
        Baking Soda --  a pinch
        Salt -- a pinch
        Turmeric Powder  -- 1 tsp (optional)
        Water -- as required
        Ghee -- 2 - 3 tbsp
        Vegetable Oil -- 2 cups or more as needed for deep frying

Sugar Syrup:

        Sugar --1 cup
        Water -- 1/4 cup
        Cardamom Powder -- 2 tsp
        Camphor -- 1 small pellet powdered(Optional)
To mix:
        Raisins --  a handful 
        Ghee -- 2 tbsp
        Kalkkandam -- 1/2 cup crushed



Mix the besan, baking soda, turmeric and salt. Add water little by little to form a batter similar to the dosa batter consistency.

Heat oil in a wok. Pour the batter into the hot oil through a round slotted spoon (check the mixture recipe for the picture). If the batter is too thick, boondi will be long in shape. If the batter is too thin, then boondi will be flat. Add more flour / water accordingly to adjust the consistency if needed.

Do not add over crowd the boondi in the oil as it may cling together and loose its shape. 

Let it fry just until it cooks or the sizzling stops, less than a minute. Drain onto a paper towel. Do not fry the boondi too crispy as this might not let the sugar syrup soak in.

Continue this until the batter is done.

Wipe the back of the slotted spoon for every batch, otherwise the batter will stick on it and not form a round shape.

Once the batter is done, add the prepared boondi into a bowl.  Add 1/3rd of the boondi into a mixer and just crush it to a coarse powder. Add this back to the bowl and mix. You now have a good blend of boondi powder and full shaped boondis.

Once the boondi is ready, prepare the sugar syrup. 

Mix water, sugar, cardamom powder and powdered camphor in a sauce pan. Let it boil until it starts bubbling up. Switch off the flame. Add colour at this stage if you wish to do so, I did not as the turmeric did give a nice yellow colour to the boondis. 

Do NOT wait until string consistency, it might harden the sugar as it cools. We have used only less water to form firm laddoos. If you like your laddoos to be softer, add a little more water, but not more than half a  cup.

Quickly add the sugar syrup to the prepared boondi in a big bowl. Mix well with a spoon. Add ghee and raisins (you can fry the raisins in ghee, if you wish to. I just added it as is) at this stage. 

Let it cool to touch, add the kalkkandam and mix well. If you add it while hot, it might melt the kalkkandams. The boondi might have soaked in the sugar syrup by now and you should have a warm sticky mixture. 

While it is still warm, grease your palms with ghee, take a handful of the mixture and roll into ball. Work quickly, not bothering to shape it well. Once all the balls are made, wash your hands, grease again and then roll the balls into a smooth shape.

Let it sit for a day to let the flavors blend well. 

Enjoy !! 

- I couldn't take any step by step pictures. Will make a note to take some good pictures next time and update :)

Paneer Bhurji

Ingredients(Serves –4 ):

Paneer                          -- 250 gms
Onion                            -- ½ cup, finely chopped
Ginger Garlic Paste  -- 1 tsp
Green Chillies             -- 2
Tomato                         -- ¼ cup, chopped
Turmeric Powder     -- ¼ tsp
Garam Masala            -- ½ tsp
Cumin seeds               -- ¼ tsp
Coriander leaves      -- 1 - 2 sprigs
Oil                                   -- 1 tbsp
Salt                                 -- as required

Paneer Bhurji 3

Preparation :

If you are making paneer at home(refer here), you can avoid the steps of shaping it up. If using store brought paneer, grate it and keep aside.

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan, add the cumin seeds, chopped onions, green chillies and ginger garlic paste. Saute until the onions turn brown.

Add the tomatoes and saute until they turn mushy.

Add turmeric powder, garam masala powder and salt mix well. Saute until the raw smell goes off.

Add paneer and saute until the paneer blends into the masala.

Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot.

Paneer Bhurji 2

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Christmas Fruit Cake covered in royal icing (Old fashioned Kerala Bakery Style)

Ingredients (Makes 2 - 9inch cakes):

All purpose flour -- 3 cups (1 lb)
  Butter  -- 1 lb, room temperature
Sugar -- 2 cups (1 lb)
                Eggs -- 10
  Baking powder -- 1½ tsp
Cinnamon Powder -- ½ tsp
Clove Powder -- ½ tsp
Nutmeg Powder -- ½ tsp
                Vanilla Essence  --   ½ tbsp 
Honey -- 2 tsp
Glycerin -- 1 tsp (optional)
Caramelized sugar -- 1 cup sugar caramelized with ½ cup water

Mixed fruits (Tutti fruity, ginger snaps, citrus peels) -- 2½ cup - soaked in rum for atleast couple of months
Dry fruits (Chopped cashews, walnuts) -- 1 cup

                Egg whites -- From 2 large eggs
                Confectioners Sugar -- 3 - 4 cups
                Lemon juice -- 1 tsp


Soak the fruits in rum for atleast 2 months or up to a year. I have also used the store bought candied fruits without soaking in rum. It enhances the flavor if soaked in rum.


Start with the caramel, add the sugar with water in a sauce pan and heat on medium flame. Let it boil. Once it starts to bubble, reduce the flame to medium low. It takes 15-20 minutes to get a dark brown colour. Take care not to burn the caramel. The caramel once cool should have the consistency of honey.

If it gets too hard, add more water and heat it up until it melts. If it is too thin, heat it for a little bit more time.  Keep an eye on it to make sure not to burn the caramel. I like to have it in a dark brown colour, but not burned.

While hot, it will have a free flowing consistency and thickens as it cools. Handle with utmost care. Never ever try to touch or lick the caramel at any stage before it is completely cool.

I usually prepare the caramel atleast a day before to have it cool while adding to the cake. At times I make for 2-3 batches together and save it in a mason jar.


Prepare two 9 inch cake tins and keep aside.  At times I use small rectangular pans and this yields about 9-10 small cakes based on the size of the pans.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.

Separate the egg yolk and whites. Add the egg whites into a clean bowl. Keep it aside.

Sift the flour with the baking powder and the spice powders. Keep it aside.

Add sugar to the egg yolks and beat well. Add the butter and continue to beat until it is light and fluffy. 

Add vanilla essence, honey and glycerin. Beat well. 

Add the flour mix and mix on medium speed. Add the caramelized sugar syrup and beat again.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites until still peaks. If you do not have multiple mixer bowls, prepare the egg whites first and then start with the yolks. Make sure you prep all other items so that it doesn't have to sit so for long. I use my stand mixer for the batter and hand blender for the egg whites.

Add the fruits and nuts to the batter. Mix on medium speed.

Add the stiff egg whites and fold in into the batter. Do not over mix as that would deflate the batter. 

Spoon the batter in to the prepared pans and bake for 45minutes - 1 hour. This varies based on the size of the pans used. Keep an eye on the cakes after 45 minutes. Bake until the tooth pick comes out clean when poked in the middle of the cake.

Let it cool completely on the cooling rack. Cover the cake in a foil wrap tightly and keep it in a dark place for 2-3 days. This allows the flavors to blend well with the cake.

Slice and enjoy at this stage or you can also add more sweetness to beautify it with the icing.


Add the egg whites to a clean bowl. Make sure the bowl and the beater is clean and free of any oil content. Beat until they form stiff peaks.
Add the confectioners sugar 2 tbsp at a time and let it mix well. Finally add the lemon juice and beat well. This should give a smooth and shiny mixture. 

While adding the sugar check for the consistency and make sure it is not too thick or not too thin. It should be a spreadable consistency. 

Working with Royal icing needs more practice and you can see that on my cake walls :) . I somehow managed to get a good swirl on the top.

Decorate it on the cake as desired. I gave an old fashioned - Kerala bakery style look adding couple of fondant flowers as well.

Recipe Courtesy: A bunch of good friends in Jacksonville and for the icing, I do not remember the site - I just searched on internet and found one

Sunday, September 27, 2020


Ingredients (Yields 20 - 25 based on size):

       Urad Dal whole        -  1 cup
       Baking soda             -  ½ tsp
       Salt                           -  1½ - 2 tsp    
       Oil                            -   2 - 3 tsp
       Water                        -  ½ cup
       All purpose flour      -  as required, while rolling


       Grind the urad dal into a fine powder. Sieve it using a strainer/sieve with small holes.

       Add the baking soda and salt to the urad flour. Give a quick mix. Add oil and start mixing to just incorporate the oil into the flour.

       Add water and mix well to form a thick rough dough. At this stage add more oil if needed, not more than a teaspoon.

       Transfer the dough onto a clean chopping board / counter top / any clean hard surface. Use a pestle to pound the dough. I actually started with the base of the mortar first and as the dough became softer, used the pestle to pound it better. This step takes approximately 15 - 20 minutes of continuous pounding.(Yes thats a good workout for your arms.) The dough would be now soft to handle.

        Roll the dough into a log, approximately half inch diameter. I divided the dough into two before I rolled. Using a knife cut the log into approximately an inch pieces.

        Roll each portion into small rounds, dusting with all purpose flour. Using a cookie cutter, or any round lid, cut the rolled ones into perfect rounds. I used a small lid and hence my pappadoms were a bit smaller than the regular size ones. However, size doesnt matter.

         Spread the pappadoms on a clean cookie sheet and let it dry under sun for 10 - 15 minutes. Flip them in 10 minutes to have it completely dry. Do not dry it too much as it might get stiff. It should still be pliable.

         Fry the pappadoms in hot oil. We fried all of it right then and hence not sure about the shelf life.

Recipe Courtesy: Ria's Collection / Story telling camera

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Turkish Tres Leches Cake


Ingredients (Serves 20 - 25):

All purpose flour   --   2 cup 
Baking powder      --   2 tsp 
Salt                        --   ½ tsp  
Eggs                      --   6 
Sugar                     --   1½ cup 
Vanilla extract       --   1½ tsp  
Milk                       --   ½ cup 
Cardamom powdered --  1 tsp


Evaporated Milk   --   12 oz can 
Condensed Milk   --   14 oz can 
Heavy Cream        --   3 cups 
Rooh afza              --   ½ cup (if you need a pink colour, this can be replaced with 2 tsp of rose essence, if you just need the flavor and not the colour.)

     Ashta - Final topping: 

Whole Milk          --   1½ cup 
Heavy Cream       --   1½ cup  
Corn Starch          --   6 tbsp 
Granulated Sugar --   ½ cup 



Preheat the oven to 350F.  Prepare a 9x13 pan with atleast 2 inches depth. 
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt 2 - 3 times. Keep aside.  
Separate the egg yolks and the whites. 
Beat the egg white at a high speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar, few tbsp at a time. Continue to beat until the egg whites form a peak stage. Add the yolks, one at a time and beat until the mixture falls like a ribbon. 
Add the vanilla and mix well. 
Divide the flour mixture into 3 and add a portion at a time into the egg mixture using minimum speed or you can also fold using your spatula. Alternate with milk. Mix until just combined.  
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes until the top springs back when touched.
Let it cool completely. 
Once cooled, poke the cake with a fork or knife throughout. 
Whisk together the evaporated milk, condensed milk and the heavy cream until combined. Add the rooh afza or the rose essence. Do a quick taste test and add sugar, if you need it sweet. I usually dont, but it is based on how sweet you want the cake to be. 
Carefully pour half of the mixture on the cake. Make sure to give a full coverage, especially on the edges. Let it soak completely. Once done, pour the remaining mixture on the cake. 
Let it sit in the fridge for 2-3 hours. 



Mix all the ingredients in a sauce pan. Whisk until well combined and no lumps. 
 Let it boil on a medium flame, the mixture will start to thicken. Let it thicken to a pudding consistency. 
Switch off the flame and let it cool for just 2 minutes (not any more as it will get set soon). 
Pour the mixture over the cooled cake and spread evenly.  Let it cool completely and leave the cake back in the refrigerator. It takes minimum of another 3-4 hours to have this set completely.
Garnish with pistachios and roses or any other condiments as desired. I just picked few dries roses from my garden.
You can have the toppings added on the same day or a day later, based on when you would like to serve the cake. 
This is how I prefer - 
Day 1 - Soak the cake and refrigerate

            Day 2 - Prepare the topping, spread on the cake and let it sit back in the refrigerator for another day

            Day 3 - Serve the cake 

Recipe Courtesy: amwhatieat

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Caramel Custard - Instant pot Version

Ingredients (Serves  8 – 10):
         Milk                            --   2 cups 
         Eggs                            --   3
         Sugar                           --   ½ - ¾ cup (As to taste) 
         Sugar to Caramelize    --   2½ tbsp 
         Vanilla Essence            --   ½ tsp 

Preparation of caramel custard pudding:

Prepare a 6 inch cake tin and keep aside. 

You can also use multiple ramekins and stack them in the instant pot. I have tried stacking 2 6 inch cake tins in the instant pot and it worked perfect.
For the caramel, add the sugar with 2 tbsp water in a small sauce pan and heat on medium flame. Let it boil. Once it starts to bubble, reduce the flame to medium low. This need a little patience. Stir continuously to have an even colour. Let it caramelize. Once it turns brown, look for the colour you are looking for and switch off the flame as soon as it is achieved. It just needs seconds to burn the caramel.

Quickly and carefully pour the caramel into the pan and swirl it to make sure you have an even coating on the bottom. Let it cool.

Never ever try to touch or lick the caramel at any stage before it is completely cool.

Beat the eggs well until it is smooth. Add the milk, sugar and vanilla essence. I use either a hand mixer or just blend all together in a blender until well combined.  

Pour the mixture onto the cooled caramel. Cover if with a foil to avoid any moisture getting into the custard.

Add 1 cup water into the instant pot. Keep the filled cake tin on the steaming rack and carefully keep this in the pot.

Close the lid and with the venting knob on sealing position, pressure cook at high pressure for 15 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally, approximately another 10-15 minutes. 

Once done remove the foil cover and gently dab any moisture on the custard with a kitchen towel.  At this stage the center might look a little wiggly, but it will set well as it cools.
Let it cool to room temperature and refrigerate until they are chill. 

Use a butter knife or back of the spoon to separate the custard from the sides of the pan and turn it upside down onto your serving dish. Slice and enjoy !!!