Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Dindigul Thalappakatti Biriyani - Original Authentic Recipe (Vegetarian Version)


Dindigul Thalappakatti Biriyani  is very famous in Tamil Nadu known for its authentic southern spices and texture.It is fragrant, spicy, a bit tangy and full of strong flavors..This recipe is an original authentic recipe but instead of chicken I have replaced it with Soya chunks aka the Meal maker.Its rich in protein and has a great taste and texture.

My husband loves this biriyani so much that he could eat this every single day .Ha ha. He insisted a lot that I make this recipe and post it in my blog.So here goes :) ....



Ingredients:
  • Seeraga Samba rice /KaliJeera rice - 2 cups
  • Water - 4 cups
  • Dried Soya Chunks - 1 cup
  • Curd - 1 cup
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice from - 1 lemon
  • Cilantro/Coriander leaves chopped - 1 cup
  • Mint leaves chopped - 1 cup
  • Salt
  • Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp 
  • Ghee - 1/4 cup
  • Oil - 3/4 cup

Masala - Ingredients to grind:
  • Shallots(small onion) or Large onion - 2 cups
  • Garlic pods (peeled) - 15-20
  • Medium size ginger - 1
  • Green Chilli - 5-7 depends on your spice level.
  • Cloves - 3
  • Cardamom - 3
  • Cinnamon stick broken pieces - 3
  • Nutmeg - 1/2 piece

Marinating the Soya chunks:
  • In a large pan add water and let it come to boil.Add a bit of salt and 3 tblsp milk.(The milk is to remove the strong smell of soya chunks).Add the dried soya chunks.Let it cook for 10 mins.Drain and let it cool.Squeeze the excess water out of the chunks after they are cooled.
  • In a bowl add the curd, red chili powder and a pinch of salt.Mix them well.Add the boiled soya chunks and mix .Let the soya chunks absorb the marinade for atleast 15 mins.
  • This is an important step.If the soya doesn't absorb the marinate then the taste would not be that good.If you are using meat then substitute the soya chunks with meat and marinade and cook it in the same method as stated below.
Making the biryani:
  • Wash and soak the rice (2 cups) in 4 cups of water for atleast 30 mins.
  • Take a food processor and add all the ingredients under "Masala".Pulse them and then grind them until smooth.
  • In a large pan add the ghee and oil.Add the ground masala and saute until the raw smell goes and the oil gets separated.This takes about 15-20 mins.
  • Add the marinated soya chunks and saute well until the masala is coated well with the soya chunks about 10 mins.
  • Take the soaked rice and drain the water into a bowl.Do not throw the water out we are going to add this water into the pan with the masala.Let it come to a boil.
  • Add the chopped corainder leaves,mint leaves,lemon juice,salt(check if more salt or red chili powder is needed) and finally add the rice.
When dealing with Seeraga samba rice we have to be careful as it cooks really fast.Please follow the exact timing to avoid overcooked/undercooked rice.
  • After adding rice mix them well.Close the pan with a lid.Let it cook on medium flame for 5 mins.
  • Then reduce the flame and let it cook in low flame for 10 mins.
  • Check if there is any water left out and give a gentle stir.
  • Next switch off the flame and close the lid.Let it rest for 15 mins.Please allow it to rest it definitely makes a difference in taste.
  • Serve hot with onion raita.

  • If you are planning to use vegetables instead of soya chunks, you dont have to marinade them in yogurt.Just add the yogurt into the pan after sauteeing vegetables. 
Enjoy your biriyani :)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Crispy Banana Waffles - 4th Anniversary Blog Post



It has been 4 years since I started this blog and this makes me immensely happy.A big thank you to everyone for all the love and support !! Your love keeps me motivated :)

I have been meaning to post a waffle recipe for so long. Traditional waffles are yummy healthy,crispy on the outside and a bit spongy on the inside.But I always like my waffles crispy.This recipe is nice and crunchy both on the inside and outside.

I am a big fan of banana bread and combining the flavor into the waffles made it even more yummy.It is healthy and nutritious.

Golden Organic bananas


Do you feel the crispiness ?


Ingredients
  • All purpose flour - 1 and 1/2 cups
  • Corn starch - 1/2 cup
  • Baking powder - 1 tblsp
  • Granulated white sugar  - 1/4 cup
  • Light brown sugar - 1/4 cup
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Eggs - 2
  • Ripe Banana - 2 large mashed
  • Cinnamon - 1/2 tsp
  • Nutmeg(optional) - a pinch
  • Cannola oil or vegetable oil - 1/3 cup
  • Milk - 1 and 1/2 cup

Method
  • Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  • Beat the eggs,oil,milk and whisk them together in a bowl.
  • Add the wet ingredients into dry and mix them gently until there are no lumps.Add the mashed banana and mix again.It is ok if the bananas are a little chunky.
  • Get your waffle maker heated up to the setting just below the high.Too low heat would ruin this recipe .We want a crispy waffle not a soggy one.
  • Pour a generous ladle of batter on the waffle iron.Make sure you don't leave any space.
  • Let it cook until the timer says its ready. Then switch the setting to medium and allow them to get crispy for about 2 more mins.Make sure you don't burn them.
  • Sprinkle with almonds,fresh bananas,honey,semi sweet chocolate chips and powdered sugar.Breakfast can't get any better than this.
Yummy breakfast

Monday, March 7, 2016

Fruit and Nut fudge - Tastes Almost like Cadbury Fruit and Nut



I am a big fan of the fruit and nut flavor of Cadbury's chocolate.This fudge recipe tastes almost similar to that.So if you are a big fan of it ,then you have to try this and I am sure you are gonna be so addicted !!
Microwave fudge is the easiest way of making fudge.It is yummy,easy, quick and just takes 2 minutes. 


  • Instead of writing a long blog post ,I have just broken down all the steps into pictures.Hope it helps !




  • All you need is a microwave..Just mix the ingredients and let the microwave do its magic.The fact that I am eating a few while writing this post makes me even more happy  :) 
  • Add a pinch of salt as it will bring out the flavor but it is optional.






Ingredients :
  • Semi sweet chocolate chips - 3 cups
  • Condensed Milk - 12 oz can
  • unsalted butter - 1 tsp (optional)
  • Assorted mixed nuts and dry fruits -1 cup
Method:
  • Line your pan with aluminum foil.This comes in handy when you can take the fudge out of the refrigerator to cut them.
  • Mix all ingredients except the nuts and fruits and microwave on high for 1.5 min or 2 mins until the chocolate is melted.
  • Mix well until you get a glossy chocolatey gooey mixture.
  • Just before pouring into the pan,add the nuts and mix them gently.
  • I  have used California raisins and for nuts make sure you get the roasted mixed unsalted nuts - Cashews,almonds,pistachios,pecans and walnuts.If you have fresh nuts just dry roast them in a pan for 2 mins.Let it cool.
  • Refrigerate ,do not freeze.Wait for atleast 2 hrs before you cut them into pieces.Remove the foil before cutting.
These smooth melt in your mouth fudge pieces are so easy and a very quick fix for a dessert when your have friends over at your place...What are you waiting for.Go ahead ...make it and eat it !!





Thursday, February 25, 2016

Ombre Rosette cake - Eggless vanilla cake with Caramel frosting



Ombre  = Gradient and Rosette = formation resembling a rose.
So a Ombre Rosette cake means gradient cake from dark to light and frosting decorations in the form of a rose.

These are in trend right now in birthdays,Anniversaries .and much more.Honestly do you need a reason to bake a cake ?..No :) ...I made this cake for a friend's surprise baby shower.

This cake is two tiered and has 5 layers of cake. The bottom tier has 3 and the top has 2.The filling is caramel frosting.It goes really well with the Vanilla cake .

Teal Ombre Rosette Cake

The baby topper is made with marshmallow fondant which I made from scratch .First I made the babies and then wrapped them in quilted blanket and this added more cuteness to this cake.I made 2 babies, one in pink and one in Teal .We found out at last minute that she is having a boy , so I made a the cake in Teal blue.

Handmade Fondant Baby
I am planning to write  a separate post about these fondant babies.Step by step with pictures so you all can try these too.

This recipe makes 16 cupcakes (or) 3 layer 9 inch cake (or) a single layer half sheet cake.


Eggless Vanilla Cake

 Ingredients: 
  • All purpose flour - 3 cups
  • Baking powder - 2 tsp
  • Baking soda -1 tsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Butter - 1/4 cup or half stick
  • Sugar - 2 cups
  • Vanilla Extract - 2 tblsp
  • Sour cream original - 2 cups
  • Zest (Skin)of lemon using a grater - 1/2 tblsp
  • Cannola oil - 1/2 cup

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease your cake pan with butter..Then add flour and coat them.Pat the cake pan to remove excess flour.
  • Cream together butter and sugar in stand mixer or hand mixer in high speed until light and fluffy.Add sour cream ,lemon zest ,oil and mix again in low-medium speed.
  • In a separate bowl add flour,baking powder,baking soda,salt and mix well.
  • Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients little by little and mix them in low speed.Do not over beat them.Mix until you get a thick batter.
  • This recipe makes 16 cupcakes (or) 3 layer 9 inch cake (or) a single layer half sheet cake.
  • Pour the cake batter into the cake pan .Fill just half of the pan and spread it evenly.
  • Bake for around 20-25 min.Insert a toothpick to the center of the cake.If it comes out clean them the cake is done.
  • Remove from oven and allow them to cool completely.Carefully remove cake by inserting a blunt knife on side of the pan.Invert the cake pan over a plate or wire rack .The cake comes out smoothly.

Beautiful gradient cakes ready to be layered

Caramel Buttercream Frosting 

Ingredients :

  • Softened butter/unsalted butter at room temperature - 4 sticks(2cups)
  • Powdered sugar - 4 cups
  • Hersheys Caramel syrup - 1/2 cup
  • Milk - 1 tsp
Method:

  • Beat butter in high speed in a mixer until light and fluffy.
  • Add powdered sugar in batches.
  • Add milk and caramel syrup.
  • Beat until smooth and glossy in medium -high speed.

Take 1/4 th of a batch and add 4 drops of  Wilton gel color-Teal.

Using a 1M star tip from Wilton pipe little rosettes close to each other.Start from the darkest color on the bottom.Add more white frosting to remaining colored frosting so u get a lighter shade.Repeat until u reach the top.

Star piping from the bottom

Beautiful rosettes piped on the two tiered cake

Baby shower cake




Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tomato Pulao - Lunch box recipes

Mornings are always busy as we pack breakfast and lunch for our loved ones.The main question we all have is What should i cook today?? .This is one big head scratcher.There are days when I keep pacing around my kitchen and fridge wondering what to cook.That is when this tomato pulao comes to rescue. This is one of our favorite go-to lunch.It is a fragrant ,tangy and spicy pulao.



I made this recipe with juicy red plum tomatoes instead of roma tomatoes.It gave the much needed tangy kick to the pulao.

Red juicy plump tomatoes make this dish more yummy.


Ingredients :
  • Tomatoes - 4 large
  • Basmati rice /regular white rice - 1 cup
  • Water - 2 cups
  • Onion - 2 large
  • Ginger garlic paste - 1 tblsp
  • Green peas - 1/4 cup
  • Mint leaves - a few finely chopped
  • Coriander leaves / Cilantro - a few finely chopped
  • Oil - 4 to 5 tblsp
  • Red chili powder - 1 tsp or as per taste
  • Garam masal powder - 1.5 tsp
  • Salt
Spices :
  • Bay leaves - 2
  • Cardamom - 4
  • Cloves - 4
  • Cinnamon stick - 1 small
Tip : If you dont like the spices as whole in the pulao, this is what you can do.Fry the spices in oil for a min then carefully remove all of them from the oil using a spatula.Since we have fried them in oil the taste and fragrance remains in the oil too.You can enjoy its taste without it being stuck to your teeth.

Method :
  • Wash the rice and cook it separately in a rice cooker as usual.For basmati rice and water ratio would be 1:1.5 and for normal rice its 1:2 .Cook the rice separately.
  • Finely chop onions and tomatoes and keep them aside.Boil green peas separately.Drain and keep them aside.
  • In a large pan on medium heat add oil.Add the spices and fry them for about 30 sec.
  • Add the onions and fry them with the spices until they lose their raw flavor.Add ginger garlic paste and fry for another min.Add the chopped mint leaves.Fry until the mint leaves are completely wilted.Add the chopped tomaotes and fry until they turn mushy.
  • Add garam masala,red chili powder and saute for another few mins.Add the boiled green peas.Add more oil if required.Fry everything until oil separates from the gravy.Adjust salt and chili powder to taste.
  • Add the chopped cilantro leaves.Switch off the flame.
  • Using a fork fluff the boiled rice until they are loose.Add rice to the pan and gently mix.
  • Serve hot with fryums ,papad/chips.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Papaya Halwa - Happy Pongal


Happy Pongal Everyone !!

Makara Sankranthi / Pongal is one of the most auspiciously celebrated festival in India. It is celebrated on 14,15,16 and 17th  January when the harvesting season begins.

Known through various names, it is called Pongal in Tamil Nadu and is celebrated for 4 days.


Jan 14th - Bhogi 
Jan 15th - Thai Pongal
Jan 16th - Maattu Pongal
Jan 17th - Kaanum Pongal



During these 4 days a lot of sweets and savouries are prepared in traditional vessels like earthern pots in a traditional log wood stove decorated with sugarcanes .A lot of recipes are prepared for Pongal. As per usual I prepared a few of them sweet pongal , savoury pongal , sambar and Papaya Halwa.

In this recipe the color of the halwa is purely from the papaya.I have not used any food coloring .The pure lustrous red color comes from the goodness of the fruit.So I call it the "Red beauty" :) .

What you need :
  • Sweet ripe papaya - 1 full
  • Sugar - 2 cups
  • Ghee - 1/2 cup
  • Almonds - dry roasted and finely powdered - 1/4 cup
  • Cardamon powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Saffron(optional)
  • Salt - a small pinch
  • Cashews and Raisins - 1/4 cup




Friday, January 1, 2016

Christmas Sugar Cookies




Christmas is all about sharing love with your loved ones.
May your home be filled with the joy of the Christmas season. Here’s wishing you a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year! 
Sharing these freshly baked Sugar Cookies from my home to yours :)


Sugar cookies are crunchy unlike normal cookies.They are baked flat on top so we can start icing on them easily.You can store them in the refrigerator for almost a week.