Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rava Idly

When I was living in Bangalore, my landlady, who was from Udipi used to make this Rava Idly so tasty that its impossible not to go back to her and ask her for the recipe.  And I am glad I have got this recipe from her. After relocating to Canada, this recipe is getting 5 star rating from my husband :). Below measurements serves 2.The next post is for mint/pudina chutney. You can also have these idlies with that!

Step 1 ingredients:
Sooji/Rava (Indian Semolina):  1 1/2 cup
Yogurt: 1 cup
Salt: 1 tbsp
Grated coconut (fresh is better, you can use frozen also): 3 tbspGrated carrot: 1/2 cup (you can use upto 3/4 cup if you want)
Cilantro/coriander leaves: handful

For tempering/tadka:
Oil: about 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Channaa Dal (split chick peas): 1/2 tsp
Green chillies: finely cut, 1 tsp
Ginger (crushed): 1 inch piece
Asafetida: 1/8 tsp

Curry Leaves: a string (use small leaves)

  • Heat a pan and roast the rava/semolina until they slightly golden color. Transfer this to another bowl.
  • In the same pan, heat oil and all the ingredients mentioned in "for Tadka" in the same order. Remove this pan from heat now.
  • To this pan, add rava first, stir and then add everything under step 1 ingredients. 
  • Leave the pan aside for 30-40 mins.
  • Take the idly stand and grease this with clarified butter. Pour in the mix you just made into each slot.
  • Top each slot with a cashew nut. (optional)
  • Steam this in a pressure cooker for 15-18 minutes and yummy rava idlies are ready! Serve hot.
  1. The batter should be just couple of notches thicker than paint consistency. Add more yogurt, should there be a need.
  2. This goes very well with sambar or coconut chutney.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Diaper Cake

Sorry everyone if you thought this cake is edible. Its is not :( Don't be disappointed; after you learn how to make this diaper cake, you are (one day for sure) going to make some expectant-mom so happy that you would come back to thank me :) Sorry about the long post, for, I want to do complete justice to this beautiful experience of making this cake for an expectant mother.

Baby Shower, Seemantham, Godh Bharayi are a few names for the day we celebrate and bless the expectant mother and the fetus. As the  expectant mother eagerly awaits her babies arrival, friends and family throw her a party, perform pooja or other customary things according to ones culture in her 7th month of pregnancy. Gifts are given to the new mother which mostly comprise of things for the baby.

In our family, friends and relatives buy small gifts for the mother-to-be and arrange a small table filled with gifts. On this occasion, Diaper cake acts as a center piece. Which expectant mothers eyes does not mist after seeing this thoughtful gift? I made this when my sister in law was pregnant and she loved it!
You guessed right; Diaper cake is made of Diapers. The below instructions are for making a 3 tire diaper cake.

Infant Diapers: 80 (usually 1 pack comes with 100 diapers).
Elastic bands: 1 pack comprising of big and small bands (about 100)
1 inch width colorful lace: 3 different colors 2 meters each or same color 6 meters.
1/4 inch lace: same as above
Teddy bear: small one or any other stuffed toy
Feeding bottle: 1 big and 1 small
Lots of time (at least 5 hours): I split between 3 days but the effort is completely worth it.

Optional items:
You can also decorate the cake with bibs, booties, pacifiers, socks, mittens, comb and other baby items. I personally did not include these because this would mean I will have to unwrap the items from their cover; after unwrapping these its not hygienic to give the same thing to the baby. If you end up finding some good looking stuff for cheap which the mother will not use anyway, go for these.


1. Unpack the diapers from its pack and roll the diaper from inside out so that the print is shown outside after  you roll the diaper. Put a small rubber band around this diaper roll so that the roll is intact. Repeat this step until you finish rolling all the diapers. Below is how you are expecting to see. Note: make sure to put the rubber band slightly above the center.
 2. After you roll all the diapers, take the big feeding bottle and put a big rubber/elastic band around the bottle. Now, gently insert 1 diaper inside the elastic band in such a way that that the design shows outside. Here is how:
 3. Start inserting the diapers until you make 1 full round around the bottle. Now, the diapers and the bottle are firmly bound together. I used up 7 diapers for this first round.
 4. Now, gently wrap another big elastic band around the first set in step 3. Start inserting diapers one by one into this new elastic band. Once you are done, your second round is finished. Here is the picture.
 5. Now, for the final round in tire one, you will need to wrap the rolls with 1/4 inch lace. This is to hide the rubber band which shows in the outer layer. Cut a small piece of 1/4 inch lace and wrap around the band. Here is how it looks:
 6. Now, insert another big elastic band around the 2 tires. Repeat step 4. Here is how the final version of tire 1 would look like with 3 rounds of diapers. Note: Don’t worry about the big band showing for now.
7. Now the second tire begins. Insert a big band around the feeding bottle, above the first tire. Repeat step 3 and 5. Note: I forgot to put lace for the second round. You can lace the second set before you insert. Here is how it looks like. This completes tire 2.
 8. For the final tire, you might have to attach a small feeding bottle to the big one. Use a rubber band to tie the big bottle to the small one. I removed the nipple for the small one and turned it upside down so that its easier to tie both the bottles together.

9. Now, repeat step 5.
 10. The 3 tire cake is now complete. But you will still see 3 big bands around the tires. This is where you will put your 1 inch width lace to cover up. Just tie the lace around the 3 bands. I used light colors which are not showing in the picture. You could go with a darker color.

11. The final part of the cake is mounting the teddy bear on top. I took the remaining lace and gently tied the teddy's legs to the feeding bottle. This made sure that the bottle is hidden and the teddy is not falling about.

12. As a final step, I wrapped the remaining lace around the teddy! At this point you can also decorate this with all the optional items I mentioned (I however did not for the reason I mentioned above) .Here is the final version of how its looking like:  Note: You can keep a plate or any base to hold everything nicely in the bottom.
 13. Below is a version which has the optional items mentioned. This is not the picture I have taken. I took this picture from external source to just give you an idea of what it looks like with gift items on the cake.
So, next time when you are invited for a baby shower, surprise the expectant mother with this! She will forever remember you for your thoughtful gift. I hope you all liked this Diaper Cake.

1. Please warn the mother that the diapers are no longer sterile as they are removed from its packing.So, she will have to avoid using the same diapers for her baby. This is mostly for a keep-sake-gift.
2.  I posted this in another ladies forum and they loved this! 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rosemary Bread

Baking can sometimes be intimidating. When ever I try to make bread, I get even more tensed. But what can be a better starter for an Italian dinner other than Rosemary bread with balsamic vinegar? Here is the recipe. Hope you all try it out. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
The measurements yeald 2 big loaves.
·  1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
·  2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary, plus 1 tablespoon whole leaves
·  1 1/2 cups plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
·  1 cup whole wheat flour
·  1/4 cup warm water
·  5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
·  1 tsp sugar
·  1 tsp salt

  • Mix the yeast and water and let it stand for 5 minutes until foamy. 
  • In another big bowl, add 3/4 cup of water, mix the flours, olive oil, rosemary leaves, sugar and salt. Mix them with hand or an electric mixer until the dough is sticky and elastic. Make a big round ball out of it. Dont worry, it will be sticky

  • cover this bowl with a moist clot and let it raise of 1 hour. In 1 hour, the size of the ball woul be double.
  • On a lightly floured surface, take this dough ball and punch it down for a few minutes.
  • Grease a baking tray, and divide the flour into 2 halves and place them on the tray. 
  • Lightly grease the loaves with olive oil, remaining chopped rosemary leaves and gently tap some sea salt on top. 
  • Cover this baking tray with a moist cloth and let it stand for another 1 hour. 
  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 D F and bake the bread for 30 minutes.
  • Let this cool completely before slicing off. 
  • Serve with Balsamic Vinegar.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Hot and Sour Pasta

After a long day at work, all we went to do is sit down, relax and have a glass of wine. When we suddenly realise that we have to cook dinner…there goes our “sit-down-relax-with-a-glass-of-wine” mood.
It happened to me many a time, even though I love cooking. Here is the recipe which will still let you “sit-down-relax-with-a-glass-of-wine”, while you cook dinner.

Sorry, the picture turned out to be silly looking. My mistake but this does taste great.

Tiger shrimps, cooked- 350g (I use frozen/cooked)
Salt- desired amount
Soya sauce- 2 tbsp
Lemon juice- 1 tbsp
Pepper- 1 tsp
Red chilli powder- 1 tsp (use more for extra hot recipe)
Garlic- 1 clove, crushed

Clean the shrimp and marinate with all the mentioned ingredients at least for 1 hour. You can freeze this marinating and use as and when you want (this is what I do).

Shallots/onion- 4 stems/1 small onion
Dry White wine- 5 tbsp
Pasta- 225 grams (I used shell pasta)
Tomatoes- 3, firm and ripe, chopped.
Fresh Parsley- 2 tbsp
Salt- desired amount

  • Heat a deep bottomed pan and add the white wine. Immediately add shallots and bring them to boil.
  • Cook this for a few minutes (until the wine has reduced to half).
  • To the above add the marinated shrimps and bring these to boil (until the frozen shrimps (if frozen) thaw and are really hot).
  • Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
  • To the cooked pasta add the shrimp mixture.
  • To the above add the tomatoes and parsley and toss quickly and remove at once from the flame.
Serve hot.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Achari Chicken

This is one of my favorite recipes passed over by my Bihari friend.


  • Mutton/Chicken-1 kg
  • Ginger garlic paste-2tsp
  • Onions-1big chopped
  • Tomato-2chopped
  • Long green chillis- 2-3
  • Curd-1/2cup
  • Lime juice-2tsp
  • Turmeric-1/4tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds, Cumin seeds--1/4tsp each
  • Mustard seeds, Fennel (saunf), Kalonji-1/2tsp each
  • Dry red chillis-7-10 (depends up spice level)
  • Mustard oil/any oil-4tbsp
  • Salt to taste

  • Dry roast fenugreek seeds, saunf, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, kalonji & mustard seeds & coarsely grind them. The recipe calls for coarse mix but I fine grinded them so that the spices do not show up in the gravy later.
  • Heat oil in a pan & fry onions till translucent, then add long green chillies, red chilies & half of the spice mix sauté for 1mt & keep aside.
  • Add little more oil in the same pan, heat & add ginger garlic paste, meat & turmeric & sauté for 1mt.Then add curd, tomato, salt, little water & the remaining spice mix, cover & cook till the meat is almost tender.
  • Now add the onion mixture, mix well & cook on medium flame for about 4-5mts.Stir in limejuice & garnish with cilantro leaves.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thengai Podi (Coconut Powder)

This recipe brings back memories of my paternal grand mother. My paternal grand parents are from a small village in the interiors of Andhra Pradesh. Since my mom's side is from Tamil Nadu I had a chance of experiencing a fine blend of Telugu and Tamil cultures (not that they are very different from each other).
My grand mom calls this in Telugu as Kobbari podi/karam. They never had a gas stove until much later. So my grand mom used to place 3 big stones with some fire wood in between and make our meals. I used to sit beside her while she is doing away...what she has to do.
This is fairly easy to make and goes very well with Idly, Dosa, Upma, besan dosa and you name it. My hubby even eats it with plain rice with a drop of ghee mixed in it! If you have iron pan, try this out in that. Somehow the taste is different when i make this in a non-stick pan.

Fresh coconut thinly sliced: 2 cups (1 coconut would yield 2 cups) We need to thinly slice the coconut so that it is easier to dry roast them.
Urad Dal: 1/4 cup
Channa Dal: 1/4 cup
Curry leaves: 3 strings
Red Chilies: 12-15
Salt: as per taste

  • Dry roast the coconut until the slices turn golden brown. Use iron pan if you have one. 

  • Dry roast all the other ingredients one by one separately until they turn slightly brownish. For Curry leaves, you may add 2 tsp of oil to fry (I used peanut oil).
  • Let the ingredients cool so that when you grind them together, they do not become like a paste. 

  • Take a blender (I used stainless steel) and grind all the above ingredients with some salt.
  • The powder is meant to be slightly coarse. So after you grind for a few seconds, open the lid and check. 
  • When its all done, dry the powder for a few minutes in a plate before you transfer into a container. 
This will store well for at least 3 weeks if stored in an air tight container. Enjoy!

P.S: While I was making this the other day, I became nostalgic. I cant believe so many years have passed since I was a little girl sitting beside grand ma and see her make this. Now, my husband sits beside me while I do this :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Simple platter of fruit...

That's all it is, simple platter of kiwi and raspberries transformed into bite-sized dessert with the help of toothpicks! Who would resist fruit now? Its all in the presentation eh?

(Click of the picture to view the original size).