Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Morning Glory Muffins

Morning Glory Muffins are one of my favorite breakfast items. There cannot be a better way of starting a day than with a freshly baked, warm muffin.
Before I started baking, I used to spend a ot of money on buying these outside. Now its a different story. Its fairly easy actually; go through the recipe, you will know what I mean.

Below measurements would yield 6 glorious muffins.

All Purpose Flour: 1 cup
Baking Powder: 1/2 tsp
Sugar (brown or white): 1/2 cup (you can also reduce this amount to reduce sweetness)
Cinnamon: 1 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp

Mix all the above dry ingredients in a bowl and keep aside.

Carrots: 1 cup, grated
Apples: 1/2 cup, grated
Walnuts: 1/4 cup
Raisins: 1/4 cup
Flaked Coconut: 1/4 cup (optional)

Mix all these in a bowl.

Oil: 1/2 cup (You can substitute oil with apple sauce for a healthier option)
Egg: 1, beaten
 Vanilla extract: 1 tsp
Mix these in another small bowl.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 D F
2. Line in the muffin pan.
3. Mix all the ingredients (wet should go into dry ingredients).
4. Fill in the muffin liners until full.
5. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Palli (Ground nut) Chutney

My husband absolutely loves this chutney. Apart from coconut chutney, this is another chutney I make often. I keep changing the recipe as and when my mood changes but the below recipe is one of the basic ways.

Ground nuts: 1 cup
Onion: 1/2, cut small pieces
Garlic: 1 small clove
Green Chili: 3 small
Tamarind pulp: 1/2 tsp

Grind everything together with 1/2 cup of water or more and keep aside.

Oil: 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Channa dal: 1 tsp
Urad Dal: 1 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 string

Heat oil in a small pan and add everything in the same order and fry for a minute. Now, pour over the palli chutney paste and serve with breakfast of your choice! Today I served this with Rava Dosa.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Freezing Pumpkins

After the Halloween (see Here for the pictures), I had 2 huge Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins sitting at home. Like I usually do, this time also I wanted to freeze the pumpkins and use it in winter to bake pies, soup, muffins, sambar and what ever I can possibly make with pumpkin. Why waste such a nice fruit when you can very well utilize every thing from it, including seeds? Start this when you have plenty of time on your hands.

The first step is to clean the pumpkin. As you can see the fruit completely fills one side of my sink. Gently wash it with warm water making sure to remember every dust particle is removed.

With a very big knife cut the pumpkin into half. You can either throw away the seeds or keep them aside to make yummy roasted seeds. This pumpkin yielded me 2 cups of seeds which I roasted. See the upcoming recipe for that. So, don't throw away the seeds.
Cut the pumpkin into further small pieces and scrape the gooey layer. Now, we have 4 methods to cook the pumpkin before we can freeze.
1. Take a microwavable bowl and put about 2 inches of water. Place the pumpkin pieces in into and cook in high heat for 20 minutes. Check after this if it is soft enough. If yes, take out the pieces, gently peel the skin off and dice/make a puree.
2. Steam the pumpkin until tender. You might want to peel the skin before you steam it.

3. The third method is cooking the pumpkin pieces in boiling water. This is what I did. Peel the pumpkin and dice in to bite sized cubes. Immerse in boiling water and cook for 10 minutes or until the pieces are tender.
Drain the water and let it dry in a big tray.
4. Baking the pieces in a pre-heated 450 D F oven for 40 minutes or until tender.

I personally prefer method 3.  Above plate is one set of pumpkin. Like this, I yielded 3 batches. After 4 hours and aching hands later, pumpkins are ready to be frozen. FYI, I just prepared 1 pumpkin.

1. You can mash/grind/or cube the cooked pumpkin. Measure the pulp, label it before you transfer to the container for freezing. You can also use zip lock bags for freezing.
2. I stored in several small boxes so that it is easier to de-frost.
3. The day before you plan to cook pumpkin, just removed the bag/box from the freezer and leave it in fridge. It would be ready to be cooked by next morning. Or, simply defrost in the microwave.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Coconut Chutney (Thenga/kobbarikaya chutney)

I make Thenga chutney as often as I make sambar at home. This goes well with pongal, idli, dosa etc. Of course there are many ways to make this chutney and today I am going to post the basic way. Below ingredients serves 2.

Fresh coconut: 1/2, cut in to small pieces
Green chili: 2 or 3, depending on required spice level
Tamarind pulp: 1/2 tsp

In a blender, grind all of the above together with a little water and transfer into a container.

For tempering:
Oil: 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Channa dal: 1 tsp
Urad Dal: 1 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 string

Heat oil in a small pan and add everything in the same order and fry for a minute. Now, pour over the coconut paste and serve with breakfast of your choice!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Boiled Egg Masala

Egg is my ALL time favorite! I can literally have this anytime of the day, everyday. No kidding. I am constantly looking for ways to recreate innovative ways to make egg. But, somehow I end up making my and my husbands favorite, egg masala. Here is a fool proof recipe for a spicy egg masala. Pardon the ill-taken picture. I was in a hurry.

Egg (of course): 4
Onion: 1 large
Tomatoes: 2 finely chopped 
Green Chili: 1, chopped
Ginger Garlic Paste: 1 tbps
Red Chili Powder: 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
Salt: according to taste

1. Boil the eggs in boiling water for 6 minutes. Peel the shell and keep aside.
2. In a saucepan, heat oil and fry chilies and onion for a few minutes.
3. Now add, salt, turmeric powder, chili powder and ginger garlic paste.
4. Now add tomatoes and cook them until they are soft.
5. Add the boiled eggs and switch off the stove.
6. Garnish with cilantro ( optional)

Serve this with rice/roti.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thenga Pal Saadam (Coconut Milk Rice)

I absolutely love Thenga Pal Saadam but my sisters Mother In Law prepares it so well that I can never match it to her taste. I usually serve this with some spicy curry and this time I served this with boiled egg masala (look out for my next post for this recipe).
Now, there are many ways to make thenga paal saadam. Many usually cook rice separately and then mix with grated coconut. In the below method, I cooked rice with coconut milk. really, its so simple!

Rice (un-cooked, long grain): 3 cups
Onion: 1 large, finely chopped, length wise
Green Chili: 3 large
Coconut Milk: 1 can or milk from 1 fresh coconut
Biryani leaf: 1
Cardamom: 3
Cinnamon: 1 inch piece
Flower (star ani): 1
Ghee/Oil: 2 tbsp

  • Soak rice in water and set aside for about 10 mins.
  • Heat a large dish (big enough to fit rice) and add Ghee/oil. 
  • When Ghee heats up, add biryani leaf, star ani, cardamom and Cinnamon. Now add green chilies followed by onion.
  • Fry Onion until translucent. Now add rice and fry for 2 mins. 
  • Now, I usually add 3 cups water and 3 cups coconut milk for 3 cups of rice. Which means, I am using 1:2 rice to liquid ratio. You can also add 6 cups of coconut milk but somehow i find that this would make the rice look like Risotto. I usually add 3 cups water and 3 cups coconut milk.
  • Now add salt and cook the rice until well done. 
That's all!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chicken Fry

The laziness in me hit new low today. So I made Pepper Rasam and Chicken Fry. My husband absolutely loves the chicken fry which is made this way! This is simple and it tastes great. If you are on time crunch like me, try this method. You will not be disappointed.

Chicken: 1 lb (just over 1/2 kg)
Red Chili Powder: 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
Salt: According to taste
Ginger Garlic paste: 1 tbsp
Yogurt/curd: 2 tbsp
Pepper Powder: 1/4 tsp
Oil for shallow frying, about 3 tbsp

Wash the bite sized chicken pieces and marinate everything together (with the exception of oil) for 1-2 hours. IF in summer, leave the marinade in fridge.
Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry until chicken gets cooked. Do not add any water. After chicken is cooked, the color would start to turn. This is when chicken fry is ready to be served!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pappu Chekkalu/ Thattai

This is one of my favorite snacks! This is one of those snacks you will not be able to eat just one! Its fairly similar to how we make Murukku. In the beginning, it might be a bit difficult to slide off the dough from your palm to oil but once you start it, you will figure out a way to master the art. I made this for Diwali along with Maa Ladoo.

Rice Flour: 1 cup
Water: 1 cup
Channa Dal: 2 tbsp (soaked in water for 1 hour)
Red Chili Powder: 1 tsp
Asafetida: 1/8 tsp
Cumin: 1 tsp
Salt: according to taste
Oil for deep frying

Mix all the dry ingredients first. Then slowly start adding water and mix thoroughly (I used my hand here).

Heat oil in a wide bottom pan. While you are waiting for oil to heat up, make small pieces of plastic bag. Grease the plastic sheet with oil. Now, take a small ball of dough and gently press down like shown in the below picture. Don't make it too thin, else you will not be able to drop down into oil. If you are making this for the first time, it would be easier if you make very small rounds.
 Grease your right palm with oil. Now, when the oil in the pan is hot, take the plastic sheet in your left hand, and gently peel off the dough to your right hand. After that, slowly drop the chekkalu from your right hand into oil and fry till golden brown. I usually fry 3 chekkalu at a time. When they are being fried, press down more dough for the next batch. That's it!