Saturday, October 30, 2010

Maa Ladoo

Maa Ladoo is a traditional ladoo we prepare on Diwali, every single year. I am making this over a week before the festival because I know i am not going to find time during the weekdays to make it.
Apart from Diwali, we also prepare this on "nalungu" (haldi) ceremony before getting married. My mom invited all her lady friends and all my relatives on my "nalungu" day. So many items are arranged for this ceremony and all the ladies gently apply chandan (sandal wood paste) on face and arms. This is supposed to be auspicious.
After lunch, we gave small bags containing everything above; tamboolam, small steel box, flowers, chocolates, fruits and nuts, Maa Ladoo to all the ladies who came to bless me, the Bride. This marks that I am officially a bride-to-be!
Of course, this news is now over 3 years old :)

Puffed Channa dal (Pottukadalai/ Putnaalu): 1 cup
Sugar: 3/4 cup (The actual recipe calls for 1 cup)
Ghee (clarified butter): 1 cup (you might not use all of it)
Cashews: handful
Cardamom: 3
Roast the puffed channa dal for a few minutes. Make sure you do not brown them. Then, in a blender, grind everything with the exception of ghee. You don't have to fine grind this.
Melt the Ghee and add little by little to the mixture and make small balls. That's all!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bread in Milk...on a Saturday Morning

When I was a little girl, my mom used to struggle to get me to drink milk, have an egg or even have a slice of bread! So, she came up with some not-too-uncommon way of mixing all together and make an early evening snack or a quick breakfast which is nutritious and tasty. If you have any kids at home, they will love this! Of course, I still like it, so maybe you will too.Below ingredients serves just 1 person. Double the ingredients for 2.

Milk: 1/2 cup
Bread slices: 2
Egg: 1
Sugar: 1 tbsp
Butter: 1/2 inch piece
Beat the egg and add milk and sugar to it. Beat again. Heat a pan and when it is hot, p;lace 1/4 inch of the butter piece.
Now, dip 1 bread slice into the milk mixture, remove carefully and place it on the pan. You can also pour some milk mixture on top of the bread slice. Gently turn the slice around after half a minute or until the slice, slightly browns. Repeat the process for the second slice too.
That's all!

A healthy and tasty breakfast ready!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blueberry Muffins

Can there be any better way to start a day other than with a warm muffin and freshly brewed coffee? Please say no :). The other day I made 3 carrot muffins and 3 blueberry muffins. For now, I will write down the recipe for blueberry muffins.

Below ingredients would yield 6 muffins.

All Purpose Flour (maida): 1 cup
Baking Powder: 1 tsp
Salt: 1/8 tsp

Mix these dry ingredients together in a bowl.

Egg: 1
Sugar: 1/2 cup
Butter: 1/4 cup
Milk: 1/3 cup
Blueberries: 1/2-3/4 cup

Preheat the oven to 370 D F.

Gently mix sugar and butter. Then add egg and milk and beat for a minute. Now, to the flour, add the wet ingredients. Remember, always, wet ingredients go into dry ingredients. Mix only until everything is well moistened (this will ensure fluffy muffins). Now gently fold the blue berries.
Line the muffin liners and fill the mixture. bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


When we (my only sister and I) were little, my mom used to make Murukku (in Tamil or murukulu in Telugu) during Dasera and Diwali. 3 or 4 ladies from our neighborhood used to come to our home and mom, along with the ladies used to make large batches of murukku and share. That way, my mom used to catch up with much-missed-gossip-of-the-town (she was working full time) and us young ones used to play outside. What can be a better Sunday afternoon than the anticipation of warm murukku by the end of playtime?

As you all know by now, I am a bit lazy by nature. So, these murukku recipe I am going to post is also the lazy-way but in no way compromises with the taste.Below ingredients serve 2 adults just fine. I am also sending this entry to Pari and Kaugiri's Festival only event.

Rice Flour: 2 cups
Black gram flour (urad dal flour): 2 tbps
Salt: according to taste
Butter (melted): 2-3 tsp
Asafetida: 1/4 tsp
Oil for deep fying
Murkku Achhu (to make murukku)

  • Mix all the items together. Now start adding water little by little until you make a soft dough. Make sure the dough is not too hard or not too watery. 
  • Now, I had various shapes of murukku acchu with me. I used 1 batch each and made all the shapes. Just grease the murukku acchu with oil and put some dough into it. Shut the top par and squeese to form the required shape. 
  • If you are experienced like my mom, you can squeeze out any shape directly in oil. Else, you can grease a small square covers and make the shape on cover.

  • Heat enough oil in a pan and when hot, gently remove the murukku from the cover to your hand to the oil. 
  • Fry till golden brown and dry them on a kitchen towel before transferring in to another container (with a tight lid)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bok Choy Soup

Dear all, I hope you all had a fantastic Dassera! Mine was good too; relaxing pretty much through out the weekend. I still need to write recipe for 'murukulu' which I made. But for now, some healthy soup. 

I love Chinese food. Contrary to the popular belief that Indian food is the most difficult to make, I find that Chinese is more difficult than Indian. Perhaps its because I am not really familiar with Chinese recipes. One of my favorite and easy-to-make Chinese appetizers is Bok Choy Soup. Below measurements serves two.For someone like me who is forever struggling for time, this soup is a blessing!

Bok Choy: 10 leaves, chopped
Vegetable stock: 2 and half cups
Soy sauce: 1 tsp
Butter: 1 small cube (Optional)

Boil the stock for 5 minutes. Add the chopped Bok Choy, simmer and boil for another 10 minutes. By this time Bok Choy would have turned dark green. Add soy sauce and boil for another minute. Switch off and serve piping hot with a small butter cube.

You can add almost anything to this soup to make it more interesting. Example: cooked chicken, cooked shrimp, cooked veggies...literally anything! Add anything after 5 minutes of boiling bok choy. You might have to reduce the quantity of bok choy if you are adding other veggies.

I am sending the above recipe to Chaitralis soup event. Here is the link for the rules and the event itself. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rava Kesari

Thanks Suja! I made Rava Kesari your way 2 days ago as nayvedyam. More often than not I make kesari with milk. But with milk, the problem is that, it gets very heavy after eating very little. So this time, I used water instead, as per Suja's recipe. It came out well. The only variations I used are the less quantity of sugar. Also I did not get a chance to keep this in a platter and cut it. So I just kept it as nayvedyam directly in a small bowl in my pooja shelf. 

The link to original recipe is here in Suja's blog. Click on her name and you will find the original recipe there.

This is how my pooja shelf is looking like right now, during the festival season. Nothing fancy but just did what I could. Like it?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tulasi kashayam

Weather is changing; with this my colds, sore throat and other weather related small issues cropped up. My mother in law told me a simple, yet, very effective tip to combat cold's and sore throat without taking pills. Here is the me, this works. Instead of having a cup of water, have a cup of this kashayam and you are good to go as you see the results almost in 5 minutes! You can have this up to thrice a day. Sorry, i dont know what to call kashayam in english or hindi.

Tulsi plant is said to have many healing properties. No wonder we all even pray to Tulsi plant for good health! 

Tulsi leaves (Indian Basil): 5
Pepper corns: 4 or 5
Jaggery/sugar: 1 tsp

Boil 1 1/2 cups of water in a pot. To this boiling water, add Tulsi leaves and coarsely crushed pepper and  boil for another 5 minutes. Switch off the stove and add jaggery/sugar. Filter the water and have it hot.

Note: If you do not have a Tulsi plant at home, just buy the powder; you should be able to find this in any Indian grocery store. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lemon Rice

I hate Wednesdays. If it were up to me, I would declare every Wednesday a holiday so that I am never too far from a day-off. 2 days we work, 1 day off and after 2 days, we get Sat and Sun off! Wouldnt that be great?
Usually I am so bored on Wednesdays that I try and make as simple a meal as humanly possible (apart from soups of course). So lemon rice it is today!

Cooked rice: 2 cups
Lemon juice: juice from 2 lemons

Mix the above and keep aside. You can taste the rice now and adjust the salt and lemon juice.

For Tadka:
Oil: 3 tbsp
Mustard seeds: 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1/4 tsp
Urad Dal (white lentils): 1/4 tsp
Channa dal (gram) : 1/2 tsp
Asafetida:  a pinch
Red Chilies: 1, broken into halves
Green Chili: 2, slit
Ground nuts: handful
Curry leaves: 2 strings
Turmeric powder

Heat oil in a pan and add 'for Tadka' ingredients in the same order. Fry for 3-5 minutes and add to the rice. That's all!

1. You can substitute 3/4 cup of raw grated mango instead of lemon juice.
2. You can also put some fresh grated coconut in your lemon rice.
3. I like to eat my Lemon rice with curd/yogurt.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

Thanks Giving is primarily a harvest festival celebrated mainly in United States and Canada. Its a bank holiday for us on this occasion, 11Oct2010.
This is fairly close to Pongal/snakranti in India. Traditionally it is that time of the year to give thanks and celebrate in general. Turkey is cooked and friends and family gather on this special holiday. Pumpkin Pie is also a traditional dessert which is baked on this day. I made some this morning. It came out really good. Here is the recipe. Its one of the basic recipes for pumpkin pie.

Pie crust: 9 inches, store-bought
Pumpkin pulp: 1 3/4 cup
Cinnamon: 1 tsp (finely ground)
Nutmeg: 1/2 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Crushed ginger: 1/4 tsp
Sugar: 1 cup
Eggs: 2
Evaporated Milk: 3/4 cup (175 ml)

  • Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  • In a big bowl, mix sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, ginger. To this, add the beaten eggs and evaporated milk.
  • To the above mixture add the pumpkin pulp and mix well for 1 minute. Do not over-mix.
  • Fill in the mixture in the crust and bake in preheated (425 F) oven for 15 minutes.
  • Reduce the temperature to 350 F and bake for another 40 minutes. That's all! 
    1. Traditionally brown sugar is used to bake a pumpkin pie. But I somehow like mine with white sugar.
    2. If you are using brown sugar, bake only for 30 minutes in the last step I mentioned instead of 40 minutes.
    3. Insert a tooth pick in the center of the pie; if it comes out clean, the pie is ready.
    4. Don't over bake it. The above timings I used are perfect for my measurements.
    5. Remember, like in any other baking stuff, 1 cup is 1 cup. Level the cup; don't heap it.

    Friday, October 8, 2010

    Prawns (Shrimp) Fry

    Weekends are my favorite...I should make a correction; I like those weekends when I get to spend with my husband. Off late we have been going to cottage and there, all we do is relax! Isn't that great! So, in the evenings I make this yummy prawns fry which goes great with beer/wine, a game of cards and.., many more games of cards! If you are using froze prawns, it hardly takes 10 minutes to make this!

    Prawns (fresh or frozen): 1 lb
    Onion: 1, small, finely chopped
    Tomato: 1 small, chopped
    Ginger and garlic paste: 1 tsp
    Turmeric powder: 1/4 tsp
    Red chili powder: 1 tsp
    Garam masala: 1/2 tsp
    Coriander powder: 1/2 tsp
    Fresh cilantro: handful

    • Heat oi in a pan and saute onions until translucent. 
    • Now add salt, chili powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder. Fry for a minute and add ginger & garlic paste.
    • Add tomatoes and cook them on medium flame.
    • At this point, add the prawns. If you are using frozen prawns, within 5 mins you can switch off the stove. If you are using fresh, sprinkle some water and cook until the prawns are well done. 
    • Switch off the stove and add garam masala and cilantro.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Pancakes with Maple syrup

    I am 100% sure that I had posted this recipe before! I have no idea how it disappeared altogether! Well, I wanted to make sure that I have this recipe handy for future reference. So here I go again.


    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (Maida)
    • 1 tbsp white sugar
    • 1 1/4 cups milk
    • 3 tbsp butter, melted
    •  1tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 egg


    1. In a large bowl, sift together all the dry items. Make a pit in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
    2. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Scoop the batter onto the pan, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot with maple syrup and any fruit you like.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    Vermicelli Payasam

    Payasam is my mom's standard 'nayvedyam' for most of the festivals (and now mine). Since it has dry fruits and whole milk in it, it gives energy to keep us going for a while. This is also a famous dessert for most of Indian Dinner parties. Most ladies already know this recipe, but posting this nevertheless for my own satisfaction of posting my mom's favorite dessert.

    Vermicelli: 1 cup (you will find this in any Indian grocery store)
    Sabudana (Tapioca Pearls): 1/4 cup
    Whole Milk: 2 cups
    Water: 1 cup
    Sugar: 1/2 cup
    Dry fruits: 1/4 cup (I used raisins, cashew nuts, shredded almonds and unsalted pecans to make 1/4 cup)
    Ghee (Clarified butter): 1 tbsp
    Cardamom Powder: 1/2 tsp

    • Heat 1/2 tbsp of ghee in a wide bottom pan. Roast vermicelli until golden brown and keep aside.
    • In the same pan, add the remaining ghee and roast all the dry fruits together until aromatic and keep aside. 
    • Take another bowl (enough to hold 4 cups of liquid) and add the sabudana with a cup of water. Keep stirring.
    • When the sabudana is 3/4 cooked, add vermicelli and another half cup of water. 
    • When Vermicelli is half cooked, add milk and sugar. Cook until milk boils once. By then vermicelli and sabudana would have been completely cooked.
    • Check for sugar and add the cardamom powder and the dry fruits. Serve warm. 
    This goes great with Vada.

    Sunday, October 3, 2010

    Nandu Kulambu- Crab Curry

    Winter is early this year. I think it wants to make it up for the last year. I wanted to welcome Fall with fall colors; with a zesty, spicy curry. So, Nandu kulambu it is! I never tasted this before getting married. Somehow, I never liked the look of it. After getting married I learnt that my husband loves this. So, I picked this recipe from my mother in law. After making this for hubby many times, even I started liking the taste! And need less to say, my husband absolutely loves this!

    Crabs: cooked/frozen, 2 lb
    Ginger & garlic paste: 1 tbsp
    Coconut, grated/grinded- 3 tbsp
    Onion- 1 large
    Tomato- 1 large
    Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
    Tamarind paste- 1/2 tsp
    Chili Powder- 1 tsp (use more for extra spice)
    Coriander Powder- 1 tsp
    Salt- 1tsp
    Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
    Cilantro: hand full

    Dry roast and fine grind the below
    Fennel (saunf) - 1/2 tsp
    Black pepper- 1/2 tsp
    Cumin- 1/2 tsp

    • I used frozen crabs, so this step was not necessary for me. But if you are using fresh crabs, I would suggest that you fry the crabs in a tbsp of oil with a little turmeric to get rid of the smell and keep these aside. 
    • Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a dish. Add mustard seeds and when they pop, add the chopped onions and fry until translucent.Add ginger garlic paste and roast for a minute.
    • Then add tomatoes and fry until the tomatoes cook. Now add the powder you have grinded, coriander powder, chili powder and salt.
    • Now add the coconut paste and tamarind paste.
    • Now add the crab and cook in medium flame. You can add a cup of water now.
    • When it gets completely cooked, garnish with cilantro.

    Pudina (Mint) Chutney

    One of the easiest chutneys to make is Pudina chutney. This goes well with all the breakfast items and can also be used as spread for a veg sandwich.
    There are 100 (or more) ways to make Pudina chutney. The below is my favorite way because its easy and can be made with literally 5 ingredients. OK, six including salt. Fresh mint I am using comes from my backyard.

    Fresh mint leaves: 1 big bunch, washed, dried and leaves separated
    Fresh Ginger: 1 inch piece
    Garlic pod: 1
    Red Chilies: 3 or more, depending on the spice level you like
    Tamarind pulp: 1 tsp
    Salt and oil: 1 tsp each

    • Heat oil in a pan and roast the mint leaves until they change color. I usually let them brown and keep them aside.
    • in the same pan, add a bit more oil and roast ginger, garlic and red chilies and keep aside.
    • Take a blender (I used stainless steel, juicer will not do) and grind all the ingredients including salt and tamarind.
    • Check for salt and you are good to serve! 
    1. Some times I also add a small bunch of coriander (cilantro) leaves to mint leaves while roasting in oil.
    2. You can also add green chilies along with red chilies for a different taste.
    3. Sometimes i also add fresh coconut (1/4 cup) while roasting the ginger and garlic. This also gives an entirely different taste.
    Picture from my garden...