Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Easy Choco cup cakes

I did this cutie cup cakes a month ago along with my cute kutti friend.

Her name is Kirthana, 2 yrs old, my best friend in our neighborhood. She is very naughty, but very sweet. We both watch, sometimes even dance for rhymes and Tamil songs. As of now, songs from film Boss enkira Baskaran and Enthiran tops her favorite list. But her all time favorite is Aayarpadi Mailigayil song.

I will not go to my kitchen when she is around with me, first of all she wants our full attention and my laptop. Next reason as you all know, working in oven with a naughty little is very difficult. Hats off to all Moms !
Of course I baked this easy choco cup cakes when her mom was with us, she is equally sweet. Like mom, like daughter. She is another person who always appreciate my cooking and blogging.

One day when we both were talking, I was telling how easy to bake a cake and what are the essential things we need to bake a simple and tasty cake. Also about the variations we can do having one base recipe. While talking, I just grabbed all the available ingredients from the pantry and started working on this cakes.

Now comes the cake story...This cake again I bookmarked long ago from Cook curry-nook by Madhuri Kumar. But I did little substitution and variation and baked in conventional oven.


In Madhuri's cake, she used Flax seed 4 tsp substituting 4 eggs. I didn't use any, instead I used 1/2 cup of Milk powder + 1/2 cup of milk.
Also for a little extra taste I added 1/5Th cup of strong brew coffee.
For decoration I used 1/4 cup chocolate mini chips and toasted almonds.
Rest all the ingredients same. You can find the actual ingredients and the recipe here.

Instead of baking in 8inch pan, I poured the cake batter in muffin tray. On top of it I sprinkled the mini chocolate chips and some toasted Almonds. After 20 min , sweet choco cup cakes are ready.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tomato & Onion - Made for each other

Tomato and Onions are made for each other, especially when it comes for Thokku or Chutney.

This is my mom speciality thokku. Whenever we go for any tour for 2-3 days, my mom will make this thokku a day earlier for the trip. This will stay upto 4-5 days without needing refrigeration*.
*Condition - we should use a dry, clean spoon and seal it in airtight container.

As I said in earlier post, Sambar is the best combination for all South Indian dishes, but it has to be served hot and fresh. Thokku doesnot need any special VIP treatment and whats more the taste actually gets richer after a day. This is one of the best dish that we can rely on during a long road trip. Like Sambar, this is also go well with all dishes. Idli, Dosa, Roti, Bread, Rice, Puri, Pongal, vadai. Anything you name, this will be the best.

Ingredients :

All the measurements depend on individual taste.

-- 4 Roma tomatos
-- 3 medium size Onion
-- 4+ Tbsp Chilli powder (+ According to taste)
-- Salt according to taste
-- 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
--1 tsp each Mustard, Channa Dal, Urad Dal
-- 1 tsp Fenugreek

Procedure :
--- Cut Tomato and Onion into small dice.
--- In a heavy bottom pan heat oil and add Mustard seeds.
--- After the mustard cracks add Channa and Urad dal along with fenugreek.
--- Once dal turns the color add Tomato and onion.
--- Saute the mixture for 5 minutes, then add the chili powder and salt as per the taste.
--- Cook the mixture until the whole mixture becomes half and less. Now both Tomato and Onion will loose their identity and become one.
--- Turn off the thokku when the oil oozes out from the mixture.
--- Time taken approximately 30 - 45 minutes.

For better result, cook the thokku with little extra chilli powder and oil, because after a day the thokku will absorbs the chilli. And the extra oil will extends its life span.

As a tradition, I started doing this thokku for all our trip. When we ever we plan for a trip, first thing comes to my mind is Thakkali thokku and Chappathi. You can read about my foodie bag here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Story of Sambar

A magical word, whenever we read or hear the word Sambar, we feel hungry. It is also a magical dish goes well with all. The best combination for all South Indian dishes Idli, Dosa, Pongal, Upma and mainly with rice.

Sambar is everyone's favorite. When I was working, a German lady worked with us. She liked sambar a lot. She used to order food from Vasantha Bhavan quite often and drink only the sambar with appalam being the side dish. Not only her, a lot of my friends from North India go crazy when they see sambar.
When my in-laws were here, sambar used to figure in our menu atleast twice a week. Every time I do it was not the same. They liked my sambar a lot. When my mom met them last week, they especially praised my sambar, how nice is that !

Here comes the 'Story of Sambar'. Dedicating this post to my husband, because he sent this link a month ago and nagging me daily to publish it. I was waiting for a perfect Sambar photo and at last I did it yesterday. Dosen't my plate looks colourful !


I read the same story in a couple of other sites in the net, but I am not sure how authentic this story is.Sambar was a 18th Century dish which accidentally originated in Tanjore, when Marathas were ruling. The King Sambhoji was a great cook in the palace and he always cooked amti made of special Kokum. Click here to know more details about Kokum.

In a particular season Kokum were imported from Maharastra to Tanjore for cooking. Once kokum didnot reach on time to the palace, that time one of his sous chef suggested about Tamarind to the king and asked King to do some experiment with tamarind pulp. Sambhoji tried a dish with Toordal, vegetables and tamarind pulp. King served this recipe in his coterie and they all liked this recipe. Also named it as 'Sambhoji's amti'. Later the name turned as 'Sambar'. What a happy ending :))

Will post some more history soon... Bye

Saturday, October 9, 2010

From America with Love, Contd...

Last comes, the Almond cookies.
This is the third cookie which I sent to India, a special treat to my family. For the other two cookie recipe, check my earlier post  here .

Since I did one cookie with lots of nuts and rich in taste and another with chocolate chip, wanted my third cookie to be mild and rich in taste. So went for Almond cookie using almond paste.
When I searched for the recipe, I ended up recipes using only the Almond paste without flour, If I would have followed it, I might have left with a dozen cookies. So I made my own recipe and the result was perfect.

1 can / 8oz - Almond Paste, 1 Cup - All Purpose Flour, 1/2 cup / 1 Stick - Butter, 3/4 cup - Sugar, 1 tsp - Baking powder, 1 tsp - Baking Soda, Few roasted Almonds (optional), A pinch of salt.

Method :

-- Pre-heat the oven to 350 0F
-- Melt the butter and cool it. To the melted butter add Sugar,salt and almond paste and mix well.
-- Sieve the Flour along with baking soda and baking power.
-- Mix the dry and wet ingredients and knead gently, till all the flour mixed together. The dough will look similar to Chapathi dough.
-- If you are using Almond, coarsely powder the almonds and add in the mixture.
-- Using rolling pin, flatten the dough to 1/2 an inch thick.
-- Cut the dough according to the desire shape and bake it.
-- Baking time 10 - 15 minutes.

I used approximately 2" dia cap and cut the cookie dough, so got around 25-30 Almond cookies.

The almond paste has some sweetness in it, according to your taste please vary the sugar level and enjoy the almond cookies with a cup of hot coffee.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

From America with Love

Few weeks ago, one weekend I did 3 different types of cookies. Those were very special cookies which travelled India. One whole day I spent with APF, Oats, sugar, baking powder, variety of nuts and hot oven, continuously my oven was at 350 0F from the morning till 5.00 in the evening.
No more build ups, will tell you the story behind it.

After confirming the return tickets of my in-laws, we all went for shopping and bought different kinds of chocolates, nuts and other things for give away purpose. But I was not satisfied with the store bought stuffs. Wanted to send something special to them and to my parents. I decided to send some cookies along with them. Since the cookies are going for two big families, I wanted to give more, atleast 3 dozen each. So I did 3 different cookies.

First comes, Lace cookies. A perfect name for the cookies and an high five to the person who named it! It looked like a brown coloured lace in the cookie sheet when I took it from the oven. It was very rich in taste and look. I tried this from Maduram's Eggless Cooking and did small variations from the original recipe

I did not have Rosewater and sufficient quantity of Pistachios, so I used a tsp of Vanilla extract and added 1/2 cup of walnuts to the Pistachios that I had. After mixing all the mentioned ingredients my dough was not in Idli/ Dosa batter consistency as specified by Madhuram. It was more like regular cookie dough. I was little concerned. Experimented initially by doing very small balls and baked 4-5 cookies. The end product was amazing. The dough spread out evenly and baked well.

I followed the same measures of ingredients, but ended with more than 50 cookies. The size of the lace cookies  were more or less like our regular cookies, correctly say palm size, :)) Happily sent more cookies to India

Next comes, Chocolate chip cookies.
Once in two weeks, I do Coconut Raisin Oats cookies. One day I ran out of my speciality cookies and we had to buy Chip Ahoy chocolate chip cookies. My Mother in-law liked the chocolate chip in the cookies. Ha,ha,ha... Who doesn't like chocolate? She asked me whether I can do the same cookies at home. I was so happy and explained the making of chocolate chip cookies and the variations we can do in baking cookies. Also mentioned the various type of chocolate chips available in market. Next week I did Chocolate chip cookies. She was so happy.

So my second choice to give away was Chocolate chip cookie. Recipe for this, same as Coconut Raisin Oats cookies, instead of Shredded coconut and Raisin I used a cup of Mini semi sweet chocolate chip.
In a hurry, I forgot to take the photo of cookies. If I do next time, sure I will post the same.

Third recipe, my own recipe... Coming up in my next post.