Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Home made Hash Brown

Always wanted to try making Hash brown at home and was always sure that it will taste way better that what you can get outside. One of the most simple dishes and yet it took me so long to try it at home. Well, I am happy that I did and thought you all might like it too...So enjoy!
    4 Idaho or Russet potatoes, washed and scrubbed thoroughly, with the peel
    Pinch of salt
    pinch of crushed black pepper
    pinch of Cayenne pepper flakes or Red chilli powder (Optional)
    1/4 tsp of Rice flour
    1 tsp Canola oil

Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet or non-stick pan over medium low heat for 5 minutes.

While the pan is heating, grate the potato on the largest hole of a box grater. Squeeze the grated potatoes in a tea towel to remove excess moisture.

In a bowl add salt, black pepper, rice flour and Cayenne pepper flakes and mix them well.

Add oil to the pan and add a small scoop of the grated potato mixture and flatten them. Cook for 5 minutes without disturbing. Decrease the heat to low, flip the
potatoes, and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve immediately with Tapatio hot sauce. It tastes great with any kind of ketchup or hot sauce!

Select potatoes with high starch content which will make it crispy.
Don't peel the potatoes. Skin is the best part and it adds to the crispiness.
Iron skillet adds to the taste, non-stick work well too.

Apple Jilebi

    2 Granny smith apples, cored and sliced in thin rings
    3/4  cup all purpose flour
    1/2  teaspoon dry yeast
    1/2  teaspoon sugar
    A pinch of salt
    1 tablespoon oil
    Oil to fry

For Syrup:
    1 1/4 cup sugar
    1 cup water
    1/4 tsp lemon juice
    1/4 tsp cardamom powder
    1/4 tsp Cinnamon powder
    1/4 tsp Nutmeg powder
    a pinch of Kesar powder for color
    1/4 tsp Mixed fruit essence

For Garnish:
    1 tablespoon sliced Almonds


    Dissolve the yeast and sugar in ¼ cup warm water, and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
    Mix the flour and oil together.
    Add the yeast solution to the flour and mix. Make a smooth batter. Add water as needed. Consistency should be like pancake mix.
    Set the batter aside and let it sit in a warm place for max.half hour.
Boil the sugar and water together. Add the lemon juice to avoid crystallization of sugar and all the spice powders, kesar powder and the fruit essence. Boil the sugar
syrup for about 10 min until syrup is about ½ thread.

Making the jilebis:
    Heat the oil in a frying pan about 1 inch deep. To check if the oil is ready, put one drop of batter in the oil. The batter should sizzle and come
without changing in color right away.
    Dip the apple slices into the batter one at a time, making sure the slice is covered with the batter. Then, slowly drop the slices into the frying pan.
    Fry the jilebi in small batches. The jilebi will take about 4 to 5 minutes to cook.
    Turn them occasionally. Fry the jilebi until both sides are golden-brown.
    Transfer them into the warm syrup.
    Let jilebi soak in the hot syrup for a few seconds and take out over wire rack so excess syrup can be dripped from jilebi.
    Garnish with sliced Almonds.
    Serve hot as is or with Vanilla icecream

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Herb fusion omelet on toasted bagel w tomatoes and Feta

This is an Indo-American fusion dish!

1. Chilli Bagel-Sliced the middle sideways to be toasted
2. Whipped butter (optional)
3. 2 Organic brown eggs
4. 3 tsps milk or Cream
5. Italian herb mix
6. Crushed black pepper
7. Crushed garlic
8. 1/4 tsp Cumin seeds
9. a pinch of salt
10. Chopped Cilantro
11. Chopped Scallions
12. Shredded cheese (optional)
13. 2 Tbslp-Extra virgin Olive Oil
14. a pinch of Turmeric
15. a pinch of hing
16. Cherry tomatoes cut in half for garnishing
17. 2 tsp-Feta cheese


1. Break the eggs in a bowl, add a pinch of salt, Italian seasonings, chopped cilantro, turmeric, hing, scallions, cream and whip well and keep it aside.
2. In medium heat, keep a non-stick pan and add the oil to it.
3. While its gets warm, set the toaster and add the sliced bagel to be toasted.
4. Once the oil is warm, add the cumin seeds and once it starts to splutter add the crushed garlic. Add the crushed black pepper.
5. Now, add the whipped eggs in the middle and DON'T SWIRL OR SPREAD IT PLEASE..! Wait until it starts to firm up, then gently mix it but not to the extent it starts to scramble. Now, tilt the pan and make the liquid to run out form a bigger circle.
6. Once this side is starts to turn light brown, flip it to the other side. Switch off the heat.
7. Cut the omelet into 4 pieces.
8. By now the bagel would have been toasted. Place each quarter piece and arrange it on top of the other on one slice.
9. Now place the other half. Cut the whole assembled bagel omelet sandwich in half with a sharp serrated bread knife.
10. Arrange the cherry tomatoes and the feta similar to the picture.
10. Ta..da....! Now, your own gourmet fusion bagel sandwich is ready.

Note: The step 5 is to fluff up the omelet to get a soft silky consistency and that is the reason why I add cream or milk too. Adding turmeric is for killing all the harmful bacteria and hing is added for flavor and to stop the eggs from smelling bad. Organic eggs don't smell as much as the normal eggs do! One more reason to go Organic!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Kitchen Khiladi contest, May 16th & May 29th 2010

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food” said George Bernard Shaw.

Love to unleash your creativity in the kitchen? Here is your chance at making a difference while doing the thing you love. Adorn your chef hats and join CIF Kitchen Khiladi 2010.This event is organized by the Cancer Institute Foundation, a non profit organization raising funds for providing free cancer care to poor patients at the Adyar Cancer Institute Chennai (http://www.cifwia.org).You can find the audio and video of the previous years’ contests in their website.

The event consists of two rounds: an audition and a final. In the audition round, contestants cook a vegetarian dish, using the main ingredient provided in the rules booklet at the CIF website mentioned above, and bring it to the auditorium.

This Year’s main ingredient for the Audition round: CARROTS

The eight finalists selected for the final round will cook live in front of judges and audience. Judging will be done by a panel of judges including renowned chefs & nutritionists and the public.

Not a cook? Not a problem. Food connoisseurs are welcome – both to enjoy the food and judge.

Date: Saturday, 15th May 2010
Lucie Stern Community Center,
Palo Alto, CA
Time: 12:00 PM

Date: Saturday, 29th May 2010
Young Chef Academy,
Sunnyvale, CA.

SAVE THESE DATES in MAY and visit the CIF website http://www.cifwia.org today for registering.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tamil New Year and Vishu party photos

Hi folks,

Here are the pictures of our Tamil New Year and Malayalam New year (Vishu) party which was held on April 10th, Sat. 2010 from 11:30AM onwards. Thank you all for the encouragement. It was a grand success!


So enjoy viewing the snaps and feel free to post your comments. Thanks again and looking forward to having more successful events like this in the future.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tamil New Year and Vishu celebrations on Sat. April 10, 2010 from 11:30AM onwards..

Dear Friends,

We invite you to join our fabulous Tamil New Year and Vishu celebrations on Saturday April 10th 2010 starting 11:30 AM. Please click on the link below to view the invitation for the event. http://kamakshiskitchen.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/Tamil_NY_and_Vishu_Apr-10-2010.93183800.pdf

· What’s in the menu: Expect a very delicious South Indian fare (Review the 16 item menu in the attached invitation).

· Talent show: If you have talent, here is an opportunity to showcase it. You have to tell us in advance so we can plan it.

· Games: Kiddos will be busy with passing the parcel and other games

· Music: Will add to the festivity. We’ll play your favorite hits - old & new and culminate with ‘kutthu pattus’

· Dress code: Ofcourse anything you wish, but isn’t this a great time to get dress up in ‘pattu sarees’, ‘pattu veshti’, kurtas or any traditional clothes. A nice day for that ‘Kalyana Ponnu’ and ‘Pudhu Maapilai’ looks .

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Fest snaps

WOW! What a great evening. All of you made the spring fest a great event. We have uploaded the snaps and you can view them at http://friendsofthebayarea.shutterfly.com/. Please leave your comments and feedback to help make future events even better.

Our next event is on Saturday April 10th. This is going to be a day event - starting about 11:30 AM - celebrating Tamil New Year and Vishu. Cusine will be a very South Indian affair (Tamil Nadu and Kerala). Please mark your calendars for April 10. We will be sending out the invitation shortly.

Look forward to seeing you all soon.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Come join us for a Spring Fest Party on Mar.27th, Sat.2010

Just 3 days away to Foster City Spring party. Saturday - March 27, 2010 at 7:30 PM.

Why spend yet another Saturday evening doing the same routine stuff, when you can get together for an incredible evening with friends!!

Food is going to be great (See the extensive menu below); your taste buds are in for a fantastic treat.

Kamakshi’sKitchen Menu Card
(no choices, you have to eat it all !!)

Hors d'oeuvres:
•Chive cream cheese and cucumber tea sandwiches
•Cheese fondue with assorted steamed spring veggies
•Veg. tempura with shoyudipping sauce
•Pearl Barley lentil soup with farm fresh vegetables
•Caprese salad with tomatoes and fresh Mozzarella
•Waldorf salad
•Thai crunchy coleslaw salad with peanut sauce
•Fettucini with jalapeno tequila cream sauce
•Gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce
•Thai style spicy fried rice
•Sauted string beans with garlic and almonds
•Braised zucchini, squash and eggplant with spicy Adobo sauce
•Spring special fruit salad
•Clementines in spiced syrup
•Fruit sushi

Kids menu:
•Mac and cheese
•Spaghetti with veggie balls

Chef Veena.N.KBay Area Caterer/Food Consultant

Wait .. Wait…This is just the beginning…. We have games for adults and kids. Kids will have their own mini ‘movie room’ too.

As we progress into the evening, we’ll crank up the tempo for non-stop fun.… Dance into the night to hit Bollywood and Hollywood tunes.

Click here for more details.

Hurry up!! Space is limited.

Email or call to register:

Veena: veena.kg@gmail.com; 650-345-7759


Suresh: nsuresh67@gmail.com; 650-520-6667

Venue: The Clubhouse at Winston Village, Foster City.

Let’s have a fun overload, friends. Join us for an exciting evening celebration.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mumbai meri jaan!

I've started to get orders to make Maharashtrian dishes. I love it . They are simple and yet very tasty. I am up for anything which reminds me of 'Amchi Mumbai'. Though, I lived there only for 2 yrs, I am so attached to that place. It has a charm, its fast paced life, the people, their attitude is just amazing. So many are amazed that I love Bombay, even though I was born and brought up in Madras. Yes, I know, I like Madras better than Chennai! Coming back to what I was saying, I felt free coming to Mumbai from Madras. There was no eve-teasing whatsoever. What a relief and no fights with auto driver, heavenly chat and the neighbors don't gossip! What more do you want for person who wants to roam free! I love the train commutes. Even though I wasn't working when was there, I wish I was seeing the train culture. It had a life of its own. What all happens in Mumbai trains. There are so many things one has to learn from the people of Mumbai. Those who complain haven't seen the place with an open eye. The train scenario itself has its own community feel, from the bhajan group to the cards playing group. Great place to 'People watch'. There are these reasons and more why I love Mumbai!
Yehi hai mumbai meri jaan!........

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Year party photo link

Send us an email to be included in the mailing list. We will notify you for the next party so you too can join us for great fun, food, music and dance.

Click the link below to view the snaps

New Year party 2010

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mediterranean Themed party

Last week, we had a Mediterranean themed party at home. I have put them in my caterin menu and I wanted my friends to taste it first. It was the 'Thanksgiving weekend' and I wanted my family and my friends to have a good time eating something different rather than the usual. All of us eat Italian so that is not a big deal now. So, I thought of introducing my friends to Greek, Jewish and other Mediterranean foods modified to fit Vegetarian needs.

So here goes the menu. Recipes are coming soon. I wanted to start writing something since it has been so long since I posted anything.

Mushroom onions soup w Orzo pasta (Jewish style), Greek salad, Asaparagus Tivoli (Jewish), Challah Braided Jewish bread (made w/o eggs), Home made Pita bread (Middle eastern), Hummus, Baba Ghanooj, Tzatziki (all the 3 Greek & Middle eastern) Apple cranberry salad (Greek), Sweet pepper Dolma(Greek), Baby potatoes w pearl onions and rosemary (Jewish), Tabouleh w couscous etc..

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Navarathri Golu with a message 09

Bay area,CA is becoming more and more traditional and we are seeing grander and more elaborate golus , concerts, celebrations and dandia to go with each year. I am posting these Golu pictures which was taken in one of my friend's house (Kavitha, Sai and Vishnu's place). Believe me, I saw so many amazing golus this time. Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera with me to most of the places. Anyway, I am glad I took my camera for this one. I am posting this because it has a social message too!
One picture shows the four seasons and another shows a typical temple scene 'Marathadi Pillaiyar kovil' means a temple under a tree. On either side is pots and pan shop of different kinds. The next one is about 'Samapandhi bhojanam'. It shows equality of all. People from all caste and creed having food together and celebrating the unity. This is what India is all about now.

Navarthri 2009 Golu!

This year's Golu!

Navarthri 2008 Golu Pictures

Last year, We had kept a big Golu. We had got done a made to order 'Golu Padi' which had 9 steps. Our handyman (Javier Betancourt) did a great job on it. Anyway, I am posting last years Golu before posting this year's Golu to see for yourself the comparison and adjustments made for our 14m old daugher. Last year, she was just a few months old so this was possible! Anyway, here it is.....
The top one is a 'Fishing village'
The one below that is the front view
The one after that is the side view of the Golu

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Grilled Bruschetta

I want to finish posting all the grilled recipes before I start off with my other series. This one and the next recipe I am going to post are the most favorite appetizers in the whole wide world. I am happy to share them with you guys. Hope you all will try making them and let me know how it turned out. I am sure it is going to be a hit with your friends and family.

2 Baguettes- Cut into 1/2" thick slices
Cooking spray
5 Roma tomatoes-Cut into small cubes
1 cup-Fresh Basil, chiffonade (Cut into super thin strips)
1 tsp-Minced Garlic
A pinch of Crushed Red pepper flakes
A pinch of Crushed black pepper
1/4 cup-Olive Oil
A pinch of Sugar
Salt to taste

1. Spray the cut 1/2" baquettes and arrange them on the grill. Once you get the grill marks on one side, turn them and repeat the process and keep them aside.
2. Arrange them in a platter as shown in the picture.
3. In a mixing bowl add the cut tomatoes, basil, crushed red and black pepper,salt, sugar, minced garlic and Olive oil. Mix well and leave it for about 10 min.
4. Now, arrange the mixture carefully on the grilled baguettes and serve.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Onam (Sep 2009)

'Happy Onam to all of you'! This time I didn't have time to keep an elaborate one. My daughter is 13months now and she is all over everywhere. So this time I somehow managed to keep a simple 'Pookalam'. I hope I didn't make 'King Mahabali' wait for very long to see how we are doing!:) Coming next, is some special recipes for Onam. This one is going to be titled as 'Onam in San Mateo, CA'. It was arranged from the flowers from our tiny back yard garden!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Home remedy for Cold, Cough and Congestion

The name given below for the recipe for this remedy pretty much sums up the whole recipe, don't you think?! Yes, you have to taste it to know the effects of it. My family is a living proof for this. Anytime can be flue season. So, Hey, might as well try this. You know your normal over the counter cold medicines are not going to work and they say it anyway takes 7 days to get rid of a cold. So what about the cough and that nasty congestion. Try this and see for yourselves.

Garlic milk with turmeric and black pepper

2 cups of milk
5 Cloves Garlic
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Black pepper powder
1 tsp Palm sugar (Panag Kalkandu) or Brown sugar

1. Combine all the ingredients except the sugar and simmer it well.
2. Make sure the garlic is cooked to a mushy consistency.
3. By the time the garlic is cooked the milk would have reduced too.
4. Once the garlic is cooked, transfer the mixture to a drinking cup.
5. Add the Palm sugar. Mix it well and serve.

Note: Palm sugar can be purchased in most of the Chinese or Mexican grocery stores. Some Indian grocery stores do carry them now. It does have medicinal properties. They say just putting a small piece of Palm sugar in your mouth and just sucking on it when you have a tendency to have dry cough helps it to subside. Its herbal and nothing artificial. So give it a try and feel relieved.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cheeram Kurumolagu Veluthulli Rasam

This rasam is like the best known reliver of Cough and cold. It has all natural ingredients to fight cold, cough and congestion. This rasam is know in different names in all of South India. I would say every house has a version. This is my Kerala style version of the soothing rasam for the flu season. This will wake up all your clogged senses. I use Tamarind paste. You are free to use the fresh Tamarind. Use the old dark tamarind as they have more medicinal properties than the new lighter looking tamarind. Yes, as the saying goes, 'The darker the better'! ;)

10 Cloves Garlic-Sliced or crushed (Veluthulli)
2 Tomatoes-Finely chopped
2 Tblsp-Cumin seeds (Cheeram, Jeera)
1 Tblsp-Crushed Black Pepper(Kurumolagu)
6 Curry leaves
1/4 tsp-Hing
1/4 tsp-Turmeric
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp-Jaggery
3/4 tsp-Dark Tamarind paste
1/2 tsp- Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp-Fenugreek powder
1 tsp Olive oil or Ghee
4 Cups of water

1. Heat a sauce pan, add oil and let the mustard seeds splutter. Then add the curry leaves, cumin and garlic and saute it for a bit.
2. Reduce the heat add turmeric, crushed pepper and little bit of salt. Saute it a couple of min adding hing to it.
3. Now, add the chopped tomatoes and little bit of salt. Once it starts to soften add the water.
4. Mix in the tamarind paste, add a little bit of salt and jaggery and let it boil really well.
5. Reduce the heat and let it cook for 10 min. Check for seasoning and add if need be.

Your rasam is ready. This can be had just like that as a soup or along with rice.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Vazhakkai Podimas

'Vazhakkai' is 'Raw banana' or 'Plantain'. The whole plant is so useful and I think in India, we pretty much have multiple uses for each and every part of it. 'Podimas', means any dish which is mashed. We also make 'Urulaikizhangu podimas' or it can also be called as 'Indian style Mashed potatoes'. Instead of mashing it and make it look like a blob (a tasty one though!), I grated it. You can use the same method for potatoes and make it this way. Hope you guys will like it! Made this way, you can serve it as even poha. Believe me, people who don't like plantain will not even know the difference!

4- Medium size Plantain
1/2 tsp-Channa dal
1/2 tsp-Turmeric
Salt to taste
5-Curry leaves
2-Broken red chillies
4-Finely chopped green chillies
1/4 tsp-Hing
1/2 tsp-Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp-Cumin
1 tsp-Freshly squeezed Lemon juice

1. Peel the plantain, cut into a half and boil it in water with little bit of turmeric and salt.
2. Cook for 3-5 min. Insert a knife and see if it slides out. Then, drain it and let it cool.
3. Once cool to touch. Grate it in the bigger size holes, so that it looks like shredded cheese used for pizza topping.
4. Heat a non-stick pan, add mustard seeds to splutter in oil and channa dal. Once it starts to brown add cumin seeds, curry leaves, chopped green chillies and broken red chillies.
5. Add a pinch of turmeric and salt to the oil and mix in the grated partially cooked plantain.
6. Cook it in a med. flame closing with a lid for the initial couple of min.
7. Then in order to let the excess moisture evaporate, cook it uncovered. Taste it to check the seasoning.
8. Now, put off the heat and add the lemon juice.

Can be served as a snack or as an accompaniment to Sambar or Rasam.

Variation: This dish can be made without adding Lemon juice and cumin seeds. Cook the plantain or the potatoes really well after peeling them in water after adding some turmeric and salt. Drain them and mash them well with a masher or a spatula. Take a non-stick pan, add oil , mustard sees, channa dal, curry leaves, hing , red chillies and salt. Add the mashed plantain or potatoes and cook until done. Now, instead of adding any of the other ingredients, grind together 1/2 cup of grated coconut and 5 green chillies and add it at the end. Mix it well and cook it for couple of more minutes. This is actually the authentic recipe for 'Podimas' but hey, nothing wrong in trying new flavors and short cuts to your fav. dishes, right!

Dal fry with Baby bok choy

I know everybody has heard of 'Dal fry'! What in the world is 'Bok choy dal'! Well, its an Indo-Chinese adaptation of the normal simple dal fry. Indian cuisine had
adopted lot of other Asian ingredients in their diet so why stop now. Lets get creative and start using up more of their wonderful produce and ingredients. I used
baby 'bok choy'. You can use the bigger ones too. I have posted the 'bok choy' photo here which is from 'Wikipedia' because I think this one looks much better and it had both large and the smaller 'Bok choy'. This 'Dal fry' is a fav. of my husband! When he lived in 'Amchi Mumbai', his fav. restaurant was or still is, I should say, 'Geetha Bhavan' in Chembur. He took me there and made me eat 'Dal fry' and 'Veggie Kolhapuri' and many other dishes as well so that I can learn how to make those dishes exactly how it tasted in that restaurant! We analyzed a lot. You see, both of us were from Madras and half of the ingredients were new to us. Things like 'Dal chini' or 'star anise' and 'Cocum' was new to us. So I had to really try and try these dishes adding all these ingredients together to get that exact taste because none of the cookbooks or any of the relatives had those recipes. I succeeded finally! Okay, now Anway, I have a confession to make!?! This particular dish in this photo was made by my husband! He usually mumbles a lot in French (if you know what I mean, again mumbles, point to note!)if I thrown in so many red chillies in huge pieces and hates it when garnishing gets in his way of the food, especially methi seeds, bay leaves, broken red chillies etc... and look at it now when he has cooked it! I was happy anyway, dddaaahhh, one more advantage point for me for life!! That is the reason I dressed up the dish like this in order to make him realize the number of pieces he had put in it. Like it or not, you guys have become the witnesses, oopppssy! You must be wondering why did I leave out curry leaves in his list of hindrances! Nnnoooo, he loves it! That and cilantro are never considered hindrance. Thank God for that! Anyway, the dish just came out so wonderful. Usually, I am his worst critic, like all wives are (Yeah right, you damn right are, be graceful and accept it already!) But this dish, I've to admit, was his masterpiece and so is his 'Veg biryani'! I know he doesn't read my blog unless I make him read it and that is the reason I am writing such nice things about his occasional culinary triumphs!? Okay, hope you enjoy making this 'Bok Choy dal fry'.

1 cup-Toor dal
1/2 cup-Moong dal
1/2 tsp-Turmeric
1 lb-Baby bok choy, finely chopped
1-Large red onion
7- Cloves of Garlic, miced
1/2 tsp-Ginger paste
9-Finely chopped green chillies
1 tsp-Cumin
1-Star anise flower(Dal chini)
1 "-Cinnamon stick
3 cups-Water+1 cup reserve
1/4 tsp-Hing
1 cup-Chopped Cilantro
2-Bay leaves
2-Chopped tomaotoes
3 Tblsp-Oil or Ghee
5-Broken red chillies for garnishing
1/4 tsp- Jaggery
2 Tblsp-Freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp-Garam masala
Salt to taste

1. Pressure cook both the dals with little bit of turmeric, hing, cocum, cinnamon and dal chini (Star Anise) and 3 cups water until super soft.
2. Discard the cooked Star anise and cinnamon. Mash the cocoum along with the dal well and keep them aside.
3. Heat a non stick wide pan, add oil, cumin seeds and bay leaves.
4. Reduce the heat, add green chillies, red chillies and minced garlic and ginger paste. Saute it for a couple of sec.
5. Now, add a bit of turmeric again and add chopped onions. Saute it after adding a pinch of salt.
6. Add the chopped baby bok choy, Cilantro and Garam masala and saute until the onions have turned brown.
7. Add the chopped Tomatoes and add a pinch of salt and cook until soft.
8. Now add the mashed dal and dilute it with water. Add some salt and jaggery, Mix well and cook.
9. Check for seasonings. Adjust if need be.
10. Once done, put off the flame and add lemon juice. Mix well and check if taste right.

Note: Can be served with rice or roti. Its a great fragrant dal recipe. You can reduce the amount of heat by cutting down on red and green chillies but make sure you add a couple of each though! They add a great flavor to the dish.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Homemade sour cream

1. 2 cups- Your choice of Yogurt
2. Tea strainer

1. Take 2 cups of yogurt and put it in the teas strainer and leave it on top of a glass tumbler.
2. You can see the whea starting to drain.
3. Wait for 1/2 an hour or until you see all the liquid has drained out.
4. Now, you have got yourself home made sour cream.

Note: This sour cream can be used to make Indian dessert 'Shrikhand' using mango pulp, saffron, cardamom etc. all combined or each separately too!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Moist Banana Cake

I was searching for a good Banana cake recipe for a long time. I was so bored with the usual 'Banana bread recipe'. This recipe is a result of combining 2 recipes which I found on the net with a few more added ingredients. I have tried this recipe and it was a hit both in our house and with our neighbors. This cake will surely come soft even if you omit the eggs because of the combination of buttermilk, baking powder and baking soda.

Good luck and Happy cooking!

Moist Banana cake:

3/4 cup butter
2 cups- White sugar
1/8 cups- Brown sugar
1/4 cup Hazelnut syrup or honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tsp Cardamom powder
1/4 tsp Nutmeg powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 Eggs (Optional) instead add 1/4 cup Applesauce
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
A pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
4 mashed ripe bananas
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350*. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan. In a small bowl, mix mashed bananas, set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients well together with the nuts and the spices.
2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. If you are adding eggs beat in one at a time, if not, all the other wet ingredients.
Add the flour mixture slowly to the wet ingredients and just fold them lightly, do not over mix them.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place the
cake on a wire rack to cool.

This recipe makes a soft and moist cake with a little bit crispy top layer.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Blueberry jam cake

I love Blueberries and I was looking for a cake recipe with it. I found this recipe to be interesting. The original asked for blueberry jam, but I used Strawberry jam because I didn't have the blueberry jam.. You can use 'Kissan mixed fruit jam' too or any jam of your choice. You can add Cinnamon if you want but I didn't, instead I added cardamom powder. You can make it any shape you want. I used a rectangle Pyrex dish and lined it with wax paper because I feel the cake becomes darker on the sides if I use a non-stick spray. For any recipe, even though it asks for fresh berries or dried berries, I tend to cook them prior to adding it to the cake because I feel it enhances the flavor a little bit more.

Mixed berry jam cake

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons double acting baking powder
A pinch of salt
1/4 tsp Nutmeg powder
1/4 tsp Cardamom powder
1 cup fresh, dried or frozen Blue berries (cooked in a cup of water until soft and drained)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup Jam of your choice
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease and prepare your baking dish.
2. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices; stir to blend.
3. In a mixing bowl whisk eggs with the jam, milk, vanilla, melted butter and then add the cooked and drained blue berries. Stir in the dry ingredients just until blended.
4. Spoon into the prepared pan; bake for 30 to 45 minutes or pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Vegan mixed fruit cake

I wanted to start making cakes again and I had come up with this recipe for a long time now. I tried it finally and it came out very well. Since I was using dried Blueberries and Apricots, I cooked them in water to make it soft and then added to this recipe. I felt it is more tastier this way. If you have excess liquid after cooking it, don't waste it. Use it along with carrot juice or you can drink it just like that.

If you don't want to make this a vegan cake you can use milk instead of carrot juice and 1 egg instead of the banana.

My advice is invest in a Silicone bake ware set if you are into baking. They are great. You don't even have to grease them and clean up is a breeze.

Vegan mixed fruit cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Carrot juice
1 small Banana
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 teaspoons double acting baking powder
1 cup Sugar
1 cup fresh blueberries (Blueberries and apricot cooked well inwater and drained)
1 cup dried and cut apricots
1 tsp Fresh lemon peel
1 tsp Orange juice
1 tsp Vanilla essence
1 tsp Mix fruit essence

1. Preheat oven to 370*F. Use a non stick square pan or line a baking dish with butter paper or you can spray a non-stick spray on your baking dish
2. In a large bowl, stir together all the wet ingredients except the cooked fruit.
3. In another bowl, stir together the dry ingredients and the cooked fruit.
4. Now add the dry ingredients to the wet slowly.
5. Mix gently.
6. Bake for 30 minutes or until done. If you insert a tooth pick in the middle and it has to come out clean..

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Applesauce Spice Cake

This is another recipe which I found to use up the Bulk Apple sauce I got. It turned out to be very good. Serve the warm cake with a scoop of Ice cream. I served it with a scoop of 'Jack fruit Ice cream'. The brand's name is 'Magnolia' and their brand of Ice cream are wonderful and made the traditional way without eggs. Somehow Ice cream with eggs for me are not authentic. I don't have anything against eggs but when you can make Ice creams without it why not. They also have Taro, Mango etc..If you feel like me, then you will love 'Real Ice cream' brand ice creams. Sorry folks, its available only here in the Bay area, CA. They have flavors like Gulkand, Malai, Tuti Fruiti, Chickoo, Falooda, Mango etc..

Applesauce Spice Cake- Serves 16.

2 cups Applesauce
2 cups Brown sugar
2 sticks Unsalted butter, softened or shortening
3 cups All-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (Optional)
1 cup Blueberries (cook both the raisins and blueberries really well in 2 cups water and then add it to the recipe)
1/4 cup Raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350*F and prepare your square non stick baking dish.
2. Beat the eggs until combined and mix together all the wet ingredients and sugar.
3. In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, spices and nuts. Add the cooked dry fruits to this.
4. Slowly add the combined dry ingredients slowly to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined.
5. Pour batter into pan. Bake 45-50 min or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
6. Once done, take it out of the oven and cool the cake on a wire rack for atleast 1hr.
7. Serve the warm cake with Ice cream

Note: I didn't have square pan, so I used a bundt mold and a loaf pan. Moreover, I had just bought a whole silicone bake ware set from eBay. I was so excited to use it for whatever!

Flan (Spanish egg-custard)

This is my 1st recipe. I'll start posting with my most recent recipe. We had a Mexican themed dinner invitation in one of our friend's place. It was an
informal dinner. I started to have lot of interest and urge to bake these days. So I was waiting for an opportunity to try this dessert. So I volunteered to bring this dessert.

Well, this recipe may sound different because I had a whole bunch of Apple sauce (Got from Costco, its true, never go shopping when you are hungry!). Well, I am looking to use it in every thing I can so that I can finish it off. I subscribe to a magazine called 'el Restaurante Mexicano' and they had a wonderful recipe for 'Flan' with bananas and coconut milk. The friend who invited us isn't very fond of smell of eggs so that too inspired me to make this dish in this method. I wanted to camouflage the egg smell and taste as much as possible. I don't like cinnamon too much so I didn't add it. If you like it feel free to add it.

In India, we have a similar dessert called 'Caramel Custard'. Though it may seem similar there are a few more ingredients to this dish.

Flan (Spanish egg-custard)

1 can evaporated milk
1 can condensed milk
1 can Coconut milk
4 whole eggs
½ cup of sugar
1 Small banana
1 cup apple sauce
1 tsp Vanilla essence
1/4 tsp Cardamom powder
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Mix-fruit essence or combine banana and mango essence

1 cup sugar (for the caramel)
Melt 1cup sugar in a non-stick pan, over low heat. Keep your eye on it. If it burns you will have to start over. It just needs to melt that's all. Using a non stick pan will cause the caramel to just slip off the pan when pouring and its easier to clean later.

Pour the caramel immediately into a metal pan or ramekins and swirl it around to cover the bottom and sides. Your have to be quick because once it

starts to cool down you don't stand a chance. The caramel should have cooled down before you pour the egg mixture in it.

To make the Flan:

Preheat the oven to 350*F

Blend all ingredients until completely mixed. Pour the flan mixture right into the caramelized pan.

Set the mold in a broiling pan and make a water bath. It had to be placed on the water bath while baking. Once you place the mold in the broiling pan, add hot water slowly until the molds are filled half way up the outer side of the mold or ramekins.

Cook in a 350º oven for 50 min. Place it in the middle so that it cooks evenly. At 40 minutes check to see if it's getting too brown on top. - if so cover loosely with a foil.

Test the flan to see if it's done by inserting a knife in the center. If the flan is still soft, let it cook longer until a knife inserted again comes out clean.

Remove from the oven carefully and let it sit on the counter until it cools. Then cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

To serve it on a plate, loosen the flan using a knife scrapping it off the sides of the molds, and place the plate on top of the mold then carefully flip it over and gently slide the mold off.


To cool fast, you can layer the tray with ice cubes and water. That is what I did since I didn't have much time to cool it the traditional way.