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Rava Kesari

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Channa Sundal

Healthy Sundal For Navarathiri !!

Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu

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Hot Cocoa

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May 21, 2013

Vanilla Cake | Girls Birthday Cake Recipe

This month is the most special month for me. Shweets birthday celebrations are finally over. We had totally 3 parties for her and she was super happy looking at what all we did for her. I had ordered cakes for 2 parties from our favorite bakery here and I decided make her a special pink cake for the 3rd party. She always prefer chocolate cakes. But as both the cakes ordered for the parties were chocolate cakes I wanted to make something different and went ahead with the simple but special Vanilla Cake. This moist and buttery cake is easy to make and best suited for celebrations. I was little concerned about whether she would approve the cake as kids always expect chocolate cakes for their. To my surprise she relished the cake so much. The end result was very satisfying. It was not too sweet and was very moist. Everyone at home enjoyed the cake to the fullest!!

Though cake decorating is one of my interests I never tried to do it. Last year I had bought all things needed to decorate a cake even a caddy, but never had the time to do it. So today when I got back from work quickly decided to make something special for my princess and went ahead with the decorations. Though it was not a perfect one I was very satisfied with the first time results. The pictures were also taken in a hurry just before cutting the cake and did not want to waste time taking pictures when I had planned so many things with my Shweets. I would say this one of the easy cakes you can try and impress your little princess on her special day !!

Preparation Time : 25 minutes

Baking Time : 27 - 35 minutes

Serves: 10 - 12

Recipe from here

Ingredients for Cake

All purpose Flour - 3 cups
Granulated White Sugar - 1 3/4 cup
Baking Powder - 1 tbsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Butter - 1 cup (2 sticks)
Milk - 1 cup
Vanilla Extract - 2 tsp
Eggs - 4 no

Ingredients for Vanilla Frosting

Butter - 1 cup
Sifted Confectioners Sugar - 4 cups
Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp
Milk - 2 - 4 tbsp
Food Color - 1 drop

  • Preheat the oven at 350 F and place the rack in the center of the oven.
  • Butter or spray 2 (9 X 2) inch round pans and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • Place the butter in room temperature and cut into small pieces.
  • Sift the confectioners sugar for 2 or 3 times and keep aside.
  • Place the eggs and milk outside the refrigerator at room temperature.
Method for Cake
  • In large bowl sift the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In bowl of the stand mixer add the softened butter and beat until soft and creamy.
  • Gradually add the sugar and beat until fluffy say around 3 - 5 minutes.
  • Add the eggs one at a time and beat until mixed well and scrape down the sides when needed.
  • Next add the the vanilla extract and beat well.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture and milk and alternatively starting and finishing with the flour. Beat until everything is incorporated.
  • Transfer the batter equally into the prepared pans, use a spatula smooth out the top, tap 2 -3 times on the counter top to remove bubbles.
  • Bake for about 27 - 35 minutes minutes or until took pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Place the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pan and cool it completely before frosting.
Method for Vanilla Frosting
  • To the bowl of stand mixer add the butter and beat until creamy.
  • Next add the vanilla extract and beat well.
  • With the mixer speed on low gradually add the sifted confectioner's sugar.
  • Add color if using.
  • Next add 2 tbsp of milk and turn to high speed and beat well for 3 - 5 minutes until it is smooth and reaches spreading consistency.
To Assemble the Cake
  • After the cake is cooled completely, place first layer of the cake flattest side facing upwards onto to the serving platter or a cake stand.
  • Place about 3/4 cup of the frosting on top the layer and spread the frosting on top of the cake.
  • Place the second layer of the cake, flattest side facing upwards and cover the top sides of both the layers.
  • Reserve some frosting and pipe some designs to make it more special.
  • Decorate with decorations of your choice.
  • If you do not have a stand mixer you can use a electric mixer but it will take slightly more time to reach the consistencies.
  • I used a Christmas red color to get this pink frosting. Just insert a tooth pick inside the frosting color and immerse inside the stand mixer bowl.
  • Do not directly scoop the flour using the measuring cup. Too much flour would make the cake denser.
  • Increase the sugar to 2 cups if you prefer very sweet cake.

May 18, 2013

Strawberry Mango Yogurt Parfait

Finally one big hurdle crossed. Relaxing after a wonderful birthday party for Shweets. She had a bouncy house party and enjoyed it to the core. Though the parties arranged in these places are stress free as they take care of everything, I feel relaxed only when it is done. We pay so much attention to the smallest things so that Shweets has the best one that she will cherish. She is so busy opening the presents and I thought of sneaking to write a post. Coming to the recipe, I simply love to enjoy these simple yogurt parfaits for breakfast as it makes you feel full and refreshing.

As it the Mango season I make the most of my breakfast parfaits based on Mangoes. I love to top it with my favorite nuts. Normally I use granola and almonds. You can use toppings of your choice. The tenderness of the fruits, sweetness from the yogurt and crunchiness of the nuts makes every bite interesting. You can use seasonal fruits of your choice. You can also make them ahead and serve chilled for breakfast. This is most simplest, healthy and refreshing breakfast you can have on a busy weekday morning. Try it yourself and enjoy !!

Preparation Time : 10 minutes

Serves - 2


Strawberry - 8 - 10 no
Mango - 1 no
Vanilla Yogurt - 1 cup
Granola - 2 tbsp
Sliced Almonds - 6 - 8 no

  • Wash, hull and pat dry the Strawberries.
  • Wash, pat dry slice the Mango and remove the skin.
  • Cut the fruits into bit size pieces.
  • Take 2 medium size glasses and add few pieces of strawberry and mangoes.
  • Add few spoons of vanilla yogurt over the fruits.
  • Next add the fruits and then the yogurt alternatively and fill the glass.
  • Top it with granola and sliced almonds.
  • Serve chilled.
  • You can use any fruits you like for the parfait.
  • I prefer using vanilla yogurt you can try other flavors too else you can use plain yogurt.
  • Use toppings of your choice.

May 6, 2013

Boiled Peanut and Carrot Salad

Boiled Peanut and Carrot Salad

We are big peanut fans. When I see large bags of peanuts in the fresh market I just get too excited. Peanuts always reminds me of childhood. My dad comes from a place where peanuts were grown in abundance and he used to enjoyed them as a child and passed on the legacy to us. All of us at home except my Mom loved raw peanuts and would eat them endlessly and even skip meals. My Mom used to get irritated by the sound of breaking raw peanuts and would always say to my dad that this should last be the last time you people buy this. She never touched even one. For some people eating raw peanuts gives stomach problems but not for us as we are used to it from childhood. After I got married eating raw peanuts has reduced as MK prefers to boil them and make some lemony salad.

In Chennai, normally you could see this kind of salad sold in the beach in small paper cones. We make this often in the summer when we get the raw peanuts. We just make this salad and have it the evening, we will feel full and just have some yogurt for dinner. When I make it for the kids I just skip the green chilly and they love it. You can get creative and make your own your additions. Adding Ompodi is one good choice, it will give a crunchy texture to the salad. Adding chaat masala is a pure personal choice. Pick up a bag of raw peanuts when you are in the market next time and try this simple and yummy salad.

Preparation Time : 10 minutes

Cooking Time : 20 minutes

Serves : 4


Raw peanuts with shell - 4 cups
Yellow Onion - 1 no
Tomato - 1 no
Green Chilly - 2 no
Carrot - 1 no
Lemon Juice - 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves - handful
Salt for taste
Chaat Masala - 1/4 tsp (optional)


  • Finely chop the onion, tomato, green chilly and coriander leaves.
  • Grate the carrot.
  • Wash the peanuts thoroughly to remove mud and other dusts.

  • Add the washed peanuts along with shells to a big vessel, add required salt and boil for about 20 minutes or until the peanuts are cooked enough.
  • Once the peanuts are cooked and slightly cooled, remove the shells and collect the peanuts in a medium sized bowl. It will yield about 1 1/2 - 2 cups.
  • To the peanuts add the chopped onion, tomato, green chilly, coriander leaves, grated carrot and mix well.
  • Once you are ready to serve add the lemon juice, chaat masala if using and mix well.
  • Serve as a snack.

  • Adjust the green chilly and lemon juice according to your taste.
  • If you do not get yellow onion you can use red onion but it will have stronger taste.
  • You can also mix little om podi to give a crunchy texture to the salad.

May 1, 2013

Tiffin Sambar | Side dish for Idly, Dosa, Pongal

This has been a quite weekend till now and I'm eagerly waiting for the weekend. As we are fast approaching the summer season,we are planning things in full swing. May is one month we are super busy with Kids birthdays, Ballet Recital and other school functions. We are all ready for vacation times. On the cooking front we are enjoying good food and spend time experimenting new dishes. On most days we prefer to have something light for dinner. South Indian tiffin items like Idly and Dosa are most preferred as they are easy to prepare when we have batter ready. We prepare different side dishes each day which goes along with Idly, Dosa so that we don't get bored. Tiffin Sambar is one such recipe which is always liked by everyone at home.

Tiffin Sambar is similar to our regular sambar, but the amount of toor dal and tamarind is reduced and a freshly ground powder is added to give that unique flavor. This Sambar should be slightly watery which would make it best suitable for tiffin items. Some prefer to add jaggery to this sambar but I do not do that. I like to add carrot, beans and potatoes to this Sambar. You can always add other vegetables too. Do not overcook the vegetables they should be slightly crunchy which gives that restaurant style touch. Do try and let me know how you liked it.

Preparation Time : 10 minutes

Cooking Time : 15 minutes

Serves : 4


Toor Dal/Tuvaram Paruppu - 1/4 cup
Small Onion/Pearl Onion - 10 - 15 no
Tomato - 1 no
Carrot - 2 no
Beans - 6 - 10 no
Potato - 1 no
Tamarind - small goose berry sized piece
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Garlic flakes - 2 no
Green Chilly - 1 no
Mustard - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Curry Leaves - 2 sprigs
Coriander Leaves - for garnish
Salt for taste
Oil - 2 tsp

For roasting and grinding

Red Chilly - 2 - 3 no
Channa Dal/Kadala Paruppu - 1/2 tbsp
Coriander Seeds - 1/2 tbsp
Cumin Seeds/Jeeragam - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds/Venthayam - 5 - 6 no
Oil - 1 tsp

  • Peel the pearl onions and wash them once and cut them into halves.
  • Wash and cut the vegetables, tomato, green chilly into medium size pieces.
  • Pressure cook the toor dal with the turmeric and the garlic flakes for 1 whistle.
  • Add 1 tsp oil and roast the channa dal, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, red chilies, adding one after other for about 2 minutes in medium flame. Allow the contents to cool down and grind it to a coarse powder.
  • Soak the tamarind in 1/2 cup water and extract juice and keep aside.
  • Heat 2 tsp oil in a kadai/wok, add the mustard followed by the asafoetida.
  • When mustard starts to splutter add the onions, curry leaves, green chilly and salt. Saute until onion turns translucent.
  • Next add the chopped tomatoes and saute until they turn mushy.
  • Add the chopped vegetables, mix and allow them to cook for few minutes.
  • Next add the tamarind extract along with 1 cup water and cook in closed state for about 5 minutes.
  • When the raw smell of the tamarind is gone add the cooked dal, ground powder and stir well.
  • Cook for additional 5 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Serve hot with Dosa, Idly, Pongal etc.,
  • I add garlic flakes to the dal before cooking. You can skip that if you do not like garlic in your cooking.
  • Do not burn any of the contents while roasting as it would spoil the taste of the Sambar.
  • Add little extra water as per your required consistency if needed.

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