Tomato Pickle

Super Yummy Tomato Pickle!!!

Rava Kesari

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Channa Sundal

Healthy Sundal For Navarathiri !!

Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu

Authentic Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu !!

Hot Cocoa

Perfect Hot Drink to Pamper Yourself !!

December 27, 2013

Easy Fruit Cake | No Alcohol No Soak Fruit Cake | Christmas Cake Recipes


Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Christmas is very special to us after coming to the US. We start the celebration during Thanksgiving by decorating our Christmas tree. Then we plan for the gifts we are going to share this year, cookies we are going to make and so on. This year was super special as we moved close to family. We had everyone at our place played games, cooked food, exchanged gifts and of course we enjoyed the fruit cake I had made for this Christmas. Fruit Cake or Plum Cake as we call it in India is a cake that is meant not only for Christmas it suits for any occasion.

This version of the fruit cake needs no soaking of the dry fruits or it has no alcohol, good news isn't it. It is perfect for the holiday times and especially kids will love it. It is a very simple and easy to make cake that needs no big planning. It is the best Christmas Cake for beginners and busy bees who have no time to soak the fruits well ahead of time. When you read the recipe you will be surprised to see it takes only 10 minutes or so to prepare the cake batter and there is no need for any special tools. What are you waiting for roll up your sleeves and bake this fruit cake and treat yourself with one of the best tasting cakes.


Preparation Time - 5 minutes

Cooking Time - 5 minutes

Baking Time - 50 - 60 minutes

Yields - One 9" X 2" round cake or One 9"X5"X3" Loaf

Recipe adapted from here

Ingredients

All Purpose Flour - 1 1/2 cups
Baking Soda - 1 tsp
Light Brown Sugar - 1 cup firmly packed
Black Raisins - 3/4 cup
Golden Raisins - 3/4 cup
Chopped Dates - 3/4 cup
Chopped Mixed Nuts - 3/4 cup (Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts)
Ground Ginger Powder - 1 tsp
Cinnamon Powder - 1 tsp
Nutmeg Powder - 1/4 tsp
Clove Powder - 1/4 tsp
Unsalted Butter - 1/4 cup (4 tbsp)
Water - 1 cup
Egg - 2 no
Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp

Preparation
  • Prepare cake pan by lining parchment paper in the bottom and spraying vegetable oil.
  • Dice the butter into small pieces and keep aside.
  • Lightly beat the eggs and keep aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F when the boiled fruit mixture is cooling down.
Method
  • In a large saucepan add the light brown sugar, diced butter, black raisins, golden raisins, chopped dates, chopped nuts, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, nutmeg powder, clove powder, 1 cup of water and boil in medium flame for 5 minutes.
  • Allow the fruit mixture to cool down.
  • Mix the flour and baking soda and keep aside.
  • To the lukewarm fruit mixture and the lightly beaten eggs and mix well  using a spatula.
  • Next add the vanilla extract and mix well.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture and mix everything until the flour is fully incorporated.
  • Transfer the batter to the already prepared pan and bake for 50 - 60 minutes.
  • When a tooth pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean the cake can be removed from oven.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove cake from pan and allow it cool completely.
  • You can serve the cake immediately or wrap the cake in aluminium foil leave it overnight for best tasting cake.
Notes
  • You can use dry fruits and nuts of your choice. I made 2 cakes one with the above ingredients and another one with black and golden raisins, dried cherries, dried cranberries etc., Make sure you have 3 cups of fruits and nuts together.
  • If you are baking a 9X2 inch round cake check your cake after 45 minutes or so. My round cake took 50 minutes and the loaf took 60 minutes.
  • You can either serve the cake immediately after making or allow it to rest overnight to get the best tasting cake.
  • This cake can be made well ahead of time and served during Christmas time. This cake can also be frozen.
  • Traditional Fruit Cakes are needs soaking of the dry fruits well ahead and also uses alcohol. This recipe needs no soaking or has no alcohol.

December 24, 2013

Gingerbread Men Cookies | Christmas Cookies


Christmas is not complete without the Gingerbread men cookies. Normally we buy store bought cookies and relish them during the holiday times. Shweets likes it so much she even wrote it in Santa's letter last year. So this year When I was planning for the list of Christmas cookies I wanted to try Gingerbread men cookies and surprise her. Shweets was so excited to use the cookie cutter and cut the cute cookies. I did not have time to frost the entire batch so I gave it to shweets she made customized frosting for each of us and we had so much fun. This cookie is truly meant for the holiday times. Definitely I'm making this for every Christmas.

Gingerbread Men cookies are fragrant and a cookie which totally different from the regular cookies. The combination of the spices and the sweetness from the molasses gives it that unique taste. When you plan to make the cookies it is better to make the dough the previous night and refrigerate it overnight. Also you can adjust the baking time depending on texture of the cookie you prefer. Increase the baking time by few minutes to get crispy cookies. It is very important to get fresh and good quality spices to get the perfect cookies. You have to definitely try this cookie for this Christmas and I bet you will fall for it !!!


Preparation Time - 15 minutes

Chilling Time - 4 hours - Overnight

Baking Time - 8 - 14 minutes

Yields - 35 - 40 Cookies (depending on the size of your cookie cutter)

Recipe from here

Ingredients

All Purpose Flour - 3 cups
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Baking Soda - 3/4 tsp
Ground Ginger Powder - 2 tsp
Cinnamon Powder - 1 tsp
Nutmeg Powder - 1/4 tsp
Clove Powder - 1/4 tsp
Unsalted Butter - 1/2 cup (1 stick)
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Egg - 1 no
Unsulphured Molasses - 2/3 cup

Preparation
  • Prepare 2 cookie trays by lining it with parchment paper.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F when the cookies are cut and chilling in the refrigerator.
  • In a measuring cup spray vegetable oil and measure the molasses and keep aside this is done to avoid the molasses sticking to the cup.
Method
  • In a large bowl mix the flour, salt, baking soda, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, nutmeg powder, clove powder and keep aside.
  • Beat the butter until it is soft for about a minute or so in medium speed using a stand mixer or a electric mixer.
  • Add the sugar and beat well until the mixture is smooth and fluffy.
  • Next add the egg and beat until incorporated.
  • Add the molasses and beat well.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture and beat everything until the flour is fully incorporated.
  • Collect the dough and divide it two portions and flatten it into 2 disc shapes and wrap them separately with cling wrap.
  • Refrigerate the cookie dough for several hours or overnight. This is done to make the dough firm.
  • When the cookie dough is firm, remove from refrigerator and on a lightly floured surface roll the dough into 1/4 inch thick circle.
  • Using your gingerbread man cookie cutter cut the dough into shapes. Carefully place the cookies on the cookie trays with parchment paper.
  • Place the cookie tray in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes which will make the cookies firm.
  • Bake the cookies for about 8 - 14 minutes or until the edges of the cookies turn slightly brown.
  • Remove cookies from the oven and allow it to stay in the pan for a minute.
  • Cool completely on a cooling rack and then frost or decorate as you desire.
  • Serve with your favorite hot drink.
Gingerbread Men Cookies
Notes
  • The chilling of the cookies helps to retain the shape of the cookies while baking.
  • When you remove the dough from the refrigerator it will be hard but when you start to get easy to roll.
  • If your dough turns soft and the cookie is not holding shape. Again roll it to a disc and refrigerate for 15 - 20 minutes to make it firm. First make the cookie from one of the disc place them in the fridge and then take the next one.
  • Do not over bake but my oven took 14 minutes to get that browning in the sides.So check after 8 minutes and adjust the baking time according to your oven.
  • You can use currants or readily available cookie frosting to decorate. You can also prepare your own frosting and using your piping bag to pipe eyes and smiling face.
  • Cookies can be stored in room temperature for about 3 - 4 days.
  • If you do not have a electric mixer or a stand mixer you can just do it by using a balloon whisk and spatula.


December 21, 2013

Shortbread Cookies | Eggless Vanilla Cookies | Eggless Butter Cookies | Easy Christmas Cookies


Shortbread Cookies

School is closed yay I'm more happier than the kids. No alarm for the next 15 days that gives me so much relief. But one major problem is to keep the kids occupied during the holidays. They get bored very often. Even my 2 1/2 year old gets bored and demands for something new. To get that holiday mood kicked in we started to bake cookies. Shweets was so excited to help me in making the cookies. I had already decided to bake some of our favorite cookies. Shortbread Cookies is one of my favorite cookie. These butter cookies stand part from the crowd of crispy cookies. They are perfect for these holidays. Normally the kids prefer the chocolate filled ones but they liked this cookie so much.

As butter is the main ingredient make sure you select the best quality one. Also keep in mind the chilling time while starting to make these super yummy cookies. By the time I finished baking the cookies it was almost 5 in the evening and obviously no sunlight. I decided to take pictures in the morning but somehow felt like trying different lighting and went ahead. I'm glad I did it the entire batch got over in the evening.There are lot of variations that can be done like dipping them in melted chocolate etc.,I was so happy everyone liked it so much. It was a big hit in my family why don't you make this super easy cookie for this holiday season.


Preparation Time - 10 minutes

Baking Time - 8 - 10 minutes

Yields - 30 Cookies (depending on the size of your cookie cutter)

Recipe from here

Ingredients

All Purpose Flour - 2 cups
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Unsalted Butter - 1 cup (2 sticks)
Vannila Extract - 1 tsp
Powdered Sugar/ Confectioners Sugar - 1/2 cup

Preparation
  • Prepare 2 cookie trays by lining it with parchment paper.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F when the cookies are cut and chilling in the refrigerator.
Method
  • In a medium size bowl mix the flour, salt and keep aside.
  • Beat the butter until it is soft for about a minute or so in medium speed using a stand mixer or a electric mixer.
  • Add the confectioners sugar and beat well for about 2 minutes until the mixture is smooth.
  • Next add the vanilla extract and beat well.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture and beat everything until the flour is fully incorporated.
  • Collect the dough and flatten it into a disc shape and wrap it with cling wrap.
  • Refrigerate the cookie dough for about a hour or until it is firm.
  • When the cookie dough is firm, remove from refrigerator and on a lightly floured surface roll the dough into 1/4 inch thick circle.
  • Using your desired cookie cutter cut the dough into shapes. Carefully place the cookies on the cookie trays with parchment paper.
  • Place the cookie tray in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes which will make the cookies firm.
  • Bake the cookies for about 8 - 10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies turn slightly brown.
  • Remove cookies from the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack.
  • Serve with your favorite hot drink.


Notes
  • The chilling of the cookies helps to retain the shape of the cookies while baking.
  • If your dough turns soft and the cookie is not holding shape. Again roll it to a disc and refrigerate for 15 - 20 minutes to make it firm. I first made 15 cookies from the dough and chilled the remaining dough and then made the 2nd batch.
  • Do not over bake but my oven took 14 minutes to get that browing in the sides.So check after 8 minutes and adjust the baking time according to your oven.
  • Cookies can be stored in room temperature for about 3 - 4 days.
  • If you do not have a electric mixer or a stand mixer you can just do it by using a balloon whisk and spatula.

December 14, 2013

Instant Mango Pickle | Kadugu Manga | Manga Oorugai

Instant Mango Pickle

I'm not sure whether I have told enough about my love for mangoes. I have so many sweet memories with mangoes. All people who know me as a kid would talk about mangoes when they see me now. Now things have changed and I'm not a such a big fan of mangoes or should I say I do not get the same quality of mangoes I used to get in India. Coming to pickles I only like mango pickles. So when I find some good raw mangoes in the market I definitely pick one or two to prepare yummy pickles.

Mango Pickle can be made in so many ways. I have tasted so many varieties but I always love the instant one. When I'm planning for a South Indian meal type lunch then I make sure I include this pickle as a side. It goes so well with the seasoned curd rice. When I have some time I normally allow the mangoes to sit in the chilly powder mixture for about 30 minutes before seasoning it. But sometimes I do not have the time just get everything done in 10 minutes.If you are a mango lover you have to try for this sure. It just takes 10 minutes.



Preparation Time - 5 - 7 minutes

Cooking Time - 2 minutes

Serves - 4

Ingredients

Unripe Mango (large) - 1 no
Chilly Powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Mustard - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Salt - as per taste

For Seasoning

Mustard - 1 tsp
Red Chilly - 2 no
Curry Leaves - 2 Sprigs
Oil - 1 tsp

Preparation
  • Wash and pat dry the mango. Cut into bite size small pieces.
  • Dry roast the 1/2 tsp mustard, fenugreek seeds in medium flame for a minute and allow it cool down. Grind it to a coarse powder.
Method
  • In a dry vessel add the chopped mango, chilly powder, turmeric powder, required salt, mustard fenugreek powder and mix well.
  • If you have the time let the mango mixture sit for about 15 - 30 minutes.
  • If you need the pickle instantly then skip the previous step.
  • Heat oil add the mustard mentioned under seasoning, when the mustard splutters reduce the flame and add the curry leaves and red chilly.
  • Next add the mango mixture and saute well so that the oil is coated onto the mango pieces.
  • Saute about a minute remove from stove. Do not cook more than a minute the mango pieces has to be crunchy.
  • Store is clean, dry airtight container and serve as side dish with your favorite foods.
Notes
  • Do not allow the seasoning to be browned else the flavor will not be good.
  • Adjust the spice level according to your taste.
  • After adding the mangoes cook only for a minute or so. If you over cook the mango will be cooked.
  • Use only a clean and dry spoon in the pickle else the pickle will be spoiled.

December 9, 2013

Mint Pulao | Mint Rice | Pudhina Rice | Lunchbox Recipe



It has been more than 2 weeks since I posted a recipe in the blog. I did make a lot f dishes that are not yet posted in the blog. I also clicked pictures,edited and uploaded them to the blog. But somehow I was very lazy to sit and write a post. I had this Mint Pulao in the draft and made it again yesterday for lunch. When I tasted the rice, I definitely wanted to post it here. As I always make sure to document all the recipe that come out well, I decided to post right away. This is one of the flavorful rice I have tasted. All the mint lovers will definitely like this rice.

Mint Pulao or Mint Rice or Pudhina Pulao is a one pot meal which can be prepared in a jiffy. I can assure that you can surely impress your guests with this simple yet yummy rice recipe. I always struggle to decide on a rice item for the vegetarians in a party. Mint Rice goes well with the naan, gravy kind of dinner. So I will make sure this rice gets a spot in my next party menu. When you see a bunch of fresh mint leaves in the market do not forget to grab it to prepare this flavorful rice.



Preparation Time - 10 minutes

Cooking Time - 10 minutes

Serves - 2 - 4

Ingredients

Basmati Rice/Long Grain Rice - 1 cup
Mint Leaves - 1 cup lightly packed
Onion - 1 medium size
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1/2 tsp
Coriander Leaves - 1 handful
Green Chilly - 2 no
Cashews - 5 - 6 no
Cinnamon - 2 small pieces
Cardamom - 2 no
Bay Leaf - 2 - 3 leaves
Fennel Seeds/Sombu - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp>br/> Salt - as per taste

Preparation
  • Wash and grind the Mint Leaves, Coriander Leaves and Green Chilly into a smooth paste.
  • Chop the onion lengthwise.
  • Break the cashews into halves.
  • Wash and Soak the basmati rice for about 15 minutes.
  • Place all the seasoning ingredients ready before you turn on the stove.
Method
  • Heat ghee and oil in a pressure cooker.
  • Add the cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaves, fennel seeds in medium flame.
  • Next add the cashews and saute until golden brown.
  • Add the chopped onions and saute until they turn soft. Do not allow the onions to turn brown.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and saute until raw smell is gone.
  • Next add the paste made out of ground mint leaves, coriander leaves and green paste. Add required salt.
  • Saute until the raw smell is gone say 3 - 4 minutes.
  • Next add the soaked rice and give a gentle stir to mix the mixture with the rice. Care not to break the rice.
  • Add 1 1/2 cups of water to the rice mixture and pressure for 2 whistles.
  • When the pressure is released fluff the rice with a fork.
  • Serve hot with raitha, chips or any spicy gravy.
Notes
  • Do not allow the seasoning to be browned else the flavor will not be good.
  • Adjust the green chilly according to your desired spice level.
  • I served the mint rice with carrot raitha and chips. You can also serve it any spicy potato or peas gravy.

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