Friday, June 24, 2016

Brookies (A cross between cookie and brownie)

Finally, after a really really long time I come back to my dearest blog. Why have been hibernating from this space?? simply because I've become a home baker and my new baby is Crazy Baker. Yes, true to its name I've been crazily loaded with orders. Cakes, cake jars, cookies everything has been keeping me away from this space. 

Today I've a free day and I thought I'll bake one of bucket list goodies. My brat was asleep and got a chance to click and post it too!! yey!!! 

Brookies.... Lets come to these yummy goodies that I made... These are a cross between cookies and brownies. They are gooey on the inside and crisp on the inside. A chocolate heaven. 

The first time I saw them was on Masterchef Australia. My most favorite reality cooking show. I love the Australian series so much because the entire program and its participants are so warm and friendly. 

This particular dish was made during the Nigella Week. I love her. I'm her fanatic!!! 

The participants had to make a midnight snack for Nigella. She loves midnight trips to her refrigetor rummaging for some midnight cravings. 

On one such episode, a participant called Harry Foster who had made this for her. That minute I added these too on to my bucket list!!

Now lets go to the recipe...

Prep. Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 - 12 minutes
Makes: 45 - 50 brookies
Recipe Adaptation: Harry Foster - Masterchef Australia

What would you need:
  1. Dark Chocolate 70% - 350 grams (chopped)
  2. Butter - 45 grams
  3. Caster Sugar - 225 grams
  4. Cornflour - 80 grams
  5. Baking Powder - 1 tsp
  6. Eggs - 3
  7. Vanilla Essence - 1 tsp
  8. Dark Chocolate Chips - 100 grams
How to go about it:
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. 
  2. Add the butter to a bowl and melt it. To this melted butter add the chopped chocolate and mix well. Keep this aside to cool.
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients and beat it until light and fluffy. Add cooled chocolate butter mixture and mix until well combined.
  4. The mixture will look pasty. Hence, use a piping bag or use two spoons and add them to a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Add the chocolate chips on top of the batter.
  5. Bake for 12 - 13 minutes and remove from the oven. Let it cool for sometime and then transfer it to a wire rack.
Serve with whipped cream!!! Bliss!!!

Njoy with your loved ones...



Friday, March 11, 2016

Chettinadu Mushroom Masala

Mushrooms are my husband's favourite. There are times when we head out to a restaurant, he orders something that mushrooms in them. That is the amount of love between him and mushrooms. 

I make it a point that I buy mushrooms once a week and cook them for Sri (my husband). Sometimes, it a pulao or sometimes it a basic musroom masala. But when I bought them now, I wanted to make something that was different and yet tasty.

So went on google and did a lot of searching and landed on this beautiful recipe called Cheetinady Kaalaan Masala/ Chettinadu Mushroom Masala. It has a big list of ingredients, but the process is really easy and simple. The final dish came out spicy and lip smacking. 

There are certain additions and variations that I've made from the original recipe, simple because I don't know whether they are available here in Pune.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

What would you need:

  1. Mushrooms - 250 grams (sliced length wise)
  2. Small Onions/ shallots - 10 nos (peeled)
  3. Tomato - 2 (chopped finely)
  4. Garlic - 5 cloves (chopped)
  5. Ginger - 2' piece (chopped)
  6. Curry leaves - a handful
  7. Bayleaf - 2 nos
  8. Oil - 2 tbsp
  9. Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  10. Salt - to taste
  11. Coriander leaves - to garnish (finely chopped)
To dry roast & grind:
  1. Grated coconut - 2 tbsp (you could even use dessicated coconut)
  2. Cloves - 2
  3. Cardamom - 1
  4. Pepper - 1/2 tsp
  5. Dry red chillies - 2 to 3 (I used bedgi chillies)
  6. Poppy seeds / khus khus - 1/2 tsp
  7. Roasted gram dal/ chutney dal/ udaitha kadalai - 1 tsp
  8. Cumin seeds / jeera - 1/2 tsp
  9. Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
  10. Fennel seeds/ Saunf - 1 tsp
How to go about it:
  1. In a dry pan, add all the ingredients listed under to dry roast. Roast them until aromatic, cool them and grind it to a fine powder. If you are using dessicated coconut, do  not roast it. Just directly grind it along with the roasted spices.
  2. In the same pan, add oil. Once the oil is hot, add the bay leaf, garlic, ginger and curry leaves. Sauté for about 2 minutes. 
  3. Add the shallots and fry until they turn soft and brown on sides. Now add the mushrooms and fry. You will observe that the mushrooms start to leave moisture. Fry the mixture for about 5 minutes.
  4. Tip in the chopped tomatoes and fry for about 5 minutes. At this time add the ground masala, salt and turmeric powder. 
  5. You will now see the entire mixtures turns dry. Add water to adjust the consistency of your choice and let the entire content bubble up for about 10 minutes.
  6. Finally, add the coriander leaves. Mix everything together and serve hot with phulkas, chappathis or kal dosa.
Njoy with your loved ones...



Thursday, March 10, 2016

My Cravings & Cauliflower Chops (Saravana Bhavan Style)

Saravana Bhavan is a famous restaurant in Chennai. My most favourite and I just love the food there. There are many dishes that are so famous and delicious in their menu. The famous masala paal, kaima idly and cauliflower chops is one amongst them. 

When I was pregnant, I wanted my delivery to happen in Chennai. One reason was it is the best place and my home. I can't think of another place to give birth to my baby. The other reason was to satisfy my cravings!!!!!!! 

Chennai has some best restaurants. My first craving was to have cauliflower chops and idiyappam and masala paal. The minute I landed in Chennai, the first thing I asked my father was to take to the nearest branch of this restaurant and satisfy my craving. Yes, pregnancy can be weird and if we women don't satisfy our cravings then it is like a godzilla on the lose!! he he he.... 

This is one hell of a recipe!! I would not I was 100% perfect with the taste. But I reached there almost. I loved it because, in Pune there is no Saravana Bhavan and cravings are not just for pregnancy. So when I want to eat this favourite dish of mine I can always make it. 

Let's jump right into the recipe....

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Author: Sindhu Murali (Champa) 
Serves: 3

What would you need:
  1. Cauliflower florets - 10 - 12 (cut in medium sizes)
  2. Oil - 2 tbsp
  3. Cinnamon - 2 sticks
  4. Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  5. Cloves - 3
  6. Onions - 3 (grind to paste)
  7. Tomatoes - 2 (grind to paste)
  8. Salt - to taste
  9. Red chilli powder - to taste
  10. Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
  11. Ginger garlic paste - 2 tsp
  12. Coriander leaves - a bunch (to garnish)
  13. Mint leaves - a few (to garnish)
  14. Saunf - 1 tsp
To grind:
  1. Fresh grated coconut - 3 tbsp
  2. Poppy seeds (khus khus) - 1 tsp
  3. Roasted gram dal (chutney dal/ odaitha kadalai) - 2 tsp
  4. Saunf - 2 tsp
How to go about it:
  1. Clean, wash and cut the florets and keep aside. 
  2. Take all the ingredients listed under "to grind" and grind into a fine, thick paste by adding little water. 
  3. In a pan, add oil. Once hot, add cinnamon, cloves and onion paste. Add ginger garlic paste and fry nicely until oil separates and the raw aroma is off. 
  4. Add the ground tomato paste and fry again until oil separates.
  5. Now add the cut florets and all the masala (coriander powder, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder). Add water and cook the florets well
  6. Once the florets are cooked, slightly mash them so that the entire mixture comes together.
  7. Finally add the ground masala paste. Give it a nice stir and let everything cook for about 10 minutes.
  8. Add the chopped mint and coriander leaves and mix. 
  9. Serve hot with idiyappam, parottas or dosas
Enjoy with your luved ones...



Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Veppampoo Rasam (dried neem flower in spicy tamarind water)

We make rasam with every possible ingredient!! Rasam is such a comfort food and and veppampoo rasam is extremely good for health. I make it a point that I have this at least once a week. This rasam is a little bitter because of the neem flower used but everything that we eat cannot be sweet right???

Neem flowers are used in a various ways in Tamil Brahmin Cooking. Every year during summers, my grand mother and mother pick the fresh flowers, clean them and dry them in the hot humid Chennai summer and store them for the coming year. 

My paati (grand mother) makes the best veppampoo rasam. She sometimes simply tosses these dried flowers in hot ghee and then mixes with rice. She says it cleanses the body.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Author: Sindhu Murali (Champa)
Serves: 2

What would you need:
  1. Dried Neem Flowers - 2 tbsp
  2. Tamarind - small amla sized ball (soaked in water)
  3. Salt - to taste
  4. Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
  5. Jeera Powder - 1/2 tsp
  6. Ghee - 2 tsp
  7. Mustard Seeds - 1/4 tsp
  8. Asafoetida - a pinch
  9. Curry leaves - 1 sprig
  10. Dried Red Chilli - 2
How to go about it:
  1. Heat a vessel and add 1 tsp ghee. Once it is hot, add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add the curry leaves, dried red chilli, asafoetida and leave it for a few seconds.
  2. Extract the pulp out of tamarind and add the same to the tadka. 
  3. Add salt and let the contents bubble up well until the raw flavour of the tamarind is not felt any more. 
  4. Add the pepper powder and jeera powder. Let it boil for about 5 minutes and then take off heat.
  5. In another pan, add 1 tsp ghee. Add the dried neem flowers and sauté until aromatic. Do not roast them too much.
  6. Add this sautéed flower to the rasam and mix well.
  1. Once you have added the neem flowers, do not boil the rasam any more.
Njoy with your luved ones...



Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Filter Kaapi - a companion since my childhood

Great Day starts with Great Coffee!!!

Coffee has been my best companion any day since my childhood. Growing up in a typical Tamil - Brahmin Household, Coffee was the suprabhatham (chants to wake up lord vishnu) for us folks to wake up and start our day. I still remember the day my paati (grand mother) gave me a sip to taste this delicious brew. The mildly sweet bitterness and that  heavenly aroma that escapes from the small pithalai dabara tumbler (cup and tumbler made of brass), yes that is how we drink!! whoa!!! memories still afresh!!! 

When it is my coffee time I put up a DO NOT DISTURB Board!! Yes, MY coffee time is just me and myself only. I always drink coffee when everyone else is still asleep. So that no talking happens. It is just pure silence and bliss!! I even have to sit n a particular corner of my sofa or a corner of my living room. Some cosy feeling that I get from corners!! 

Not only that I also have the habit of reading newspaper or any book when I drink coffee. This habit is something that I got from my appa (father). 

Filter Kaapi (South Indian Style) is my favourite. I like my coffee strong, bitter!! Less sugar is fine, but no sugar is super awesome. I even make it a point that if I'm visiting my relatives home, I tell them first hand that I want my coffee sugarless!! I have even got some surprise reactions for this. 

I like a particular brand of coffee powder. Satya Coffee. It is famous in Chennai and enormously expensive. But, I end up buying the same powder all the time. I bring quite a few kilos of coffee powder from Chennai so that I can enjoy my cup!!

Some of my friends ask me how do we make filter coffee. So this is a post pending since a very long time!!! 

Also, my fellow blogger friend Dolphia posted a question on FB asking about our coffee fetish, and there I said I'll post a post in my blog too!!!

So how do we make this heavenly brew!!?? 

Let us see....

Makes: about 1/2 cup of decoction
Serves - 3
Prep time: 5 minutes

What would you need:
  1. Filter Coffee Powder - 4 heaped tsp (You could buy bru green label or any other brand)
  2. Boiling hot water -  about a cup or more (depends on the size of the filter)
  3. Coffee Filter
How to go about it:
  1. Assemble your coffee filter. This is how it will look and this is how you should assemble it.

     2. Add the coffee powder and slightly press it down. You get an attachment to press the same. 
         I lost it, I use my hand for the same.

     3. Now, add boiling hot water upto the neck of the filter and close it with the lid.
         Let it sit until all of the water has percolated through the powder and you get a dark decoction.

      4. To make coffee, add the decoction up to quarter of the cup or according to your choice.
          Add sugar. Now add hot milk and mix. There your steaming cup of filter kaapi is ready.

Njoy with some spicy accompaniments!!!




Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Orange Loaf Cake

Orange is the happiest colour
                                                                  - Frank Sinatra

Orange is such a food colour is it not??? so vibrant and fresh. A sunshine colour that brings freshness to our minds. 

But in my home, three oranges were lying on my table crying for attention. Not wanting to eat them or even make a juice out of them, I was so totally confused on using them. Then came Google and its help.

The loaf cake turned out super soft, light fragrant and fresh!!! My folks totally loved it!!!

Makes: 1 7" loaf
Prep. Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 - 35 minutes
Recipe Source:

What would you need:

  1. Whole Wheat Flour - 1 cup 
  2. Powdered Sugar - 1/2 cup
  3. Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
  4. Baking Powder - 1/2 tsp
  5. Oil - 1/4 cup 
  6. Orange Juice - 1 cup (freshly squeezed)
  7. Orange Zest - 1/2 tsp
  8. Corn Flour/ Eggless Custard Powder - 1 tbsp
How to go about it:
  1. In a sieve, add the  flour, baking soda, baking powder and sift twice and keep aside.
  2. Take a 7" loaf pan or a cake tin and line it with parchment paper or grease it with butter and dust it with flour and keep this aside.
  3. In a bowl, add the oil and sugar/ jaggery and whip well until the sugar/ jaggery is dissolved completely.
  4. Now, add the orange juice and the zest to the oil sugar mixture and mix well.
  5. Pre - heat your oven to 200 degrees celsius for 10 minutes. 
  6. Fold in the flour to the liquid mixture slowly and mix gently so that there are no lumps. 
  7. Pour this to the loaf/ cake tin and bake between 30 - 35 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
Points to note:
  1. You could even use Maida or use wheat and maida in 1:1 ratio.
  2. Instead of sugar you can use powdered jaggery (same quantity)
  3. I used Olive Oil. You can use any vegetable oil. But do not used mustard/ coconut/ til oil
  4. Squeeze out the orange juice just when you need to mix it with the oil sugar mixture. Orange juice when kept for a few minutes outside turns bitter.
  5. If you are using maida alone, then use 3/4 cup of orange juice only.
njoy with your loved ones,



Thursday, January 14, 2016

Paruppu Poli

"Pazhayana Kazhidalum, Pudiyana Pugudalum
Adhudaane Bhogi!!!"

Pongal, is the most important festival of Southern India. For that matter, it is the most important festivals of Tamil Nadu. It is a three day affair of celebrations, great food and joy!!! The first day of Pongal marks the end of winter (dakshinayana) and the tamil month called Margazhi. It also marks the beginning of the most auspicious  month called Thai or the Uttarayana. 

Bhogi is the festival of Lord Indra, who lived life more than king size!! It was also celebrated as the Indra Vizha during the Chola period. On the day of Bhogi, we all decorate our homes and do a big rangoli with lots of colours. We clean the house and also burn all the old things to mark the new beginning. It also shows that man must burn all his pent up ill feelings and blossom as new as a flower.

Bhogi, reminded me always of my paati (grand mother), a wonderful lady and the best cook in this whole wide world!! She makes these amazing polis laden with oodles and oodles of ghee. If I wanted more ghee, my thatha (grand father) would come rushing to hide the ghee bottle :) :) My entire family is a great fan of the poli or for that matter any dish that she would make. 
Being married and coming to Pune, I miss all the festivities and the wonderful time that I miss spending with my family. So today being Bhogi Pandigai, my mother - in - law said we will make poli and I was thrilled!! Because it is my most favourite too!! 

The sweet channa dal & coconut stuffing with ghee is to die for combination and when you eat it hot, the taste is something else!! Out of this world. 

Makes: 15 Polis
Prep. Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes

What do you need:
  1. Maida - 1 1/2 cups
  2. Channa Dal - 1 1/2 cups
  3. Jaggery (grated) - 1 1/2 cups
  4. Elaichi - 4 pods (powdered)
  5. Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
  6. Water - as required
How to go about it:
  1. Add maida to a bowl. Add enough water and oil to make it into an elastic dough. Cover it and keep it aside for about 30  minutes.
  2. In a pan, dry roast the channa dal until aromatic and soak in water for about an hour. Once soaked, pressure cook the dal until just cooked and not mushy. Mash it and keep aside.
  3. Now add the grated jaggery and channa dal in a pan (preferably non - stick). Keep stirring. You will observe that the mixture turns watery in the beginning. Do  not worry. The jaggery melts and as you keep stirring it turns like halwa. Add the cardamom and let it cool.
  4. Once cooled, make into lemon sized balls. This is called as the pooranam (filling)
  5. Take a little of the kneaded maida dough. Place the pooranam and cover it with the dough. I used a well oiled parchment paper. You could also use a banana leaf.
  6. Start pressing it  from the centre and proceed towards the edges to make a thin roti.
  7. Heat a skillet and place the poli and cook on both sides with ghee.
Serve hot with ghee!!!

Njoy with your loved ones....