Friday, May 17, 2019

Malabar vellari Araichuvita kootu/Indian cucumber dal with freshly ground masala

Today' post is special, yes it is the 100th edition of our Blogging Marathon family. What started as a casual blogging activity to keep ourselves regular with our blog has now become a part of us. For many like me, without BM, we might not be posting regular with varied and interesting themes. Thanks to Valli for keeping us together with so many challenging and fabulous themes which made us move from our comfort zone and tryout many different cuisines and dishes, which otherwise would still be sleeping in our Bookmarked folders. 
Coming to today's post, for the next 3 days i will be blogging under the theme: pick a alphabet and make 3 dishes. I chose 'M', nothing special, as i had a post ready already. Today's post is a simple day to dish that happens in my house almost once a week. 
A simple kootu, with freshly made masala. I usually make kootu with my kootu powder, but there are times i run out of kootu podi or we want a different taste for our kootu. This is my go to recipe. Simple spices and some fresh coconut, you have a finger-licking side for your rice. I serve this kootu, with roti also, both my kiddos like the fresh taste the ground masala brings to this dish. Do try this recipe and let me know how you like it.
180 grams of malabar vellari, chopped into cubes, approximately 1 cup 
1 medium sized tomato, chopped
1/4 cup of masoor dal
1/4 cup moong dal
1-2 tsp coconut oil/any cooking oil
2 red chilies
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp tumeric powder
3/4 tsp salt or to taste

To grind to a paste
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 green chilli
1/3 cup fresly grated coconut

1 tsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 red chili (optional)
1 tsp urad dal
  • Prepare your vegetables first. I usually use a medium sized malabar vellari for 2-3 days, i divided it into 3 and use it for 3 times/days. The above measurement will get you roughly a cup of chopped vellari cubes. Wash and chop the tomatoes. Wash the lentils in water, drain and keep aside. Take the ingredients given under grind to paste in a mixer jar and add 2-3 tbsp of water and grind it to a fine paste.
  • In a pressure cooker, heat oil,when it is hot, splutter mustard seeds, add the red chilies, immediately add the chopped vellari cubes and tomatoes to this and saute for a minute.
  • Next add the drained dal to this and saute for a minute. Next add the ground paste to this, i add 1/4 cup of water to the mixer jar and add that water too to the pressure cooker. Mix it all together well.
  • Add 1&1/4 cup of water to this and mix. Add salt and turmeric powder. Mix well. 
  • When this mixture begins to boil, close the lid of the pressure cooker and let this cook fo 4-5 whistles. Once done, take it off the stove and let the pressure drop on its own. 
  • Open the pressure cooker and mix all the contents together. The usual consistency of the kootu is thick, if you prefer a thinner consistency add 1/4 cup of water but not more than that. When served on a plate, the kootu should remain in its place and not run. 
  • In a small tadka pan, heat oil, splutter mustard seeds, crackle cumin, add curry leaves and urad dal to this, let the dal turn golden brown, pour this sizzling tadka over the kootu and serve it warm with rice.  

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Eggless whole wheat carrot pineapple cake - Sunflower patch

The recent Vegan Orange pineapple cake was a super hit home, all my boys loved it, never knew they would like pineapple in their cakes. So, last month while grocery shopping when i  found an offer on Delmonte tinned pineapples, i immediately picked a can. I knew i m going to make a cake, i thought why not add the carrots too, we had an occassion to celebrate in the first week of April, so i made this cake that day. Initially i wanted to leave it simple, but then i love the Sunflower song from the Spiderverse movie, took that as an inspiration and i tried my best to make it look like a sunflower patch. I love the final look and my boys loved it too. 

Here it is, a carrot pineapple cake, beautifully spiced with cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. The cake tastes delicious with this wonderful buttercream. A beautiful centerpiece to your party and a lovely cake for any celebration.

Design Inspired from here
2.5 cups of whole wheat flour
2tsp baking powder 
1 tsp baking soda
1 heaped cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts 
1 cup butter milk
2 tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with 1/4 cup warm water
350 grams pineapple (drained from 570 grams tin, reserve the liquid)
1 tsp cinnamon
2-3 nos cloves 
4 nos cardamom pods,seeds removed 
  • Drain the pineapple from the can and let it be in the colander until use.
  • Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease the pans with oil and lay it with parchment. I have used  2, 6 inch round pans and 1, 5 inch pan. 
  • Prepare the flax eggs, in a bowl, mix the flax-meal with water and keep aside to coagulate.
  • Pound the cardamom seeds and cloves together. Grate the carrots and keep it ready.  Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature.
  • In a large bowl, take together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk well to combine.
  • To this add chopped walnuts, shredded carrots and the spice powders, whisk again to get a uniform mixture. To this add the drained pineapple bits. If the pineapple pieces are bit chunky, chop them into manageable pieces and add it to the dry flour mix and whisk again to get a uniform mix.
  • In another bowl, take milk, tip in the oil, flax eggs. Using a electric hand mixer , whisk it all together into one smooth liquid.
  • To this wet mix now add the dry flour mix in 3 batches and using the electric mixer/spatula, mix in all the flour into the liquid.
  • If you feel the batter is too thick add 1/4 cup warm water to this and make it to a pourable batter.Divide the batter into 3 prepared pans. Tap the pans twice to release any air trapped, pop it into oven.
  • Bake it in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  • Once done, remove the cake out of the oven, let it sit in the pan for 5-10 minutes to cool a bit, then carefully remove the cake onto a wired cooling rack.Once it is down to room temperature, you can slice and enjoy it.
  • Since I planned to frost it, I cling wrapped it and popped it into the fridge until I m ready to frost it.
Butter cream frosting 
200 grams butter, i used amul unsalted @ room temperature
4 cups of icing sugar
1 tbsp milk
Colors as needed, i have used yellow for the sunflower and green for the leaves.
oreo crumble for the sunflower center

  • Take butter and whisk it with an electric beater, until light and fluffy. Now add sugar 1 cup at a time and whisk well. 
  • The buttercream must be smooth and spreadable, if it is too thick add another tsp of milk to it and whisk.
  • Once done, if  storing, cling wrap it well and refrigerate. I normally make the cream just before i frost my cakes.
To Frost & Fill the cake

  • Mix 3  tbsp of icing sugar with 1/4 cup of warm water and keep ready.
  • Take a round cake board, add a blob of buttercream  to the center and place one round cake in the middle. This blob makes sure, that the cake stays put on the board without sliding.
  • Spread half of the sugar solution on top of the sponge, this keeps the cake soft. Add a thick layer of  frosting on top. Spread it to cover the entire cake surface, do not forget the edges.
  • Now stack the second cake on top of this with its bottom facing the top. Spread the sugar solution on top of the cake.
  • Now add a thick layer of yellow buttercream on top and crumb coat the sides with buttercream. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 10 minutes for the crumb coat to set.
  • Once set, add thick layers of  buttercream on top and using a offset spatuala smoothen it to set. 
  • Again refrigerate the cake for 10 minutes before adding any extra details. I took the remaining buttercream and took out 4 tbsp and colored it green for the leaves and the rest with yellow and orange to that sunflower yellow.
  • For piping the sunflower, i have used the leave nozzle, fit it in a disposable piping bag, fill the bag with yellow buttercream. I used a small shot glass as my lead, touched the top of the glass on the chilled cake, and piped around that circle to get my sunflower. 
  • I used oreo crumble to fill the center for the cake. I have used the small leaf nozzle for the leaves. Didn't follow a particular pattern for the leaves, tried piping 3 for each flower to accentuate the yellow flower. Please check this video for further assitance.
  • Once done, refrigerate the cake for atleast 10-15 minutes for the design to set. The slice and enjoy.
  • If refrigerating the cake for long, make sure that the cake is out atleast 2 hours before you slice it. 

Monday, April 15, 2019

Almond & Coconut Oreo balls

We as a family love to watch lot of cooking shows, our favorite channel is Foxlife, though right now with IPL, sports channel is placed above everything, or else we are glued to FoxLife. Masterchef Australia being our favorite show, followed by jamie olivers. My lil one loves watching Jamie's food fight club and the way jamie animates while cooking his food. For me watching these food shows with my boys, is bonding with them and make them understand that food is universal and cooking is fun and even boys can cook and sweat in the kitchen and most importantly enjoy that process. 
 Few days back , they were airing, Family food fight, in FoxLife, a competition where 4 members from a family compete as a team with many other families with various themes every week and ofcourse elimination every week.
One of the episodes, the theme was kids party, loved each and every recipe in that episode, so colorful and vibrant, attracting kids in every way possible. Shows like these make me more enthusiastic to try new recipes for my family. 
One of the recipes showcased in that episode was these oreo balls. A simple 2-ingredient recipe, the original recipe used only dessicated coconut, in this recipe i have added some almond flakes and cinnamon for flavor. 
These oreo balls are great hit amongst kids, this is the second time i m making them at home. I made a huge batch when they were at home during spring break, it never dissappoints. You can add few more flavors to this to make it more interesting, i have some variations too which i will post later some time.

Here is the video on How to make these cute oreo balls

12 nos oreo biscuits, original flavor
1/4 cup condensed milk
1/3 cup of dessicated coconut , 2 tbsp extra for rolling  
1/4 cup of almond flakes, 1 tbsp extra for rolling
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

  • Take the oreo biscuits in a food processor, pulse it to coarse powder. To this add condensed milk, dessciated coconut, cinnamon and almond flakes. Pulse again to form a uniform mixture.
  • Transfer this to a bowl or a flat plate. Roll them into small lemon sized balls. I got around 10 balls for the above measurement, it depends on the size you roll them.
  • Roll the balls on a mix of coconut and almond flakes. Store them in an air-tight container.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Carrot stir-fry/South-Indian style carrot curry/Carrot poriyal with coconut

Carrots, you love them or hate them. I have a lover and hater at home. My elder one actually runs a mile and crys a bucket when i give him carrots, whereas my lil one loves to munch on a carrot like a little bunny. Though i mask the carrots into many things and feed my both kids, this is one veggie that should be enjoyed raw. I love carrots, even my hubby does, i dont know how my elder son doesn't like this veggie. God's own design i believe!!
Okies, coming to today's recipe, this is a simple stir-fry, freshest way possible next to eating it raw. I make this stir-fry regularly at home, eventually my elder one loves this, when served, hot straight from the pan, with some hot rasam rice. I love to eat this stir-fry as such, mix little curd or just add 2-3 tablespoons of rice to this and have a warm carrot rice. This is such a versatile stir-fry that can be transformed into various other things.
The recipe uses just some red chilies and regular tempering elements of a south-indian household. Some like to add some urad dal(split blackgram) and chana dal(split chickpeas) also to the tempering, my mom used to do that, but i don't. If you like a little crunch, go ahead and add both to the tempering.
On world carrot day on April 4, 2019, let us enjoy this colorful vegetable in the tastiest form.
Do let me know how you liked this recipe, if you try this , dont forget to take a picture and tag me #icampinmykitchen in your social media share.

Do Check the video on How to make Carrot Stir-fry
2 big carrots,(207 grams when peeled)
4-5 nos curry leaves
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
2 tbsp freshly grated coconut
1 tsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp hing/asafoetida
3 nos red chilies
1/2 tsp urad dal (optional, i didn't use)
1/2 tsp chana dal (optional, i didn't use)

  • Wash and peel the carrots. I have weighed the carrots after i peeled them, they weighed 207 grams. Grate the carrots. I use the big hole grater.
  • Heat oil in a heavy-bottom pan, splutter mustard seeds, add red chilies, next  add curry leaves and hing. saute quickly. If adding the dals to the tempering, add it now and saute until they turn golden brown.
  • Now add the grated carrots to this and mix well. Sprinkle little water and reduce the flame to medium, cover and cook for 5- 8 minutes. The carrots must be almost cooked by this time.
  • Remove the cover, add salt and sprinkle little more water, mix well. Cover and cook for another 2- 3 minutes.
  • Remove the cover, add the grated coconut, mix well and take it off the heat. Serve this curry as an accompaniment with rice.
Here is a list of 12 recipes from my fellow bloggers using carrots as the hero, do check them out

  1. Gajar Methi Subzi from My Spicy Kitchen
  2. Lasniya Methi Gajar - Sautéed carrots and Garlic with Fenugreek seeds from Jagruti's Cooking Odyssey
  3. Punjabi Gajar Matar from Homemade Recipes
  4. Eggless Carrot Ranch Dressing from Mrishtanna
  5. Carrot Raita from Lathi's Kitchen
  6. Gajar halwa mousse from Yummy tales of tummy
  7. Carrot cake parafait from Curry and Vanilla
  8. Quick Carrot Biriyani from Cooking with Sapana
  9. Paneer Gajar Halwa from Batter up with sujata
  10. Carrot halwa with condensed milk from Evergreen dishes
  11. Spicy Carrot dip from Flavors treat
  12. Carrot-Coconut Kheer from Mayuri's Jikoni

Monday, April 01, 2019

Almond cashews and peanut Laddu/Energy balls, no sugar, Vegan, Gluten-free Treats

I wanted to name the post ABCD Ladoo, but couldn't include peanuts in that so the big title. Ladoos are my favorite, anybody who follows my blog regularly knows that well. I have a good collection of ladoos which can be found here. 
Ladoos are sphere shaped treats from the Indian sub-continent, we actually make ladoos with everything, seeds, nuts, flour, you name it we might have ladoo recipe with that ingredient.
Ladoos are basically a versatile dessert or snack that can be made in minutes. We have ghee laden ladoos made during winter to give that warmth, and ladoos which can be made vegan for the health-conscious. 
Today's ladoos are made with 3 kinds of nuts and sweetened with dates and figs. A combination of almonds, cashews and peanuts, provide the right amount of nutrients and energy required and instead of sugar i have sweetened with figs and dates. Though both figs and dates are high in natural sugar and high calorific value, i feel they are way better than processed sugar. 
These ladoos can be a great post-workout meal or a delicious  after-school snack for your kids. These ladoos make a perfect offering for chaitra/vasanta navratri(choti navratri) happening this month. Do try this simple and delicious ladoo, whatever maybe the occassion, these quick bites would definitely be satisfying your palate. 
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup cashews 
1/4 cup peanuts
5 nos dried figs
5 nos dates 
4 pods of cardamom, seeds removed
2 nos cloves
  • Take all the nuts in a pan and dry roast then until crunchy. This can be done in the oven too. 
  • Spread the nuts in an oven-proof tray, preheat the oven to 200c and roast the nuts for 12 minutes. Once done, remove the tray and let it cool completely. 
  • If the figs are too dry, soak them in hot water for 15 minutes, drain then completely. Wipe well and chop them into small pieces. Pit the dates and chop them roughly. Pound the cardamom and clove to fine powder. 
  • Take your food processor or your mixer out. I used my Bosch mini chopper. 
  • Take the roasted and completely cooled nuts in the processor and pulse them into a coarse powder.  Remove this nuts grits into a separate plate.
  • Take the chopped figs and dates  in your food processor and blend to smooth.
  • Now to this add the nuts grits, clove and cardamom powder and process. The nuts and dates -figs paste will come together into a clumpy mix, which when pressed together forms a ball. Remove it on to a plate and shape them into small balls. 
  • I got around 13 ladoos out of this measurement, again this depends on the size you shape them. 
  • You can also roll the ladoos with dessicated coconut, but i have just sprinkled some on top a garnish.
  • Store these ladoos in an air-tight container and enjoy them as you like. 
If you like this recipe, do share it with your friends and family. If you make these ladoos, dont forget to click a picture and share it with me, do tag me in your social media post #icampinmykitchen. Let us spread some joy by sharing, sharing is caring!
This recipe is created for event #faralatdesibloggersconnect, a Facebook group Desi Bloggers Connect. Have a look at other members recipes below.
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