Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Whole Wheat Walnut Shortbreads

I m still going with my cookie baking, the almond shortbreads i baked last week are over and my lil one asked me bake some more cookies.I remembered this walnut shortbreads post needed some decent pictures, and got it done this week.
I got around 2 dozen cookies, both the kiddos are happily munching, inspite the fact the walnuts were tasting a bit old and i was worried whether they would make faces for the taste. But, they are too busy enjoying the shortbreads, they didnt give a damn about the walnuts. 
The first time i made these, i used all purpose flour and crisco, this time i have used whole wheat flour and butter, it came out perfect, again these shortbreads, make a perfect gift for this festive season. Do make and share the joy and also the calories.
Recipe source : Joy of Baking
1 cup walnuts toasted and coarsely chopped
2  cups whole wheat flour
2 tbsp milk (optional)
1/4tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter
 2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon Powder
  • Preheat oven to 170C. Line a cookie tray with parchment paper. Toast the walnuts, either in the microwave for 90 seconds, stirring after every 30 seconds or on the stove-top. Let it cool, pulse it roughly in the processor, this way you won't have huge pieces of walnuts, which is a big no-no for my kids. 
  • In a medium sized bowl place the flour, cinnamon powder and salt, whisk to combine. In another bowl, using your electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes).
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add the flour mixture, mixing only until incorporated.  Stir in the chopped Walnuts. After adding the walnuts,  my dough became a little crumbly, so added 2 tbsp of milk to get it to dough consistency.
  • Divide the dough in half, shape each half in to logs and wrap them in plastic  and refrigerate until firm (at least one hour). 
  • Remove one half of the dough from the refrigerator, using a sharp serrated knife, cut thick rounds and place them on the baking sheet.The shape might little off, just adjust them in your palms to get a round shape. 
  • Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets and refrigerate for 10 minutes to firm up the cookie dough. Repeat the same with rest of the dough and refrigerate until use.
  • Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until the shortbread's are a deep brown color. This ensures a crunchy and crumbly cookie. Remove cookies from oven and cool on a wire rack.  

Monday, November 26, 2018

Rava Idly/Semolina Idly/Semolina cake with veggies - Instant Sooji Idly

I cannot imagine a south-indian house-hold running with idly/dosa. Almost every one of them will have a dabba of idly/dosa batter for emergencies in their fridge. I too have idly/dosa batter always in my fridge, every sunday it is a ritual to soak rice and dal for grinding batter. In my mom's place it is my dad's duty to grind idly batter, though recent days amma is managing it all alone, but still appa monitors the grinder😀
So, what will we do when we run out of our primary breakfast source, we improvise and still try to make our soft and fluffy idlies, appear on the table. Instant rava idly/Sooji idly is a blessing in those times, mix and steam, you can add a variety of veggies to it, make it colorful by adding veggie/spinach paste.
Rava idly happens atleast once in 15 days at home, mainly for kiddo's breakfast box. Elder one loves to have it with podi, whereas my lil one is happy with sambar or some pickle mixed with yogurt, yeah, he is one of kind in our house. A quickie recipe for lunchboxes or even for a weekend breakfast, do try and let me know how you liked it.

2 cups of Rawa/Sooji/Semolina
2 cups of Sour Yoghurt,Whisked
1 tsp of Eno Fruit Salt or 1/2 tsp baking soda
Salt to taste

For Seasoning
2 tsp oil
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 onion, finely sliced
1 carrot, grated
1 capsicum, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp sambar powder (or you can add 2 green chilies too)
1/2 tsp Ginger juliennes
2 sprigs Curry leaves
hing a pinch
  • Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan and roast the Semolina, until it gives out a nice aroma, Watch the flame. Mix the roasted semolina with the yoghurt and salt. 
  • If the batter is too thick you can add little more yoghurt or Water.  I normally use Thick Buttermilk instead of Yoghurt. 
  • Heat oil in a pan, splutter mustard seeds, add onion, curry leaves, hing and ginger and saute for a minute. Then add the veggies and saute for 3-4 minutes.
  • Next add sambar powder and cover and cook for 5 minutes until the rawness escapes. Once done, remove and add this to the rava batter, Mix well. 
  • Next add the fruit salt or baking soda  to the batter and mix well. Let it sit for 5 minutes. 
  • Grease the Idly plates and Pour the batter into the moulds and steam cook for 10 minutes in a slow flame.
  • When done, Take it out of the steamer, Give it a minute to cool and then unmould. Enjoy with any Spicy Chutney.
  • We Enjoyed it with some Ivy gourd chutney and tiffen sambar.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Whole Wheat Almond Shortbreads

Shortbreads, deliciously, buttery scottish biscuits. I bet no one can resist eating just one of these uttlerly butterly delicious biscuits. My lil one is a die-hard fan of shortbreads. When my elder one was growing up, he kind of lost interest in cookies, so i completely stopped baking cookies in my kitchen. Now lil one, likes homemade cookies, for diwali i made some nankhatais for friends, he loved them and asked me make some more for him.
That sparked my interest in cookies too, so now i looking of all possible cookies that he would love to try and inturn i too would come out of that no cookies cocoon, and flutter like a butterfly into the cookies world. 
First step in breaking that shell is making these almond shortbreads, an old post, i did 2012. Many of old posts need better pictures, so i have taken the theme : Redoing old posts for this weeks BM, in this series, here is the first set of better pictures for these shortbreads .
The original recipe, from Joy of baking, bakes the cookie in a tart pan and cut them into wedges, i did the same when i baked these in 2012, but today, i tried to refrigerate the dough and cut into roundels and baked them. My lil one is happy, that he got a new snack for his school snack box. These shortbreads are perfect for the festive season, as an edible gift. Do try and let me know how you liked it. 
120 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup white granulated sugar 
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup Whole Wheat flour
1/3 cup almond meal
2 tbsp corn flourr/rice flour (i used rice flour)
1/8 tsp salt
Flaked almonds for decorating the top of the shortbread (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 170C.  Prepare the cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl whisk together the flours (wheat, almond, and corn/rice flour) and salt. Add this mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and beat just until incorporated.
  • The dough will be little sticky, slap the dough in  a cling wrap, manage to roll it into a log and refrigerate it for an hour. I did the dough in the night and baked it today morning.
  • Remove the dough on to kitchen counter, using a sharp serrated knife, cut the dough into roundels, i got around 12-13 rounds. The shape might little funny, flat at the bottom, try to adjust it in your palms to bring it to a round shape. 
  • Roll the top of the cookie on some flaked almonds, arrange the cookies on a parchment laid cookie sheet and bake them in the preheated oven for 22-25 minutes. 
  • Transfer shortbread to rack and let it cool completely on a wire rack. They mightly little soft while removing from the oven, but once they cool, they will have wonderful, crumbly texture of shortbreads.
  • Once cooled, store them in an air-tight container and enjoy with your evening cuppa.
  • Oven temperature, varies from oven to oven. If baking in a Gas oven, please keep an eye after 15 minutes, i have noticed my gas oven bakes quicker than my microwave convection oven.
  • If plannign to bake them in a tart pan, no need to refrigerate the dough, just pat the dough directly onto a greased tart pan, prick the top of the dough, and bake it in the preheated oven.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Parangikai Chutney/Pumpkin Chutney for idly/dosa

Pumpkin chutney, this is one recipe, that got all attention in my page, even before i shared the recipe here in the blog. When i was sharing my breakfast stories in instagram, i shared this pumpkin chutney which i packed for my kids breakfast box. Many of my followers and friends asked for the recipe, who tried it and gave me positive comments. 
So, when i chose the theme Kids delight - Veggies sneaked in, i decided to post this recipe too. This is a delicious chutney made with pumpkin, along with coconut and coriander seeds. Do not miss coriander seeds in the recipe, as they add nice aroma and taste to the chutney. 
Sending this to Kids Delight - Veggies sneaked in, happening @ Vidhya's kitchen, an event bysrivalli.

200 grams yellow pumpkin/Parangikaai, chopped into cubes
1 medium sized onion
1 medium sized tomato
1 tsp coriander seeds
4 red chilies
2 pinches of hing
few curry leaves
3 tbsp freshly grated coconut
salt to taste
1 tsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp urad dal
1 red chili
2-3 curry leaves


  • Roughly chop the onions and tomatoes. Peel the hard skin of the pumpkin and chop it roughly. The measurement above, is after peeling the skin.
  • In a pan, heat 1 tsp oil, when it is hot, add onions, curry leaves, hing and red chilies and saute until translucent. Next add the tomatoes and chopped pumpkin, add coconut and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook until the pumpkin is soft.
  • Once done, take it off the stove, let it cool. Take all the veggies along with salt in a mixie and grind until smooth. No need to add water, as the water in the veggies is enough to process it smooth.
  • Transfer the chutney to a serving bowl. Now heat oil given under tempering, splutter mustard seeds, add red chili and curry leaves. finally add urad dal, let it turn golden brown, pour the sizzling tadka over the chutney and serve it along with idly/dosa.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Beets hummus - Beets and Chickpeas mash

Beets, a veggie hated by many for its sweet taste, but if you are regular in my kitchen, you know we love beets and always look for creative ways to use beets in our daily cooking. Hummus, middle eastern dip made using chickpeas and sesame butter, is a versatile condiment, that will beautifully blend with any flavor added to it. Here i have tried to blend cooked beets along with chickpeas and sesame seeds into colorful condiment. 
I served this hummus to my kids along with their dosa for dinner yesterday, they loved it. Yes we are a crazy family, we love hummus and labneh with dosa and roti's. The chilies and garlic beautifully wrap the smell and sweet taste of beets, so you dont have to worry, that the dip might be sweet. Do try and let me know how you liked it.
Sending this to Kids Delight - Veggies sneaked in, happening @ Vidhya's kitchen, an event by srivalli.
250 grams chickpeas, drained, i used tinned ones 
80 grams beets, a small beetroot
2 cloves of garlic
1 green chili
2 tbsp roasted sesame seeds (read notes)
1/4 tsp salt
juice of lemon
2 tbsp oil, i used gingely oil as i didnt have olive oil

  • Wash and peel the beetroot, chop it roughly and cook until soft. I usually cook in the microwave for 10-12 minutes at power 100.  Drain the beets, use the liquid to make dal/rasam.
  • Let the beets cool completely. Take the chopped beets along with rest of the ingrediets except oil in a mixie jar, grind until smooth. Add oil slowly while grinding, to ensure smooth process of the hummus. 
  • Once done, remove it to a serving bowl and serve as a dip with breads, veggies and crackers. My kids enjoy hummus with roti's, even with dosa. 

  • Tahini/sesame butter is used in hummus, since i didnt have readymade tahini in hand, i used 2 tbsp of roasted sesame seeds in place of it.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Carrot and Moongdal Payasam/Kheer

Time sure flys, we are reaching the end of the year now, next month FB feeds will be flooding with holiday bakes, cinnamony, nutmegy, gingery bakes!  I can't wait to bake something that will tickle our senses and bring in that holiday spirit, whether we celebrate christmas or not, that is totally a different matter, but that cheer of holidays, new year feel is ultimate.
Coming back to our Week 3 of november BM, i chose Kids delight- Veggies sneaked in, a monthly event created by Srivalli, hosted by Vidhya this month. A wonderful theme, i know all mothers would appreciate this. We only know what all we mothers do to make our kids eat a small portion of veggies. Kids these are days are smart,  they learn about junk food and importance of  eating their fruits and veggies in their school. 
So many of them are ok eating a fair share of veggies put on their plate, but there are kids who are lil fussy and don't like the look of certain veggies. Example, my elder one, he would run a mile if i ask him to taste a small stick of carrot, whereas my lil one would happily chomp of a whole carrot like a little bunny. So if you have such examples at home, you definitely need some help in masking veggies into some other thing, which they would happily eat.  
Here is a simple kheer, which i make regularly for festivities at home. Dump all the ingredients in the pressure cooker cook, and blend, then serve. Such an easy kheer to make. I bet your carrot hating kid would happily gulp this kheer down, the richness of cashewnuts and milk make this a filling snack anytime. 
80 grams carrot/1 medium carrot
3 tbsp moong dal
4 tbsp grated coconut
a pinch of saffron
4-5 pods of cardamom crushed
1/3 cup - 1/2 cup sugar
handful of cashewnuts
few almonds, crushed roughly
2 cups of milk
  • Wash carrot, peel and chop roughly. Take chopped carrots, coconut, moong dal, saffron and 1 cup of milk in a pressure cooker. Add 1/2 cup water and cashewnuts to it. Pressure cook this for 5-6 whistles. 
  • Let the pressure fall on its own.  Add the remaining 1 cup of milk to this and blend the contents smooth.  Take the kheer again to stove-top, add sugar, cardamom and crushed nuts. The kheer might liquify a bit when you add sugar, but it is fine, let it for another 10 minutes on the stove, in a simmer flame and take it off the stove. Add some chopped nuts to this and serve warm.

How to make the kheer in the microwave
  • You can also make this in Microwave. Use a deep bowl so milk doesn't overflow. Take the chopped carrots, coconut, moong dal, saffron and 1 cup of milk in a microwave safe bowl, microwave cook at power 100 for 15 minutes. 
  • Once cooked, remove the bowl from the microwave, add remaining 1 cup of milk, blend the contents smooth using a stick blender. Add sugar, cardamom and chopped nuts to it and microwave the contents again at power 50 for another 8 minutes. Take it off the microwave and serve warm, garnished with nuts.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Beets Labneh/Beetroot and chilies spiced Curd Cheese

Beets is  my favorite veggie, infact our favorite veggie. I love to make Beets thogayal atleast twice a month and beets lassi whenever i feel like having a chilled drink. At home, my younger one loves the beets rasam and beets pachadi. Even my elder one who  doesn't prefer beets curry much, loved the beets croquettes, which i made last week. So, while deciding dishes for the colorful dishes theme, i wanted to do this beets labneh too. Labneh is a soft cream cheese made of hung yogurt. I already have a spiced labneh in my kitchen, this beets and chili labneh is another wonderful additon. 
I served this with some chapathi to my younger one for dinner, he loved it. My elder one has asked me to make some sandwich with it for his snack tomorrow. A simple recipe, that will be ready when you are asleep, yup leave it to drain overnight in the fridge, you will have a creamy condiment for breakfast the next day.

1 small beetroot, around 80 grams
250 grams full fat  yogurt
1 green chili, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
  • Peel and cook the beets in the microwave or stove-top until soft. You can also use it raw, but since both my kids love labneh, i didnt want them to be put off by raw beets, so i cooked them soft. Do not waste the water in which the beets were cooked, use it make rasam or cook your dal.
  • Once beets cools down, grate it fine. In a bowl , take the grated beets, chopped green chili, dump the yogurt, and salt. Give it a good mix. 
  • Pour the yogurt in a cheese cloth, tie on top, place it on a sieve and let it sit overnight or atleast 6-8 hours and drain off all the whey.  Take it off the cheese cloth, and serve it along roti's, bread and your veggies.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Diwali marundhu/Diwali Legiyam/Traditional Medicine made during Diwali festival - Ayurvedic medicine

My theme for this week is colorful dishes, when the world is brings you pink, red, yellow and all possible colors, here i m giving you jet black! Dont you love black! I love black, a color that suits all. A color that is hard to achieve in food, not impossible, but little hard. But here i got this black pretty easily, the spice mixture when ground is dark green but when you add jaggery to it, it turns a wonderful black. 
Valli might think "what the heck" i told her to make colorful dishes and here she brings diwali legiyam??? Sorry valli, adjust it please!😉
Diwali marundhu/legiyam is a traditional medicine made during diwali and also exchanged with the sweets we share with our friends. This medicine is what we eat the first thing on diwali day, It helps you in digesting all the sweets and savories you are about to gorge on that day. Usually eating deep fried food causes lot of acidity and indigestion problems amongst many. During festivities, we do tend to over indulge and then run behind aerated drinks and keep burping the whole evening. But traditonal medicines like this help you naturally and make you feel better.
That doesn't mean you can eat a spoon of this everyday mornign and go about eating everything you see, moderation is the key on anyday. But when you indulge that one day, just one day, go for this marundhu first before you reach that aerated drink bottle.
Recipe inspiration : The Hindu
  1. 30 grams  Sukku/dry ginger 
  2. 20 grams Adhimathuram/liquorice root 
  3. 20 grams  Sitharathai/thai ginger 
  4. 20 grams  Kandan thippili/dried root of long pepper 
  5. 20grams Ajwain /Omam/Carom seeds
  6. 20grams Cumin/jeera
  7. 20grams Coriander seeds/Dhaniya
  8. 4 tbsp Black pepper /Milagu
  9. 20 grams Vaal milagu/tailed pepper
  10. 15grams Arisi thippili/Dried long pepper
  11. 20 grams Jaavithri /Mace
  12. 100 grams Karjuraikai/dried dates 
  13. 50 grams Raisin 
  14. 650 grams Jaggery 
  15. 250grams  Ghee 

  • Take all the ingredients from 1 to 4, measure correctly and in a large pan, dry roast them.  Take care not to burn, just dry roast to get a nice aroma of the spices. Remove from the pan and using a mortar-pestle, roughly pound them. These are big roots, if grinding them at home, they might not budge for the mixer-grinder at home. So roughly pound them and try breaking them into small pieces. Soak them in water for 6-8 hours or even overnight. The water should be immersing the spices well. It is better to soak these separately, as it is easy to grind these bigger roots separately.
  • Now dry roast the ingredients from 5-11 in the same pan until you get a nice aroma of all the spices. Now soak these again in water for 6-8 hours or even overnight. 
  • Pit the dried dates and soak it along with raisins for the same time 6-8 hours or overnight.
  • Once you have soaked for the required time, now we have to grind them all.
  • First let us grind the smaller spices (5-11). Take them along with soaked water and grind to a fine paste. Remove the ground paste to a separate bowl.
  • Next comes the monstrous looking roots. I ground them in batches. So grind in small batches to get a paste.Even then you might find lot of fiber in the paste, simply squeeze the juice out of them and discard the fiber.
  • Remove this ground paste also to the same bowl in which we have first set of paste.
  • Now grind the soaked dates and raisins and remove it to the same bowl.
  • Take jaggery in a pan, add 1 cup of water and let it melt and come to a boil. Strain the jaggery and keep aside.
Let us make the marundhu
  • Heat a large, heavy bottom pan, add 100 grams of ghee, when it is hot, add the ground paste to it and saute for 5-8 minutes. The ground paste would be in darker green in color. As you saute you feel the aroma of the traditional diwali legiyam/marundu in your kitchen.
  • After sauteing for 8 minutes, add the strained jaggery,  to it and mix well. Now start the process of stirring frequently. Reduce the flame to medium, and let this mixture boil and reduce in quantity, it took around 90 minutes for me to get the final consistency.
  • I covered the pan with a splatter guard plate from IKEA, saves you from lot of scrubbing later. Keep stirring the mixture frequently. Once it reduces to half its volume, add 100 grams of ghee to it and keep stirring. 
  • First it might look the ghee is floating on top, must as it cooks, the marundhu absorbs and ghee and turns glossy. 
  • The marundhu/legiyam/medicine will come to halwa consistency, add the remaining ghee and stir again. By now the marundhu will comes from the sides of the pan and follows the ladle whenever you stir, you can touch and roll it into a soft ball, then it is done. 
  • Let this cool down overnight completely. First when you taste straight from the stove, you might feel it is very sweet, but onces it cools and the spices mingle and marry together the taste will be right.
  • The legiyam/marundhu/medicine can be left on the kitchen counter in an air-tight container. No need to refrigerate.
  • Enjoy a spoonful of this early morning and any time you feel little indigestion or cold fuzzy feeling. The medley of spices will immeidately make you feel warm.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Mango Coconut Ladoos

Mango, the king of fruits and favorite of many. My lil one is a mango fanatic. Last month i made some mango cupcakes for my friend's bday. He loved the color and taste of them, bright sunny yellow and yumm mango taste. He was pestering me to make some more mango cupcakes from that time on.
Last week i got some tinned mango puree and it was sitting on my counter for more than 10 days. This diwali, i didn't make any sweets or snacks, usually i used to make few sweets and snacks to distribute amongst friends. Though i got some gift boxes from sweet shops for my neighbours, i couldnt do the same for my family friends. I decided to make 2 quickie treats for our get together during the Diwali weekend. At the same time, i wanted to cook something colorful for this week's BM theme : Colorful dishes. 
I remembered bookmarking sandhya's Mango coconut ladoo and with my love for them, i couldn't resist my urge to roll a ladoo with yumm mangoes! These ladoos gets done in 20 minutes. I got around 30 ladoos, the amount depends on the size you are going to make. 
These are perfect for gifting, as they are easy to make and great on taste. i have received postive comments from my friends that the ladoos are out of the world, i also made a gulkand rose ladoo along with this for them. Do try this yumm and colorful mango ladoo for your next celebrations.

1.5 cups of mango puree (homemade/tinned)
1 tin condensed milk (400 grams)
2 cups of dessicated coconut
6-8 pods of cardamom, only the seeds pounded
2 tbsp ghee
  • Heat a wide pan, measure 1 tbsp ghee, add the coconut to it and roast until the raw smell dissappears. You dont have to roast it until golden brown. Toast it for 2-3 minutes in a medium flame.
  • To this now add mango puree, condensed milk and pounded cardamom. Keep the flame medium and stir the mixture frequently.
  • Once the mixture comes together as a mass, take it off the stove and let it cool. Once it comes down and is warm to touch, divide the mixture into small balls and roll it in your palms. 
  • Roll the ladoos, on dessicated coconut and set aside. Rolling in dessicated coconut is optional, but gives a nice look to the ladoos.  
  • Store them in an air-tight box in the refrigerator, i didnt want to keep them outside as it is made of coconut.

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