27 October 2011

Jalebi - Diwali Wishes

Happy Diwali to all my dear readers!!!

Here I am with a crunchy juicy sweet to celebrate Diwali in style. Jalebi is known as the 'Celebration Sweet of India'.  It is served in almost all festivals be it national or regional.This sweet can be served hot or cold but my verdict is try it hot. It tastes THE BEST! 

This sweet was introduced in India by the Mughals. It was known as 'Zlebia' which was later replaced to Jalebi in India. In South India it is called 'jilebi'. 

I have always relished store bought jalebis but this time round was tempted to try my hand at making it. I was jumping with joy when it was a success. I really thought it was a task impossible as I have seen the mithaiwalas make jalebis and thought it could be done only with expertise. Really glad to have tried it.

Recipe Source: Largely adapted from Tarla Dalal

For Jalebi batter:
1 cup Plain Flour
1 tsp Bengal Gram Flour
½ tsp yeast
1 tbsp lukewarm water (to dissolve yeast)
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp oil
2 drops Yellow food colour
2/3 cup water

For Sugar Syrup
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Few strands of saffron
1 teaspoon of lemon juice

Oil for deep frying

Mix the plain flour and gram flour well.
Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water.
Mix the flour with yeast, sugar, yeast, food colour and water well so that no lumps remain.
Keep it aside for 10 minutes for batter to ferment.
At the same time start preparing the sugar syrup.
Boil the water and sugar till it is sticky or form strand consistency.
Lower the flame.
Add lemon juice and saffron. Mix well.
Heat oil in a wide pan (which is about 1 ½ inch deep).
The oil has to be of medium heat.
Fill the batter in a piping bag/sauce bottle.
Squeeze the batter into the oil forming concentric circles(about 2 inches in diameter).
Fry till golden on both sides.
Transfer it to the simmering syrup.*
Toss in the syrup with tongs till well coated and remove.
Serve hot.

The temperature of the oil is very important to make good jalebis. It should neither be less hot nor too hot.
The batter has to be of paste like consistency.
Make small jalebis if you are a beginner.
Make about 3 -4 jalebis at a time.
The lime juice is added to syrup to avoid crystallization.
*Switch off the flame of the syrup half way through the process of making jalebis else it will become too thick.


25 October 2011

Sanna / Mangalore Steamed Rice Cake

If you are a Mangalorean or studied or lived in Mangalore then Sanna's will surely be your favorite. Who can resist these fluffy Sannas or Mangalore Idly's. I have fond memories of Mangalore. Spent almost 6 years there and everything about that place is dear to me.

All those 6 years I stayed with my dearest Queenie Aunt. She introduced me to all the possible Mangalore Cuisine and cooked such yummy food. I remember my friends literally pouncing on my tiffin every afternoon at college. Sad, I hardly would get a bite. Friends would happily share their tiffins with me and my friends who stayed in hostels would eagerly ask me 'What's for tiffin today?' without fail as soon as they spot me. Sweet memories indeed.

So here is one of my favorite Mangalore special - Sanna. This recipe is from my best friend Shireen's blog. To get over the hang over of visiting Mangalore, I had to cook a recipe from my favourite place.

Recipe Source: Ruchik Randhap

1-1/2 cups Idly Rice
1/2 cup Raw rice 
1/4 cup  Urad dal (Split Black Gram Dal) 
1 tsp dried yeast (heaped)
1 tsp sugar ( for making yeast solution)
3-4 tbsp warm water ( to make yeast solution)
salt to taste
Sugar to taste (1-2 tsp)

Soak the two types of rice and urad dal separately for 3 hours.
Grind the urad dal first and remove it.
Grind the two types of rice together into a thick batter.
Transfer the dal and rice batter to a large bowl big enough to accommodate double the quantity of batter.
Mix yeast to a bowl of warm water along with 1 tsp sugar. Allow it to stand for 10 minutes. When it turns frothy mix it well with batter.
Add salt and sugar.
Cover with a muslin cloth and place it in a warm place to ferment for about 1- 1 ½ hours.
The batter would have doubled. Place sufficient water in an Idly maker and let it come to a boil.
Grease steel ramekins with little oil. Pour a ladle of batter in each.
Place the ramekins in the idly maker and close it. Let it cook for 10- 15 minutes.
When done remove the ramekins and place them face down on a plate.
Allow to cool and remove.
Serve it with Chicken/ Mutton Curry/ Coconut Dry Chutney.

Use as little water as possible to grind.
The batter is fine and thick.
Do not stir the batter after fermentation. Scoop to fill into ramekins.
To know if the batter is ready peel, wash an onion and put it in the batter. Once the fermentation is done the onion will sink to the bottom. (I have seen Queenie aunt do this. It works)
Insert a toothpick to check if sannas are cooked. If it comes out clean it is done.
If you wish to make sannas only the next day, after fermentation leave it in a fridge overnight.
If you are in a hurry to remove the sannas place the ramekins in  cold water bath (Pour cold water in a  large bowl and place ramekins in it). Once cold run a knife or spoon around it to remove sanna faster.
The time taken to cook depends on the size of the ramekins. It varies from 8 – 15 minutes.
Add more sugar if you like the sanna to be sweet.

19 October 2011

Rava Idly / Semolina Dumpling / Quick Idly

Rava Idly or Sooji Idli is a welcome variation from the usual rice idli's. It is a specialty breakfast item of Karnataka. The popular restaurant chain Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR) of Bangalore seems to have invented this yummy idli. During World War II, when rice which is the staple item used in idli was in short supply, they experimented in making idli using semolina and created Rava Idli.

No fermenting overnight - that's what is best about this idly. The crunchiness of the nuts and flavour of the veggies make it an ideal breakfast item and a hit with all. A real healthy steamed cake!

Rava - 2 cups
Curd - 2 cups
Water - 1/4 cup*
Mustard Seeds - 1 tbsp
Urad dal - 1 tbsp
Chana Dal- 1 tbsp
Grated ginger- 2 tbsp
Chopped Chilly - 2 tbsp
Grated Carrot - 1/4 cup
Roasted Cashews - 2 tbsp
Roasted Groundnut - 1 tbsp
Chopped Curry leaves  - 1 tbsp
Chopped Coriander Leaves- 2 tbsp
Baking Soda - 2 pinch**
Ghee - 1tbsp
Oil - 2 tbsp + for greasing idly mould

Heat oil in a kadai. Add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
Add urad dal and chana dal. Roast till golden and nice aroma comes out.
Add grated ginger and chilly.
Add rava and keep stirring.
Add ghee and stir again.
Roast the rava for about 2-3 minutes. 
Remove from fire and let cool.
In a large bowl mix the rava with curd, carrot, curry leaves, coriander leaves,salt and soda bicarbonate.
Add water to make it into thick idly batter consistency.
Keep aside a few cashews and ground nut and add the rest to the batter.
Close with a lid and let it sit for 1/2 hour.
Place the idly maker with 4 glasses of water to boil.
Grease the idly mould with oil. 
Place a cashew and ground nut at the bottom of the mould.***
Pour heap full of 1 tbsp each batter in each mould.
When the water in the idly maker starts steaming place the mould in it. Close the lid.
Cook for 10 minutes on high flame.
Serve it with Shallots Red Chutney or Coconut Groundnut Chutney or Sambar.

Recipe Source: My Mom

Kashmiri Chilly - 6
Shallots/Chuvannulli/Cheriya Ulli - 2 cups
Tamarind - Size of small lime.
Coconut Oil - 2 tbsp
Salt - as required

Heat coconut oil in a kadai. 
Add the shallots, chilly and tamarind.
Saute  for 1 minute.
Cool and grind along with salt.

*Add water as per requirement. The amount of water depends whether your curd is thick or thin. 
**I added baking soda to make it rise. You can substitute it with Eno Salt ( an antacid used as a substitute for baking powder).
***By keeping a cashew and groundnut before pouring in the batter, you will be able to see the nuts when you serve idly like you see in the picture below.

15 October 2011

Fish Molee / Fish in Thick Coconut Sauce

Fish Molee is the non spicy version of fish curry. Fish is stewed in thick coconut milk. It can be made with King Fish or Pomfret. The aroma of the spices, fresh fish, coconut milk along with curry leaves renders a delicious flavour to the curry. This is one of the best combination with Kerala Appams. In the Malabar(North) region of Kerala it is served with bread during housewarming and  parties.

Pomfret - 8 slices

For Marination:

Turmeric- 1 tsp
Salt - as required
Lime/ Vinegar- 1 tbsp

For Curry:
Onions - 4 (medium size) thinly sliced
Chilly - 6 slit
Tomato - 3
Ginger- 1 tbsp
Cinnamon - 1 '' piece
Clove- 3
Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Thick Coconut Milk - 2 cups
Salt - as required
Curry Leaves - 2 sprigs
Coconut Oil - for shallow frying + 2 tbsp
Coriander Leaves - 1/4 cup

Clean the fish and pat dry.
Marinate it with lime/vinegar, turmeric and salt for 1/2 hour.
Shallow fry the fish till half cooked on both sides on low heat. Transfer to paper towels and set aside.
In a pan saute onions, ginger and chillies. It should be half cooked.
Add tomatoes, coconut milk, cinnamon, clove, pepper powder and salt.
Cook on slow flame. Add fish pieces slowly. Pour the gravy over the fish. Do not stir else the fish will break.
Cook for 10 minutes on slow flame.
Remove from fire.
Garnish with curry leaves and coriander leaves.

Fish is shallow fried so that it does not break while adding to curry and so that there is a crisp taste.
Coriander leaves are added to remove the fishy smell. :)

Sending this post to the Kerala Kitchen event hosted by Khushi

12 October 2011


Pasta is a part of the Italian Cuisine. It has become one of the world's favourite dish. I seems that there are more than 600 pasta shapes produced worldwide. The type of pasta I used here is called 'maccheroni'.We call it macaroni in India.


Pasta – 360 gms
Onion – 1 ¼ cup (finely chopped)
Capsicum - half medium (finely chopped)
Sweet Corn - a cup (I used baby corn)
Tomato - 1 medium sized
Garlic cloves - 2 cloves (finely chopped)
Green Chili - 1 (finely chopped)(I slit it into half as I was making it for kids)
Coriander - 2 tablespoons (finely chopped)
Mozzarella Cheese - for garnish
Processed Cheese - 1 cube
cooking oil - 2-3 teaspoons
Salt - to taste
Oregano - for garnish
Chili Flakes - for garnish(I did not use these)
Pizza Sauce - 3 tablespoons. (used 2 tbsp chilli sauce)
Tomato Ketchup - 1 tbsp

Boil the pasta with salt in hot water till cooked. Stir well so that it does not get stuck to the bottom.
Drain the water and pour cold water on it.
In a pan heat oil.  Add the garlic and green chilli.
Sauté the onions with salt (for around 2 minutes).
Add the pizza sauce and tomato sauce.
Add the capsicum, baby corn and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes and stir (10 seconds).
Add the pasta and mix well.
Garnish with coriander leaves, cheese and oregano.

Do not saute the tomatoes for long as it will become soggy.
I added one Maggi Chicken Stock Cube.
Add more chillies as per spice level required.
I used tinned baby corn.

10 October 2011

Jam Tarts

The cute little jam tarts sure has become my kids favorite tea time snack.


Butter-60g *
Baking powder-1/2tsp
Water-4-5 drops**


Mix flour and baking powder together.

Add the butter and rub it with your fingertips till it resembles breadcrumbs.
Add few drops of water to bring together the dough.
Line the tart tins***
Fill 2/3 of the tart with jam.

Bake at 180 degress for 15 mins or until golden around the edges .

De-mould when cooled.

You can use cup cake mould to make these tarts.
*Use chilled butter and if possible chilled flour.
**Use chilled water.
I refrigerated the dough for 1/2 hour so that's its easier to roll out.
***Roll out the dough on a flat surface about 1/8 inch thick. Then using a cookie cutter or glass cut into 
round shape. Cut out the rounds and gently place it on the mould and press it on all sides.
If you find it sticky, place a parchment paper and roll it on that.

06 October 2011

Easy Prawn Pulao

Want to make a yummy pulao in a short time? May be during weekends or that you are not in a mood to cook something complicated or the usual meal. Then this is it. A tasty combination of rice and prawns. The flavour of prawns and spices blends well with the rice and voila in minutes this yummy pulao is ready. So all the sea food lovers what are you all waiting for. Go ahead and try it!

Prawns - 1/4 kg
Cinnamon - 1" piece
Cloves- 3
Bay Leaf - 1
Cardamom- 3
Onions - 1 1/2 cup(finely chopped)
Green Chilly-1
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 1/2 tbsp
Tomato - 2 medium (finely chopped)
Red Chilly powder - 1 tsp +  1 tsp
Mint leaves - 1/2 cup
Coconut Milk 1 1/2 cup
Basmati Rice - 1 1/2 cup
Water - 1 cup + 1/4 cup
Oil - 3 tbsp
Salt - to taste

Marinate the prawns with 1 tsp chilly powder and salt.
Soak basmati rice for 1/2 hour and drain.
Heat oil. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and bay leaves.
Add onions, chilly and saute well.
Add ginger garlic paste.
Add red chilly powder.
Add tomatoes.
Add prawns, mint leaves and salt.
Add the coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil.
Add rice. Stir well. Close with a lid and cook on high flame till the water comes to a boil.
Reduce heat to low.
Cover with a lid and let cook (appox. 15 minutes on low flame).
Serve hot with raitha and green salad.

You may need 1/4 cup extra water depending on the rice. If its not cooked heat water and pour on top of the pulao. Close with a lid.
This pulao is delicious if spicy. But reduce spice level as per tolerance.
Use medium or small prawns as they are tastier.

01 October 2011

Badam Halwa / Almond Delight

I am here with another delicious dessert. This time its the almond halwa - packed with goodness of Almonds, milk and ghee and flavored with saffron and cardamom. It being the Navarathri week what else than a sweet. With lots of guests coming in today I thought this would be the perfect treat.

Badam Halwa
250 gm Almonds (blanched)
1/2 cup Ghee
1/2 cup Milk
1 1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
a few strands of Saffron
a pinch of yellow food colour (optional)

In a food processor, grind the almonds to a fine paste with little milk.
Heat the ghee in a pan.
Add the almond paste and cook on medium heat till it turns golden.
Add milk and sugar and continue to cook till all the moisture evaporates and it becomes thick.
Remove from heat.
Add green cardamom and saffron.
Serve hot or cold.

The right consistency is when the mixture starts to leave the sides and wobbles in a big lump.
To serve cold, spread on a greased tray, cut into shapes of your choice and serve.
To serve hot, ladle individual portions on plates.


Sending this to Radhika's Diwali Special Event