25 November 2012

Walnut and Figs Pudding with Toffee Sauce

The best part about having a blog is that you are motivated to try out new recipes all the time and that whenever friends think of gifting they have no doubts about what to get  :) One of our guests and friend Egbert got this fresh packet of walnuts all the way from Kashmir. Thanks Egy. Puddings are my weakness and always enjoy it when others make it for me. It's sheer laziness to make them. I usually sit back and enjoy the puddings that my sis Nishna makes. 

Walnut and figs are my favorites. I found this recipe at 'What Katie Ate' blog while looking out for recipes with nuts. Since we don't get pecans here, I substituted it with walnuts. Loved the taste of figs and walnut in the pudding. It is a really rich pudding and the toffee sauce gives that subtle  flavour in between. With the Christmas season coming up this pudding is gonna win many hearts.

Dried Figs - 175 g cut into 1/4 inch strips
Strong Coffee - 50 ml * see notes 1

Walnuts - 3/4 cup chopped into small pieces
Unsalted Butter - 90 g (at room temperature)
Brown Sugar - 150 g
Eggs - 2 lightly beaten
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Self Raising Flour - 175 g
Hot water - 125 ml

For the toffee sauce:
Unsalted Butter - 125 g
Brown Sugar - 175 g
Instant coffee powder - 1/4 tsp (my addition to the recipe)
Cream - 125 ml


Preheat oven to 180 degrees for 15 minutes.
Grease and prepare a 1 L pudding basin or bundt pan.*See notes 2
Chop the figs and walnuts.
Prepare the coffee and soak the figs in it for 15 minutes.
Place the butter and sugar in a bowl. Mix it well.
Lightly beat the eggs and add it to the bowl.
Sprinkle the baking powder.
Tip in the flour and mix well with a wooden spatula.
When smooth add in the soaked figs along with any coffee left and walnuts. Mix well.
Now add in the hot water and combine well.
Pour the batter into the pudding basin or bundt pan.
Cover the surface with a baking paper and then cover tightly with foil.
Bake for 50 - 60 minutes or until the skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. *See notes 4
Meanwhile make the toffee sauce. Place the butter and brown sugar in a sauce pan on low heat till the butter has melted and sugar dissolved.
Add in 1/4 tsp instant coffee powder and mix well.
Stir in the cream and increase heat to medium. Bring it to just below boiling point and reduce heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes.
Turn the pudding on to a plate and pour the toffee sauce on top.
Top it with the nuts if you wish.
Serve warm.

1. To prepare strong coffee boil 50 ml water and add in 1 tbsp instant coffee powder. I used Nescafe.
2. I used a non stick bundt pan. So I did not line it. If you are not using one then line it with baking paper.
3. Place the pan on the middle rack in the oven.
4. Time required to bake may differ. Check after 30 minutes.

20 November 2012

Chemmeen Masala / Prawns Masala

There are some old recipes written by hand and kept in my favorite recipe folder. These are ones that came to my rescue after marriage. Most of them are my mom's, amma's, aunts or cousins and some them of them from the web world. This is one recipe I got from a website but at that time never thought of writing down which site it was from. I have special memories associated with each of these scraps of paper. It surely makes me smile. I am sure it will make you smile too. So here is the recipe for prawns masala.

Prawns - 280 g shelled and deveined

For Marination:
Pepper - 1/4 tsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Salt - as required

For Masala:
Onions - 2 cups tightly packed, finely chopped
Green Chillies - 1 slit into two
Ginger Paste - 1 tsp
Garlic Paste - 1 tsp
Kashmiri Chilli Powder - 1 tbsp
Coriander Powder - 2 tbsp
Tomato - 1 cup finely chopped, loosely packed
Coriander Leaves - 1/4 cup finely chopped
Water - 1 cup
Oil - 2 tbsp
Salt - as required

Marinate prawns with pepper, turmeric and salt. Leave it marinated for 1/2 hour.
Heat oil in a kadai/ wok.
Add in the ginger, garlic paste and saute for 10 secs.
Now add in the chopped onions, chilly and saute till light brown.
Tip in the masalas and stir well for 1 minute on low flame.
Stir in the tomato, add 1/4 tsp salt and saute. Close and cook on low till tomatoes are mashed well.
Open the lid and add the prawns. Mix well.
Add 1 cup water, check salt and let cook on low for 10 minutes.
Open and cook on high for another 5 minutes till the gravy is thick.
Remove from stove and garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve with rotis or rice.

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18 November 2012

Mutta Choru / Egg Rice

When it comes to weekends I always go in for one pot meals. I am sure by now everyone has gotten over the celebration mood and back to work on full swing. It's always fun when festivals arrive. There is so much activity and happiness around. But the good news is that the festive season is not over yet. We still have Christmas and New Year. 

This weekend I would like to share an easy recipe with you all. Something the kids will love instead of the usual rice and curries. My son always comes from school asking 'what is special for lunch today?' It is really hard to please these little pranksters. What I like about this recipe is that it does not have too much of that egg-y taste. It is a mild version which I found in one of my Amma's old cut outs from Vanitha magazine. So here it is..

Short Grain Rice - 2 cups
Water - 4 cups
Ghee - 1 1/2 tbsp
Salt - as required

Eggs - 4 medium
Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Salt - as required

Onions - 2 large (finely chopped)
Chilly - 1 or 2 slit into 2 ( as per tolerance level)
Oil - 1 tbsp

Coriander Leaves - 2 tbsp finely chopped
Curry Leaves - 2 sprigs

Clean and wash the rice. Drain water and transfer it to a colander.
Boil 4 cups water and add salt as required.
Heat the ghee in a non stick kadai or pan.
Fry the rice in it for five minutes stirring continuously on medium to low flame.
Pour the boiled water into the rice. Bring it to a boil on high flame. 
Close with a lid and cook for 15 minutes on low flame. While cooking toss the rice once after 10 minutes.
Crack the eggs into a bowl. Add in the turmeric, pepper, coriander powder and salt. Fluff it well using a fork or wire whisk till well incorporated.
In a  medium size pan heat the oil. Fry the onions and chilly till slightly brown in colour.
Add in the egg mixture and scramble it.
Now add in the cooked rice. Toss and mix well.
Garnish with curry leaves and coriander leaves.
Serve with cucumber raita, pappad and pickle.

1. Short grain rice refers to what we call ghee rice / Neychottari in Kerala also called as Kaima Rice/ Jeerakasala Rice. The picture of it is shown below. This is best in making biriyani.

2. After pouring in the boiled water into the rice just stir once. Stirring too much will make the rice mushy. So check the salt in the water before pouring it into the rice.
3. Do not fry the rice for more than 5 minutes. The right time is when the grains start breaking.
4. You can chop the chilly fine, if you are making it for adults. And increase the number depending on your spice tolerance level.

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09 November 2012

Chenna Payas / Cottage Cheese Pellets in Thickened Milk - Diwali Special

Chenna Payas is a must try sweet famous in Bengal and Orissa. Soft cottage cheese balls are cooked in thickened milk. It is served chilled. Other Diwali Sweets you could check out here are - RasogollasJalebis, Carrot Halwa and Badam Halwa
I am sure all are geared up for the Diwali celebrations.Wishing all my well wishers, readers and blogger friends a happy, fun filled and safe Diwali!

Recipe Source: 100 great recipes of India

For the soft cottage cheese (chennas):
Milk - 2 1/2 litre
Vinegar or Lemon Juice - 4 tbsp

For the sugar syrup:
Sugar - 300 g
Water - 5 cups or 1 litre
Refined Flour - 5 tsp

For the thickened milk / rabri:
Milk - 1 liter + 1/2 cup( to cook the remaining cottage cheese)
Sugar - 4 tbsp
Green Cardamom Powder - 1/2 tsp
Saffron - a few strands

For garnish
Almonds - 2 tsp (slivered)
Pistachios - 2 tsp(slivered)
Saffron - a few strands

Boil the milk in a pan. When it starts to boil reduce flame. Add the lime/ vinegar. Continue to cook and stir  till the milk curdles completely.
Drain it into a muslin cloth kept in a sieve. Wash the cottage cheese thoroughly under running water.
Lift the cloth from all four sides and twist it to remove water content.
Transfer it to a wide mouthed bowl to knead. Mash the chenna well.
Press the dough and push it in the opposite direction from you. Keep repeating this till you get soft cottage cheese. Knead for approximately 5 minutes. Keep aside.
Now start to prepare the sugar syrup. Boil water in a wide mouthed pot. Add sugar and stir till the sugar is fully dissolved.
When the syrup starts to boil lower heat and add the refined flour. Stir well.
Let the syrup become frothy. Continue to cook on very slow flame.
Meanwhile start preparing the chenna balls. They should be very small in size (approx a little bigger than the size of a Kabuli Channa). Make chenna balls from 3/4 of the cottage cheese.
In another pan pour the milk to prepare the rabri / thickened milk.
Bring the milk to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer till it is reduced to 1/3 the quantity. Add in the sugar and stir till fully dissolved.
In the meantime, transfer the chenna balls into the sugar syrup. Continue to simmer until they swell to double the size (approximately 20 minutes).
Remove the dumplings or chenna balls using a slotted spoon and keep aside to cool.
In a kadai boil 1/2 cup milk. Add in remaining well mashed chenna and cook till the mixture begins to leave the sides.Remove from heat and let cool.
When the milk for the rabri has been reduced to 1/3 the quantity, remove from heat and add in the saffron and cardamom powder. 
Add in the cooked chenna mixture to the milk and continue to cook for 10 - 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
When cool gently lower the dumplings or chenna balls into the mixture. 
Serve chilled garnished with pistachios, almonds and saffron.

1.Once you add the vinegar or lime keep stirring on low flame till the milk curdles completely.
2.The chenna or cottage cheese is washed to remove the taste of the vinegar or lime and also to make it soft.
3.Twist the muslin cloth well to remove water completely.
4.The cottage cheese needs to be kneaded well to make a nice soft dough.
5.The dumplings should not have any crack else they will break on cooking.
6. The sugar syrup should be frothy and of one string consistency before you add in the dumplings. Smear a little syrup on your forefinger. Press it between your thumb and forefinger. Slowly pull. You can see a string form.
7.Use a wide mouthed pot or kadai to make the sugar syrup so that the dumplings fit into it without overcrowding.
7.While serving if the rabri is too thick add in some milk.

03 November 2012

Vendakka Mezhukkupuratti / Okra Stir Fry Kerala Style

Okra / Ladies Finger is one of my favorite vegetable. Venda Mezhukkupuratti is an easy to make side dish for rice.

Tender Okra / Vendakka - 300 gms
Onion - 1 medium size thinly sliced
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Pepper Powder - 1/4 to 1/2 tsp (depending on spice tolerance)
Salt - as required
Coconut Oil - 2 tbsp

Wash and pat dry the okra.
Chop it into round pieces.
Heat oil in a non stick kadai or pan.
Stir fry the onions till translucent.
Add in the turmeric powder, pepper powder and salt. Stir for 10 secs.
Tip in the okra and stir. Check salt.
Cover and cook on slow flame. Stir in between.
Cook till okra is well cooked and coated with the masala.
Enjoy with rice.

Do not add water.
You can slit 2 chillies and add. Remember to remove it before serving.