December 25, 2019

INSTANT FRUIT CAKE - SPECIAL FOR THIS CHRISTMAS


This fruit cake was the cake that you get at Christmas and weddings…and conventionally soaked in a strong liquor like brandy or rum. But I didn't soak the dry fruits in the liquor instead, I added 2 tbsp of rum to bring the taste as rich as soaked. I suggest to cover the cake for the first  1/2 hr of baking with foil to prevent them from overbrowning.

The smells that engulfed the house when it was baking was really yummy…so warm and heady, what will all the spices that went into the batter. And it was quite a fuss-free recipe too.
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Ingredients :
  1. 250 gms - All purpose flour
  2. 1 tsp baking powder
  3. 2 tbsp Rum (or) Brandy
  4. 250 gms butter
  5. 230 gms brown sugar
  6. Lightly beaten eggs - 4 nos
  7. Nutmeg powder - 1 tsp
  8. Cloves, grounded - 1/2 tsp
  9. Cinnamon powder - 1 tsp
  10. Ginger powder - 1/2 tsp
  11. Nuts & Fruits, combined- 2 cups
  • walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • Raisins 
  • Currants 
  • Cherries
  • Chopped pineapple
  • Chopped dates 
  • Almonds  

Directions to bake :


1.  Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Grease the pan & line with the parchment paper.

2.  Sieve together flour & baking powder.  Keep aside.

3.  Cream butter and sugar together till creamy.

4.  Add in eggs one at a time, beat well after each addition to prevent curdling.

5.  Add the nuts & mix.

6.  Add nutmeg powder, cinnamon powder, cloves & ginger powder. Mix.

7.  Fold in the flour mixture & pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.

8.  Cover the baking pan with aluminium foil & bake it for 30 mins.

9.  After 30 mins, remove the aluminium foil and continue baking for next one hr or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.


For best flavor, wrap and store in refrigerator for 24 hours before serving.

December 21, 2019

Egg Bread Roti / Toast



Egg bread toast is a savoury toast made with eggs & grounded onion masala.  This can be served with ketchup.  Need just 5 mins to prepare this delicious breakfast/snack with goodness of eggs.  Perfect for a quick anytime snack for kids too. 


Ingredients :

  1. Bread slices - 12 pcs
  2. Onion, sliced - 2 medium sized
  3. A small piece of ginger
  4. Green chillies - 4 nos
  5. Eggs - 3 nos
  6. Besan (Chickpea flour) - 2 tbsp
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  9. Coriander leaves 
  10. Oil
Method :


1.  Grind together onion, ginger & green chilly to smooth paste using little water.

2.  Transfer the grounded paste to a plate, add eggs, besan, salt, turmeric powder & coriander leaves.  Mix well without any lumps.

3.  If the mixture is thick, add water or milk to make it little thin.


4.  Heat pan, dip the bread slices in the batter and cook them on either side.

5.  Drizzle some oil around the bread & cook till golden on either sides.




Serve it with ketchup.

December 18, 2019

Super hit Classic Chocolate Brownie


Classic chocolate brownie is always a super hit treat.  Crispy top crust & moist texture with wonderful chocolate flavour.  All we need is just a bowl to melt the chocolate and butter and mix all other ingredients together using the wooden spoon.  It taste wonderful with a scoop of vanilla icecream.  Coffee powder is optional which gives additional flavour for this brownie. Good way to start the baking :)


Ingredients :


  1. Semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate - 140 gms (5 ounces)
  2. Unsalted butter - 1/2 cup (115 gms)
  3. Unsweetened cocoa powder - 2 tbsp
  4. Sugar - 1 cup (200 gms)
  5. Vanilla sugar or extract or essence - 1 tsp or 1 packet
  6. Instant coffee powder - 1 tsp
  7. Eggs, at room temperature - 3 nos
  8. All purpose flour (Maida) - 3/4 cup (95 gms)
  9. Salt - 1/4 tsp
Method :


1.  Preheat the oven at 180 C.  Line up the baking pan with foil & grease the foil with butter.

2.  Melt the chocolate & butter together over a saucepan of simmering water.

3.  Remove from heat & cool the chocolate mixture.

4.  Sieve the flour, cocoa powder & salt.

5.  Stir in the sugar, coffee powder & vanilla extract to the chocolate mixture.

6.  Whisk in the eggs, one at a time to the chocolate mixture.

7.  Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. 

8.  Pour the batter in the prepared pan.  Bake it for 25 mins or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. 


Happy baking.

December 15, 2019

Hyderabad Chicken Curry - Very Authentic


I make this Hyderabadi chicken curry for special occasion.  This curry is rich in flavour & taste great with rice and rotis.  Special kind of paste is prepared using peanuts, poppy seeds, sesame seeds and red chillies and cooked along with other spices.  Addition of coconut milk makes this dish outstanding and perfect menu in any party table. 


Ingredients :
  1. Chicken - 1 kg
  2. Bay leaf - 1 no
  3. Cinnamon stick - 1 inch 
  4. Green cardamom - 2 nos
  5. Cloves - 3 nos
  6. Hing - 1/4 tsp
  7. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  8. Curry leaves - 2 tbsp
  9. Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  10. Onion - 1 no
  11. Sesame seeds - 1 tbsp
  12. Peanuts - 2 tbsp
  13. Dry red chillies - 4 nos
  14. Poppy seeds - 1 tbsp
  15. Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
  16. Salt to taste
  17. Chilly powder - to taste 
  18. Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
  19. Coconut milk - 1/4 cup
  20. Water
  21. Tamarind paste - 1 tbsp
  22. Oil - 1 tbsp
  23. Coriander leaves for garnishing

Method :



1.   Soak poppy seeds and dry red chillies in water for 10 mins.  Grind them along with sesame seeds and peanuts.  Keep the masala aside.

2.   Heat oil in the heavy bottomed pan, add bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cardamom & cloves.

3.   Add mustard seeds, hing, curry leaves and finely chopped onions.  Saute till tender.

4.   Add ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder and salt to taste.

5.   Add cleaned and cut chicken pieces and grounded masala.  Cook for few mins.

6.   Add chilly powder, coriander powder, tamarind paste and water around 2 cups.   Cover and cook till done.  

7.   Once the chicken is cooked, add coconut milk and switch of the flame.  Garnish it with coriander leaves.


Serve with hot steamed rice / rotis /  naan / parathas.

Note :

Homemade Tamarind paste link :
https://www.cookingwithswapna.com/2019/11/tamarind-paste-from-scratch-no-cooking.html

YouTube link :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRs9Co-704g&t=7s

December 11, 2019

Soft & Fluffy South Indian special Kancheepuram Idli


Try this soft and flavourful  traditional Kanchipuram idli with coconut chutney.  It's delicious..


Ingredients:
  1. Idli rice - 2 cups
  2. Raw rice -2 cups
  3. Urad dal - 1 1/4 cups
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Ghee - 1 tsp (optional)
  6. Oil- 1 tsp
  7. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  8. Grated ginger - 1 tsp
  9. Crushed black pepper -1/2 tsp
  10. Crushed cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  11. Green chilli, optional
  12. Broken cashew pieces - 1 tsp
  13. Curry leaves

Method:



1.  Soak the idli rice and raw rice together overnight or at least 4 hours.  Also, soak urad dal for 4 hours.

2.  Grind the rice and urad dal separately and mix together along with salt.   Ferment the batter. (Overnight is preferable).

3.  Heat ghee and oil in the pan, add all the seasonings and fry.


4.  Mix the tempering in the idli batter.  

5.  Grease the idli pan with ghee/ oil and pour the idli batter and steam cook them for 10 mins or until done.


Serve with chutney.

December 7, 2019

Authentic South Indian Fish Kuzhambu - Moms special !!!


This fish kuzhambu is very quick to make with freshly ground spices and goes well with rice, idli/dosa or chapati.  This curry is chettinad based and without coconut.  It taste super good & loved it for the rich tangy taste.



Ingredients :
  1. 750 gms fish (can use Butter fish ,king fish,anchovy,salmon,catfish etc.Dont choose shell fishes for this preparation.)
  2. Tamarind paste - 1 tbsp
  3. Water - 2 cups
  4. 3 Medium sized tomatoes
  5. Onion - 2 nos
  6. Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  7. Chilly powder - 1 tsp (adjust as per ur spice level)
  8. Corriander powder - 1 tsp
  9. Curry leaves - 1 tbsp
  10. Garlic - 4 pods
  11. Black pepper - 1tsp
  12. Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  13. Sugar - 1/4 tsp
  14. Fenugreek (methi seeds) - 1 tsp
  15. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  16. Salt to taste
  17. Oil - 3 tbsp
  18. Vadavam (Southindian spice ball) (optional)

Method :


1.  Apply turmeric powder and salt on fish, keep aside.

2.  Wash it properly after 5 minutes. 

3.  Grind together onion - 1 no, tomatoes, curry leaves, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, garlic pods, chilly powder, coriander powder & salt to taste to smooth paste.  Keep aside.

4.  Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan, add mustard seeds & fenugreek seeds.  

5.  Add finely chopped onion (1 no) & sauté.

6.  Add grounded paste & cook for 5 mins.

7.  Add 2 cups of water, tamarind paste, sugar & salt to taste.  Cover & cook for 10 mins over medium flame.

8.  Add fish slices & cook for few more mins or until done.  Switch off the flame.

9.  In a separate pan, add 1 tbsp of oil, vadavam & curry leaves.  Add it to the fish kuzhambu.


 Enjoy!!!


Please check the below link for Homemade Tamarind paste :

YouTube link : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRs9Co-704g&t=7s

Recipe link : https://www.cookingwithswapna.com/2019/11/tamarind-paste-from-scratch-no-cooking.html

December 4, 2019

Orange Peel Tea - Very delicious & healthy!!!


Orange peel tea has been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine to heal lots of different ailments and to keep a person healthy. It’s full of Vitamin C, contains lots of pectins to lower cholesterol, it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, lowers blood pressure, helps with insulin resistance, boosts up our immune system, and heals lots of health challenges.

Oranges grow all over the world and most people throw away the peel… but perhaps it’s time we make some very healthy orange peel tea. 


Ingredients :

  1. Peel from 1 small sized orange
  2. Water - 1 1/2 cups
  3. Tea powder - 1 1/2 tsp
  4. Sugar to taste
  5. Milk - 1/2 cup

Method :


1.  Boil water along with tea powder & orange peel.

2.  Add sugar & milk.  Keep boiling until done.


Serve immediately.

November 30, 2019

Chicken Biryani using coconut milk - Pressure cooker method !!



Chicken biryani is a highly favoured & well seasoned dish that has a perfect balance of chicken, rice & whole spices that's going to excite and linger on your taste buds.  I adopted this recipe from Home Cooking by Hema Bala Subramanian.  A simpler version using coconut milk & homemade biryani masala paste is way too good & easy to make. 


Ingredients :

  1. Basmati / Seeraga samba rice - 1 kg
  2. Ghee - 3 tbsp
  3. Oil - 2 tbsp
  4. Whole spices (cloves, cardamom, cinnamon & bay leaf)
  5. Onion, thinly sliced - 5 nos
  6. Tomato, chopped - 2 medium sized
  7. Mint leaves
  8. Coriander leaves
  9. Cashewnuts
  10. Biryani Masala paste - 4 tbsp
  11. Thin Coconut milk -1 lt
  12. Salt to taste
Marinate chicken :
  1. Chicken - 1 kg
  2. Chilly powder - 2 tbsp
  3. Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  4. Salt to taste

Method :


1.  Clean & soak the rice for 30 mins.  Drain the water from the rice & set aside for another 30 mins.

2.  Heat ghee & oil in the pressure cooker.  Add whole spices.

3.  Add finely sliced onions & saute. 

4.  Add chopped tomatoes & saute.

5.  Add homemade biryani masala paste.  Mix well.



6.  Add mint leaves, coriander leaves & cashew nuts.  Mix.

7.  Add marinated chicken & coconut milk.  Adjust the salt to taste.  Pressure cook the chicken for 2 whistles or until done.

8.  Open the pressure cooker lid & add the rice.  Check for the salt & spice at this point.  Pressure cook the biryani till done.


Enjoy!!

November 24, 2019

Biryani Masala - Versatile for Veg & Non-veg biryani



A home made biryani masala takes minutes to make, and rewards you with amazing flavour.  Thanks to Home Cooking by Hema Subramanian for sharing this beautiful masala, which can be used for both veg and non-veg biryani dishes.

Ingredients :


  1. Shallots - 10 nos (or onion - 1 large sized)
  2. Coriander powder - 3 tsp
  3. A piece of ginger
  4. Garlic - 10 pods
  5. Red chillies - 4 to 8 nos, depending on your spice level
  6. Green chillies - 1 to 4 nos
  7. Mint leaves - 1 cup
  8. Coriander leaves - 1 cup
  9. Water

Grind all the ingredients together to smooth paste.



Biryani masala is ready to use.

November 20, 2019

Carrot Halwa using Khova- Pressure Cooker method - Rich & Very delicious !!!


Carrot halwa is the most popular & frequently made sweet in India. This is made with carrot and milk as the main ingredients. This is more of manual oriented, so using pressure cooker will reduce the cooking time & adds the flavour.
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It can be served with vanilla ice-cream & Gulab Jamun. Adding khova & saffron brings richness & flavour to the sweet.  This can be stored in the fridge for couple of days & warm them before serving.
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Ingredients :
  1. Grated Carrot - 4 cups
  2. Milk - 2 cups
  3. Sugar - 1 cup, for mild sweetness
  4. Khova - 1/2 cup
  5. Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
  6. Saffron strands - 4 nos
  7. Cashew nuts / Almonds
  8. Ghee - 1 tbsp
Method :


1.  Clean & peel the carrot skin.  Grate them finely.

2.  Pressure cook the grated carrots along with milk for 5 whistles.

3.  Transfer the carrots from pressure cooker to a non-stick pan.

4.  Over a medium heat, keep stirring the carrots until the moisture has absorbed.

5.  Add sugar & keep stirring.

6.  Add saffron strands & khova.  Keep stirring.

7.  In a separate pan, add ghee and finely chopped nuts. 

8.  Add the fried nuts to the carrot halwa & serve.


Enjoy the sweet either warm or cold.

Note :

Homemade Khova link :

YouTube link : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7oBmphrImg
Website link :  https://www.cookingwithswapna.com/2019/11/khova-using-ricotta-cheese-homemade-mawa.html

November 17, 2019

KHOVA USING RICOTTA CHEESE (HOMEMADE MAWA)



Khova is reduced milk granules made up by thickening whole milk in open pan for 2 hours approx.  Preparing instant khova using ricotta cheese is a quick solution to make granular texture like traditional khova.   This is perfect for making halwa, gulab jamuns & burfi's.


Ingredients :

  1. Ricotta cheese - 250 gms
  2. Oil/ ghee - 1 tsp
  3. Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
Method :


1.  Heat a non-stick pan, add the ricotta cheese & cook for 10 mins.  Keep stirring.

2.  Add oil.

3.  Keep on stirring constantly, until it reaches thick consistency ("Khova consistency") about 15 mins on medium, heat.  Add cardamom powder for flavour. 


Ready to use for your favourite sweet recipes.

November 13, 2019

Zoodles with Avocado Sauce


Zucchini noodles, or zoodles, are packed with nutrients and is a great way to make healthy all-vegetable pasta. With only few ingredients, the recipe is easy to prepare, and the result is also gluten-free for those with specific dietary restrictions.


Ingredients  :
  1. Avocado, ripped - 1 big sized
  2. Dried parsley - 1 tsp
  3. Garlic powder (Fresh garlic - 1 pod) - 1/2 tsp
  4. Dried Basil - 1 tsp
  5. Salt to taste
  6. Pepper Powder - 1/2 tsp
  7. Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
  8. Lemon juice - 1/2 no
  9. Sliced onion - 1 no
  10. Cucumber , chopped - 2 tbsp
  11. Cherry tomatoes - 10 to 12 nos (or regular tomato)
  12. Zucchini - 2 nos, medium sized
  13. Walnut, chopped 
  14. Grated parmesan cheese - 1 tbsp

Method :



1.  Slice the avocado and add them to blender.


2.  To the avocado, add dried parsley, garlic powder, dried basil, salt, pepper powder, olive oil & lemon juice.  Grind them to smooth paste.  Keep aside.


3.  Using the spiralizer, cut the zucchini into thin strips.



Image result for spiralizer

4.  Add avocado paste, sliced onion, tomato, cucumber, walnuts & grated cheese to the zucchini noodles.  Toss them well.




Serve immediately.

November 10, 2019

Egg Vegetable Toast


Egg vegetable toast is one of my favorite open faced sandwiches. Easy, Quick and tasty one & takes just 10 minutes to get ready and are super fresh and delicious. Bored with your toast? Spread this delicious homemade vegetables on your bread and enjoy!



Ingredients :


  1. Bread slices - 6 nos (wheat or white bread)
  1. Egg - 3 nos
  1. Milk - 1 cup
  1. Salt to taste
  1. Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
  1. Onion, chopped - 1 small sized
  1. Tomato, chopped - 1 small sized
  1. Capsicum, chopped - 2 tbsp 
  1. Green chillies - 2 nos, finely chopped
  1. Coriander leaves
  1. Oil 
Note :
Vegetable options - Carrot, beans, capsicum, cabbage, green peas


Method :


1.  Beat the egg well.
2.  Add salt to taste & beat well.
3.  Add milk, onion, tomato, green chillies & finely chopped vegetables to the egg mixture. Mix well.
4.  Add pepper powder and finely chopped coriander leaves.
5.  Cut the bread slices into half.  Dip the bread slices in the egg mixture & top them with vegetables.   Cook them over the medium flame.
6.  Drizzle some oil around the edges while cooking.



Serve warm.


November 6, 2019

Tamarind Paste from scratch (No Cooking involved) !!


Tamarind paste is really handy ingredients in my kitchen.  I prefer making it from scratch as it brings good flavours to the dish.  I prefer to store the paste in sterilised glass jar for longer use.

Ingredients :
  1. Seedless Tamarind - 250 g
  2. Water - 1 cup
  3. Salt - 1/2 tsp
  4. Oil - 1 tbsp

Method :


1.   Soak the tamarind in water, preferably overnight.

2.   Remove the seeds, if any.  Smash the tamarind along with oil & salt to smooth paste.

3.   Transfer the paste to a clean container.

4.   Store the tamarind paste in the refrigerator.



Note :

The paste can stay for two months in fridge.


November 2, 2019

Prawn Thokku


Prawn thokku is a simple but very delicious dish cooked in mild masala.  Adding curry leaves to this recipe is optional.  This can be served with rice, roti's, chapatti, biryani & naan.  Fresh or frozen prawns can be used for this dish.  Am so happy to have finally put this recipe up as its my go to prawn recipe, not to forget my husbands favourite!!  


Ingredients :

  1. Shrimp / Prawns - 3/4 kg
  2. Oil - 2 tbsp
  3. Onions - 4 nos, chopped
  4. Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
  5. Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  6. Red chilly powder - 1 tsp, to taste
  7. Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
  8. Salt to taste
  9. Coriander leaves for garnishing
Method :


1.  Clean the prawns & devein them.

2.  Heat oil in the pan, add chopped onions.  Sauté till tender.

3.  Add ginger garlic paster, turmeric powder & salt to taste.  Saute.

4.  Once onion is half cooked, add red chilly powder.  Sauté.

5.  Add garam masala powder.  Cook.

6.  Once onion is fully cooked, add prawns. 

7.  Cook till all the prawns curls up.  Garnish it with coriander leaves.


Ready to serve.
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