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March 28, 2018

Indian spice paste - Restaurant style !!

Most Indian dishes that include a gravy have certain ingredients in common--such as garlic and ginger pastes, coriander and cumin powders and turmeric--and are made from a masala, a mix of these spices blended into a paste. So preparing and storing a gravy when you have some spare time is a great idea and makes dinner a cinch on a busy weeknight--when you are ready to cook, all you need to do is add the meat or vegetable to the gravy and cook through.

This basic masala is the necessary blend for several Indian dishes, including chicken tikka masala, as well as chicken curry, vegetable curry and mutton curry, to just name a few. This recipe makes enough gravy for a single dish, but feel free to double and freeze for later use. You can also make a thinner gravy using thinly sliced onions and tomatoes (instead of grinding them into a paste). 

Ingredients :

  1. Oil - 1 tsp
  2. Onion - 1 no, roughly chopped
  3. Green chillies - 2 nos
  4. Ginger - 1 1/2 inch
  5. Garlic - 10 pods
  6. Black pepper corns - 1 tsp
  7. Cloves - 3 nos
  8. Cardamom - 2 nos
  9. Cinnamon - 1' inch stick
  10. Bay leaf - 1 no
  11. Tomatoes - 3 nos
  12. Greek yoghurt - 2 tbsps
  13. Chilly powder - 1 tsp
  14. Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
  15. Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  16. Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
  17. Salt to taste

Method :

1.  Grind together onion, green chillies, ginger, garlic, black pepper corns, cloves, cardamom and bay leaf together.  

2.  Heat oil in the pan, add onion mixture and cook the paste for 10 to 12 mins on medium heat stirring frequently until it turns a light brown colour and reduces to half it's original volume.  Cook until the oil start separating from the onion.

3.  Add yoghurt and stir it into the onion paste.  Add the chilly powder, coriander powder, garam masala and turmeric powder.  Cook them for another 10 mins or until the oil starts separating again.

4.  Grind the tomatoes to smooth puree and add them to the onion paste.  Fry for another 10-15 mins or until cooked. 

Refrigerate the masala paste for later use.

March 26, 2018

Pear and Cardamom spice cake !!!!

Fresh pears and cardamom, a classic combination of flavours, are used together in this moist fruit and nut cake that has crunch from the poppy seeds.  It makes a delicious and mouthwatering tea-time treat.  This cake keeps in an airtight container for up to five days.

Ingredients :
  1. Butter,softened- 1/2 cup (115 g)
  2. Sugar - 1/2 cup (115 g)
  3. 2 eggs, beaten 
  4. All purpose flour - 2 cups (225 g)
  5. Baking powder - 1 tbsp
  6. Milk - 2 tbsp
  7. Crushed seeds from 2 cardamoms 
  8. Walnuts,chopped - 1/2 cup (50 g)
  9. Poppy seeds - 1 tbsp
  10. 500 g pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced 
  11. Walnut halves
  12. Clear honey - 3 tbsp
Method :

1.  Preheat the oven to 180 C.  Grease and line up the baking pan with parchment paper.

2.  Beat the butter and sugar until pale and light.  Beat in the eggs a little at a time.  Sift the flour and baking powder over the butter and sugar mixture.  Fold in with the milk.

3.  Add the cardamom seeds, chopped nuts and poppy seeds.  Reserve one-third of the pear slices and chop the remainder.  Fold in the chopped pears.

4.  Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top, making a small dip in the centre.  Put the walnut halves in the centre and fan the pear slices around them, overlapping each slice and covering the batter.  Bake for 1 1/4 hrs or until the skewer inserted comes out clean.

5.  Cool the cake slightly and brush the top with honey,  Leave to go cold.

Happy Baking !!!

March 24, 2018

Instant Onion Bonda - Delicious !!!

Instant onion bonda is my favourite tea time snack.  Quick and delicious after-school snack, can be served with tomato ketchup.  

Ingredients :

  1. Onion - 2 nos, sliced 
  2. Green chillies - 3 nos, chopped
  3. Grated ginger - 1/2 tsp
  4. Curry leaves - 1 tbsp, chopped
  5. Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp, chopped
  6. Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
  7. Besan (Gram flour) - 1 cup
  8. Rice Flour - 1/4 cup
  9. Baking soda - a large pinch
  10. A pinch of hing
  11. Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
  12. Salt to taste
  13. Oil for frying
  14. Water

Method :

1.  Mix together besan, rice flour, hing, red chilly powder, baking soda and salt to taste.  

2.  Heat oil in the deep frying oil over medium heat.

3.  To the dry ingredients, add sliced onions, green chillies, grated ginger, curry leaves, coriander leaves, fennel seeds & a tbsp of hot oil.

4.  Gradually add water to the mixture to make a thick batter.  The batter should neither be thick nor runny.

5.  Drop the dollop of batter in the oil and fry them till crispy and completely cooked inside.  Drain the excess oil in the kitchen paper and serve.

Serve immediately.

March 17, 2018

Lemon and Walnut teabread

The unusual combination of walnuts and fresh zesty lemon works well here.  Unusually for a teabread, whisked egg whites are added to the batter, making it light and airy.  Keep for three days in an airtight container or freeze for two months wrapped in foil.

Ingredients :
  1. Unsalted butter, softened - 1/2 cup (115 g)
  2. Sugar - 1/2 cup (100 g) 
  3. Eggs, separated - 2 nos 
  4. Grated rind of 2 lemons
  5. Lemon juice - 3 tbsp
  6. All purpose flour - 1 3/4 cups (200 g)
  7. Baking powder - 2 tsp
  8. Milk - 1/2 cup (120 ml)
  9. Walnuts, chopped - 1/2 cup (50 g)
  10. Pinch of salt

Method :

1.  Preheat the oven to 180 C.  Grease and line up the baking pan with parchment paper.

2.  Beat the butter with sugar.  Beat in the egg yolks, lemon rind and juice.  Set aside.

3.  Sift the flour and baking powder over the butter mixture in batches and stir well, alternating with the milk.  Fold in the walnuts.

4.  Put the egg whites into a clean, grease-free bowl and whisk until they form stiff peaks.  Fold a large tablespoon of the egg whites into the walnut mixture to lighten it.  Fold in the remaining egg whites until just blended.

5.  Bake for 45 to 50 mins or until the toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Enjoy baking!!!

March 8, 2018

Kanchipuram Idli

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

  1. Idli rice - 1 1/2 cups
  2. Raw rice -1 1/2 cups
  3. Urad dal - 1 cup
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Ghee - 1 tsp
  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


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.
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