Thursday, May 31, 2012

lunch thali

Rice, Masoori saar-upkari, bhenda talasani, cauliflower bhajo

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Smiley cookies

Photo enlarged!
  Cuteness Overload!  Where ever you see smileys it sure makes one smile. Aren't these the cutest little thing ever, created to bring smiles to the person receiving it? Be it with a card, at the end of a note or in an email. I just love smileys!!!

I figured these baby bites were the perfect treats for 7 year old cubs for their end of the year party at the scouts. Today we thank our Scout master for preparing  restless little boys into becoming responsible  citizens of tomorrow. I plan on sending these home as a favor with all that cubs that attend today as we ended up with way more that we should have in the house ;)

 Woot woot to my  little scout who is graduating from a tiger cub to wolf! 

I made a batch of  basic sugar cookie recipe  and the regular Wilton royal icing to make these.
  • 2 sticks cold butter, cut up
  • 1cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract/ paste
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
In a mixer bowl, cream together butter cubes and sugar

This time I remembered to use vanilla paste (TJ Maxx, 6$...what a steal!) before mixing in the dough. Beat all ingredients till the mixture is creamy. Scrape bowl all the way to the bottom (crucial).


Add in egg and beat just until mixed.


Add in flour and baking powder and mix. At this point, be kind to your mixer and knead the rest with hand. (Using mixer to get a completely smooth dough will result in tough textured cookies and we don't want that!) The dough comes together sooner than you can sing your ABC's :)


See! Make two flat discs out of it.


Refrigerate. I don't track time, but usually while the discs are chilling, I prepare parchment lined pans, set aside a couple plates for placing cookies in freezer and am clearing up my area for rolling out the dough. What I mean to say is that timing does not matter here.

 Oh, and I have the dough disks in a bowl instead of saran wrap because I want to be able to switch the discs in between work. Keep following the  pics, you will see!

Roll out the dough between two parchment sheets or in my case Silpat at the bottom and parchment on top. Silpat at the bottom helps by staying stuck to the counter and does not slide like the parchment sheet does. Always!

 My cookie cutter was the 'inside' of linzer torte. Cut away!

 here's my linzer torte cookie cutter to show you what I mean!


Remove all the cookies and place on a plate( you can freeze directly on the cookie sheet too but my freezer does not allow my 9x 13 sheet to sit flat). So I always have one extra step....not a biggie!

 Freeze for 5 to 10 minutes. In the mean time, ball up the scraps and switch with the disc from the refrigerator. This is where using the bowl instead of cling/saran wrap helps. I mean do you seriously have the time to mess with saran at this point?

BTW, always always freeze before baking . That is if you hate mis-shapened cookie ( seriously, it will spread like nobody's business). Go ahead and bake!


Cool completely.  I let it sit 30 minutes.


Outline with thick royal icing.


 Flood with thin consistency.


Pipe in the details with 1m tip. Enjoy!


Vedakki mor thalippu/ bendekai majjige huli

Lady fingers -1lb
Curd/yogurt - 2 cups
Onions -2, thinly sliced
Red chillies -2
Green chillies -4, slit
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds -1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds -1/2 tsp, coarsely crushed
Methi seeds -1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Coconut oil- 1tbsp
 Vegetable oil - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Cut lady fingers in 1" pieces. Whip curd with turmeric and salt, keep aside.

Heat vegetable oil and season with mustard seeds, methi seeds, red chillies, green chillies, onion and curry leaves. Saute till translucent and a slight change in color. Add in lady fingers and saute well. Add in whipped curd and cook till oil separates from the gravy. Take of heat and add in coconut oil.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Egg masala

  • 4 eggs, soft boiled (7 minutes), each made into chunks (in my case 8 pieces)
  • Red onions - 3, finely chopped
  • Tomato - 4, finely chopped
  • Jeera - 1/2 tsp, coarsely crushed
  • Haldi -1tsp
  • Chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Green chillies - 5 slit
  • Oil - 1 tbsp
  • Kasuri methi - 1 tbsp
  • Coriander leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Heat oil and add in jeera and green chillies. Add in onions and saute. When the onions are caramelised add in tomatoes, haldi, chili powder and salt. Cook for few minutes turning every now and then to prevent burning. Add a cup of water and simmer for 10 minutes. At this point it is back to semi dry gravy. Toss in chopped egg pieces and mix gently. Garnish with coriander leaves and kasuri methi. Yum!

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Angry birds cake, Marble cake with Swiss meringue frosting

   Fondant figures waiting to be assembled on the cake. See below for the finished cake.

The flavor for this cake is marble and the best recipe to get this from is Martha Stewart. She makes some pretty amazing ones. Her marble cake was the best choice as its one of the good ones out there. The only problem I encountered was quadrupling this recipe because hers makes one  9x5 loaf pan and I needed it for a 10" square. I doubled the recipe and got a batch of cupcakes along with the 10" square so be ready to have some extras for taste testing.

The icing is Swiss meringue, Martha's recipe again as this is the best recipe for  a smooth wedding cake look alike kind cakes. The icing is also good for making roses and intricate details as it can withstand some extra handling of the pastry bags without melting or altering the consistency unlike the butter cream.
 Decorations are made of fondant, all the little figures, catapult, little stones and the henge I did not bother making them from scratch as today was not the day for experiments and besides Wilton  and Duff  Goldman  both sells great fondant and are reasonably priced. So don't bother unless you actually plan on eating them. Mine was more for the deco, anyway.
 Here's how it all looked put together. It was a big hit, taste wise among the grown-ups and the 12 yr olds loved demolishing the cake to death. That was whole purpose of making this cake. What did you think...the kids looked forward to eating it? No Siree! They couldn't wait to pick the little figures off the cake and trying some free throws before popping them into their mouth.  "Cool looking cake" is all I heard from the party hostess at the bowling alley and the kids and most importantly the birthday boy!

I have doubled the recipe that yields one 10" square and about 8 cupcakes. Bake for 1 hr and 15 minutes for cake and 18 to 15 minutes for cupcakes.

Yield Makes one 9x 5 loaf cake

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 3/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan; set aside. Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour. Set aside 1/3 of the batter.
  3. In a bowl, mix cocoa and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water with a rubber spatula until smooth. Add the cocoa mixture to the reserved cake batter; stir until well combined.
  4. Spoon batters into the prepared pan in 2 layers, alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate to simulate a checkerboard. To create marbling, run a table knife (or wooden skewer) through the batters in a swirling motion. I skipped marbling but instead put a couple tablespoons of chocolate batter in random places.
  5. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until a cake tester comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn out cake from pan and cool completely on the rack. Cake can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days

A look on the inside!



Swiss Meringue buttercream

2 1/2 cups sugar
10 large egg whites
4 cups (8 sticks or 2 pounds) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.
  2. Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don't worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla, and beat just until combined.
  4. Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes. If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes. This is one step that is crucial  is to beat the chilled buttercream to room temperate for the smooth finish on cakes.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Varan Bhaat

One of all time favourite dish in Maharastrian meals is varan bhaat with hot ghee and vangi batat bhaji according to my DH. Today is one 'happy meal' kinda day for V. Recipe courtesy, dear M-I-L.

 Varan bhaat ani Vangi batat bhaji

Varan Ingredients:
 Toor daal 1 cup
ghee 1tbsp
turmeric 1/4 tsp
cumin seeds 1/2 tsp, crushed coarsely
hing 1/2 tsp
salt to taste

Pressure cook toor daal with enough water and cook thoroughly.
Mash the daal and add salt and half a cup of water to it. Bring it rolling boil and take off heat. Separately, prepare seasoning by heating ghee in a pan, add crushed jeera and hing. Take pan off heat and add turmeric powder. Pour seasonings to the daal and cover. Serve with rice and half a teaspoon of ghee.

Vangi batat

Small purple vaangi 6-8
potatoes 2-3
Onions- 3, finely chopped
jeera -1tsp, crushed coarsely
chilli powder- 1tsp
turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
sambar powder- 1 tsp
goda masala- 1 tsp
oil 2tbsp
salt to taste
coriander leaves to garnish

Cut each vangi lengthwise into 6 pieces. Cut potatoes to the same size as well.

Heat oil in a kadai and saute onions till translucent and slightly changes color. Add all the masala powder and potatoes. Roast till potatoes get a slight crisp at the edges and then add vaangi. Saute for a couple more minutes. Add half a cup of water, cover and cook on simmer till potatoes are cooked thoroughly. When done, take off heat and garnish with coriander leaves.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Kadgi ani chane ghashi / kadgi ani thori ghashi

One of the easiest and most often cooked curry in the Konkani household
is this. Ghashi is what we call for the curry made with the basic ground coconut masala, one vegetable, one pulse followed by mustard seasoning. A simple, quick and a delicious one at that.

Most common combination is Black chana and  tender jackfruit or  sprouted green gram (moong) and tender bamboo shoot which is equally delicious. I believe that the combination is dependent upon the availability as fresh bamboo and the tender jack fruit are both seasonal and for this dish we cannot make do with the brine vegetable (In India, that is).

I have used kabuli chana as it is the one of the staple in my pantry and I make do with the canned kind when I'm pressed for time. Below is a picture of dried tuvar and jack fruit ghashi.

1 cup grated coconut,
1 tsp tamarind pulp
8 roasted red chillies
1 can jack fruit
1/4 tsp Methi seeds
1/2 cup Thori aka whole tuvar Daal or
1/2 cup Kabuli chana or Kala chana

For seasoning
2 tbsp oil
¼ tsp mustard seeds
2 sprigs curry leaves
2 red chillies

Soak thori/ chana in warm water for 6 hrs. Drain water and rinse a couple of times. Cook with enough water in the pressure cooker for 5 whistles till almost cooked (not completely soft as it has to further cook with the masala). Do not drain the water the pulse is cooked in.

Drain the canned jack fruit and chop the jack fruit pieces in two. Add it to the cooked chana and cook till soft. About 10 minutes.

Dry roast the red chillies and methi seeds. Grind it along with coconut, tamarind pulp and salt into a smooth paste.Add ground masala  to the kadgi and chana and bring the curry to a boil and simmer for 5 Min's. Take off of heat and season.

Temper by heating 2tbsp oil and when heated to a smoking point add mustard seeds, 2 red chillies and 2 sprig of curry leaves. Add it to the curry and cover. Serve with rice as a side.

 The picture of kadgi ani thori ghashi.

Substitute and make your own combo's

Pick one pulse and one vegetable
Thori --for--- black chana , whole vaal, Avro (Navy beans)
Kadgi --for--- Suran (Yam), green plantains, potato
I especially add extra Kadgi since we prefer more of them than pulses. so instead of 1 can, I usually end up with 2 cans.