Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cinnamon Toast

When I read a post about making cinnamom toast the right way on the Pioneer Woman, I had no idea what Cinnamon toast was and was wondering what all the fuss about making it the right way was. So one weekend I decided to try the recipe and after biting into the crisp buttery and sugary goodness I was convinced that making this any other way would be a sin! There is nothing much to the recipe as its basically just butter,sugar and cinnamon. But it does give a nice alternative to the usual buttered toast or french toast. I only made 4 slices and quartered the recipe but was left wanting more! Try it on a lazy morning with a hot cup of tea or give it to your kids and watch them scarf it down. Don't  be surprised if they keep asking for more! 

Recipe Source - Given as is from The Pioneer Woman. My notes in red.

Ingredients - Makes 16 Slices

16 Slices Bread - Used Whole Wheat
2 Sticks (200 Gms) Salted Butter (Softened) - Used Unsalted
1 Cup Sugar
3 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
2 Tsp Vanilla Extract - Used Vanilla Essence
1/8 Tsp Ground Nutmeg - Omitted this

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F).
Smush softened butter with a fork. Dump in sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg, if using. Stir to completely combine.
Spread on slices of bread, completely covering the surface all the way to the edges.
Place toast on a cookie sheet. Place cookies sheet into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil until golden brown and bubbling. Watch so it won’t burn!
Remove from oven and cut slices into halves diagonally.

Happy Eating!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Say Hello to the Zucchini - Zucchini Rice

So, one day we are all having lunch in the office and the talk turns to food (as usual) and someone starts talking about zucchinis and I casually remark that I have never cooked it. Everyone stares at me like I have grown two heads or something. Never? They ask. Never. I go to the grocery the same day and pick out a shiny green zucchini and bring it home. After all I had decided to tackle new vegetables, and after the Pumpkin it was this vegetable.

Hello Zucchini!!

Since I had never cooked it before I had no idea what to do with it. But the internet quickly rescued me and I got the right recipe for a nice meal. This rice is very flavorful and good for children who are picky about veggies. The zucchini is grated and added to the rice so that you cannot really taste it but you know that you are eating it. We had this with paneer bhurji and raita which made for a tasty and complete meal.

Recipe Source - Manjula's Kitchen

1 Cup Rice
2 Cups Water
1 Cup Zucchini (Shredded With Skin)
1/2 Cup Onion (Sliced Thinly)
1 Tbsp Oil
1 Tsp Butter
1/2 Tsp Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
1/2 Tsp Mustard Seed (Rai)
2 Bay Leaves (Tejpat)
Salt To Taste
1 Inch Piece Cinnamon (Dalchini)
1 Tsp Lemon Juice

1. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat. When the oil is ready, Add the cumin and mustard seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Stir for 30 seconds and add the onions. Saute them till they turn soft and transparent.
3. Stir in the rice and fry for about 2 minutes till toasted.
3. Add water, zucchini, salt and lemon juice. Stir and taste the water to check the salt. Adjust if needed. Stir and bring to boil.
4. After the rice comes to a boil turn the heat down to low and cover the pan. Cook rice for about fifteen minutes or until the rice is tender and the water has evaporated.

Happy Eating!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

An Iftaar Treat - Moong Dal Bhajiya

When I was making the kachoris, I had soaked a little extra dal by mistake and after grinding the dal I realized that it would be too much. So I kept aside the excess in the fridge and thought of making something else with it. I had no clue what could be done with moong dal and just decided to make the bhajiyas on a whim. These bhajiyas are very simple to make but taste great. I didn’t know how they would turn out I just added whatever ingredients I had on hand. Ultimately I was very happy with the results and Latif loved them too!

Recipe - An Everybunny Loves Food Original


1/4 Cup Moong Dal (Washed and Soaked)
1/2 Cup Onion (Finely Chopped)
1/4 Cup Tomato (Finely Chopped)
2 Green Chillies (Finely Chopped)
1/2 Tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
Salt to Taste
Pinch of Turmeric
Oil For Frying

Drain the moong dal of all excess water and grind to a coarse paste. Mix together with all the other ingredients. Heat oil in a frying pan and drop the batter using a small teaspoon. Fry on both sides till golden brown. Serve with tomato ketchup.

Happy Eating!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

An Iftaar Treat - Kachori


I know I am really late in posting an iftaar treat with Ramadan already half way done (wow, time flies so quickly). But this year I have not been making any fried delicacies as I am trying to eat healthier. I don't know what there is about this month but it is the only time of the whole year when we eagerly look forward to eat all the possible fried snacks in the world. Ramadan is the holiest month of the Islamic calendar and a time for fasting and abstinence. Unfortunately most of us turn the fasting into feasting as soon as dusk arrives. Whenever I try to avoid making any of this my husband starts craving these things! It is so funny seeing him making all his demands everyday. Make the samosa, no the bhajiya, no the batata wada..lol! It is he who somehow got the kachoris planted in my mind (even though he doesn't like it as much as I do) and then I saw the recipe on Padmajhas' blog and just couldn't stop myself. The kachoris are really amazing and the covering is tender, flaky and crispy all at the same time. I changed the filling a little bit to suit our tastes as we prefer a sweeter filling. It may look time consuming but I like to make it assembly style so that it is easier to make. I prepared the dough and filling the night before and assembled and fried them in the evening. Just make sure to remove the dough from the fridge at least an hour prior to making the kachoris.


Ingredients - Makes 8 Kachoris

For The Dough
1 Cup - All purpose flour (Maida)
1/8 Cup Oil/ Ghee
1/2 Tsp Salt
Water For Kneading
For The Filling
1/4 Cup Split Moong Dal (Yellow)
1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
1/4 Tsp Asafoetida (Hing)
8 - 10 Curry Leaves
2 Green Chillies (Finely Chopped)
1 Tsp Ginger Paste
2 Tsp Fennel Seeds Powder (Saunf)
1/2 Tsp Garam Masala
1/2 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Oil
Salt to taste

Make The Dough
Mix the maida, ghee and salt to get a course crumb texture. Add the water very little at a time (Just enough to bind the whole dough) Knead well for 5 - 8 minutes to get a soft and smooth dough. Cover with plastic wrap and keep aside.
Make The Filling
Soak the moong dal in water for 1 hour (Maximum 4 hours) Drain all the water and grind it coarsely in the food processor.
Heat the oil in a large pan, add the asafoetida, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Once the cumin seeds splutter, add the dal and roast it on medium heat till browned. Add all the remaining ingredients, mix well and remove from the heat. Let it cool.

Make the Kachoris
Divide the dough in 8 equal rounds.
Take one portion and roll out to a small disk (around 8 - 9 cms).
Place 2 Tbsp of filling in the center of the dough and start closing over the filling by pulling the excess dough to the middle. Make sure to pinch together the dough to avoid any filling from getting out.
Press the kachori lightly by keeping it in one palm and pressing with the fingers of your other hand. This will flatten the kachori and give it its shape. Keep aside and repeat with remaining portions of dough.

Fry the Kachoris
Heat the oil in a kadhai or frying pan. The oil must be well heated. To test, add a small piece of dough to the oil. If it comes up slowly, the oil is ready. If it comes up too fast the oil is too hot and if it does not come up the oil is not hot enough.
Add the kachoris two at a time (depending on the size of your kadhai) and fry until golden brown. Turn the kachoris and fry the other side as well. Drain on tissue and serve hot with tamarind chutney or ketchup.

For detailed instructions and pictures check out Padmajhas blog Seduce Your Tastebuds

Happy Eating!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pistachio Cupcakes With Chocolate Ganache Topping

Psst, you! Come closer!
Yes, a little more!
Ah! These are little bites of heaven right here. Yes my friends, if you are a nut lover like me then look no further for an amazing little treat. Pistachio cupcakes with a Chocolate ganache! I saw these beauties on Annie's Eats ans since I had already eaten this winning combination in the Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti I knew these would be great. I made them as mini cupcakes and couldn't resist popping them in my mouth one after the other. One of my colleagues used to bring very similar cupcakes to the office (not home made) but they were only flavoured with saffron. Both have the same slightly dense, but soft texture and I love them.  The best part about this recipe is that there is no artificial pistachio taste. It uses actual ground pistachios for the subtle flavouring which can be boosted with a pistachio filling. I am planing on making this into a cake with pistachio filling and pistachio buttercream for Eid. Yumm, cant wait to try that combination.

I am submitting this recipe to One Hot Stove for the Potluck Edition. Somebody has to bring dessert right ;)

Recipe Source - Annie's Eats

Ingredients - Makes 16 - 18 Cupcakes

For the Cupcakes
3/4 Cup Plus 2 Tbsp Pistachios (Shelled and Divided)
10 Tbsp Unsalted Butter (Room Temperature)
85 Gms Cream Cheese (Room Temperature)
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
3 Large Eggs
1 Tsp Vanilla Essence
1 1/2 Cups All-purpose Flour
1 1/2 Tsp Salt
For The Ganache
115 Gms Bittersweet Chocolate (Finely Chopped)
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter (Room Temperature)

To Make the Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 165 Degree C (325 Degree F). Line cupcake pans with paper liners. (I didn't use liners as my pans are non stick and simply greased them with cooking spray).
  2. Grind finely ½ cup of the pistachios in the bowl of a food processor.
  3. Mix together the butter, cream cheese and ground pistachios in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). 
  4. Add in the sugar on medium-low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  
  5. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and add the vanilla. 
  6. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour and salt. Mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Chop the remaining pistachios and fold into the batter. 
  7. Fill cupcake liners with the batter (3/4 full - I use an ice cream scoop for easy filling).
  8. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes (Since I made mini cupcakes mine were done very quickly so keep an eye on them). Cool the cakes and frost with ganache. Garnish with additional chopped or ground pistachios.
To Make the Ganache
  1. Place the heavy cream in a small microwave proof bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute in 30 second intervals. (Or bring to a boil on the stove top)
  2. Remove and add in the chopped chocolate. Stir with a rubber spatula till combined. Add in the butter and stir for glossy finish. Invert each cupcake in the bowl (once cooled slightly) and twist to coat with a layer of ganache.
Happy Eating!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Before making this recipe, I had only ever eaten frozen meatballs (eeks) and always wanted to try making them at home but shied away thinking that it was a difficult process. Well how wrong was I!! I saw this recipe  on The Pioneer Woman and decided to use it only adding a few more spices and changing the sauce a little bit. The meatballs on their own are so good I couldn’t resist eating one fresh out of the pot (yum!). I loved this dinner so much I have already made it twice and this is surely going on my regular menu.

Recipe Source - Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients - Makes Sauce for approx. 200 Gms Dry Uncooked Spaghetti - Serves 2 - 3

For The Meatballs
500 Gms Ground Beef
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
1/2 Cup Fine Bread Crumbs
1 Large Egg
1/2 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan
1/8 Cup Flat-leaf Parsley (Finely Chopped)
Salt To Taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Tsp Ground Cumin (Zeera Powder)
1/2 Tsp Red Chili Powder
Splash Of Milk
1/4 Cup Olive Oil

For The Sauce
2 Cups (Finely Chopped) Onion
3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
1 (200 Gms) Can of Tomato Sauce
Salt To Taste
1 Tsp Sugar
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/8 Cup Flat-leaf Parsley (Finely Chopped)
Sprinkling Of Dried Basil (Optional)

Make The Meatballs
Combine all the ingredients in a big bowl. Mix well with hands and roll into 24 balls (the size of a small lemon) and place on a cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet into the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to firm up.
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs (8 at a time), turning to brown (no need to cook completely as it will cook in the sauce). Remove and drain on a paper towel and repeat. Keep aside.

Make The Sauce
In the same pot, add the onions and garlic and cook for 10 - 15 minutes on low heat until the onions are slightly golden brown in colour. This is to bring out the sweetness in them. Pour in the tomato sauce. Add salt, pepper, sugar, and parsley. Stir to combine, cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add meatballs to pot and stir gently. Reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes, stirring very gently a couple of times during the simmer. Serve over spaghetti sprinkled with additional parmesan and dried Basil.

Happy Eating!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting And A Chocolate Cupcake

I am not a frosting person and mostly prefer to eat cakes on their own to enjoy their flavour. But I have noticed on many blogs that I follow that in the U.S cakes are rarely ever eaten without icing and those without it are referred to as coffee cakes. Hmm… However, when I started making cupcakes I also started trying out new frosting recipes and this is hands down one of my favorite frostings. So simple and yet so delicious. My brothers’ friends had come to our place one weekend and I grabbed the chance to bake something new. Since everyone out there loves chocolate I decided to try two chocolate cupcake recipes. The Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with PB frosting were awesome but these were the favorites hands down. I halved the original recipe as I didn't want 32 cupcakes sitting around to tempt me and made half the batch in my microwave convection and the other half in my gas oven to save time. After comparing the two, never again will I bake in the microwave as it gives a weird texture to the top of the cupcakes. The ones in the oven were smooth and moist all over.
I made the cupcakes and the frosting at night and kept the frosting in the fridge. The next day I just filled the cream into a piping bag and frosted the cupcakes. This starts melting due to body heat so avoid squeezing the entire piping bag with your palms (I didn’t do this but someone else did!)

Recipe Source – Given below as from Annie's Eats (My notes in red)

Ingredients – Makes 16 Cupcakes

For The Cupcakes
1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp Unsweetened Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder - Used Natural Unsweetened Cocoa
1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp Cup Hot Water
1 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 + 1/8 Tsp Coarse Salt
3/4 Cups (1 1/2 Sticks/150 Gms ) Unsalted Butter
1 Cup + 2 Tbsp Sugar
2 Large Eggs, At Room Temperature
2 Tsp Vanilla Extract - Used Vanilla Essence
1/2 Cup Sour Cream (At Room Temperature) - Used Regular Yogurt 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 Degree F (180 Degree C). Line standard cupcake pans with paper liners.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and the sugar over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally to combine, until the butter is melted. Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-low speed, 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is cooled. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and beating well after each addition.
  5. Mix in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture and beat until incorporated.
  6. With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, beating just until combined.
  7. Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling them about ¾ of the way full. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For The Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting (Adapted from Annies Eats)
200 Gms Semi sweet Baking Chocolate (Chopped)
1 1/4 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream (Chilled)
2 Tbsp Confectioners' Sugar

Place the chocolate in a small microwave proof glass bowl. Melt in the microwave stirring between 15 – 30 second intervals. (Alternatively melt in a double boiler on the stove). Keep aside to cool completely. Place the cream and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on high till stiff peaks are formed (For best results, place the bowl and whisk in the freezer to chill for 10 minutes). Gently fold in the melted chocolate till combined. Chill in the fridge till ready to frost.

Happy Eating!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Savory Vermicelli Upma

When I was in college, my mom would sometimes go out of town with my elder sisters for a few days (wedding shopping etc) leaving my dad and me all alone at home. Since I didn’t know how to cook at that time my dad would take the kitchen reigns in his hand and cook some delicious stuff (My dad is a great cook and the only thing he cant make till date are chapattis!) I even think his sambhar is something my mom can never replicate. So yum! It was during one of those times that he made this breakfast for us and it was so good that it quickly became a staple in our house and has continued in my house as well. I hate eating anything sweet for breakfast and this savory upma is perfect with a cup of hot tea.

Recipe - An original from Everybunny Loves Food

Ingredients - Serves 2 - 3

1 Cup Dry Uncooked Vermicelli*
2 Tbsp Cooking Oil
1 Tsp Mustard Seeds (Rai)
1 Cup Onion (Chopped)
3 Green Chilies (Slit Halfway Vertically)
1/2 Cup Potatoes (Thinly Sliced)
1/2 Cup Tomatoes (Thinly Sliced)
1 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
1/4 Tsp Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
1/2 Tsp Coriander Seeds Powder (Dhanya)
1 Maggi Chicken Stock Cube (Optional)
Salt To Taste
2 Cups Water For Cooking

Note on Vermicelli – If the vermicelli is roasted (see this on the packet), skip step one.

  1. Place a medium sized heave bottomed pot on medium flame and slowly roast the vermicelli, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Once the vermicelli has turned a nice golden brown colour remove to a plate and keep aside.

  2. In the same pot, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add the onions, green chilies and potatoes and sauté till the onions are translucent.

  3. Add the tomatoes, ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder and coriander powder. Mix well and cook till the tomatoes are soft.

  4. Pour in two cups water and the chicken stock cube. Add salt to taste. Taste and adjust the salt accordingly (The chicken cube has plenty of salt so add salt carefully). Bring the water to a boil and add the roasted vermicelli. Let it cook and once it comes to a boil lower the heat and cover the pot. The upma is done once all the water is absorbed. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.
Happy Eating!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Frosting

The Gods must have been smiling when peanut butter was invented. And the day somebody paired PB with chocolate, there must have been a party going on in heaven. The world has been a much better place since that day! Seriously, any dessert that has these two things is bound to be fabulous. But the star of this show is the peanut butter frosting. It’s creamy, light (OK, not that light) and delicious. You could just eat it with a spoon! I made the cupcakes and the frosting at night and frosted the cupcakes the next day. It holds perfectly well in the fridge and the cupcakes stay moist and nice.

Recipe Source - Given below from Brown Eyed Baker (My Notes In Red)

Ingredients (Makes 12 Cupcakes)

8 Tbsp (1 Stick/100 Gms) Unsalted Butter (Cut Into 4 Pieces)
2 Ounces (50.6 Gms) Bittersweet Chocolate (Chopped) - Used Semi Sweet
1/2 Cup Dutch-processed Cocoa Powder - Used Regular Unsweetened Cocoa
3/4 Cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
3/4 Tsp Baking Powder
2 Eggs
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract - Used Vanilla Essence
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Sour Cream - Substituted Regular Yogurt

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). (If you are using a non-stick muffin pan, heat the oven to 325 degrees F.) Line standard size muffin pan with baking cup liners.
  2. Combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined. (Alternately, you can microwave the mixture at 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted.) Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch. 
  3. Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl to combine. 
  4. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla, and salt until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined, then sift remaining flour mixture over and whisk until batter is homogeneous and thick.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.
  6. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing, about 30 minutes.
Peanut Butter Frosting - Recipe from Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten


1 Cup Confectioners’ Sugar
1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
5 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature
3/4 Tsp Vanilla Extract - Used Vanilla Essence
1/4 Tsp Kosher Salt - Used Regular Salt
1/3 Cup Heavy Cream

Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth. (I mixed it in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer)

Happy Eating!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Paneer Bhurji

I think Paneer is such a versatile ingredient. It can be used in so many different ways, make a curry with it, a simple stir fry, add it to a vegetable pulav or even grill it for some awesome paneer tikkas. I love cooking with it and always keep a bag of it in my freezer. When cooked well it gives a clean, creamy flavour but if it is not cooked properly it can turn rubbery and chewy. No wonder people have strong reactions to it! You either love it or hate it. I love paneer in all its forms and this dish is one which I make regularly as it is very easy to make and hardly takes any time. This bhurji is also a great filling for delicious kathi rolls. If you have fussy kids at home wrap this up in a wheat chapatti, add some ketchup and roll it up. I’m sure they will be asking for seconds!

Recipe - An Everybunny Loves Food Original


200 Gms Paneer*
1 Cup Sliced Onions
1 Cup Chopped Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Capsicum (Seeded and Diced)
1 Tsp Cumin Powder (Jeera)
1 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
2 Green chilies
1 Tsp Coriander Seeds Powder (Dhanya Powder)
1 Tsp Garam Masala powder
1/4 Tsp Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
Salt to taste

*Note on Paneer – If the paneer is in cubes, put it in a food processor and chop it finely. If it is in a big block, grate it. If using fresh paneer, crumble the paneer in a bowl and keep aside.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and add the onions. Sauté them till soft and add the tomatoes. Add all the powder masalas and ginger garlic paste. Cook till tomatoes are soft. Add the capsicum. Stir in the paneer. Cover and cook for two minutes till the paneer absorbs all the masala flavors. Garnish with coriander.

To make the Kathi rolls: Make the above mixture, and place in thin flour chapattis. Add tomato ketchup or chili sauce, roll and serve.

Happy Eating!!