Apr 24, 2009

Whole wheat pancakes....

With two young kids at home I am always looking for healthier and nutritious options.. .Pancakes is an all time favourite with most kids. Served with honey and plenty of fruits makes up for the use of plain flour but still I was on the search for a healthier version. I tried several recipes and they were no where close to the original ones…Either they were hard, or flat or tasted insipid. I was at the verge of giving up till I stumbled upon this recipe from Tarla Dalal. When I was pregnant with my boys somebody had gifted me this interesting cook book called ‘The pregnancy cookbook’ by Tarla Dalal which I have never tried till date... So when I was looking through this book I found this recipe which had whole wheat, bananas and walnuts in it. So I immediately tried it out this morning for breakfast. It came out beautiful and tasted good too…
I served it with a dollop of jam and butter and it was all gone in a minute.

1 cup Whole wheat flour
2 tbsp wheat bran
2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup walnuts finely Chopped
1/2 cup milk
4 tbsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1tbsp melted butter 4 tbsp butter to cook
Sliced banana to serve
Honey and jam to serve


1. Mash one banana and slice the other.
2. Combine all the ingredients except the sliced up banana in a bowl and add 1/2 cup water and whisk it up to a smooth batter.
3. Heat a pan and pour the batter cook the pancakes over medium heat using little butter till golden brown
4.Serve with honey or jam.

Apr 23, 2009

Crab curry...

This morning i decided to catch up with my backlog and took refuge in my room and was trying to make progress with my work. Just when i was settling i heard Prahlad my second twin run up the stairs screeching at his best all excited and calling out for me.... sounds familiar doesn't it..
I wanted to find out what it was all about. But before i could ask him he had me by my hands and walked me down the steps to the gate... Then i knew the reason for his excitement. I saw the 'meenkaran' the fish seller standing with his bounty of catch in a basket ......

There are no markets here where i can go to buy fishes . My supply is only from this weekly visitor. He is the most looked forward visitor especially for Nandan & Prahlad . He brings a good variety of fresh water fish as there is no coast nearby. Sometimes it is soles, catfish,trouts and sardines , mackerels and many more whose names, i am not familiar with.. Most often they are alive and jumping... But today it was special .. he brought fresh water crabs... they looked gorgeous with round black spots and they were just the right size to make a good spicy crab curry.

So off goes work and in comes the crab...

This is a typical chettinad red coloured crab gravy. It is very spicy and tastes terrific with hot rice. I generally dont like to serve anything else when i make crab. It is just rice with crab and some vegetables and buttermilk.. iam all set to devour it.

Ingredients :

Crab 1 kg
Onion 3 big
Tomatoes 3
Ginger & garlic paste 2 tsp
Coriander powder 1 tbsp
Chilli powder 2 tsp
Cumin powder 1 tsp
Cloves -2
Cinnamon - 3 sticks
Cumin seeds - 1tsp
Aniseeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs

Grind to paste:

Coconut 3 tbsp
Aniseeds 1 tsp
Poppy seeds 1 tsp


1.Clean the crab and cut them into two halves...
2. Heat oil in a broad dish and add cinnamon, cloves, curry leaves , cumin and aniseeds and wait till it crackles.
3. Now add the onion and fry till it turns pink. Followed it up with tomatoes.. and fry for a while.
4. Now mix up all the powders with little bit of water and make a paste.
5. Add this to the onion and tomato and cook well till the oil begins to seperate from the gravy
6. Now add the crabs and mix it well...
7. It will generaly start oozing out water ..
8. Let it cook in its own water and season it with salt.
9. Remove it from fire when done and garnish with coriander.

Enjoy it with steaming hot rice....

Apr 22, 2009

Elaneer payasam...

Payasam is a typical south Indian dessert served at the end of the meal. It is either served hot or chill. Personally i like it when it is served chill. It can be compared with the kheer varieties made in northern parts of India. Payasam is made with coconut milk or plain milk as base. The sweetener can be jaggery or sugar. There is no end to the kinds of payasam one can make... it can be made with different kinds of grains, cereals ,fruits and even nuts. The result is always very good.

This quick dessert is truly an answer for this blazing summer heat. There is no shortage for tender coconut or 'Elaneer' in rajapalayam. So i make this very often when i am here.Tender coconut by itself is a wonderful treat for summer . This is a little innovative recipe and a sure one to get lot of appreciation from Ur guests.If u want a coconuty, chill , syrupy and a flavoursome dessert then u can surely choose this one. I most often serve it at the end of a typical south Indian meal... or any heavy meal. I don't know what but something about the coconut milk soothes and settles the stomach ,especially if it is served chill.The best part about this recipe is it doesn't need any cooking... It is merely putting things together and chilling it... that is it ..really.

Few things to keep in mind while making this payasam :

The payasam should not be stored for more than three hours... secondly make sure that the coconut meat is really tender.. It shouldn't be too watery that it cant hold shape or it shouldn't be too mature. It doesn't taste good in either cases. Thirdly while chopping the tender coconut to pieces ensure that the chopping board is free of any strong flavoured ingredient.


50 ml condensed milk
1 1/2 teaspoon candied sugar
125 ml coconut milk (u can use the packaged one also)
75 gm tender coconut cut into tiny morsels
1/2 tsp rose essence

1.Blend all the liquid ingredients and pass through a double strainer.
2. Now add the chopped morsels of tender coconut to the Finley strained payasam .
3. Serve chilled.

egg curry...

Agreed, egg curry is one of the commonly done dish at most homes... but the versatility of this dish is quite amazing... I have had egg curries in many houses and each one is different and better than the other...

The simplicity of the process, minimal and at home ingredients and the quickness with which one can make this is what attracts me to this simple recipe. The consistency can be varied depending on what you are going to serve it with... It tastes good with roties also with rice.

7 boiled eggs
3 onions
3 chopped chillies
1tsp chili powder
1tbsp coriander powder
1tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1tsp fenugreek seeds
1tsp mustard seeds
3 sprigs of curry leaves
1tsp cumin
1 tbsp Ginger garlic paste
100 ml tamarind juice
3 tbsp of oil

1. Heat oil in a broad dish and add mustard, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves and let it crackle.
2. Now add finely cut onions and green chillies and fry till brown.
3. Add ginger garlic paste
4. mix all the powders with little water and make a paste...
5. Add this paste to the onion mix and cook till the raw smell goes
6. Add tamarind juice and 2 cups of hot water and give it a stir..
7. When it begins to boil add salt and a dash of sugar and let it simmer for a while
8. Make mild slits on the boiled eggs and add it to the curry and cook till it gets to gravy consistency
9. Add a tbsp or two of thick coconut milk for a creamier curry.

Apr 18, 2009

corn on toast

Corn is an all time favourite at home... anything with corn is a sure hit with my boys. So i am always on the lookout for recipes with corn in it.
I first had this in a restaurant in chennai. Then i tried it at home pretty much guessing the ingredients and was happy with the outcome. Since then it has been a regular feature at home. I love its creamy texture and the mild curried flavour. The basic for this is the bechamel sauce . But it is done with a curried twist. When i am lazy to cook, or want something comforting or have an unannounced guest then 'corn on toast' it is..
I used..
green giant tinned corn 115g .. you can use fresh corn as well..
warm milk 1 1/2 cups
plain flour 2 tbsp
butter -3 tbsp
garlic 1 clove finely chopped
onion 1 finely chopped
green chillies - 1 chopped - optional
tomato -3 big- boiled,peeled, de seeded and pureed
Curry powder -1tsp
plenty of coriander finely chopped
1. Heat butter and add the onion and garlic and saute till it turns pink.
2. Add the tomato puree and curry powder and cook till it doesn't smell raw anymore.
3. Now add the plain flour and cook for a while.. at this stage it may look little sticky but its fine..
4. Turn off the heat and add warm milk while whisking all the time.. This helps to avoid lumps in the sauce.
5. Turn on the heat and continue stirring until it starts to thicken.
6. Now add the corn and coriander and let it cook for few mins.
7. Serve the corn on warm toast.
6. If you don't mind the calories add a few tbsp of fresh cream for even smoother and creamier texture.

Apr 16, 2009

walk through my garden....

'Summer' ... vacation time for the kids ,which brings us back home to Rajapalayam.. a small little town near Madurai. It is generally a pretty dull and dry place to be , but i love the silence sometimes, especially after a busy and maddening city life . I can spend endless hours looking into the western ghats from my window... the passing clouds, variety of birds, myriads of colours on an ever changing sky ... but most importantly i enjoy working in my garden... right now everything is at its bloom.. flourishing and over flowing . Its hard to explain the sheer joy of eating home grown ...fresh ...cheerful veggies!. Walk into the garden u are welcomed to the smell of fresh soil. Then the gentle mist of sweet smelling flowers and fruits passes by. Of course the mesmerising colours of the flowers catches you..Then when u start looking closer it is amazing to see the number of visitors they attract... Once i sat on the floor and observed a small patch of soil for ... i don't know how long... but i counted close to 53 different visitors...
How can one not feel blessed to be in this heaven of abundance...

Apr 9, 2009

blueberry cake

I came across this interesting recipe from a cookbook which i have been having for many years now. Never got to try it because we don't get blueberries in India. But now thanks to the increasing expat population, we get ingredients which are scarce and exotic quite easily .So when i was walking down this store i found canned blueberry pie filling to my delight. I grabbed it immediately and was sitting on it for a while now contemplating between making a pie or this cake.
Then i finally decided on the cake because blueberry in a pie is common but in a cake was something new...

It is a layered cake and has a crispy cinnamon topping on it. it also has an interesting mixture of texture to it. Crunchy on top and bit gooey in the middle . The crusty cinnamon topping gives it a 'fruit cobbler' feel. It tastes best with a nice cup of latte..

Creamy blueberry coffee cake :

1cup + 2 tsp softened butter
1- 3/4th cup granulated sugar divided
3 eggs
3-1/4th cup all purpose flour divided
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 can blueberry pie filling
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method :

1. Preheat oven to 350/180 degree
2. Coat a rectangular baking dish
3. In a large bowl cream together 1 cup butter and 1 - 1/2 cups sugar
4. Add eggs one at a time
5. Sieve the flour and baking powder
6. Gently fold the flour into the egg mixture. Unlike regular cake mixture this looks little dry and thick. I added 2 tbsp of milk though the recipe doesn't call for it.
7. Now divide the mixture into two equal halves
8. Spread half the batter in the baking dish. Then using a wet knife spread the pie filling evenly over the batter. Then dollop the remaining batter over the pie filling and spread with wet knife
almost covering the pie filling.
9. In a small bowl mix together with a fork the remaining flour, sugar and butter . Then stir in cinnamon till crumbly.
10. Sprinkle over batter and bake for 1 hr.

Apr 8, 2009

go bananas...

This being my first post i want to share something sweet and something that never fails... When you are left with over riped bananas and very little time then this is something that you can try. It is a breeze to make this cake...

Though cakes are my favourite i never quite like the store bought ones, especially if they are loaded with cream and frosting ... o.k. maybe except the chocolaty sorts.

Ingredients :

200 g plain flour

4 medium eggs

180 g caster sugar

200 g butter

250 g mashed banana

1tsp baking powder

1 tbsp milk


1. Set the oven at 185 degrees.

2. Seive the flour with baking powder and set aside.

3. Cream the butter and sugar.

4. Add eggs one at a time and whisk until well incorporated.

5. Now fold in the egg mixture , alternating with banana and flour.

6. Add in the milk... you can even add a dash of brandy here for more moist cake.

7.Once ready pour in the prepared tin and cook for 45 mins.

Decorate with banana slices. The cake tastes better the next day...