Friday, December 30, 2011

Chickpea Yogurt Salad....step by step.

This is my favorite healthy salad ... a perfect break from all the Christmas goodies. Not a bit of oil of any kind in this salad, I used plain fresh yogurt/curd... perfect meal with roti or you can have it own its own (preferably chilled) ...a true protein packed salad...perfect to free your system from all the Christmas goodies.

Author: Nisa Homey
How I made it:
Soaked, boiled chickpea: About 1 cup.
Tomato: 1, chopped.
Onion: 1, chopped.
Green Chilly: 1, chopped finely (add or decrease according to your tolerance level).
Half cucumber chopped.
About 3 to 4 tbsp of fresh yogurt.
Salt to taste.
Cilantro to garnish.


1. Soak Chickpeas for altleast 4 hours or soak it overnight and cook in a pressure cooker with little water and salt for 10 to 15 min after the whistle. Open and check if the chickpea is cooked and evaporate the remaining water if there is any.

2. Take all these veggies....

3. And chop them up.

4. Add  3 to 4 tbsp of fresh yogurt and mix well, add salt accordingly. Sprinkle coriander leaves.

Serve Chilled wrapped in Indian Flatbread/Roti or have it own its own.

Enjoy this healthy oil-free salad!!

Wishing all my readers, friends, and every one who has encourage me a very happy and prosperous New Year!!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Martha Stewart's Cupcakes....Again!!

Yes, I made my favorite moist, chocolate cupcake again. I made these as Christmas gifts for my friends......this time I added a handful of chocolate chips to the batter and sprinkled some (generous) on top....for that extra extra chocolate.....If you have not tried these cupcakes TRY IT NOW

Click here for the recipe.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Boil And Bake Fruit Cake/Christmas Cake ......step by step.

Every year I soak dry fruits in rum or brandy by the beginning of November to make fruit cake for Christmas, this year due to some reason I was not able to do so. Christmas is always a month of cakes and cookies and kids were adamant that they want a fruit cake and I was in a dilemma, thankfully I came across and was happy to know that you can actually boil the dry fruits with the butter and water and cool it and mix it with the dry ingredients...ta da...fruit cake is ready. I immediately tried the cake and it came out wonderful.

A boiled fruit cake does not contain alcohol; yet is moist. It does not need weeks to age, just a day or two would do wonders. I brushed some brandy to the baked cake, if you can tolerate alcohol then go ahead otherwise skip it.

This cake is for all those busy men, women out there who very badly want to make a fruit cake, but was not able to soak the dry fruits......Christmas is just around the corner, don't wait anymore to  bake this spiced fruit cake for your loved ones.

Some suggestion I would recommend is to increase the water to 1/4 cup or even up to 1/2 cup depending on the need to make it a soft fluffy consistency.

Use dark brown sugar instead of white sugar + jaggery (I always add 1 tbsp of jaggery to 1 cup of white sugar to substitute the brown sugar). But of course if you are short of brown sugar go ahead and add white sugar + jaggery/molasses.  Adding dark brown sugar will give a more intense dark color to the cake.

I added a whole cinnamon stick and crushed dry ginger to the ingredients to boil and removed it after it is cooled. You can either powder them or add them like I did.

How I made the cake:
Butter: 150 gm/ 1 1/2 stick/ 3/4 cup.
Sultanas: 200 gm.
Currents: 200 gm.
Brown sugar: 130 gm, I used white sugar + 1tbsp of molasses.
Dry ginger: 1 inch, crushed or can add 1 tsp ground ginger.
Cinnamon: 1 stick, crushed or can add 1 tsp ground cinnamon.
Soda powder: 1 tsp.
Water: 1 to 1 1/2 cup, I used 200 ml cup.
Baking powder: 2 tsp.
Eggs: 2. lightly beaten.
Flour: 300 gm.
Brandy: 1/4 cup for brushing, optional.

1.  In a bowl combine, currants, sultanas, butter...

2. Add baking soda and sugar ( I used white sugar plus molasses).

3. And add water and cook over medium heat until mixture boils and simmer it for 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.

4. While the mixture is cooling grease two loaf pans and preheat oven to 180 degree C.  Combine the eggs and gently beat it with a fork and stir into the cooled cake mixture.  Fold in the sifted baking powder and flour. Spread evenly into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour or until skewer comes out clean.

Remove the cake and brush top with some brandy. The cake is best eaten after 2 days of ageing.

Share this easy fruit cake with your loved ones this Christmas.

An Update:
December 21, 2011.

Today when I made this fantastic cake again I made some changes and the cake came out so moist and brown that it was better than store brought one...I thought I will share with you all some updated pictures. Sabina, a very special blogger friend, did the same way and she had amazing result about which she had commented in the comments section.

I added raisins, little tutti fruti (about 100 gms), and chopped cashewnuts; you can ofcourse add dates, cherries, but only make sure that all the dry fruits do not exceed 500 g.

I added caramelized sugar syrup 1 1/2 cup instead of plain water. Omitted the brown sugar and molasses, just added plain white sugar.

For the spices I added 2 nutmeg along with cinnamon stick, and crushed dry ginger (which I took out after it was boiled and cooled).

This pic was taken just after I added the eggs, baking powder, and flour to the boiled and cooled dry fruits mix. See the difference in color because of caramel sugar syrup. Plus I added 1 or 2 tbsp more water to make it a fluffy creamy consistency.

And the result was just amazing!

I brushed about 1/4 cup of brandy to the cooled cake. If you do not want alcohol you can brush fresh orange juice or wine.

Sprinkle powdered sugar on will cover the cracks and give a more Christmas look to the cake.

Need any more reason for not baking this fruit cake for Christmas???.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Martha Stewart's Chocolate Cupcakes......step by step.

I am a bit wary of using oil in cakes instead of butter, but this recipe made me realize that using oil is as good as using butter. A cake for those who want to reduce butter in their baking....and for those who are still wary of using oil in cakes like I was....its past tense now! :)

I have been getting queries regarding muffin tray, cupcake liners etc. Some don't have muffin tray, maybe it is not available in their part of the world or they live off city limits....the same with cupcake sis-in-law Vava though she lives in the heart of the city.... is too lazy to go the wholesale shop in Trivandrum, Chali Market (which is crowded 24/7). She has been pestering me to find ways to make muffins or cupcakes without liners and muffin I came up with this idea of using paper coffee cups.....and boy! I was glad with the result.

This cake can be made as cupcakes or in round or square pans......but make sure to top with some icing or frosting as the cake itself is not that sweet. Otherwise it is perfect to make as birthday cakes, layer cakes, or is too spongy and airy....and nobody will guess that there is no butter in it :) dieters take note of this.

#You can add chocolate chips into the batter and sprinkle on top; if you are not planning an icing or fudge topping.

# I also added 1 tsp nescafe (Indian instant coffee powder) to the 3/4 cup warm water as I love the flavor of coffee in chocolate makes it more chocolatey... (I am a die hard coffee addict, can't do without the daily doses).
# Buttermilk substitute to make 1 cup of buttermilk: In your measuring cup pour 1 tbsp lemon juice or 1 tbsp white vinegar and then add low fat milk ( if you are calorie conscious) to fill the cup. Let it stand for 5 min to curdle.....that's it buttermilk is ready to add to your cakes, cupcakes, muffins...

Yields: 18 to 20.
Recipe Source: Martha Stewart.
Flour: 1 1/2 cups.
Cocoa powder: 3/4 cup.
Sugar: 1 1/2 cups.
Baking soda: 1 1/2 tsp.
Baking powder: 3/4 tsp.
Salt: 3/4 tsp.
Eggs: 2.
Warm water: 3/4 cup, I added tsp instant coffee powder to this.
Buttermilk: 3/4 cup.
Vegetable oil: 3 tbsp, I used safflower.
Vanilla extract: 1 tbsp.

1. Preheat oven to 180 degree C. Line muffin tray with paper liners or use coffee cups (paper cups).

2. In a bowl sift flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

3. In another bowl add oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.

4. Add coffee-water, buttermilk and beat well.

5. Pour this into the dry sifted ingredients and beat until smooth about 3 min.

6. Pour into muffin tray lined with cupcake liners or use coffee paper cups like I used. Bake for about 20 to 25 min, or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean. The mistake I made was I poured the batter a little more than half of each cup as you can see and the result was that the cake was so spongy and airy that it rose up above the limit. So I would suggest 2/3 fill. I had to scoop out some cake in-order to top it with the fudge sauce.

7. I topped it with my favorite chocolate fudge sauce.

8. Pour a tablespoon of the fudge sauce and use sprinklers.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuna / Fish Cutlets......step by step

These crunchy fish cutlets has been sitting untouched in my drafts for quite sometime now. With the festive season around the corner I think it's the right time to make some fish cutlets. I have posted vegetable cutlets which is my daughter, Nidhi's favorite. She just cannot stand fish.....a veggie by all means in a purely non veg family.

These cutlets can be rolled in breadcrumbs and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Perfect to make beforehand  and use when needed. Just pop it in hot oil when ready to fry. Since this cutlet is made with tuna, I added a tiny weeny bit of garam masala otherwise for  fish cutlets you can omit the ever green garam masala...of course save it for meat cutlets and veg cutlets.

You can also roll them in bread slices and make bread rolls...check out here.

How I made them:
Tuna: 1/2 kg, boiled with salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp vinegar.
Potatoes: 4.
Green chilly: 4 or 5, minced.
Ginger: 1 inch, minced.
Onion: 2 or 3, minced.
Vinegar: 1 tsp, if needed.
Pepper powder: 1-2 tsp, according to your spice level.
Garam masala: 1 tsp (only for tuna)
Bread: Enough to make bread crumbs.
Salt: As needed.
Oil for frying and sauting the onions.
Egg for coating.

# How to make breadcrumbs with bread.
Boiled and cooled tuna is ready for crumbling.

Crumble finely with your fingertips or just pulse in your food processor.

Boil and peel 4 potatoes ( you can see more potatoes in this pic...don't mind that). Mash or crumble it and keep aside.

In a pan heat little oil and add the chopped/minced onions, green chillies, ginger, and salt. Let it saute for sometime till they are soft and lightly browned.

Add the shredded or minced fish into this. Mix well add vinegar, pepper powder and garam masala. Again allow it to simmer for sometime till all the spices are well blended with the fish.

Add the boiled and mashed potatoes and mix it well. Let it simmer away for another 10 min so that the moisture in the potatoes gets evaporated. Make sure you stir them on and off.

Check salt, pepper, and vinegar (if needed add little as needed). Roll with your hands in your desired shape. I always roll it in oval shape as my mom does. Store in air tight container in the fridge and use when needed.

Serve hot with tomato sauce.

Check out Homemade Tomato Sauce...step by step.


Thursday, December 08, 2011

Grilled Corn On The Cob......step by step

After so much of cakes and cookies, I am sharing an easy grilled corn which you can do on the stove top. The best part is it is fat butter... and yes HEALTHY too!


Friday, December 02, 2011

Spiderman Cake for my son...

From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas brings us closer to each other.
Emily Matthews
The very first day of December brings so much joy in our family......10 years ago on December 1st our son was very own Christmas gift.

My son wanted a Spiderman cake for his birthday, he has been wanting that for such a long time and I promised him that I will make one for him, but even when I promised him I had no idea 'how' I will make it. No idea at all. Anyways, I thought I will give it a try seeing his enthusiasm....he even proclaimed to his friends and family that "amma is going to make a spiderman cake for my birthday"....and honestly I dint have a clue on HOW TO....


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