Friday, March 30, 2012

Nellikka (Amla) Achar/Gooseberry Pickle.....step by step.

An update:
My friend Jay of Tasty Appetite has prepared this pickle and posted on her blog.

Summer is the best season for making pickles; Kerala Lemon Pickle is easy to make and my favorite, my other personal favorites are fish pickle, irrumban puli pickle, ginger pickle, carrot and bittergourd pickle, green chilly pickle.

Amla (nellikka) has so many health benefits and is also used in Ayurveda medicines and tonics. It is supposed to have the highest concentration of vitamin C, improves eyesight etc. Though it is slightly sour at first when you have it raw.....slowly the sweetness of the gooseberry tingles your taste buds. During my childhood, my cousins, my brothers, and myself used to put it in salt water for a day or two....and used to have it in between our out door games.

This nellikka achar is very simple and easy to make.....there is no garlic or ginger in it....if you like you can add....but I like it plain....the story behind this pickle is that, my amma came to Trivandrum as a young bride 40 years ago....and she, having lived in boarding school and hostel was not very much acquainted with cooking. She used to have a neighbor, who to helped her out in her daily cooking.....this recipe is from amma's old neighbor and friend.....they are Brahmins and did not use garlic.

Nellikka should be washed nicely and put in a steamer for 10 min (just like I steamed lemons for my Kerala Lemon Pickle)....when you open the lid of the steamer you can see that the nellikka has slit open on its own and the flesh has become soft and fall away from the seed. Just allow it to cool and with your fingers take the seed out and split it into 4 or 6. Then just heat up little gingelly oil and follow the rest of my instructions. This achar can be used after 3 days and will keep in room temperature for about 2 weeks and more in fridge.

Note: I used Kashmiri red chilly powder which is not store-bought, I buy whole dry Kashmiri chilly from the market, sun dry it for a day and powder it in the local mill. Kashmiri chilly powder has a fiery red colour and not very spicy.
Gooseberry/Nellikka/Amla: 500 gm/1/2 kg.
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp.
Fenugreek seeds: 1/4 tsp.
Kashmiri red chilly powder: 4 to 5 tbsp.(increase or decrease according to your spice tolerance)
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp.
Whole dry red chilly: 2 or 3, broken.
Asafoitida powder: 1/4 tsp.
Vinegar: 1/2 cup.
Curry leaves.
Salt: About 1 1/2 tsp or to taste.
Gingelly oil: 3 to 4 tbsp.
Sugar: 1/2 tsp.


Wash the nellikka and put it in a steamer. And steam it for about 10 min.

Open steamer and allow the nellikka to come to room temp. You can see that when it is cooked, the flesh has become soft and it has split open on its own.

Simply de-seed and split into 4 or 6 with your fingers.

In a kadai, heat 4 tbsp of gingelly oil, put in mustard seeds and allow it to crack, simmer the fire and add the fenugreek seeds, dry broken red chilly, 4 tbsp of red chilly powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, curry leaves, salt. Lightly fry the spices in the oil till the raw smell diminishes, careful not to burn the chilly powder, so put the gas on low. Add 1/2 cup vinegar and allow it to boil. Add sugar...this is to balance the spices.

Switch of the fire add the nellikka and mix well. ( I made this at night and the reason for the bad picture)

Bottle and use after 3 days.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Homemade Mayonnaise with Egg Whites....step by step

Homemade mayonnaise or mayo can  be made at home in a very simple and quick way with a food processor. Why go for store-brought ones which is loaded with high amounts of preservatives, acids, modified starch and sugars. I use only egg whites while making mayo, totally omit the yolks. My daughter, Nidhi loves mayo so I always stock it up. This sauce can be used as an accompaniment, served on the sides of salads, spread on sandwiches,  or used as dips.

Preparing mayo at home does not involve any cooking, just the careful blending of the various liquids. This can be done by using a balloon whisk, an electric hand whisk, or for less hassle, a blender, mixer or food processor.

Mayonnaise is an emulsion and that is the reason why it can be difficult to make. Mayo is made with egg yolks but since I have this egg yolk fear I make with egg whites. The whites are beaten together and whilst continuously whisking, tiny drops of oil, one at a time are added to the egg whites until the mixture begins to emulsify or in other words, thicken. The important thing is that if the oil is added too quickly, the two liquids will just separate, which is why so much care must be taken. Once the two liquids start to combine and thicken, then the rest of the oil may be added a bit quicker.

I have tried adding rice bran oil, sunflower oil, palm oil, salad oil, olive oil, but not coconut oil. I would recommend sunflower oil, but you can choose your favorite oil. I use mustard cream about 1/2 tsp; you can also use mustard powder or Dijon mustard.

Tip: If you like garlicy flavor, add 1/2 tsp minced garlic.
Egg whites: 2.
Mustard powder/cream: 1/2 tsp.
Pepper powder: 1/2 tsp.
Salt: 3/4 tsp or a little less.
Sugar: 1 tsp.
White vinegar: 1 tsp.
Oil: 3/4 to 1 cup.

In your food processor, put in the egg whites, mustard, pepper powder, salt, sugar, and vinegar.

   Close the lid and give it a blitz.

With the processor running pour the oil from a glass in thin should take about a minute or a little longer.

Or until the mayo becomes a thick sauce.

Homemade fresh mayo is ready.

Spread on sandwich, or use it as dips, store in refrigerator.
My 10-year-old son took this video of me making mayo.....the video is very amateurish....but will surely help you to understand the whole mayo making process.

An Update:04/09/2012
Since homemade mayonnaise is uncooked, be sure to use the freshest eggs possible.  Homemade mayonnaise will last three to four days in the refrigerator.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Eggless Chocolate-Coconut Fudge Cake...step by step.

I know I have not been posting any baking stuffs here, its not because I was NOT baking anything...its because I bake only my favorites which I have already posted here; like Hershey's best brownies, cappuccino muffins, chocolate chip cookie bar, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip shortbread, coconut cake etc.


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Noodles Dosa....step by step.

I have been making a lot of dosa varieties of goes to dosa corner, a shop in Focus Mall here in Calicut....and my kids kinda liked the varieties of dosas from that shop...once I started chatting with the man behind the counter while waiting to get our dosa.....and got some of their secret recipes....really?? now why would a guy disclose their trade secrets....huh! that's for you to guess

I made egg on dosa and a few more will be coming soon to tickle your taste buds....innovation is the new invention in everyday cooking....atleast in my kitchen to satisfy my ever hungry kids.

Noodles dosa is nothing but filling up left over noodles inside dosa (chicken noodles,egg noodles, beef noodles, vegetable noodles, schezwan noodles...whatever!) ....just like you fill potatoes in masala dosa...but here it is noodles.

I made this quite a few times and only when I made this for breakfast today I could get a click. Kids and hubbies are gonna love try it...I sure you will thank me for sharing this :)

Yeild: 2 dosas.
Left over veg/non-veg noodles: About a cup.
Dosa batter: About 1 cup...(now a days you can get ready made dosa batter, still if you prefer the homemade batter visit my older dosa post).
Tomato sauce: 1 tsp.
Pepper powder: 1/2 tsp.
Spring onions: To sprinkle (optional).
Boiled chicken : 2 tsp (optinal).
Chinese seasonings: 1 tsp (optional or even schezwan seasonings).
The method below is to make just one the same to make the rest of the dosas.
Heat an iron tawa and grease it, then bring the fire to the lowest gas mark and pour 1 1/2 ladleful of dosa batter and make a dosa, drizzle 1 tsp of any vegetable oil (i used saffola). Put 2 tbsp (or more if you like) of vegetable noodles into the middle.

Sprinkle a tsp of chopped spring onion.

and drizzle a tsp of tomato sauce or if you like it hot use red chilly sauce. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of pepper powder.

That's it .....just roll it.

BTW if your kids like non veg version just add some boiled chicken.

And serve with tomato sauce.

Check out my video on how to make dosa.

Check out Homemade Tomato Sauce..step by step.

Sharing with full plate Thursday.


Monday, March 05, 2012

Sweet Corn Chicken Soup.....My Way!!!

This is my kids favorite soup and the ONLY soup I make. I had posted this soup earlier but without sweet corn and that was posted when I started, when my kids had a small cough and a teeny weeny sore throat (because of all the ice-cream they ate yesterday...sort of enjoying the Sunday with summer).
I did not take any step by step pictures because I least expected to post this.....I mean this is one of the every day stuff and I made this in a hurry; but when I saw this sitting pretty I could not help not clicking and sharing with you.
Amma used to make this since I was a kid and I sort of carried it on....whenever we have guests over I serve this soup and always it become a hero.

This soup was made with 250 gm of chicken, make sure you have some bones like the legs and ribs along with some fleshy part, it makes the soup more tasty. You can add sweet corn or make it just plain. Today I did not have any tinned sweet corn, but thankfully I had some fresh sweet corn kernels and I took half of one cob.

I did not add butter or any oil or milk or even you could call this a low fat...low calorie soup.....perfect for adults and kids....or even babies.

Since I made this soup for kids as an evening appetizer and did not plan to post this....I did not take any step by step pics....but there is no need for any step by step this is too simple and easy to make..
Chicken: 250 gms.
Salt about 1/2 tsp.
Fresh pepper powder: 1/2 tsp.
Soya sauce: 1/2 tsp.(if you add more soya sauce you will lose the lovely colour of the soup).
Water: About 2 1/2 cups (200 ml cup).
Sweet corn: 1/2 of a corn cob or 1/4 cup of tinned sweet corn.(optional)
Egg: 1 (you can use whole egg or just egg whites only).
Cornflour: 1 1/2 tsp.

To garnish:
Fresh pepper powder: 1/2 tsp.
Finely chopped spring onion.


Put the chicken, salt, soya sauce, and 1/2 tsp pepper powder with water into the pressure cooker and put the flame on high.
After the 1st whistle simmer the flame for 10 to 15 min. Turn off the fire and let it stand for another 5 to 10 min.
Pour the contents on a sieve which is place on top of a saucepan.
Pull out the chicken pieces from the bone and shred it. Put it into the chicken stock.
The stock will be lukewarm now, just put the cornflour into it and give it a stir (do not put cornflour directly if the stock is very hot, then you will have to dilute it in cold water and then add to the stock). You can add the corn kernels now, if you are adding.
Place the saucepan on fire again and allow it to boil. let it simmer for a few minutes. Meanwhile lightly beat an egg or egg white. I added whole egg.
Put the fire on simmer and slowly drizzle the beaten egg into the soup with one hand and stirring continuously with the other hand. When adding egg always remember to reduce the flame.
That's it, sprinkle half teaspoon of fresh pepper powder and sprinkle finely chopped spring onions. Add salt if needed.

Serve hot!


Friday, March 02, 2012

Kerala Fish Pickle/Meen Achar....step by step

Yay!! 200 followers....thankyou all for the support and for the inspirations.

We abstain from fish and meat during lent......until Easter. I made this fish pickle a few days ago and could not post it right away. Fish pickle is something which amma used to make right from as long as I can remember. She used to send it to my hostel, and I remember my friends used to devour it right from the old Horlicks bottle and they used to spread it on bread bottle will be over by 10 min...