Jul 4, 2013

Blueberry Muffin

I like muffins...they are cute :)  its easy to make, and its yummy.

Though muffins are considered a complete healthy meal elsewhere, in my house its always treated as a snack..Say, I make some sweet or savory muffin in the morning, everyone( read husband) eats a couple of them  and then after a while, here comes the question "what is for breakfast"..... are u kidding me?
but still I make them quite often as some evening snack...

I always love the jumbo blueberry muffin you get in the coffee shops... the juicy baked fruit that oozes out when you split open one, its divine :)
Take it from me, this is one easy on the go breakfast for all you busy bees out there. Make them ahead of time, and they do stay fresh for a day or two.

You'll need:

All purpose flour : 2 cups
Sugar: 1 cup
Butter: 1/2 cup (softened)
Baking Powder: 2 tsps
Egg: 2 nos
Milk: 1/2 cup
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Vanilla Extract: 1 tsp
Blueberries: 1 cup (fresh or frozen)

How to make:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line or grease a 12 cup muffin pan.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt until well combined.
In an another bowl, cream softened butter and sugar using a mixer. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in milk and vanilla extract.Add the dry ingredients mixture into this, and beat it just until moistened. Fold in the blueberries. Fill in the prepared muffin cups 2/3 full.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 min or until a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack before serving.

These muffins are good as such without any toppings. If particular about topping, mix 2 tsps of sugar and 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg and sprinkle it over, after filling up the muffin tins.

Jun 30, 2013

Peanut Chikki/ Peanut Brittle (Kadalai Mittai)

I like to call it kadalai mittai...no, kappalandi mittai to be very precise....thats what we call it in our place :)
an all time fav of all desis (Indians)....we always had a bag of this in our snack shelf..
I have not seen my mom make this at home...dont know why, may be because we used to get it in every other grocery store in my hometown, even in the tiny petti kadas (small convenient stores near the houses)

After coming to the US, we always had to depend on the Indian grocery store to get some chikki...but sadly, most of the time we had to compromise with stale or kind of cold, not crisp, not so fresh chikki....
and that made me look for the recipe for chikki in the web....and surprisingly got to know its not that very difficult to make some home....but let me warn you first, you have to try it a couple of times to master the right consistency and the timing factor...i have had my share of flop attempts too :)
but once you get the grip on it,  its a piece of cake.

You can either use roasted unsalted peanuts or get raw peanuts and roast them in the microwave.
I always buy raw peanuts in bulk and roast them in microwave.It hardly takes 4-5 mins...

Here is the recipe

You'll need:

Peanuts: 1 cup (roasted & unsalted or raw peanuts roasted in microwave)
Sugar: 3/4 cup
Ghee: 1/4 tbsp
Baking Soda: a pinch

How to make:

Spread the raw peanuts evenly in a single layer in a microwave safe plate. Microwave it for 2 min on high.
Let stand for a couple of min, take it out of the microwave, give it a stir and put it back in the microwave for another one min.
Repeat the process until the peanuts are roasted. Usually it gets done in 4-5 min. It might still look raw when you take them out of the microwave. When it cools down, it will have the perfect crunch...
Make sure you don't burn them...
Not in a mood to do this, always go for store bought roasted ones :)

Heat a pan and coat it with ghee and add the sugar. Sugar will start melting and change into amber color.
The consistency of the sugar syrup is the key. And also mixing it with the nuts and spreading it fast.
Once the sugar starts changing color, immediately pour a drop of it into a bowl of cold water. If it crystallize, then its the right texture.
As soon as the color starts to change, take it off the stove, add a pinch of baking soda and immediately add the roasted nuts and mix well.
Pour this gooey mixture into a greased pan and flatten it use a rolling pin.
Or use the greased bottom of an another smaller pan, to press down the mixture.
Once cooled, break down into desired sized pieces.
Store in an airtight container.

P.S: It might take a couple of attempts to get the right consistency of the sugar syrup....so I would suggest always try with a smaller quantity first. But I promise you'll get there :)
Also you can use other nuts like cashews, almonds, pistachio etc along with the peanuts to make it a healthy energy bar :)


Jun 11, 2012

Parippu Vada (Lentil/Dal Fritters)

It has been raining lately in TX....such a great relief in the midst of scorching summer...i guess I can't stop complaining about the bad weather here at our place...its getting worse day by day..while a major chunk of summer is stilling waiting out there for us...
any ways, no point in complaining...so lets enjoy the blissful rainy days we get as a surprise and enjoy these li'l treats :)

Parippu vada is my all time favorite snack...I would rather say, the to go snack...my dad gets this for me almost every other day if I am home...its like this...parippu vada for me, pazham pori for my li'l sis :)

you get the first glimpse of  yummy snack like this in a polythene cover...

open it, you find the yumm vadas...actually instead of the parchment paper, you have the greasy plantain leaf...

there you go....attack :)

You'll need:

Chana Dal (Split Bengal gram) : 2 cups
Green chillies: 2-3 nos, finely chopped
Onion: 1 no, medium sized, thinly diced
Ginger: 1-2 tsp ( I grate a small piece of ginger into the batter)
Curry leaves: a few sprigs
Asafoetida: a pinch
Salt: as per taste
Oil: Enough for deep frying

How to make:

Soak dal in water for 2-3 hrs. Drain the water completely. Grind the dal in the mixer coarsely.
Do not make it a fine paste. To this add sliced chillies, onion , ginger, asafetida, curry leaves and enough salt.
Make small balls of these mixture and flatten each in your palm to small rounds.
Heat oil in a pan and deep fry 3-4 of them at a time, cooking for 2-3 min on each side on med-high flame or until the vadas turn golden brown and crispy.
Drain on a paper towel and enjoy with  a hot cup of tea

May 25, 2012

Strawberry Banana smoothie

Smoothies...yummm... i always love smoothies...be it any time of the year...and especially in the scrotching summer....refreshing...
is it summer yet? i doubt...but is already darn hot here in TX....hows it at your end? 
whoever  I speak to these days,be it some friend from up north...or someone from back home in India...everybody is complaining about the warm weather...i don't know whats up with weather this year..its extremely hot so early...my li'l one is stuck indoors almost for the whole day....dying to go out and play in the sand box, ride the slide n the swing...but have to wait until the end of the day to take a peek outside :( 
same with me too...
smoothies like this help us keep our cool on these days...

and what better fruit to use in the summer other than strawberry...these days you find  plenty of  locally grown berries in the farmer's market....red and delicious ones...good to munch on as such and also can we whipped into a quick smoothie....sometimes we switch our evening tea with a cool chilled smoothie....very relaxing after a long sunny day...

You'll need:

Strawberries: 6-7 nos, stems removed and coarsely chopped
Banana: 1, sliced
Yogurt: 1/2 cup
Milk: 1/2 cup
Sugar: 1 tbsp

Blend strawberries and banana with the milk and sugar until smooth and at the end add the yogurt and loads of ice and blend for another 30 secs...
I like mine slightly chunky....small bites of berries when you take a sip...oh, my!! heavenly..enjoy the summer :)

May 13, 2012

perfect straw cup for ur li'l one


have you ever wondered which sippy cup is good for ur li'l one?? i have....and also have spent quite a lot of time in the kids aisle,  juggling 2-3 cups in my hands reading the manual and comparing the pros and cons of each...
recently bought this one for my li'l one whose is almost two...(actually she is 18 months old....but i like to say it as almost two...which gives me a slight relief as the arrival date of our second bundle of joy looms near..)
i was not sure if she is ready for the cup with a straw, so was using the regular sippy cup with a soft spout.but I found her struggling to sip a mouthful of water from it....and at the end she drank very less water.
this one with a straw helps toddlers drink water easily and also has a slider which closes and keeps the straw clean.
you can also toss it into your hand bag on the go...need not fear about spills too :)
somehow i felt it perfect for my toddler...so thought of sharing with u moms out there....just a thought :)
give it a try....ur li'l one might like it too

May 3, 2012

Rava ladoo..sweet semolina balls

its time for something sweet...generally i am not a sweet person....i mean literally and also when it comes to food ;) but recently I have a craving for something sweet once in a while... otherwise also i enjoy a small piece of dessert(be it anything) after my food...but just a small piece..even a candy would do...i guess these days my sweet tooth is popping up every now and then :)
this ladoo is a very simple one...even simpler when I accidently brought home a can of sweetened grated coconut from the Indian store...i usually buy canned coconut milk.this one was sitting next to it in the aisle.

You'll need:

Rava/Semolina: 1 cup
Sugar: 1 cup
Warm Milk: 5-6 tsp
Grated coconut: 1/3 cup
Cashew nuts: 10 nos
Raisins: 10 nos
Cardamom pwdr: a pinch
Ghee: 2 tbsp

Note: If you are using the canned sweetened grated coconut like me, use 1/3 of a can and you can omit the sugar as the coconut is already sweetened.

How to make:

Heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a pan and first roast the cashew nuts and then the raisins.Drain them from oil and set aside.
Add rest of the ghee and roast the rava on low flame till you get a nice aroma.
Mix grated coconut and sugar in a bowl. To this add roasted rava, followed by cashew and raisins.
Mix well and add a pinch of cardamom pwdr. To this mixture, add a few tsps of warm milk, just enough to bind everything together.
Gather small balls of size of a lemon from the mixture, just by rolling it in your palm.
Add a few tsps more of milk if its not firming up good.
Rava ladoo is ready...yumm...

Apr 19, 2012

Lime/Lemon pickle

My mom makes a lots of pickles and jams.there is this one corner shelf in our kitchen cabinet where she puts them neatly bottled and dated. The wonderful aroma you get when you open that shelf is mind blowing...
Mostly it will have a few pickle bottles from my grandma too...she is a great cook and always packs us a few bottles of her specialties, every time we visit her.

So, no wonder I have a small shelf in my kitchen with pickles, jams and fruit preserves...i get it from my mom...and she gets it from her mom....its in the blood...can't help it :)
I started having  this habit rather unknowingly or out of necessity, i mean as a last resort that saves me from throwing slightly over ripened fruits...like when I had some extra pear which no one was eating, i made pear jam...a few seeded oranges in the fruit basket, which no body wanted to munch on...bcoz its pitted, then it turned into orange marmalade...and so on

But I had never tried my hand on lime pickle before...I like mango pickles a lot...but every time i make biriyani, i would love to have lime pickle with it..but tried a few store bought ones, which were not only bad, but gave us bad heart burn too...i guess its the preservatives in them...
my aunt makes a sweet and sour lime pickle which is the best one to have with biriyani...even my mom got the recipe from her sis and mastered it...thats my next attempt in pickle making for sure ;)

this one is a simple easy to make version, which is now my new favorite :) my dad will love it too...i know...he eats a lots of pickle these days (not good for his health)...so my mom has almost stopped making them these days...
last time i got home, there were hardly 2-3 bottles in the corner shelf...which is so much not like her...

Recipe is adapted from here
she has a lot of yummy recipes in there, especially naadan kerala ones....God's own country delicacies :)

You'll need:

Yellow/Green Lime: 12 nos
Garlic: 12 cloves, finely chopped
Whole dried red chilli: 5 nos
Chili powder: 4 tbsp
Turmeric Powder: 1tbsp
Asafoetida: 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seed powder: 1/2 tsp
Mustard seed: 1 tsp
Gingely oil: 1/4 cup
Vinegar: 2 tsp
Curry leaves: a few sprigs
Salt: as required

How to make:

Wash the lemons and dry them well with a paper towel.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and put the whole washed lemon into it.(The original recipe calls for cooking the lemon in water for a few min)..But i have seen mom doing it this way..follow which ever method you like..
Stir the lemons in the pan for abt 5 min and drain them on a paper towel.
Once cooled, slice each lime into 8 pieces.
Add salt and mix well. Transfer it into a air tight bottle or jar and keep for 10 days, shaking the jar once in a while.
When ready to make the pickle, heat oil in the pan and add mustard seed and let it splutter. Add curry leaves and red chilis.
Add the chopped garlic and saute till its golden brown in color.
Reduce the flame to medium-low and add chili powder, fenugreek seed pwdr, turmeric pwdr and asafoetida pwdr and mix well and saute on low flame for a few seconds.
Add the lime slices along with the water and cook for a few min.
Allow it to cool and add 2 tbsps of vinegar. Add salt as per taste.
Once cooled, transfer to an air tight container or jar and store it in cool place.
Lime pickle is ready :)..don't forget it next time you make biriyani :)
I have it with everything these days....finger licking good :)
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