Monday, December 29, 2014

Hithak bele avare saaru

Often when you walk on Bangalore during winter months especially december and January, you will find the skins  of hyacinth beans( lablab/val bean) on the middle of the road. The squeezed out skins when stepped on by people will add taste to the dish cooked at home is the general belief. This was a childhood chore for many of us when our neighbours and my mom would buy them in bulk. We all kids would sit around the mound and shell the beans playfully. The beans would be used to make tasty dishes like avarekalu akki roti( rice roti), avarekalu uppittu( upma), it would also be sun-dried and mixed with salt and chilli powder to make hurgalu , a tea time snack(roasted sprouts) but most of them would be used to make hithak bele saaru( hithak in kannada is squeeze). The shelled beans would be soaked in water overnight. The next morning, the bean would be de-skinned by pressing between your thumb and fore finger.

                                                  the de-skinned bean and its skin


 This is quite a time-consuming work but the de-skinned beans when cooked with spices would be buttery soft and would slip through leaving a yummy taste and will make the work worth while. We kids would rush to throw the bean skins on the road, ideally i think this is good food for cows but the belief originated from yore could be that it adds taste to the dish. I have no authentic information on this but i like the tales and memories attached with this hyacinth bean. It is ages since i ate this lovely bean since it is not  easily available in Hyderabad markets. This time since, my parents were coming here, they got me a kilo of shelled beans. Half of it were soaked in water overnight and it's skin was squeezed  out next morning to make the tasty Hithak bele goes the recipe


De-skinned avarekalu ---- 2 cup
tamarind paste from a golf ball sized tamarind
Tuvar dal - 50 gms
Jaggery ----------1 tablespoon
salt to taste
haldi - a pinch
You can even add potatoes/beans or brinjals to this  dish but that is a choice

For grinding masala
Chillies - 6 nos
coriander seeds - 1 tablespoon
channa dal - 1/2 table spoon

Dry roast the above and grind them( i used sambar powder instead)   with the below ingredients

grated coconut - 2 table spoon
garlic ----- 1 clove
A small onion - 1

For garnish
 a teaspoon of oil
hing - a pinch
curry leaf a sprig.


Boil tuvar dal and de-skinned beans and keep aside.
In a dish, heat tamarind paste , jaggery and haldi, add 100 ml of water and allow it to boil till the raw smell of tamarind disappears.Now add the ground masala and allow it to boil for 5 minutes and then simmer.
When it simmers, add the cooked dal and beans and bring it to final boil
Garnish with mustard, hing and curry leaves.

Serve this with hot rice or ragi mudde( ragi balls which is a staple of Karnataka)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Easy Peasy Choco muffins

These choco muffins were made by my son single handedly without any help from me. I only helped him in cleaning the mixie jar and by eating the muffins. He learnt this at school as part of student DIY fete and school project. I submitted this post on Home bakers guild and when it was appreciated by many likes he was  too happy.

Ingredients (to make 6)

Choco biscuits( plain not cream) - 30 numbers ( he used sunfeast)
Sugar ---3 table spoons ( tweak it to more or less to suit your taste, the biscuits also have sugar in them)
milk - 3/4 cup
Eno salt( regular) - 1/2 packet


Break the biscuits and powder them in the mixie along with sugar.
Add milk to the powdered mixture and ensure it is of the cake batter consistency.
Add the eno salt and bring it to a final grind.

Now pour the mixture into cup moulds
Bake them for 10 minutes in a microwave.
Insert a skewer to check if its done.

The finished product was as good as any store brought branded muffins. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Eggless christmas cake ver. 2.0

This is the tweaked and twisted christmas cake recipe of the Original from Cheryl's christmas cake. I am very fond of christmas cakes and love the taste of the baked fruits in the cake. This time i tried making like the original by soaking the fruits. Since i did this more for a trial, I took half the measures from the original recipe.

The baked cake when it was out of my oven was cracked at the top but  I was not at all disappointed  for it was good to  taste, it more or less matched the spicy aromatic dark( ofcourse color could have been more darker) cake that i knew in my childhood (My chitti's oven baked plum cake, Brigade road nilgiris and universal bakery Mylapore).  Infact, it was more moist and fresh since it came baked fresh from my oven.

 Loved the baked raisin, sultana, the citrusy bitterness of the orange peels, lemon zest, the zing of the ginger and the hardy nutty taste of almonds, cashews( did'nt soak them) and the spicy cinnamon  in every bite and it  tasted much much  better than  even the most celebrated Karachi bakery cake of Hyderabad;)

raisins, sultanas, chopped dates - 1/4 cup
freshly chopped orange peels - 1 table spoon
grated lemon zest ( not the white part) - 1/2 table spoon
grated fresh ginger  - 1/2 table spoon
Almonds and cashews( cut) -  1/2 tablespoon
Grape juice - 1/2 cup for soaking the fruits.

Maida -  3/4 cup
Granulated sugar - 1/4 cup
treacle - 1/4 cup( made from boiling  1 cup grated palm jaggery in 3/4 cup of water). I used 1/4 cup from this mixture.
whipped plain yogurt-- 1/2 cup
unsalted butter -- 50 gms
Apple juice -- 1/2 cup
flax meal  - 1 table spoon( ground flax seeds)
salt - 1/2 table spoon
baking soda - 1/2 tsp
baking powder - 1/2 tsp

ground clove buds - 1/2 tsp
cinnamon powder -1/2 tsp
( i missed ground nutmeg, caraway seeds, all spice powder from the original recipe apart from many fruits like candied fruit mix of mangoes, bananas, papaya, cranberries etc)

                                          The soaked fruits, treacle, fruit peels, ginger and nuts


I soaked the raisins, sultanas overnight in grape juice.

Added sugar, treacle, butter, spices and apple juice to a pan and heated them over medium flame till it bubbled and then simmered for 5 minutes.

On the other side, I mixed  maida, baking powder, baking soda and salt and sieved them together.

when the sugar, spice syrup  cooled, I added all the dry sieved ingredients and mixed them well.
Next  I folded in yogurt and mixed well.
finally added nuts, vanilla essence and apple juice.

Transferred the mixture into a baking tray and baked for 20 minutes.

It is cracked and not perfect, 

                                            but it did'nt matter for I am no perfectionist, what mattered was I tried to                                           bake my dream cake with limitations in a microwave.       

                                            It looks rustic and what's more 

                                            it's home made and tasted yummmmmmmmmmmm........

and was gone in a trice.....and that mattered most:)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Seppankizhangu roast curry (taro root curry)

Seppankizhangu roast curry ( taro root or Arbi).I like the way my mil roasts it with less oil in an iron kadai.


seppankizhangu - 1/2 kilo
haldi ---------------1tsp
chilli powder ------- 1.5 tsp( add 2 if you want it spicier)
salt        ---------- 1 tsp
hing powder ---- 1/2 tsp
curd or tamarind juice  - 1 table spoon
( to remove the itchy property of the roots)

besan or rice powder( optional) - 1 tablespoon.
Oil for frying - 1 table spoon.


Parboil seppankizhangu  in cooker to two whistles ( don't boil till it turns mushy). Remove their jackets and slice them to roundels with the help of a oil smeared knife, else the goeey sap will stick to your hands

Then in a bowl, add haldi, chilli powder, salt and curd and marinate them for a while.( min 15 mts to 20)

Heat a kadai( i use iron kadai for roast since a  seasoned iron kadai is more like a non stick). Add 1 table spoon of oil. When it heats up, add hing powder and immediately follow it up with marinated arbi roundels.

Cook on slow heat till it gets roasted and does not stick to the kadai. To make it crispier you can sprinkle rice powder or even besan before the final toss.

pizza muffin

Dry ingredients

Whole wheat flour - 1 cup
Organic sugar - less than 1/4 cup
Baking powder - 1/2tbsp
Baking soda- 1/4tsp
Italian Basil - 1 tsp( i used the thai basil from my organic garden, dehydrated it in microwave and crushed them
salt- 1 tsp
cheese( i used mozarella) - 1/2 cup
Chilli flakes -1/2 tsp

Wet ingredients:

Yogurt - 3/4 cup
flax goop (instead of eggs) - 1 tablespoon flax meal with 3 tablespoons of water)
Oil( olive) --1/4 cup
Red and yellow pepper - 1/4 cup
pizza/pasta sauce - 1/4 cup
Mozarella cheese - grated 1/2 cup

In a large bowl , mix the dry ingredients with hand ensuring the contents are well mixed

In another bowl, mix the flax goop, olive oil and yogurt till they blend well.

Stir wet mixture into the dry mixture till there are no lumps. Avoid stirring for long. Mix in the chopped bell peppers. the batter will be in doughy consistency

Spoon the batter into muffin cups till 2/3 full.

Top the batter with pizza sauce

                                  Sprinkle each cup with mozarella cheese, shove them into the oven( mine wason combi 2 for 20 minutes

And out comes the pizza muffins. ( my baking powder was beyond expiry date and so they don't seem puffed)

My fussy teens thoroughly enjoyed the muffins. Taste was awesome

The highlight of this was the thai basil leaves used in the preparation was grown at home.

Base recipe adapted from 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Vada pav

 Vada pav - the indian version of burger has many   kiosks now .  The vadas in the kiosks are fried under automated  fryer pans , stowed into the buns.  But for me,  their tastes  nowhere matches the chachaji's bandi where the vadas are handmade right in front of you.

Chachaji's bandi @ Sindhi colony is where i first discovered this famous street food of Mumbai. It was one of our weekend outings and when it was time to return back home we stopped at Sindhi colony. We found a  bandiwallah doing brisk business. Chachaji and his wife who is beautiful and neatly dressed, work like an automated machine catering to the various customers around the bandi.  While chachaji is busy chopping onions /making hot vadas or toasting  the buns, it is  aunty  who stows the vada into the  pav buns  slots which are  slathered with garlic chutney,  tops it with chopped onions and hands over to the customers. At any point there are nearly 20 customers around the bandi that they wind up their business by 8 or 8.30.

The vada pav's are delicious and filling . Just one will do but if i still feel  like eating one more then i opt for the Dabeli. The dabeli story i will tell later now i will share i how made the vada pav's at home.

1 pav bun packet

 for Garlic chutney:
2-3 table spoons of chopped garlic
2-3 roasted dry red chillies or chilli powder  1 teaspoon
1/2 cup copra powder
salt to taste

Grind all the above ingredients to chutney consistency

For the vadas:

  Ingredients for filling: 

6 Potatoes
2 green chillies
salt to taste
coriander chopped -2 tablespoons
mustard for seasoning
haldi- a tsp
asafoetida - 1/2 tsp

Take a kadai and heat it. Add a tablespoon of oil,  when it heats oil, add mustard. let it crackle.
Then add chillies and asafoetida. follow it up with haldi and salt. 
next add the mashed potatoes and blend all the ingredients.
Finally add the coriander and allow the curry to cool.
When cool, take equal proportions and roll them into a lemon sized ball.

for batter

1 cup of besan 
a pinch of baking soda
salt to taste
a spoon of hot oil
water to mix

To make batter

Take a bowl. Add besan, baking soda and salt and mix well. To this add a spoon of hot oil. Mix them all with water to make a besan batter.

Method For vada

Now take the  lemon sized potato balls and dip them into the batter till they are coated well. Deep fry them in a kadai of  hot oil till they turn golden. The vadas are now ready.

Assembly of vada and pav.

Take a pav and make a slit big enough to slide the pav. Toast them on a tava with some butter without breaking them into two.
Smear the red chutney into the slot and stow in a vada
Garnish it with finely chopped onions.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Eggless water based Dates cake

Just as I had baked a eggless flax cake for my son's  15th birthday, i wanted to bake an unusual cake for my daughter's 18th birthday and like the flax cake, this non-fussy, fondant, cream and dairy free cake turned out moist and soft in texture and was gone in a trice. 


Maida - 1 cup
sugar - 1/2 cup
cinnamon powder - 1 tsp
Dates - chopped finely - 1/2 cup
water - 1 cup
any vegetable oil - 1/4 cup
baking soda - 1 tsp
salt - a pinch
Honey - 1 tbsp


Add baking soda to maida and sieve it twice and keep aside
In a pan, add the measured sugar, salt and mix well.
Follow it up with chopped dates and cinnamon powder
To the above mixture, add vegetable oil and water.
Blend them together and place the mixture on stove and boil it.
when it starts bubbling around the sides, lower the flame and simmer it for 15-20 minutes.
Switch off and wait till the mixture cools. i left it to cool overnight.

When the mixture  cooled, I added the sieved flour little by little and mixed well. One can use a hand blender, but I did it with my hand and wooden spatula. This should take some time to blend well. Ensure you have no lumps.

I then transferred it to my glass baking tray and baked it for 20 minutes. (mine is a bajaj oven with no temp control)

I inserted a skewer into my baking tray to ensure it was done. 

                                 The fist few steps of the cake are over the stove top

The blended maida and water oil sugar date mixture in the baking tray

                                                                       The baked cake

Toppled bottoms up and decorated only with a few rainbow sprinkles.


Some tips: For a more healthier version substitute maida with wheat. You can even substitute sugar with palm sugar. Substitute dates with any dry fruit or nut of your choice.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Masala dosa

Yummm! My salivary glands overwork the moment the name of Masala dosa is mentioned. It is one of my favorite food, although a breakfast item, I can eat it for lunch, dinner or during any time of the day. Such is my love for Masala dosa especially the ones you get in a few hotels /darshinis and sagars of Bangalore. But at home, my dad also makes some of the yummiest masala dosas. Yes, you read it right, my dad is a super cook and my children and all my parents neighbours too love when my dad makes it. Of course, it is my mom who does the hard work of soaking and grinding batter, boiling and peeling potatoes, onions and other ground work for making masala dosa. She ably assists my dad.

During my younger days, we generally ate it at Kamat, gandhi bazaar, vidyarthi bhavan, new krishna bhavan, malleswaram or at the sajjan rao circle bandi hotel. Infact, the sajjan rao circle bandi's kemp chutney would be so awesome that many a times, I and my uncle would sprint to get the chutney when the dinner plates were laid. There are so many memories related to this dish and I have tasted it at many places but the tastes of only a few places linger like that of the above mentioned hotels and later at Janta hotel, Vijayanagar, MTR, Jayanagar 4th block Ganesh darshan etc. Even today, my family  especially my sis, my kids, my niece and myself order Masala dosa anytime we enter a hotel, we don't wait for the bearer/waiter to rattle out the choices.

But the taste of home is unbeatable. Luckily for me, all my paternal uncles and aunts are also good cooks, so they too dish out some best masala dosas. My children simply love the masala dosas which are coated with kemp chutney and topped with dollop of butter.

Now for the recipe:

Kemp chutney:

Red chillies: 6 no's
garlic : 3 cloves
grated coconut t: 2 tablespoons
fried grams : 2 tablespoons
tamarind : a small marble size

( grated coconut or fried grams is to give body to the chutney, my aunt prepared omitting these two)

Grind the above ingredients by adding salt to taste. The red chutney is ready.( i have  added  copra powder)

Alu masala curry


Boiled potatoes  - 6 no's
chopped onions from 2 no's
green chilly - 1 no
red chilli powder -  1 teaspoon
salt  --------------- 1 teaspoon
haldi    1/2 teaspoon
oil for tadka - 1 table spoon
mustard - 1/2 teaspoon
coriander for garnishing


Peel the potatoes, mash them and keep aside.
Take a wok, add the oil and heat it. When heated, add mustard seeds to splutter.
Fry the chillies and then add onions in the oil till transluscent.
Now add the mashed potatoes, haldi, red chilli powder and turn them in the wok till the masala and alu get mixed well. 
Cook them on slow heat for 2 minutes.
Garnish with chopped coriander 

For Dosa batter:

1/2 cup urad dal soaked for 1 hour to 3 hour
2 cup parboiled rice soaked for 6 hours

Grind them in a grinder, add salt and let it ferment overnight

The ingredients ready for making masala dosa: batter, alu curry, kemp chutney and a mix of ghee and gingelly oil

Method for making dosa:

Take a iron griddle or non-stick tava
Pour the batter on the heated tava in circular pattern till the dosa shape is formed
Keep the flame high, drizzle  a teaspoon of gingelly oil or ghee around it.

After some time, spread the red chutney on the surface of the dosa and let it cook for a few seconds.

Now place the alu curry on it and fold the dosa.

When folded and served with a dollop of butter, we in our family don't need accompaniment like coconut chutney or sambar. Just the  dosa, kemp chutney and alu suffice for us.

what marks the regular masala dosa from Mysore masala dosa is the kemp chutney.

* A tip to have a brown base- a table spoon of maida to the batter gives a brown dosa like in hotels. but i have avoided.