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:)