Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Simple Chocolate Brownies


This recipe is like a must bake dish for all those into baking and most probably one of the earliest or the first recipes that one tries out when venturing into the world of baking. Its that simple. I just did not fall prey to this mantra and kept postponing it for eternity.

But alas I finally found my urge to bake them, guess why?? Of course, depriving myself of all those junk food (at least at home) made me just crave them more. Thank the weather here at Bangalore, I just did not mind gorging on them. And like after a long long time, I decided to use the white flour which I wanted to use only when I have to bake something exotic and those recipes that cannot be substituted with. Brownies are one such dish. These are really really rich and like they say an indulgent food (read chocolate) , specially when you just need a mood boost. Well you don't need to be depressed to make them, just go bake them right away. Perfect for the quick after dinner deserts ,where you just need to mix up the ingredients at one go and bake.

And guess what, Kavya has begun to like being around me when I bake stuff and extends her hand every single time I bake these days. Makes me more than happy to keep baking for her (and myself). Thanks to her for helping me with throwing in the flour this time around into the mix.

This is a very basic recipe which I adopted from a cookbook for kids and parents- Make and do Cookbook.


  • The original recipe calls for chocolate chips that have to be melted on a heatproof bowl and then mixed along with the butter (Step 2). I have replaced it with chocolate powder.
  • Use of baking powder is a debate in Brownies. Purist may not need agree to using Baking Powder,  I added some though.


Ingredients
Butter                                           - 170 gms
Eggs (preferably room temp)       - 2 Nos
Regular Sugar                              - 175 gms
Coca Powder                               - 3 (un-levelled) large tsp somewhere around 75 gms
Flour                                             - 200 gms
Vanilla Extract                             - 1 tsp
Baking Powder                            - 1/2 tsp


My way of making
1. Melt butter just to the level of softening.
2. Once done, to this add sugar and beat well. Add the eggs one at a time and beat them well. Once done add the vanilla extract and Cocoa powder. Mix them well.
3. To this add the flour and baking powder. Blend them well till no streaks of white flour are seen.
4. Preheat oven to 180C and Prepare (grease your baking pan) a square baking pan or for that matter any mould will do.
4. Pour in the batter and bake at 180C for 30 minutes.
5. Let cool and fudgy dense chocolate brownies are ready to be relished.

Notes
1. Add some nuts, chocolate chips and make them more yummylicious.
2. Vanilla Ice Creams goes well when served with warm brownies.


Friday, 24 May 2013

Eggless,Vegan Ragi/Finger Millet Cookies



It's raining Ragi/Finger Millets at our home! Ragi as I mentioned in my earlier post, is a good source of protein, calcium, fibre and carbohydrates. So why not try every possible dish that could be made with Ragi.

Baking cookies have always fascinated me, ever since I started baking. I try and make them by all  means a healthy ones, most of them ending in the trash but that does not stop me from trying. Along these lines, I had to compulsively bake some Ragi cookies that's so famously available in all super markets and home bakers list. But I wanted to make it egg-less, flour-less and a Vegan one too. It all seemed impossible but when I finished I was glee that I had my Ragi cookies freshly baked and more so the aroma of baking just excited me.

Cookies are the easiest ways to start off with kids helping in the kitchen and cooking, like the toppings of the cookies, mixing the flours, assembling them in the baking tray. Since Kavya was behind me for chocolates, I traded it with some help from her the cookie toppings. Isn't she good? We were so thrilled when we saw the cookies nicely decorated with chocolates and cashews.


Here's what the cookie takes to bake

Ingredients

Ragi Flour                                                                              200 gms
Almond Meal ( Ground Blanched/Unblanched Almonds)    100 gms
Powdered Sugar                                                                    150 gms (adjust according to your taste)
Baking Powder                                                                      1 tsp
Chocolate Powder                                                                  3 tbsp
Cinnamon Powder                                                                 3/4 tsp (if you like the flavour inc to 1 tsp)
Peanut Butter                                                                         150 gms
Chocolate Chips & Broken Cashews                                     Handful for the toppings

Milk (skip if you want it to be vegan)                                    1/4 to 1/2 cup


My way of making
1. In a wok dry fry the Ragi Flour, this way the cookies tastes better rather than the chewy nature.
2. In a bowl sift together the Ragi Flour, Almond meal, sugar, baking powder, chocolate powder and cinnamon powder together.
3. To this add the Peanut butter and bring them together to make a dough.
4. Pinch out some dough and press them between your palms to flatten them and lay them in the baking tray leaving about few inches gap between each.
5. Preheat your oven to 180C and meanwhile top the cookies with nuts of your choice.
6. Bake the cookies at 180C for about 30 minutes. Mine was done around the 27th minute .
7. Cool them totally and enjoy them as a snack or a quick breakfast.
8. Store them in air tight containers or refrigerate them for longer shelf life

Notes
1. Milk could be used for preparing the dough but then your dish will not remain Vegan.
2. You could use White flour/Cornflour too, but that would make the dish highly unhealthy and will need to adjust the butter accordingly.
3. Jaggery could be another alternative to sugar and taste may vary, if any one tries let me know.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Curry Leaves Powder


Traditionally we Keralites or Keralans ( wonder who suggested this word!!) don't use much of podis in our every day eating like the people from Andhra. No no! this is not biasing just a FYI note. My primitive and college years at Chennai and Thanjavur opened up a whole new experience in the world of food. Oh yes I love my food and more so when its a very different cuisine that I haven't had before.

With a bruised leg (ah, that does not stop me from entering the kitchen anyways) and mom to my aid, I make sure that I borrow some of her recipes and tricks and tips.

Now that I had ordered in some 200 gms of Curry leaves assuming I could store it for long and was doubtful about my decision, I wanted to do something different from the usual stuff like using it in home made hair oils, or for seasoning buttermilk and dishes. That's when it hit me that I had heard about Curry Leaves powder. I was apprehensive at first but when the final product came into being I was totally amazed. I made this with mom's side by side instruction.

Ingredients
Curry Leaves            - 1 cup
Urad Dal                   - 1/2 cup
Dry Red Chillies       - 3 or 4 depending on how spicy you want it
Coconut  Shredded  - 5 to 6 tsp
Cumin Seeds            - 1/2 to3/4 tsp
Coriander Seeds       - 1/2 to 3/4 tsp
Salt                           -  as per your taste.
Asafoetida                - 1/4 tsp


My way of making
1. In a wok dry fry the curry leaves separately until they are crisp enough that they should powder when placed between your palms. Please don't burn your hands doing this. The aroma that fills your kitchen is sure to keep you going till the leaves turn powder.
2. Separately dry fry the Urad dal, Cumin seeds and Coriander seeds. Once it turns red, add coconut and dry fry everything together. This may take some time since coconut when dry fried tends to ooze out some oil and moisture, so keep stirring on low flame for about 10 to 15 mts. Oops don't miss adding the salt and asafoetida.
3. Switch off when done, add the roasted curry leaves to the mix and let cool.
4. Once cool, grind them in the food processor or your mixer to a coarse powder.
5. You could use this mixture for seasoning your thorans or use it as a mix for your afternoon's steaming rice.

Notes
1. You could avoid all the spices and make the simple curry leaf powder with some salt, that could be used in place of curry leaves for side dishes and mainly in the seasoning of buttermilk.
2. Alternatively you could add more spices like sesame seeds, fenugreek seeds and more varieties of dal's and make it more tasty and yummy.
3. When mixing with rice you could add some ghee or oil to enhance the flavour.
4. Shelf life of the powder reduces if moisture exists.
5. For more info visit here


Monday, 13 May 2013

Nutritional Healthy Bake



I am not sure if this qualify's for a cake and that's why the title 'bake'. This time around I tried to make something very very healthy keeping in mind that this was exclusively made for the kid at home. Now that vacation are on and an ever active kid to keep me on toes, I thought why not. It was always my wish to make something tasty with Finger Millet aka Ragi and I just used this chance to make some healthy stuff.

Ragi as such is given to infants as their first semi solid food and we all know the goodness this cereals carries along with it. High in protein, calcium and fiber , Ragi, has it goodness stored for elders too. In this state of Karnataka, Ragi is had as a drink or kashaya or the famous Ragi mude which is a staple diet among all people alike. This is how the recipe came into being.

Ingredients
(Dry Ingredients)
1 cup whole wheat flour (200 gms)
1/2 cup ragi flour           (100 gms)
Cocoa Powder             3 tbsps
Baking powder              1 tsp    
Baking soda                  1/2 tsp
(Wet Ingredients)
1/2 cup thick curd          (150 ml)
Jaggery grated               (1/2 cup to 3/4 cup) depending on ones sweetness (150 gms)
Banana (Nendran)         1 full ripe - else 2 ripe Yelakki Banana
Vanilla Essence             1  tsp   
Ghee                             3-4 tbsp
Milk                             1/4 cup to 1/2 cup
                              

My way of Making
1. Sift together the dry ingredients.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together the curd and jaggery until well combined. To this add the well mashed bananas. Once mixed well, add vanilla essence and ghee and combine.
3. Add the sifted dry ingredients into the liquid mixture one step at a time and combine them well. Add milk only if needed to make a smooth batter.
4. Preheat your oven to 180C.
5. Pour this into a greased cake pan and bake for around 25 to 30 minutes until the center of the cake is done.
6. Cool and relish this nutritious bake with or without any frosting.

Note
1. The top of the cake would mostly turn out dry immediately after its done. Its better to cool it down before relishing the dish.
2. You could use the usual stuff like White flour, butter, egg to make this more of a sponge cake.
3. One could add some nuts as well to make it more of a healthy small meal combined with milk.
4. Mine was done around 23 minutes, so keep a watch.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Crunchy Poha Snack


Every evening I gaze into my kitchen shelves to spot out that one ingredient with which I could make some quick healthy snack. Most of the days it just ends up with that, thanks to the summers who would want to sweat it out in the kitchen even for a quick snack. A few days back it just got different when I remembered I had bookmarked a recipe

I recently started following LoveFoodEat, oh boy! you should see how she manages to dish out interesting and different dishes with normal stuff like Tamarind or for that matter Whole Wheat fllour and did I tell you all her food are organic stuff. Of course I just sit and read them for the love of her photographs she manages to click while making these yummy dishes. One such post was her Sweet Crunchy Rice Balls.

This dish comes close to the peanut or sesame balls which are made with jaggery syrup and close to aval nanachathu ( a kerala delicacy). I am sure this has got you drooling already. So let me spare you with the story and get to the recipe

Ingredients
1 cup Flattened Rice or Poha (200 gms)
3/4 cup Jaggery (150 gms)
1/4  cup water or even less
Cardamom 3-4 pods
Sesame Seeds 2 tbsp
Ghee 2 tsp(optional) 
Coconut oil/Ghee 


My Way of Making
1.  Heat a wok and to it add the 2 tsp of ghee. Roast the flattened rice till crisp in low to medium flame.
2. Prepare the jaggery syrup and when its thick enough add the crushed cardamom pods and let it remain on the heat on low flame least you want the syrup getting hard.
3. Roast the sesame seeds as well.
4. Add the crisp poha and  sesame seeds to the jaggery syrup and mix well together till the mixture starts leaving the sides. 
5. Apply some ghee or coconut oil (I used coconut oil this time for a change)  to your hands and start rolling the mixture into balls once the mixture has cooled off a bit for you might burn your hand if you are not fast enough.
6. Allow to cool and store them in air tight containers or in the refrigirator


Notes
1. Use just the right amount of jaggery else you might end up in a too sweet dish and taste bitter.
2. This dish might  burn your hands so take extreme precaution while rolling the balls.