Thursday, June 30, 2011

Apple Buttermilk Coffee Cake

A Coffee Cake is either a cake flavoured with coffee or cakes preferred with morning/evening coffee.In case of latter, it is usually a cake made with spices,fruits or nuts. I usually prefer such type of cakes especially as a warm dessert for rainy evenings.The warm scent of fruits and spices definitely makes the weather bearable and the tummy satisfied as well. This is a simple apple coffee cake I tried today from MyRecipes. Its very easy to make and is low in fat as well.

Apples: 1 cored and thinly sliced or 1.5 cups of slices
Brown Sugar: 2-3 tbsp
Cinnamon: 1 tsp or more as per taste
(Mixed spices can also be used)

All Purpose Flour: 1 cup
Baking Soda: 1/4 tsp
Salt: 1/8 tsp

Butter: 2 tbsp soft
Sugar: 1/3 cup

Egg: 1
OR  Ener G Egg: 1.5 pkd tsp + 2 tbsp water + (1-2 tbsp extra water as needed)
OR 2 tbsp cornflour/starch + 1 tbsp water = 1 egg

Vanilla Extract: 1 tsp
Almond Extract: 1/2tsp

ButterMilk: 1/2 cup (preferably low fat)

Walnuts: Handfuls

Icing Sugar: 1/4 cup
Buttermilk: 1-2 tsp (2 if thining is needed)
Vanilla: 2-4 drops

Additional garnish: sprinkles,icing sugar etc

Core,halve and thinly slice apple. In a deep saucepan, saute the apple slices with brown sugar and cinnamon and optionally other spices if using. Saute for a few minutes, till the sugar dissolves and turns syrupy and the slices look brownish. Keep aside.

In a small bowl, mix/whisk together flour,soda and salt.

In a wider and deeper bowl, cream together butter and sugar till well blended.Beat in the egg and the extracts and continue. The mix may look curdled a bit but thats okay.

 Add flour and buttermilk alternatively starting and ending with flour. You will be getting a thick pourable batter which you spread on a greased round cake dish . 

Arrange the apple slices over the cake.Sprinkle with the nuts -almonds or I used walnuts.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350F/175C  for about 20-25 minutes until the cake pullsout the edges and start to brown.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer (using another plate) onto a rack to cool completely.Cut into wedges and serve drizzled with the glaze and topped with more sugar /sprinkles etc.

Glaze: Whisk together all the ingredients to get a thick or thin (add more buttermilk/milk) glaze. Drizzle over the cake either before cutting into wedges. Or drizzle on individual wedges.

The cake turned out to be spicy and fruity. But it was a bit thinner than I expected. May be the dish I used was too large for the batter.It did rise and cooked perfectly and was a bit spongier as well. It looked like an apple topped pizza but do not go for shape. Go for the taste and enjoy.

This simple coffeecake is off to Monthly Mingle: Apple Affection at MyEasyCooking, an event by Meeta

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Teppal & Chinese Five Spice Powder

Before I started blogging, I thought I had a fair knowledge of my own cuisine ie Konkani cuisine or 'amchi' cooking. The upkaris,ghasshis, ambats, ummans, pathrodoes, etc . But slowly realisation  dawned on me, that I know just a small part of it. Ofcourse I knew that the cuisine has got its own regional variations -even within Kerala where I grew up, I have seen two or 3 versions of the same dish. However I was pleasantly surprised to see the write up about teppal in Shilpas blog and also RedChillies and came to know that it is a staple in Mangalorean Konkani cuisine and also Saraswat cuisine. Well, thats not all. It is also a common ingredient in Chinese Cooking and is also known as Sichuan Pepper.

Anyway,my neighbour as well as friend C gave me this and ofcourse apart from trying out few amchi dishes, I  used it for making 5 spice powder. The Chinese Five Spice mix has cinnamon,cloves, fennel and star anise apart from the above mentioned Sichuan Pepper.It is supposed to have all the five flavours of sweet,sour,bitter,pungent and salty. I have adapted the recipe seen here to make my 5spice powder.

Sichuan Pepper: 2 tsp
Star Anise : 8 Pods
Cinnamon: 1 tbsp powdered
Cloves: 1/2 tsp powdered
Fennel Seeds: 1 tbsp powdered

Dry roast the sichuan peppercorn, over low to medium heat, in a skillet shaking it periodically to roast uniformly, until the aroma is released.

Grind/powder this with star anise in a pepper mill/blender.

Strain the powder and blend with cloves,cinnamon and fennel seed powders to obtain a finer mix. I didnot strain it and hence mine is a bit coarse.

Store in an airtight container and use as per the recipe says.

A little bit goes a long way and so use sparingly.

I am planning few uses for my 5spice powder. Lets see how they turn out.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Geelrys - South African Yellow Rice

I have grown up familiar with the varieties of rice -both South Indian and North Indian style. The colour yellow is something I always associate with Pongal or tangy lemon rice spiced to perfection. So I was surprised to see a South African Yellow rice with raisins and spiced with my favourite "Cinnamon". It is usually served as a side dish to chicken pie or other meat dishes -may be as a little sweet accompaniment!.This is similar to or equivalent to the pilaf/ Indian pulao which also has spices and optionally cashews and raisins as well. I tried it from here but made sure it was less sweet as I prefer savoury rices.

Basmati Rice/ Any long grain rice :  1/2 cup
Raisins : 3-4 tbsp
Cinnamon: 1 big stick
Turmeric: a pinch
 Salt: as per taste
Butter: 1-2 tbsp

Pepper: as per taste
Cinnamon Sugar: as per taste

Bring water to boil in a deep pan on stovetop. Add in the other ingredients and return to boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook till done.

If there is more water, drain it out and fluff the rice with a fork. Top with more butter and add pepper (to make it spicy) or cinnamon sugar for a sweeter side/dessert. 

I preferred it spicy with pepper and also reduce around 1 tbsp of raisins as I did not want their sweetness in the rice.The black raisins are a nice contrast to the yellowness of the rice and also impart their colour to the surrounding rice grains as well.

I had this with a spicy gravy like chakalaka. You can also go for raitha or spiced yogurt for relishing this comforting rice.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Orange Scented Choco Chip Cookies

I love chocochip cookies and recently was thinking of making a few to share with my friends as well. We are a nice gang here and one of them had passed me warm, sweet and ghee laden malpuas (taking care to burn her hands while frying -all in the name of friendship :)) and this was the least I could do for her (apart from pulling her leg that is).Also I remembered seeing the delicious Chocochip Cookies on FoodBuzz Top 9 from Chasing Delicious. I loved it and as usual immediately thought of making the same. While searching in my pantry for the choco chips, I saw that Nestle itself have given a similar recipe for the same and I decided to adapt the latter but with the same orangey twist that I saw in former.I had no zest left with me and so I depended on orange extract and orange juice and the cookies were no overtly orangey but just a delicious scent of orange was there.


All Purpose Flour: 1 cup and 2 tbsp
Baking Soda: 1/2 tsp
Salt:1/2 tsp

Butter:8 tbsp /100 g soft
Sugar: 6 tbsp
Brown Sugar: 6 tbsp
Orange Extract: 1/2 tsp

Egg :1 large or Ener G Egg Replacer Egg: 1.5 packed tsp mixed with 2 tbsp of Orange Juice + additional 1-2 tbsp OJ if needed

Chocochips: 10+ tbsp
Nuts: 6-8 tbsp


Combine flour, soda and salt in a medium bowl. In another wider deeper bowl,cream together butter,both sugar, and orange extract until creamy. Beat in the egg or Ener G egg into this. Add in the flour mix to this beating at a low speed until combined. Fold in the nuts and choco chips. You will be left with a bit sticky dough. If it is too dry and you have used egg replacers especially, then add in 1-2 tbsp of orange juice.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a cookie sheet which is preferably ungreased. But I did line my baking sheet as cleaning beacomes easier. Also I pinched handful of dough and shaped it into a round ball,slightly flattendd it and then placed it onto the lined baking sheet. The cookies expand a bit so give enough space between them

Bake in a preheated oven at 375F/190C for 9-11 minutes or until you can see them becoming golden brown.

Take out,cool in the sheet for 2 minutes then remove them to the wire rack and cool completely.

I allowed 5 minutes in the sheet as I wanted them crisper. You can see the cookies expanding and even puffing up a bit while in the oven. The middle may not be cooked within the mentioned time,but cooking will continue while still on the baking sheet and the wire rack.

These make excellent gifts and and are good with a cup of milk.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Grilled Tomato, Cashew & Rosemary Soup

This is a herby twist I made with the usual hearty tomato soup. I grilled the tomatoes stovetop and then used cashews as a healthy thickner and seasoned it with fresh rosemary which is fast becoming my favourite.

Tomatoes: 3-4 big/sliced/halved
Onion: 3-4 tbsp sliced/halved
Garlic: 1-2 cloves as per taste
Fresh Rosemary: 2 tbsp atleast
Cashew : 3-4 tbsp
Sugar: a pinch
Water/Stock: 2 cups +/-

Slice/halve the tomatoes and onions.Drizzle with salt,pepper and olive oil. Leave the garlic cloves whole. Heat a stovetop grill and place the tomatoes and onions, close with an appropriate cover and let it grill until it is tender and cooked and the grill marks are there. On the still hot grill, place the garlic cloves a nd let it grill for about 1minute till browned. Allow to cool.

Grind together, cashews,rosemary,tomatoes and onion with little sugar,salt and pepper. Put back in deep pan and bring to a boil adding water/stock. Reduce to a simmer and let it cook for about 20-25 minutes until the flavours blend, and the required thickness is reached.

Serve warm with appropriate accompaniments. I loved it with baked Tortilla chips.

Simple soup where tomato and rosemary shine through. Sugar is added to add a little sweetness to the tangy tomatoes. It is completely optional though.  If you like tomato basil soup/salad then you will surely like this one.

A warm bowl goes to NCR:Grilling.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rosemary Roasted Baby Potatoes

I had a small bag of new potatoes or baby potatoes with me and also a pack of inviting fresh looking rosemary. So I tried this simple recipe from foodnetwork by Rachel Ray. It was definitely done within 30 minutes,and over within 10 minutes. For a long time I had been wanting to make these and they turned out hearty. 

Baby Potatoes: 1/2 lb or 250 gms
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 1-2 tbsp
Fresh Rosemary : 2 tbsp atleast  finely chopped
Garlic: 2small cloves peeled coarsely crushed
Salt& Pepper: as per taste

Wash and scrub the potatoes thoroughly in several changes of water till it runs clean.

The skin of new potatoes are buttery and it is not advisable to remove the skin. I have even heard about aloo bhujia - new potato stirfry - with these babies where you saute the potato with little/no spices till browned and cooked.Unless it looks revolting do not remove the skin of baby potatoes.

Halve the bigger looking ones and leave the small one whole. If wanted you can prick the whole small potatoes with a fork. Mix together crushed garlic cloves,potatoes and oil. The oil must be enough to coat the potatoes. Sprinkle salt,pepper and rosemary and give it a nice mix.

Place the coated potatoes in a baking sheet and roast in a preheated oven at 230 C/ 450 F for about 20 minutes until they turn tender and the skin looks a bit wrinkled. You can feel the wonderful aroma of roasemary while they are being roasted.

Take out and serve warm as  a comforting side or snack (at least for me).

Hearty side/snack. You can also mix the herbs and garlic with the oil and then drizzle it over the potatoes. The rosemary flavour should be there in the potatoes. So make sure you use rosemary accordingly.Rosemary is a strong herb and a little does go a long way but I definitely needed more than 2 tbsp. You can also use other herbs and spices instead of rosemary.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Shakalaka - Its Chakalaka !

Chakalaka is a South African spicy vegetarian gravy made with onion,tomatos,peppers and beans. It can be a side dish or a sauce or whatever way you like it. For me it is a side dish to be served with rice/breads and also as a soup in itself. You can have a chakalaka whatever way you like. I have adapted the recipe from here.

Red Kidney Beans: 1/2 cup  presoaked and cooked

Onion: 1 almost big: chopped finely
Green Bell Pepper: 1 medium size chopped into bite sized pieces
Garlic: 1-2 cloves minced
Fresh Hot Chillies: 1 -2 small chopped /slit lengthwise

Curry Powder: as per taste
Tomato: 1 chopped into cubes
Tomato Paste: 1-2 tbsp

Salt and pepper: as per taste

Cook the beans and keep aside. You can use canned beans or even baked beans in tomato sauce, in which case avoid the tomato and paste.

Heat oil in a deep pan. Add in onion,garlic,fresh chilli  and bell pepper cubes. Cook till the onions are transparent and the raw smell of the peppers disappear stirring occasionally to prevent burning for a few minutes.

Add in the curry powder,saute till the raw smell goes -just about another minute and then add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and little salt and pepper. Mix well and cook till the tomatoes turn pulpy and then add the cooked beans along with the water in which it was cooked. Adjust the salt and pepper and cook for another 15-20 on simmer till the flavours blend and the required thickness is reached.

Serve warm with rice/rotis or enjoy as a soup with optional accompaniments.

A simple comforting soup or a hearty side stew. Normally it is served as accompaniment to meilie pap (rice porridge). I loved the stew I had made and found it similar to the several chilis or tomatoey stews I had made earlier.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Garam Masala Crackers

These are simple and savoury cookies made with garam masala. These are named crackers because of their crispness and the savouriness. I have adapted a recipe seen in the book - Everybody's Book for Eggless baking by Indira Kakati.The original recipe was for buttery crackers but I spiced it with garam masala. Simple snack with your evening tea or with hearty soups.

All Purpose Flour: 14 tbsp  or 100 gms
Baking Powder: 1/4 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp or as per taste
Garam Masala : 1 tsp +/-
Dried Mango Powder: 1-2 pinches (optional)

Salted Butter : 2 tbsp softened

Milk: 2-3 tbsp as needed

Sift together flour,baking powder,salt and the spice powders in a bowl.

In another big bowl,cream butter and add in the dry flour -spice mix. Mix well so that it looks like dry sand and the add in tablespoonsfuls of milk to bind it together into a smooth dough. It barely took 2 and 1/2 tbsp of milk for me. 

Roll out the dough into a rectangle around 1/4' thick. Using a fork, prick all over the dough and using appropriate cutters cut out shapes from the dough. I used a fluted cutter.

Place the shapes in a lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 150C/300F  for 12-15 minutes or until the edges and top start browning.

Take out and transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Simple and fuss free crackers. They are completely sugar free unlike few other recipes I have seen where at least a small amount of sugar/sweetener is used. They turned out to be crispy and crunchy. A simple recipe which we can modify as per our taste. You can opt out the spice powders and go for the regular crackers if you like.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Spicy Onion Pinwheels

Monsoon is here and we can verify it from the sizzling of oil and wafting aroma of pakodas/fritters and obviously the rain. Though rain is still like an unwanted guest here in Bangalore - coming and going whenever it wants(thanks to the high winds)- pakodas can be had anytime. But as a healthy alternative ,try this onion pinwheels which are equally hearty.I adapted these from KingArthur Flour and they turned out great. 

As usual I halved the recipe and substituted the egg with cornstarch and water.
 ie 2 tbsp cornstarch + 1 tbsp water gives 1 egg.
You can go for Ener G or other appropriate  egg replacers.I had seen this in Baking Bites and was sure this would be great replacer as well.

All Purpose Flour: 1.5 cups  + more for dusting
Milk Powder: 1.5 tsp
Sugar: 1.5 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Instant Yeast : 3/4 tsp ( I used Gloripan Yeast given to me by dear blogger Suma)

Water: 1/2 cup
1 tbsp Cornstarch + 1.5 tsp water mixed well into a place for replacing 1/2 an egg (else use the latter itself !)
Veg Oil: 1.5 tsp

Veg oil: 2-3 tsp for sauteeing
Onion: long thin chopped 2-3 medium size :almost 1/2 cup +
Sugar: a pinch
Salt & Red Pepper Flakes: as per taste

Filling: Heat oil in a deep pan and add onions. Add in little salt and a pinch of sugar and mix well and continue sweating the onions till they turn a deep brown. Just before removing from heat, add in the red pepper flakes and finish the cooking. Do the taste test and adjust the salt and seasoning.Cool.

Sugar helps in caramelizing the onions fast and salt helps in bringing out the moisture and indirectly reduces the need to add more oil for browning.

Bread: Mix together all the dry items from flour to yeast in a big bowl. Make the cornstarch paste and keep aside as well.Make a well in the dry item bowl and add in the cornstarch paste,water and oil.Bring together to form a mass of dough which leaves the sides of the bowl. Knead it by putting on a lightly dusted counter for about 5-8 minutes until you get a smoooth,elastic dough. 

Pat the dough to a rectangular shape in the dusted counter and evenly spread the onion mixture leaving little space on the long sides of the rectangle.

Starting with the long side /length of the rectangle,roll it into a log,pinching the seams together well.

Cut the log into 1" slices. And place them 2" apart from each other in a lightly greased or lined baking sheet. I lined the baking sheet with foil and greased it with oil. Let them rise,covered for about 30 minutes or almost doubled. 

Bake in a preheated oven at 350F / 176C for about 18-20 minutes until the top looks golden brown and a lovely aroma wafts in from the oven. Take out cool in the sheet for 2-3 minutes and then cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

The collage is ....

 I had it warm.So either serve warm from the oven or reheat in the microwave for seconds before serving.

 You can also serve it with sauce or other dips and sides. I had it as such as a snack. These are also perfect for breakfast as well.

Hearty warm rolls perfect with a cuppa.Enjoy the rain,the warm rolls and be satisfied.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Chocolate Chili

I love chili and can have it anytime of the day. I try out different versions as well.You can see two versions already posted  here and here and few else are in queue waiting for their turn.  Long time back I have heard about the use of chocolate in traditional Mexican chili recipes and recently tried out the recipe from Vegnews which had not just chocolate but coffee as well. It was simply IRRESISTABLE.

Dried Beans: 1/2 cup presoaked and cooked or canned beans (I used pinto beans and pink beans)

Olive Oil: 2-3 tsp
Onion: chopped 1 small : around 4-5 tbsp
Carrot: 1/4 cup cubed /minced
Garlic: 1-2 cloves

Cumin Powder: 1/4 tsp +
Chilli Powder: 1 tbsp +/-
Paprika: 1/2 tsp +/-
Oregano: 1/4 tsp
Pepper: 1/4 tsp +
Salt: as  per taste

Tomato: 1/2 cup chopped
Tomato paste: 3-4 tbsp  OR Puree : almost 1/2 cup
Chocolate: 1/2  oz semi sweet or dark, grated

Chipotle in adobo sauce: 1 small or as per taste (chopped /minced)

Sugar: 1/4 tsp + (omit if using semi sweet)

Espresso Coffee :2-3 tbsp or more as needed
Water: as needed (I used the water in which the beans were cooked)

Presoak the dried beans overnight and cook till  done in the pressure cooker or stovetop as per convenience.Keep aside.

Heat oil in a deep pan,add onion,garlic and carrots and cook for a few minutes until they soften. Add in salt,pepper and all the spice powders and also sugar (if using dark chocolate). Saute for a minute. 

Add in tomatoes chopped,tomato puree/paste and chopped/minced chipotle. Stir well and cook for a few more minutes till the tomatoes start to cook.

Add in the beans,coffee and the water to this and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and let it cook uncovered for about 30 -45 minutes stirring occasionally so that the tastes are well blended and the required thickness is reached. 

Serve as a side with rice/tortillas or as a wholesome soup topped with lowfat cheese slice  and garnished with chocolate gratings.

I enjoyed it as both and everybody licked their bowls clean. Ummmmmmmmm.. 

The aroma while adding the chocolate is GREAT.You savour the feeling as if you are savouring a cuppa of hot chocolate spiced with cinnamon and chilli on a snowy day. It truly lifts your mood. Chipotle as usual adds the smoky authentic chili taste and overall it has all the qualities and taste needed for a comforting chili.I am not sure about the coffee addition as the coffee added just a  mellowed sharpness and it could be because I had add just 2 tbsp of it - I had mixed 1/2 tsp powder with 2 tbsp of water and added to the gravy. But it does blend with the total taste of the gravy and does not stand out of line. 

Go make your own and enjoy as the few spoonfuls I have saved goes to AWED:Mexico,at MyTastyTreats, an event by DK.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Whole Wheat Tortilla - Mexican Cousin of Indian Rotis?

Tortilla ( spelt tor-thee-ah), meaning "little cake (torta) in Spanish is a general term for a variety of foods and also refer to corn or wheat based flatbreads in Mexico and other Latin countries. Depending on  the flour used to make them, the Mexican tortillas differ in texture and a wide variety and flavours are available. Each region has its own version of flatbreads and there are definitely similarities between few of them atleast.Though  the name sounds exotic,we can say that the rich in fat tortilla is definitely a cousin of the humble Indian roti. And I too found the transition from roti to tortilla easier when I tried Sunita 's recipe of Whole Wheat Tortillas.

Whole wheat flour: 3 cups
Baking Powder: 1 tsp  (reduced from the original 2 and 1/4 tsp)
Salt: 1.5 tsp
Vegetable Oil: 1 tbsp 
Milk: 1-2 cups

Mix together flour,salt,baking powder and oil. Add in warm milk 1 cup at a time and stir in  to get a sticky loosely formed dough. I had to add another 1 cup of milk to get a similar dough.It depends on the flour you are using. Mine definitely required extra milk as it looked like coarse sand with the original mentioned milk quantity.

Knead for two minutes to get a firm soft dough on a floured surface. Keep the dough in a bowl and let it rest covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap for 20 minutes. It is necessary to let the dough rest else it may turn elastic and it may not properly roll out.

Take the rested dough,divide into smaller pieces and shape each into a round and rest in a bowl covered with a wrap for another 10 minutes.

Take a round, pat it into a thick disc within hands dusting it with little flour and then roll it out with a rolling pin from centre to outwards,until you get a elongated disc as thin as you want. Don't over work the dough as it will turn to be stiff. Keep the disc covered with plastic wrap or damp cloth till cooking time. Do this with each round/disc you have.

In a dry skillet or komal cook each tortilla 30 seconds per side on high. Keep covered with a napkin until ready to eat. 

Serve it with choice of sides or stuffed with rice,cheese or veggies. I served it with a chocolate chili made with pinto and pink beans.

If you love rotis you will definitely like tortillas. What differs the tortilla is the rich in fat content -traditionally lard or pork fat was used while making the dough. But here we had added just 1 tbsp of oil. Also the bresence of baking powder gives it a slightly puffed look- it puffs up a little on cooking and the insides look little layered as well. There are different versions  for the tortillas some without baking powder but this version works out for me. With whole wheat it is much more healthier as well.

The tortillas are off to AWED:Mexico at MyTastyTreats, an event by dear DK along with Two Bean Chocolate Chili which I will be posting later.

Thanks for visiting my Blog

/*TYNT script starts here */ /*TYNT ends */