Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Baking with Saptasri Parswanath, J W Marriott | Add Style to the Festive Season

Come the Christmas & New Year season people and I mean serious bakers start planning months in advance. The soaking of fruits, making wines and planning the festive menu has become a part of the modern life. Each one wants to do something unique or different and add their own twist. 

Recently I attended a Dessert Baking Workshop By Chef Saptasri Parswanath, dessert chef , J W Marriott. It was conducted at  Godrej's Nature Basket, Koramangala courtesy J W Marriott. The young chef who had been trained in a pastry institute in  Malaysia displayed her skills to the audience by baking the unique Vanilla Kipferl and also mince pies. 

Vanilla Kipferl is a crescent shaped vanilla cookie, native of Austria, though well known across Europe. They are a part of Christmas traditions in Europe and it definitely takes a pair of skilled hands to bake the fragile cookie dough into a horse shoe shape. 

Chef Saptasri easily turned these into perfect cookies, all the while patiently answering the audience queries, regarding baking. The chef also demonstrated to the audience how to make quick fruit mix for making mince meat filling. 

 Mince meat is a mix of dried fruits, spirits and spices. This in olden times used to have beef suet and hence the name. The modern version has only dried fruits mixed with spices soaked in brandy/rum and even orange juice for non alcoholics for atleast two days upto a month. Now you know why the preparation for Christmas baking starts in advance.

The chef displayed the making of the mince meat pie from scratch and also served mini mince pies baked in muffin cups.Its unique way and kudos to the the chef for avoiding the very common fruit cake.

Given below is the Vanilla Kipferl recipe. 

1050 Butter
500g Castor Sugar
1 tsp Salt
2.5 tsp Cinnamon Powder
Lemon zest of 5 lemons
10 numbers of Vanilla pod
1400g flour
500g hazelnut powder toasted

Cream the soft butter until smooth. Add sugar, salt, lemon zest and scrapped seeds of vanilla to it and mix well. Add the flour and toasted nut powder. Knead/pat  gently into a dough. Rest it in the fridge for 45 minutes. 

Take ut and knead it wel. Divide it into 20g balls and gently roll it out into crescents. Do not overwork the dough. The dough is fragile and you should just lightly touch it. Bake att 190C until light golden brown.  

Dust with icing sugar while still hot. 

What are you waiting for , Its just few more days for Christmas, Put on your baking hat and get on with it. Make something different yet traditional.

J W Marriott conducts baking workshops mostly at their hotels or our sponsored locations. Do keep an eye on their web site and keep yourselves updated. 

Baking workshops for kids are also conducted. Their 'Cutest Crismiss Party' for kids is also today. Other Christmas activities and events are also happening.  

J W Marriott
24/1, Vittal Mallya Road,Bengaluru -560 001

Monday, December 15, 2014

Kashmiri Kahwa | December 15 - International Tea Day

As the winter sets in we spend more times indoors. Its too cooold to go outside. Its colder in Bangalore but nothing beats a cup of hot tea to blow away the chills. 

In my apartment complex, there is a commercial part and one section is mostly food joints - be it street food, chinese , vada pav, pizzas, bakeries etc. We can definitely pick and choose if we decide not to cook one/any time. The most popular among these is a tea point . Its always full and we have to wait in queue for our turn. 
But yes, the cutting chai or adrakwali kulhad chai with a plate of pakodas and company of friends makes life warm. 

Speaking of tea, it is topmost beverage consumed in India. Though South India has traditional and patented filter coffee and beautiful coffee plantations, there is a sizeable portion of tea drinkers also. 

As for myself, I am the only tea drinking child born to coffee consuming parents and married off in a tea drinking family -is it karma !? 

Well whatever it is I enjoy a hot cup of masala chai in the morning and occasional hot/iced green teas and of course a cuppa with friends too. 

Recently I tried and liked  the Kashmiri Kahwa and thought of posting it today being the International Tea Day

Kahwah/Kahwa is a traditional green tea consumed in Afghanistan,northern Pakistan and Kashmir Valley. Its rich in anti oxidants and is a popular breakfast tea along with breads. Its is made in big brass "Samovars" by boiling tea leaves along with spices and saffron and also roses and served with sugar/honey and crushed/chopped walnuts/almonds. 


Water: 3 cups

Cardamoms: 3
Cloves: 2-3
Cinnamon: 1 inch piece

Sugar: 3 tsp + as per taste

Green Tea Leaves: 2 tsp

Saffron: few strands
Almonds: 3-4 chopped/flaked 

Bring water to boil in a saucepan.

Add the spices and sugar. Reduce the heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Cover with a lid and let it simmer for few minutes. 

Add the tea leaves and take it off heat. Let the tea leaves steep in the water for a minute atleast or more if you prefer a stronger taste. 

In small serving cups, add safrron strands and chopped almonds. Strain the hot tea into these cup and serve the tea hot.

You can sea the tea turning into a fresh yellow as the saffron flavours it. You can also add saffron strands while boiling tea along with dried rose petals.

Its perfect to beat the winter chills as well. Make sure you serve it warm. More more details you can check out the original source here. I had simply loved the detailed post and have followed the recipe verbatim.I had used Chinese gunpowder/ green tea. It will be more authentic if you could get the Kashmiri green tea. 

Meanwhile sip on...

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Black Pepper Breadsticks | Peppery Winter Charm

I love breadsticks. My family too. But for past one year or so we buy our breadsticks. This happened after I tried one particular recipe and it came out nought. Ofcourse I can go for tried and tasted Grissini but somehow I keep on trying new recipes and once they flop then I become disheartened and give up completely. This was until I came across this peppery breadsticks and now yeah, I wont be buying these again but baking them.

Warm Water: 1 cup
Yeast: 1 tbsp
Bread Flour 3 cup + 2 tbsp 

Solid shortening / Vanaspati : 3/4 cup or 12tbsp
Salt:  4 tsp 

Fresh ground Pepper: 2-2.5 tsp 

Preheat the oven to 350F/175C. 
Combine water, yeast and 2 tbsp of flour and let it stand till foamy. If you do not have breadflour you can go for all purpose itself or make your own bread flour by adding 1 tsp of vital wheat gluten to 1 cup of flour to get 1 cup of bread flour.

Add the remaining flour mixed with salt and pepper along with shortening, and knead at medium speed till we get a smooth elastic dough. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and let it sit for 15 mnts. You can reduce the salt a bit if you like. 3.75 tsp works well 

Turn the dough onto an unfloured counter and divide into quarters or 4. Cut each portion into 8 pieces. Roll each into a 9 inch  x 1/2 inch rope. 

Arrange on a bakingsheets and adjust the length of each portion to 8". This is to keep all the sticks at the same length.Bake for 45 minutes in a preheated oven at 350F/175 until golden and firm shifting the pans halfway through baking. You can bake one tray at a time and turn/spin the tray so that the breadsticks are equally brown.

Transfer the breadsticks to racks and cool completely before serving. You can serve these as snack with/without dip and/or along with soup.

Crunchy breadsticks full of pepper. You can play around with different spices and create your own snack stick.You can also check a wheat version of thin grissini as well.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Coconut Mocha Cupcakes | Coffee+ Chocolate+ Coconut

The chocolate coffee combination is very good. But I never thought that coconut when tried with this combo taskes the taste a bit higher. I have tried coconut in several bakes - but as an addition to the dry mix in cookies or rolling in coconut in the end like that. But never before I have used coconut milk while making a cupcake dough. Since I wanted to see the changes it brings I tried the tasty recipe from How Sweet Eats for mocha coconut frappuchino cupcakes. There was a triple dose of coconut - in the batter, frosting and drizzle. If you feel this as an overdose, then please do test it, -its irresistible. 

Egg: 1 OR Ener G Egg: 1.5 tsp pd + 4 tbsp of water
Sugar: 12 tbsp

Coconut milk: 12 tbsp
Butter: 8 tbsp melted
Vanilla: 2tsp

All Purpose Flour: 18 tbsp (16+2 tbsp)
Cocoa: 4tbsp
Coffee Powder: 2-3 tbsp
Baking Soda: 1 1/4 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp

Sour cream/ Yogurt: 2 tbsp

Choco chips/Chopped Nuts /Combo: 8 tbsp

Coconut Frosting: 
(You can check the detailed coconut buttercream in the original source. My version is given below.)
Butter: 1 cup
Powdered Sugar: 3 2/3 cups 
Vanilla : 1 tbsp
Coconut Milk (thin/lite) : 1 -2 tbsp 

Coffee Coconut Syrup/Drizzle:
Powdered Sugar: 2/3 cup
Coffee Powder: 1 tsp
Cocoa Powder: 2 tsp
Coconut Milk: 1-2 tsp


Whisk egg and sugar until smooth and no lumps remain. Add coconut milk, butter and vanilla and mix well.

Sift the dry ingredients together in another bowl and add to the wet mix. Mix until the batter is smooth and then stir in sour cream /yogurt. 

Fold in the chocochips/nuts and mix.

Line the muffin pan with liners and scoop almost 1/4 cup of batter in each cup. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes in a preheated oven at 350F/175C. reversing the tray after 7-8 minutes. Bake until a tester in the middle comes clean.

Frost with coconut mocha frosting and drizzle the coconut-coffee syrup. You can also garnish with toasted coconut flakes. 

The cupcakes turned out a tad softer than I would have preferred. But tastewise they were perfect. They are perfect even without the frsting or drizzle but more enhanced with these . Loved the combination of coconut milk , coffee and chocolate. 

The coconut flavour is subtle but there.  The coffee hits you when you bite into it, followed y chocolate and then finally coconut. Chocolate is the dominant flavour and its definitely hard to believe the batter has coconut milk. Garnish of toasted coconut is needed as it would add a crunch and enhance the coconut flavour.

The cupcake can be veganised easily by substituting butter with earth blance or choice of vegan butter and sour cream with cashew yogurt or similar vegan versions.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Bread | Fall Special

I was not familiar with fall or autumn.It was not considered as a season here. Atleast not where I grew up in South India. We were taught there are 4 seasons -Summer, Monsoon, Spring and winter. Actually even when I read books that mentioned autumn I confused it with winter. For me the trees shedding leaves meant onset of winter. When I understood and experienced fall it also showed that my other favourite tuber  "Sweet Potato" was in abundance .

Sweet potatoes for me were something that were easily available. I didn't know they were seasonal. Even now here I see that they are available all the year round, but in abundance from October onwards. Now I calculate fall on the basis of their arrival in the grocery store. I have already tried differenct things with sweet potatoes, but what really puts me in a good mood is a slice of sweet potato bread. Make it a whole wheat bread and you can chomp on it guiltlessly . I have adapted a recipe from Breadworld to make fall special bread given below.

Whole Wheat Flour: 1 and 3/4 cup
Bread Flour: 1 1/4 to 1.3/4 cup  (All Purpose Flour + Vital Wheat Gluten)

Salt: 3/4 tsp
Nutmeg: 1/4 tsp
Yeast: 1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp)

Sweet potatoes: mashed 1 cup
Water: 2/3 cup
Honey: 4 tbsp
Soft Butter: 2 tbsp

Egg: 1 or EnerG Egg: 1.5 pkd tsp with 3 tbsp of water


Combine flours, salt, nutmeg and yeast in a mixer bowl. Mix together .

Combine mashed potatoes, water, honey and soft butter. Heat to warm and make sure they mix well together.

Add to the flour mix and beat . Add egg. Beat two minutes more.

Add enough remaining flour to get a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes till smooth and elastic. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Shape it into a loaf and place in a greased loaf pan. Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm area for 30-45 minutes until double. Bake in a preheated oven at 350F/180C for 30-45 minutes. 

Cover with foil after 25 minutes to prevent over browning.

Remove from the pan and brush with melted butter if desired.


Filling and comforting bread. The whole wheat and sweet potato ensures that you are you feel full after eating one slice. I sliced it before it cooled  completely as I couldn't wait to see how it tasted.

Serve it warm with butter or any gravy. The bread is perfect with anything.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sheermal- Persian Saffron Flatbread | We Knead to Bake #22

I had heard the word sheermal but was under the impression that it was something that existed only in Kashmir. Aunty Google helped me know that it exists even now as a street food in India especially in Muslim neighbourhoods and is an integral though rare  part of Lucknowi especially Awadhi,Kashmiri or Hyderabadi cuisines. Its origins can be traced to the Mughals or Persia as the name is based on the Persian word for milk 'Sheer'. 
Shirmal/Sheermal is a naanlike milk bread made with refined flour, clarified butter/ghee , along with saffron and milk. Slightly sweet in taste, it can be served with spicy kormas/gravies or even sweeter spreads.This month for We Knead to Bake Aparna gave us Sheermal and it was a joy to bake it.

Instant Yeast: 1 tsp
Sugar: 2 tsp
Luke Warm Water: 4 tbsp

All Purpose Flur: 2.25 cups
Salt :3/4 tsp

Egg: 1 lightly beaten OR Ener G Egg: 1.5 tsp packed powder whipped/mixed with 4 tbsp of water 
Ghee/ Clarified Butter: 4 tbsp

Milk 4-8 tbsp (I needed only 2-3 tbsp)

Kewra Essence /Rose essence: 1 tsp

Few Saffron Strands soaked in 2 tbsp warm milk
Ghee/ Melted Butter : for brushing


Mix yeast & sugar with warm water and keep aside for few minutes until frothy.

In a big bowl or processor, mix together flour & salt. Add in the yeast mixture and egg and whisk/beat well. Add in the ghee in two additions and continue  whisking/beating until it resembles finee crumbs.

Add in milk tablespoons at time -it took just 2 tablespoons for me- and continue kneading until you start getting a dough. Add in the kewra/rose essence -I added rose- and more milk if needed and knead until you a soft and very lightly sticky dough.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, turning once to coat, covering loosely with a plastic wrap and let it sit until doubled for an hour or two.
Meanwhile soak the saffron strands in little warm milk and keep aside. You can see it turning a happy yellow.

Once doubled, take the dough and knead again applying ghee all over. Let it rest again for another 15-20 minutes. 

Dived the dough into 4 equal pieces. Take a piece, roll it out to a circle of 4" diameter or 1/8" thickness. Transfer it to a lined/greased baking sheet. Using a fork, prick holes all over the surface of the bread. Repeat the process with the other three pieces. 

Brush the saffron milk all over the rounds so that it absorbs as much flavour as possible. 

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C/350F for about 10-15 minutes till they turn a lovely golden brown. Take out and lightly brush them with melted ghee/butter. Serve warm. If serving after sometime transfer to a wirerack.

These are perfect when they are warm. They can be enjoyed as such or with any korma/choice of sides.They are only slightly sweet and a yellowish in colour thanks to the saffron. These are usually served in Muslim households with nihari or a slow cooked beef or lamb stew.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Low Fat Banana Bread | Healthy and Tasty

While posting the Banana Bundt cake, I was wistfully wondering whether I can make it again and that too quickly. But ofcourse patience which is never my virtue, wanted something quick. Something that we can easily put together and pop off in the oven to finish the work to perfection. And lo, out came another bookmark -Low Fat Banana bread from Joy of Baking. This was lower in fat as it contained no butter but oil, and a part of refined flour was replaced by healthier whole wheat flour. 

So those who are still salivating on the banana bundt cake can try this low fat banana bread which is healthier and as tasty. I had only half cup of banana with me and hence I halved the recipe as given below.

Banana: 1/2 cup mashed ripe
Baking Soda: 1/2 tsp
Low fat Plain yogurt : 4 tbsp 

Veg Oil: 2 tbsp
Demerara Sugar: 6 tbsp
Egg: 1/2 = 3/4 tsp pkf EnerG + 2 tbsp water
Vanilla Extract: 1/2 tsp

All Purpose Flour: 1/2 cup ~ 8 tbsp
Whole Wheat Four: 4 tbsp
Cinnamon Powdered: 1/4 tsp
Baking Powder: 1/2 tsp
salt: 1/8 tsp
Nuts/Chocochips/Combo: 1/4 cup (optional)


Mix together bananas,soda and yogurt. Let it sit till other ingredients are ready.

In another bowl, whisk together oil,sugar, egg and vanilla.

In a large bowl, mix together the flours, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.Optionally add in 4 tbsp of chopped nuts, choco chips

Add the banana mix to oil mix and add this to the flour mix. Stir until all ingredients are moistened. Now if you have forgotten to add the nuts with the flour mix earlier, then now is the time to add them. You can fold them gently into the batter.

Pour into a greased or lined loaf pan, smooth the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes in a preheated oven at 350F until the centre of the loaf comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let the bread cool for about 10 minutes in the loaf pan. After which transfer it to a wirerack to cool  completely 

Serve the bread for breakfast or as an anytime snack. A hot cuppa and a slice are heavenly in the morning with hot news.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chocolate Whoopie Pies | Baking Partners November Challenge

Winter has started and countdown to Christmas and New Year has already started. Nights are getting longer and we can feel the chill at 6.30 itself. In such depressing weather a mood enhancer or a pick-me -up is a perfect solution. What better than chocolate or rather fudgy chocolate cookies sandwiched with butter cream.!

Chocolate Whoopie pies was one of the recipes we were given for this months Baking Partners challenge by Swathi suggested by Anitha of KitchenDiary. The recipe from JoyofBaking is easy to bake as well.Whoopie pies are fudgy ...or soft. They can be called cookies but they are neither cookie nor cupcake. They are somewhere in between... As per wiki they can be called a cookie,pie or cake.. So pick your option and make your own as given below.

All Purpose Flour :1 and 3/4 cup
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder : 3/4 cup 
Baking Powder: 1 tsp
Baking Soda: 1/4 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp

Soft Unsalted Butter: 3/4 cup or 12 tbsp
Granulated white sugar: 3/4 cup 

Egg: 1 OR Ener G Egg (1.5 packed tsp of ener G + 4 tbsp of water)
Vanilla : 1 tsp

Buttermilk: 4 tbsp or 1/4 cup
Luke warm Water/coffee: 8 tbsp or 1/2 cup

Vanilla Filling:
Soft Unsalted Butter: 4 tbsp
Shortening (Vanaspati): 4 tbsp

Powdered Sugar: 1 cup

Vanilla Extract: 1.5 tsp
CornSyrup: 1/3 cup or 16 tsp

In a bowl, mix together flour,cocoa, baking powder,soda and salt.

In another deep bowl, beat butter until creamy.Add in sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in egg followed by vanilla.

Mix together buttermilk and coffee/water. Beat in dry mix and wet mix alernately in three additions starting and ending with flour.You will get a messy chocolatey batter.

Drop tablespoonful or scoopful of batter onto a lined/greased baking sheet. 

Bake in a preheated oven at 375F/190C for about 8-10 minutes until the cookies are still springy on touch.

Take out and let them cool on the sheet for a while. Remove and cool them completely on the wirerack till they are ready to be sandwiched.

Beat together shortening and butter in a bowl until soft and creamy. Add in the powdered sugar and continue beating until fluffy. Beat in vanilla extracct and also cornsyrup at low speed until soft and fluffy.

Scoop in tablespoonful of filling on the the flat side of one cookie and then top with another one.

Sooo YUM...Instant pick me up especially if you have added coffee. Ahh...
Hop onto Swathi's to find out what others baked ..

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Studded Banana Bundt Cake | Perfect Indulgence

Last post was delayed post. Talking of delayed posts this one takes the cake .. literally. This studded banana bundt cake was something I made almost 4 months ago and was sitting in the drafts.

What to do with a blackended banana?. Every time I see such a thing siiting on the counter,I make a face and move away. I prefer not to bake with banana.  I feel it makes the cake or cupcake or muffin or whatever you are baking heavier.This actually puts me off. I have defintiely tried overcoming this and had successfully baked the banana into things.But  the first sight of over ripe black banana... 

Still when I saw the bundt cake in this post I just couldn't resist. 

As usual I added my own twists by replacing the eggs and adding colourful tutti fruti bits as well. The recipe was easy to make and I got a thumbs up from my family and friends as well. I am sure if you try this one then surely you will not be put off by the sight of a blackened banana as well.


Unsalted Butter Soft: 6 tbsp
Brown Sugar : 1/2 cup (I used demerara sugar)
Granulated white sugar: 1/4 cup

Eggs: 2 OR EnerG Replacer packed 1 tbsp + 4-6 tbsp of water
Vanilla Extract: 1 tsp

Ripe Banana: 3/4 cup mashed

Salt: 1/4 tsp
Baking Soda: 1/4 tsp
Baking Powder: 3/4 tsp
All Purpose Flour : 2cups

Chocochips / Tutti fruti bits / Combo: 3/4 cup

Mix together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder and keep aside. 

In another bowl cream together butter and sugars for two minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla next. Add in banana and blend until it is dispersed throughout. Add in the dry items mixing until smooth.  Finally stir in the chocochips or tutti frutti bits. 

Transfer the batter to a greased and floured bundt pan making sure the batter is spread evenly.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350F/175C for 40-45 minutes until the tester comes out clean and the cake looks firm and golden.  

You can let the cake cool for an hour or two in the bundt pan itself and then remove it. Else place the bundt pan on a wet towel -soaked in steaming hot water for 2-3 minutes. Check with a spatula around the edges if the cake is stuck to the pan - this can happen if not greased properly. Then place a cooling rack on top of the pan and invert it carefully. Allow the cake to cool completely before slicing and serving.

Never before I have fell in love with a black overripe banana.. Itwas Perfect. Whatever complaints I had against the overripe fruit were simply forgotten. Soo YUM..

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dry Fruit Laddoos | Quick Fix Sweet

Diwali is long gone. Normally Diwali posts are before the festival. But for me I am busy that time. Sometimes cleaning, sometimes real work other times laziness. Something or other to keep myself busy. Usually I make the traditional poha for Diwali. This time I tried a quick fix laddoos as well. The no sugar, no bake nutty laddoos are courtesy Chef Ajay Chopra, who was demoing this recipe while I was surfing channels. 

The recipe is pretty simple, and it takes barely 10 minutes to bring everything together. It can be made vegan and is lowfat and sugar free. The original video can found here.

Almonds: 1/3 cup chopped

Flax Seeds & pumpkin seeds: 1/3 cup each

Dates: 1 cup deseeded and chopped
Figs: 1/2 cup chopped



Poppy Seeds: 2  tbsp
Dessicated coconut : 1/2 cup 

Roast almonds and flax & pumpkin seeds till aromatic. Keep aside to cool a bit.

Add the chopped figs and dates and the toasted mix to the processor bowl and blend to a fine paste. You can actually powder the toasted nuts and seeds a bit before adding the chopped dry fruits. 

I had previously soaked the dates and figs before chopping them as this makes the blending easier. Add the dark brown paste mix to a bowl.

Toast the dessicated coconut and poppy seeds till aromatic and transfer it a wide plate. If using dried coconut flakes then toast the poppy seeds alone and mix with it. If not a fan of poppy seeds, then feel free to leave it out as well. 

Apply ghee/oil to hands for the ease of rolling. Pull out palmful portions from the mix , roll into a ball within greased hands, roll in the coconut- poppy seed mix. Arrange in a serving dish.

These can be stored in an airtight dish. I store in the fridge as I don't want to take chances. A simple quick fix which is sugar free and filling. A wonderful way as well to use up the dry fruits and nuts that you have received as Diwali gifts as well.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cupcakes with a Desi Twist | Festive season goes on..

Come festive season people go for traditional sweets. Laddoos, halwa, kheer, et all appear in various avatars. Rich sweets that wow the taste buds and make the festive season more festive. Diwali especially is the time or festival where sweets lay a prominent role. We make sweets and share it with friends and family. 

But why make the same sweets again and again when we can go for something different and unique? 

Like a Kesar Khoya cream cupcake!

All this I got to know when I attended the cupcake workshop at Paparazzi restaurant, Royal Orchid Central, Bangalore.

The wonderful executive chef Hafizulla Baig explained he basic cupcake recipe(given below) and how we can add the different twist to it. He baked the cupcakes from scratch beating butter and sugar, adding eggs and finally the dry flour mix.

He divided this basic batter into three parts adding different flavours making three different types of cupcakes.

From this ...
to this..
the journey took around 20 minutes.

While we were waiting for the cupcakes to bake he also gave tips on improving the texture of cakes , the uses of different flours and art of perfecting breads.

At home we usually go for smaller measurements but here I saw cupcakes being made in bulk. This was also the first time I saw desi twists being done on cupcakes. Cupcakes are yummy but we could definitely make them yummier by adding a twist especially the desi twists.

So we can have a red raspberry cupcake with a Gulkand frosting, a vanilla cupcake with masala chai frosting. Whats more you can have jamoon frosting on cupcake as well.

I was sceptical at first when I heard of the gulkand in a frosting and that too when the chef tried it on red raspberry cupcake. But one bite and I was converted. I definitely would be trying the gulkand frosting on red raspberry one, while you can have your pick.

There were peanut butter cream, kahlua oreo frosting, jamoon and pistachio and the crowd blogger favourite ' masala chai'. Not to forget the second popular kesar khoya cream and the chili ganache frostings.

I am leaving you with the basic cupcake recipe (along with few pics),  which you can try out and enjoy with your own desi twists.Diwali will definitely go on and on with wonderful cupcakes.

Butter -500gm
Castor sugar -500gm
Eggs -9nos
Flour -450gm
Baking powder -10gm
Milk        -250ml
Vanilla essence -2ml

Preheat the oven to 180c 
Put the Butter and sugar in bowl and beat until pale and fluffy
Sift the flour and baking powder into the Bowl
Beat the eggs and vanilla and add to the bowl. Beat until just combined
Spoon the mixture into paper cases
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until risen, golden and firm to the touch
Cool down to room temperature at least for 10minutes.
Pipe Desire Frosting and garnish it.

Next time instead of traditional mithais bake the unique desi cupcakes.They are perfect anytime and make any occasion special.

Drop in with friends and family at the Paparazzi restaurant,

Royal Orchid Central,
No. 47/1, Manipal Centre,
Dickenson Road,
Bangalore 560042

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Britannia Nut & Raisin Cake | Everyday Delight

For all those on the lookout of something special for everyday, Britannia has launched its Nuts & Raisin Romance Cake. The product which comes in slab form is an exquisite combination of nuts & raisins and soft crumbly cake. 

No words are needed to talk about Britannia or its products. One of India's leading food brands and leader in Bakery and Dairy segments has popular biscuits/cookies like GoodDay, Tiger, Nutrichoice Marie gold etc in its portfolio. Most of the products are priced very low from Rs.2/- onwards with the intention of making it accessible for the people across all demographics. Fortified with essential nutrients the products are designed to meet the daily nutrition needs. With the latest offering of Nut & Raisin Romance cake, its takes indulgence and delight several notches high.

 The product is meant as an any time or all time snack and is perfect as an on-the-go snack. Conveniently priced at Rs.50/- for 160gm of cake in slab format, its premium packaging makes it impossible to miss at the shop counters. The delightful packaging and exquisiteness make it a perfect addition to your Diwali gift/mithai hamper as well. 

I am actually leaving you several pics of the cake which I took before devouring it. Actions definitely speak louder than words. But still in my words, when you crave brownies, warm the cake few seconds in the microwave, add a scoop of vanilla icecream and drizzle chocolate sauce and indulge. Satisfaction guaranteed ..

 Unfortunately no picture of that. As of now just read on & salivate.This idea of treating oneself was given by my friend who claims its fail proof. And surely I know that before long you will get your own pack,try it  and find your own way of indulging in the the delightful nuts & raisin romance.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sweet Potato Chaat | Festive, Filling & Healthy

Among my favourite veggies, sweet potato has a memorable place. I loved the sweet potato chips my mum used to make. This was one of my favourite childhood snacks. To be honest I never tried sweetpotato except as chips. It was later after marriage, I got to know this potato relative and started enjoying it steamed and seasoned and in chillies and breads etc.Slowly I got to know about the vegetable and different ways of preparations. I remember my friend who is from Bhopal telling how they do tadka to it and prepare as an evening snack. But the easiest was the best for me. Microwave it and turn it into a chaat. This is something I tried out from Nupur and it has given me the easy way out. 

Recently I tried another chaat version from here though you can find several such versions on googling. The vegetable is accepted while observing Navratri fast and is filling and healthy. Use of the Himalayan Pink Salt / Rock Salt/ Sendha namak makes the chaat perfect for festive fasting. Though ofcourse you can use common salt if you are not fasting. It can easily be put together and can be enhanced with additions like cucumber and apples.

Sweet Potato: 1 cup atleast, steamed/microwaved ,peeled and cubed
Green Chillies : chopped: 1 small

Lemon Juice: as per taste
Chilli Powder, Chaat masala Cumin Powder, Salt/Rock Salt: as per taste

Cilantro/Coriander Leaves: chopped for garnish

Mix all the ingredients together adjusting the spices and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve in bowls as a teatime or anytime snack. 

You can add cucumber or apples to this as well. The recipe is too short but the dish is definitely tasty. Its been long since I posted a vrat/fasting recipe or rather any recipe. So I thought of starting with the easy one.Do enjoy the chaat .

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mast Kalandar Vrat & Utsav Maha Thali | Make Navratri Special & Authentic

Dussehra,Dasara, Navratri, or Durga Puja -call it whatever name the nine days of celebrating the Goddess in different  forms are here again. In 2014 they start from today-25th September and continue till Vijayadashmi or the tenth day on October 4,2014. The festival celebrating victory of Good over Evil is observed almost all over India and is a time for fun and food.

A fast or abstinence especially from certain food and vegetables is observed by most people across India especially Northern India during the festival. The fast which starts from the first day and ends on the ninth comes with several rules. Scientifically we can think of it as a cleansing of the body of impurities and increasing immunity/ resistance to diseases especially when the nights grow long and cold. 

A 'no-salt more fruit' based diet might leave some confusion as to what to cook and how to make it tasty. Though age old fasting recipes are available sometimes it becomes tedious and you are in a dilemma. Also after elaborate cooking  you find your appetite gone in most cases. 

Its here that Mast Kalandar - North Indian quick service chain of  restaurants enters your life with its special Fasting  & Feasting Maha Thalis.

A 65 store strong retain chain in F&B sector, Mast Kalandar believes in food being a symbol of hospitality, togetherness, joy and traditions. This Navratri, the authentic Vegetarian North Indian restaurant, tries to revive the memory, taste, and smell of delicious fasting food. 

By doing so it tries to spread the awareness and pass on the age old recipes to the modern/ future generations. "We will not let the recipes and traditions fade into oblivion" were the words by Head Chef Samta Gupta and upheld by Pallavi Gupta, co-founder Mast Kalandar. I had the opprtunity to talk to these wonderful ladies and taste the Fasting Thali over a live cooking demo  last week.

The traditional vrat ki thali is created with the general rules of most of the Northern Indian communities and is semi organic.It has the key ingredients Kuttu ka aatta (Buckwheat flour), Makhana seeds (lotus seeds) and Sendha namak (Himalayan Pink salt). The thali comprises of dishes like aloo subzi , paneer subzi , nariyal laddoo , Kuttu ki puris, makhane ki kheer and sabudana pappad along with raita, salad and chutney/ relish.

Fact 1: The Himalayan salt is said to be purest ingredient and is 'fasting specific'. I have heard that if just leave it out in open it absorbs impurities and cleanses the atmosphere. MK fetches it from a reliable central source.

Fact 2: Kuttu ka atta has no gluten and while making puris kneading into a dough is tougher. Rolling out is another pain. It takes an accomplished chef to get it correct..

Psst..Thumbs Up Head Chef Samta (a.k.a Chef Cheeku) & Chef Aniruddh.

For those who are not fasting, there is an 'Utsav Maha Thali' comprising of 12 distinct dishes from UP and Central India like Pindi Chhole, Jodhpuri Kofta curry, with Pulav ,Ras malai and other desserts.

I loved the fasting thali especially the kuttu ki puris that go very well with the aloo ki subzi as recommended by chef Samta.The makhana kheer was to die for and so was the Jodhpuri Kofta curry which I  tasted from the feasting thali.

What are you waiting for? The festivity is in the air and enjoy it hassle free with

Mast Kalandar Vrat ki Thali & Utsav Thali
Available at all outlets of Mast Kalandar 
Over Lunch & Dinner
From 25th September till October 4th 2014

For Rs.229/- Only 
and also Mini Takeaway for Rs.149/- only

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Simit with Cheese & Olives | Baking Partners September '14

When it comes to bread baking I am definitely in. I love experimenting with the recipes adding a twist here and there, replacing this and that, etc. This also gives rise to confusion sometimes. The several options running inside my head might lead to nowhere. This time also for Baking Partners Challenge when simit was the given bread (adapted from here), I found myself imagining several options as I had already baked, loved and posted simit before. Aunty google threw open a wide window and I found adapted simit with cheese and olives  from here and went for it. I was sceptical about sesame topping about how it will taste as I was using pizza seasoning and toppings in my simit. But I am happy that I went for it as simit turned out the best. It was an enhanced and perfect simit.


All Purpose Flour : 1 and 3/4 cup
Sugar: pinch
Instant yeast: 1 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp

Water: 9 tbsp

Black Olives: 1/2 cup pitted stoned and chopped
Mozarella: 1/4 cup
Pizza/Italian seasoning/ choice of herbs: 1 tsp + as per taste

Molasses: 1 tbsp
Water: 4 tbsp
White sesame seeds: 1/2-1cup

In a bowl mix well together flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Gradually add in water to form a smooth non sticky dough kneading well for atleast 10 minutes.Cover and place it in a warm place and let it rise until double or 1.5 hrs.

Turn out the dough into a floured surface and punch down. 

Knead into the dough olives, cheese and herbs.Knead for another two minutes and then let it rest for around 15 minutes.

Divide into equal sized small-medium pieces and shape each  into long rolls.

Take two rolls, place near each other and twist them together into a rope pinching together the edges.We have to make sure that the edges are pinched together.

Dip each ring into molasses diluted with little water/ then place it on the sesame seeds.

Set aside for another 20 minutes until it becomes puffy. 

Bake in a preheated oven at 450F /220C for about 20 -25 minutes or until brown.

Serve it at teatime or anytime. The texture of  simit varies from crisp to soft. Mine was the same texture as sandwich bread -a tad soft at the crumb due to the additions with a chewy crispy crust. 

An exciting and spicy simit perfect for tea. You can add your own variation and enhance it. Add a twist to your teatime or anytime snack so that you are not bored anytime. Lets hop over to Swathi's for a perfect simit party taking an olivy bite.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Broken Wheat Kheer | Wishing All A Prosperous & Healthy Onam

Today all Keralites across the world celebrate Onam, the ancient yet modern harvest festival. The festival brings to mind the colourful flowers, clothes and the prosperous or rich lunch or OnaSadya along with the myths associated with the festival. Not to mention the pookkalam or flower carpets.More details you can find with Google Guru.

My first memories of Onam starts with the lights decoration in Thriuvanathapuram. The four days of Onam were (still are) state holidays and my parents used to take me for long walks to see the light decorations near Rajbhavan or is it secretariat. We would start from home in a taxi or auto, go some distance and then walk. It was like a procession or peaceful march where people would walk or strut along watching the decorations. Then after the seventh day of Onam would come the float procession. Each and every district (and sometimes government agencies) in Kerala would make a presentation called float to show what they stand for or what is their USP. There was fierce competition here also and each would try to outdo the others and better themselves. This I used to watch on tv and for me it marks the end of the Onam celebrations of that year and back to the reality of routine school and life.

It was only later that Onam became associated with exam days or the First term exam or 'Ona pareeksha'. Nail biting days usually when I used to go to school in taxi and looking outside the streets dotted with pookkalams or flower carpets.These were done to invite the old just King Mahabali who will visit his people on Onam days.

While I never used to enjoy a sadya /traditional lunch at that time, these days I have started enjoying it. This happens when you are living with a person who loves and demands Kerala dishes for lunch and dinner if possible.Jokes apart, I tried a simple payasam or kheer and thought I would post it here today. Its simple and easy and cooks with 30-40 minutes. So if you can multitask you can get it done and ready along with your other dishes. The quantity is guestimates and feel free to change it as per your taste.


Broken wheat / dalia/ Sooji gothumbu : 1.5 cup
Water: 1 -2 cups needed to cook the broken wheat.

Jaggery syrup:1 -1.5 cup +/-

Medium thick Coconut milk  : 1-2 cups
Thick Coconut milk : 1 cup

Ghee: 1 tbsp
Cashewnuts & Raisins: handful each

Cardamom Powder: 1/4-1/2 tsp as per taste.

Cook the broken wheat in enough water and keep it aside. The water should be completely absorbed and if added more drain it away.

In a deep pan, add the jaggery syrup and bring it boil. add in the cooked broken wheat and stir it and let it cook in the jaggery for few minutes till it starts thickening absorbing the jaggery. Make sure you stir it periodically to prevent it sticking from the bottom of the pan. You can also add table spoon of ghee at this stage.

Add in the medium thick coconut milk or second extract of coconut milk and continue cooking on low heat. When this also starts thickening add in the thick or first extract of coconut milk and heat through but donot boil. Remove from heat and add it cashewnuts and raisins sauteed in ghee and cardamom powder.

Serve in bowls as a wonderful healthy dessert. Normally the colour of the payasam or kheer should be dark brown thanks to the jaggery available in Kerala. Mine is light in colour as I used different jaggery.

You can actually enhance the recipe by adding ingredients like nendrapazham or kerala banana sauteed in ghee and jaggery or whatever fruits u like and feel will enhance this. This can be made completely vegan by avoiding the ghee or using vegan substitutes for sauteeing the nuts and raisins. Otherwise also this is a healthy and perfect payasam in itself and hope you enjoy this payasam for Onam.

Thanks for visiting my Blog

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