Sunday, January 30, 2011

Please Vote For Me

Hello Friends,
I'm very happy to let you all know that my Eggless Pineapple Cake has made it in the TOP 5 of the January 2011 Contest on Manjulas Kitchen.
If you think my entry deserves to win the first place, please cast your precious vote and spread the word around to make this possible.

Please follow this link, to vote for me -

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tortilla Samosas

On a wintery or a gloomy rainy day, deep fried Indian snacks are my go to comfort foods. Though onion/ chilli pakodas (fritters) top the list, the second thing that comes to mind is Samosas, which has undoubtedly gained a lot of popularity in the world. While making samosas from scratch at home is quite a lengthy and tedious process, making these from flour tortillas is pretty easy and can be made relatively quickly. Moreover, if you have any leftover dry curry, you can easily transform it into delicious samosas in a jiffy. In this recipe, I have used leftover potato masala that I made for masala dosas, but you can use any curry of your choice  -  from mutter paneer to chicken tikka masala, anything will work great. Just make sure you heat the curry to allow it to thicken a little or maybe add some boiled mashed potato to it so it becomes little dry and the samosas don't break open while deep frying. These samosas came out pretty good  and it was very comforting to have them on a snowy wintery Saturday afternoon.

Ingredients -
Potato Masala
All purpose flour
oil for deep frying

Method -
1. Cut the tortilla through the center to create two semi circular halves as shown in the picture. Take some all purpose flour in a small bowl and add some water to it form a thick paste. This will act as glue to seal the edges of the samosas.

2. Take each half of the tortilla and form a cone. Seal the edge with all purpose flour paste.

3. Stuff the cone with some potato masala or curry of your choice. Seal the edges with the paste and set them aside.

4. Heat oil in a pan and deep fry the samosas on both sides till they turn golden brown.
5. Serve hot with condiment of your choice.

I'm sending this to Tamanna's Comfort Food Event and Radhika's Deep Fried Snacks event.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

School Bus Cake, Cupcakes and Cookies

I'm really surprised how quickly time has passed by. It seems like only yesterday we got our little bundle of joy home from the hospital. My little angel turned two a couple of months back. We threw a small birthday party for her at home. Since she loves the song "The Wheels On The Bus Go Round and Round", I made a bus cake for her. They also celebrated her birthday at her Daycare. Keeping the same theme in mind, I made some bus themed cupcakes and little bus cookies for her friends at the Daycare. I think the cake turned out pretty good though I missed out on a few details :(.
The inspiration for the cake, cupcakes and the cookies comes from different places on the web. I have included some of the links below.  I had lot of fun making these and I am very happy to share this with all of you.

I used 1 Betty Crocker yellow cake mix to bake two 9x5 cakes in the loaf pan. I used Wilton Butter cream frosting and icing colors to make the yellow, black and red frosting. The wheels on the bus were made from mini chocolate donuts and M&Ms were used for the headlights and other details. Mini Nilla wafers cookies were used for the faces of the bus driver and the kids while black licorice flavored Twizzlers were used to represent the front bumper of the bus. I forgot the stop sign but you could use a Mini Nilla wafer  topped with red and white icing for the stop sign.

These cute bus themed cupcakes were very easy to decorate. Once again I used a Betty Crocker yellow cake mix and baked 24 cupcakes. I frosted the lower half of the cupcake green for the grass and the upper half was frosted in blue butter cream to form the sky. Then, all you need is a vanilla wafer cookie to cut out the bus shape and a mini M&M to create the stop sign.

The bus themed no bake cookies were only a decorating project. I used plain graham crackers, yellow, black and white butter cream frosting and M&M candies to decorate these adorable cookies. I used one graham cracker square, with one rectangular (quarter of entire graham cracker) for the front and used royal icing to stick the 2 pieces together. Then I decorated the bus as shown in the pictures.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Kokum Kadhi/ Sol Kadhi

I believe I have mentioned in some of my earlier posts that though I grew up in Mumbai, India, our family is basically from Goa. So naturally the food that I grew up eating had a lot of Goan/ Konkani influence. As a kid, however, I didn't quite appreciate the rich coconut based gravies that my mom prepared. But now, sometimes I do miss the authentic Goan dishes from my mom's kitchen especially when I am feeling nostalgic and missing my mom and home.
However, one item that I have always loved even as a kid is the kokum kadhi which is made with coconut milk. I love this kadhi and truly believe any Goan meal is incomplete without a small serving of this kadhi-bhaat (kadhi-rice) at the end of the meal. It not only tastes delicious but also aids in digestion. The 2 key ingredients are fresh coconut and kokum also called as Aamsol in konkani and marathi. Basically, it is a sour fruit, the outer cover of which is dried in the sun to get this aamsol or kokum. My mom made this kadhi pretty much every day. However, these days we have all become very health conscious and have made a rule to make this only on special occasions or with some special dishes such as chicken curry, fried fish etc.

Ingredients -
1 cup fresh grated coconut
2 cloves garlic
1-2 green chillies
5-6 kokum pieces
2 cups water
salt to taste
1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Method -
1. Blend the fresh grated coconut, garlic, green chillies along with some water into the blender. Use about a cup of water by adding little at a time making sure the ingredients are blended well.
2. In a bowl, take some kokums and pour few tbsps of hot water over it. This helps the kokum to soften a little and release nice color and tangy flavor.
3. In the same bowl, strain the blended coconut mixture through a strainer.
4. Take the leftover coconut from the strainer and blend it again with another cup of water in the blender. This allows to extract all the flavor from the coconut.
5. Repeat step 3 by straining the mixture again through the strainer.
6. Add salt to the kadhi and garnish with some chopped cilantro.
7. Serve with hot plain rice.

I'm sending this to Denny's Flavors of Goa event.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Zucchini Bread

A very Happy New Year to all you wonderful people. I hope 2011 brings a lot of joy, peace and happiness in everyones's lives!!!
I have made a few resolutions this year and since this blog is an important part of my life I plan to be a more sincere blogger this year! Baking is one hobby that gives me immense pleasure and I'm very happy to share this beautiful loaf of Zucchini Bread as my first post of 2011.
Bread baking is a skill and each time I bake a yeast bread from scratch at home, I see myself getting better at this art. It is very satisfying to bake my own bread and I just love the aroma of fresh bread as it is baking in the oven.  I baked this Zucchini Bread last summer when I had bought some fresh zucchinis from a nearby Farmers market. I followed the recipe from my "The Cook's Encyclopedia of Baking" book.
This turned out to be more like an Italian bread - slightly hard on the outside and soft on the inside. We ate more than half of the loaf just by dipping it in some pesto and the remaining half was used to prepare roasted red pepper sandwiches. I smeared the bread with a generous coating of veggie cream cheese and piled some store bought roasted red peppers to make delicious sandwiches.
You can get innovative with the recipe by adding some minced garlic or red pepper flakes or even try adding any herbs of your choice. The bread was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend giving it a try!

Makes 1 Loaf
Ingredients -
1 pound zucchini, grated
1 tbsp minced garlic (optional)
2 tbsps salt
1 package active dry yeast
11/4 cups lukewarm water
31/2 cups flour
olive oil, for brushing

Method -
1. In a colander, alternate layers of grated zucchini and salt. Leave for 30 minutes, then squeeze out the moisture with your hands.
2. Combine the yeast with 1/4 cup of lukewarm water, stir and leave for 15 minutes to dissolve the yeast.
3. Place the zucchini, yeast and flour in a bowl. Stir together and add just enough of the remaining water to make a rough dough.
4. Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a plastic bag, and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 11/2 hours.
5. Grease a baking sheet. Punch down the risen dough with your fist and knead into a tapered cylinder. Place on the baking sheet, cover, and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 425F. Brush with olive oil and bake until golden, 40-45 minutes. Cool on a rack.

I'm sending this to Champa's Bake Off Event