Monday, March 11, 2013

Paneer Bhurji / Scrambled Indian cottage cheese

I made some paneer (Indian cottage cheese) at home from whole milk. After cutting out the cubes (with the intention to make matar paneer), I had some crumbled pieces left out from the edges. So I changed my plans, I froze the paneer cubes for later use and made Bhurji out of the crumbled paneer.

So here's the recipe. It's quick and easy to make and goes well with roti or you can use it to stuff parata or make sandwich out of it.

Here is what you would need:
1 1/2 cup - crumbled paneer
1 onion - finely chopped
2 green chillies- finely chopped (use according to your preference)
1 tomato - finely chopped
1 tspn- Ginger-garlic paste
1/4 cup green bell pepper- finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon - cumin seeds
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (use depending on the heat)
1/4 tspn  turmeric powder
1/4 tsp -  garam masala powder
4-5 tbsps  milk
salt to taste
1 tbspn -oil
fresh cilantro leaves to garnish

How I made the bhurji :
Heat oil in a vessel, add cumin seeds, when they splutter add chopped onions, saute till onions turn transparent.
Add green chillies, bell pepper, ginger-garlic paste and fry for few minutes.
Then add turmeric powder,  red chilli pwd, salt and mix. Add the chopped tomato and cook till all the ingredients are cooked well and the oil starts to separate.  Add crumbled paneer and stir well to combine and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add milk and gently mix the contents, make sure the paneer does not stick to the vessel. Once the milk evaporates, sprinkle garam masala powder and mix.
Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves ( I was out of cilantro so did not add) and serve hot with rotis.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Heart Cookies

"Mom, I need to paint a red heart and make some heart cookies", for whom I asked. "For My daddy for Balentime's day....",  and so we baked some cookies and it had to be black because daddy favourite color is Black.

Years just fly by, my little one is growing up so fast, she is so involved in baking and making neat little crafts.  She made a pretty card for dad and cookies and proclaimed, "I made this for you dad, with a little help from mom." This year valentines day is all about her. She wore a pretty pink outfit and admired herself in the mirror. 

We decided on simple chocolate cookies. These cookies are so easy to make and can be cut into any shape you like. 

Recipe : Martha Stewart

What you need:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut into pieces
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg

How I made:
In a bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
In a double boiler, place chocolate, butter, and brown sugar, stir frequently until all the ingredients melt. If the sugar doesn't dissolve completely don't worry about it. Remove from heat, and stir until it gets smooth and shiny,  let cool slightly.

Add egg to the cooled chocolate mixture (don't add when the chocolate is hot unless you plan on making scrambled chocolate egg ) and blend it well. Gradually stir in flour mixture. The dough will form a ball.

Divide dough in half and roll out each half by placing the dough in between two sheets of parchment paper to about 1/4-inch thickness. Transfer each half (still on the paper) to a baking sheet, freeze until firm. I left it overnight but you could get done in 20 minutes too.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take out one sheet of rolled out dough peel off th etop layer of parchment paper. Using a  heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out the cookies, place on baking sheet  1/2 inch apart. Follow the same with remaining sheet. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool. Enjoy

Other recipes for valentines day:
Chocolate dipped strawberry
Chocolate cups with berries

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sweet Pongal

 Wishing everyone a very happy Pongal/ Makarasankranthi /Lohri. 

I thought this would be a perfect time to pick up the thread from where I left last year. I have not  been having enough motivation to do any thing, let alone blogging. But I do confess that I checked my blog almost everyday to see the updates. The last one year I cooked some new dishes, clicked some random pictures to post but it never made it to my blog.
So here I am back with a recipe for sweet pongal for a new beginning and hope to keep up my enthusiasm to post regularly.

This year I made Venpongal, chutney and Sweet pongal. Since it was a working day, I made it in the evening and offered prayers. Though the traditional way of making pongal is to boil milk and let it spill over and than add rice to it, I opted the quicker way of using a pressure cooker.

What You need: (serves 4)
Raw Rice - 1 cup
Moong dal - 1/2 cup
Jaggery - 1 cup crushed
dry nuts( cashews, almonds)  and raisins - 1/4 cup
Ghee- 3 table spoon  ghee
Milk- 2 cups
Water- 2 cups + 1 cup

How I made :

In a pressure cooker, dry roast the moong dal till it changes color and gives out a nice aroma. Wash it along with rice and keep it aside.
In the same cooker heat 2 tablespoon ghee and fry the nuts and raisins. Once done remove and set it aside.
Into the remaining ghee in the cooker add the washed rice and dal, milk and 2 cups of water. Close and cook for 3 whistles. You can cook it over stove top the traditional way, Heat the milk and water once it starts to boil add rice and dal and cook until it gets mushy.
While the rice is cooking , in a seperate pan add jaggery and 1cup water and cook till it starts to boil. Lower the heat and the jaggery syrup cook till it thickens. To test for doneness, add a drop of the syrup into a bowl of cold water, if the jaggery syrup dissolves in water it needs to get thickened further if it stays intact than it is done. Let it cool a bit.
Once the rice and dal is cooked, add into the jaggery syrup and mix well. Cook it for few more minutes on low heat till the rice gets well blended with the syrup. Keep mixing frequently. Once cooked to desired consistency, add the nuts and raisins. Drizzle the remaining ghee on top and serve hot.

- Use sona masuri or ponni raw rice. Other rice varieties will change the flavor of the dish. 
- You can use brown sugar in place of jaggery.
- You can add cardamom for added flavor.
- You can reduce the amount of ghee if you need but remember, more ghee = better taste :).

Monday, January 16, 2012


Happy Pongal and Makara Sankranthi to everyone.
Image : source

This year we had a very simple celebration, made ven pongal and coconut chutney and offered payers.
We make pongal in two different style at home, venpongal, and the khara pongal. Ven pongal ( ven- means white in tamil), is served with sambar or chutney or both.
This year I am having major problems with my gadgets, first I lost my pics, now my SD card reader of my laptop broke, have to wait until I get a card reader. So can't upload any pictures. Just thought I would post the recipe so that I don't take any more long breaks......

What we need:
1 cup- Raw rice
1/4 cup moong dal
1 tspn black peppercorn
2 tspn cumin seeds
8-10 curry leaves
2 tablespoon ghee
salt to taste
6 cups of water

How I made it :
Heat a pressure cooker or a thick bottomed pan. Dry roast the moong dal. Wash the roasted moong dal along with the rice 3-4 times. In the same pan / pressure cooker, heat 1 tablespoon of ghee, when hot add peppercorns,cumin seeds, curry leaves and than add the washed rice and dal. Add water and salt to taste. Cook in pressure cooker for 2 whistles or in a open pan till the rice is well cooked. Rice should be mushy, it tastes better.

Once done add 1 tablespoon of ghee and mix well. Serve with chutney or sambar. It's ultimate comfort food.....

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cookies for Santa- a chewy chocolate chip cookie

These days my little one always asks me to bake. She will take a bowl and a spoon and say, "Mummy put some stuff into this, I will help you mix mix mix..... ", does it really help??
I normally give her flour and baking powder to be mixed, but the end result, flour all over the place and of course on herself, but surprisingly every time she helps me mix, whatever I bake turns out to be extremely good. Magic of little hands.Three days before christmas she went on nagging me that we need to bake cookies for Santa. I was really tired and was looking forward to my vacation, finally I gave up to her request and decided to bake some simple chocolate chip cookies, following the recipe on the shortening container :). Sometimes they have the best recipe out there.

So we made a batch of cookies and she kept on peeking into the oven to see if they were done and constantly telling me, "I need to be careful right mummy, remember the oven is hot". When the oven beeped, she stood there, with an oven mitt for me to pull out the baking sheets, of course giving me a piece of advice, that I need to be careful or else I will get booboo.

My little baking assistant

The cookies came out and guess what, I tried to taste them and she goes ,"They are for Santa mummy, he come our home tonight". I  stored the cookies in a container and left them on the table hoping that she would eat, but she would sincerely take a cookie out of it, put it in a bowl and give it to Santa to eat. Me and my hubby ate the cookie left for Santa in her absence and she assumed that Santa ate them all :). None of us were allowed to eat the cookie from the box in her presence. So we still have cookies left and everyday she has been giving Santa some cookies. Yesterday morning she found a small cookie box filled it up and left in front of Santa. Now Santa no more sits near the christmas tree, he is enjoying the comfort of our couch and the soft chewy chocolate cookies......

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies:
source- Crisco shortening container
Makes 36 cookies 

What you need:
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup shortening
2 Tbspn whole milk
1 Tbspn vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 3/4 All purpose flour
1 tspn salt
3/4 tspn baking soda
1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 

How I made it:
Preheat oven 375 F. Combine brown sugar, shortening, milk and vanilla in a large bowl and mix until well blended and creamy, add egg and beat it well into the mixture.
Combine flour, salt and baking soda and mix into the wet ingredients mixture until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Drop tablespoon full of cookie dough on an ungreased baking sheet about 3 inches apart.
Bake for 8 minutes to get nice soft chewy cookies. Cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet and than place cookies on cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Seven Layer Bars

Wish you all a very happy new year.
I have been not enough motivated these days to post anything in my blog and secondly lost all my pictures saved on my laptop with no backups, which was enough to demotivate me further. Finally I made up my mind and decided click some pics of the stuff I baked during my christmas vacation and post them. Better late than never. 
I hope every one and wonderful start this year and made some good resolutions that you will hopefully not break. I made a resolution to be active in blogging to keep my mind diverted for sometime from my daily routine and try out new things.......will I be able to keep up with it????, only time will tell.

Coming back to my recipe for today, I tasted seven layer bars for the first time almost 3 years back at a super bowl party hosted at my hubby boss's house. I enjoyed it and immediately came home and searched for recipes, but never made it. Than again when I started blogging, I decided I need to try this out, got ingredients and than used it for something else. Finally, I decided to bake these lovely bars for christmas.

Its so simple, I wonder why I didn't bake them till now...... I got the recipe from here but made changes in some ingredients and the method, to suit my taste. I tried to  keep it seven layers though and didn't add any extra layer.

What you need:

1.5 cups of graham crackers (tightly packed)
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch flavored chips
1 cup chopped Nuts ( I used cashews, almonds, raisins)
1.5 cup dry coconuts flakes
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk

How I made it:
Set oven temperature to 350 degree F, meanwhile in a 13 x 9 inch baking tray put butter and leave it the oven. In another tray leave the nuts to get slightly roasted (may be 3-5 minutes ) until they turn a golden brown.
Once the butter gets completely melted in the tray add the graham cracker crumbs. Mix with the butter until well blended and than pat it on the bottom of the tray to form a uniform layer. Than layer with chocolate chips, followed by butterscotch chips, nuts and 3/4 cup of shredded coconut. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over this. using a fork gently press down. Add the remainder of the shredded coconut on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the coconut turn lightly brown. Cool and than cut into desired shape. I got 28 pieces.

-I made crumbs using graham cracker that the the crumbs are nice and fresh. gently crush the crackers by hand and put them in a ziplock bag and using a rolling pin (or the condensed milk can as I did) crush the crackers to get crumbs.
-Roasting the nuts prior to baking gives a nice flavor and crunch to the bars
-You can use a parchment paper to line the tray for easy lifting of the entire bars
-Wait till it cools a bit to cut the bars.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rice and Coconut payasa/Pudding-Happy Diwali

Happy Diwali to every one

I hope you all are having a great time I really miss all the fun we had during diwali back in India. Had made big plans this year to make diwali sweets but unfortunately couldn't make anything. I thought, the least I could do to keep up my spirits was to post a sweet dish on my blog. I made this sweet dish during navrathri but never posted it. So here it goes for diwali.
This is one of the traditional dishes my mom makes often. I like this kheer (payasa in kannada) more than the semiya kheer, so mom often made this on my request. I thought it's too much work and never dared to make it. I was surprised that it was so simple to make. Mom makes it with rice, coconut and poppy seeds. I wanted to add some twist so I ground up some dry nuts instead of frying them and using for garnish.
This has poppy seeds in it so it aids you get better sleep, that's the reason I like it more :).

What you need:
1/4 cup White raw rice (you can use any variety)
1/2 cup grated coconut fresh / frozen  
2 table spoon brown sugar/ sugar/ jaggery
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon ghee
5 almonds
5 whole cashewnuts
20 raisins
3 cardamom pods

How I made it:

Soak rice, almonds and cashews for 30 min in warm water.  Once well soaked grind it coursely along with coconut. Crush the poppy seeds seperately with little water. In a thick bottomed pot, add the ground rice and coconut mixture along with 1.5 cups of water. Add sugar and cook until it thickens and the raw taste is gone. Keep stirring it often or else it tends to thicken at the bottom. Add powdered cardamom. Garnish with raisins fried in ghee. You can make the thicknesss according to your liking.
Serve warm with ghee over it or serve it chilled.
I like to make it thick and eat it chilled.......just love all the flavors of poppy seed, coconut and cardamom, reminds me of home and mom ... :(

You can use milk to get the right consistency.
You can also add brown and polson custard powder to it to get a different flavor
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