Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sweet Nei Appam (South Indian Sweet made from wheat flour, jaggery and bananas) - Karthigai Deepam Recipes

My grandpa says, "Nei appam thinnal rendundu kariyam" which can be translated and elaborated as "Eating Nei Appam yields double benefit - it gives you the satisfaction of eating a sweet + it fills your stomach too".  நெய் (nei) in Tamil refers to Ghee (or Clarified Butter) which is an essential ingredient of Indian Cuisine :-) This recipe is a low-fat version as we don't deep-fry the appams, so the quantity of ghee consumed is minimal.

I made these a few days back when we performed Ganapathi Homam (a form of Hindu prayer) at home. You can also make these for Ganesh Chaturthi (Vinayaka Chaturthi).

Sweet Appam (Nei Appam)

What You Need -

What you need to make Sweet Appam

  • Whole Wheat flour - 1 1/2 cups
  • Rice flour - 1/2 cup
(Ratio of wheat to rice flour should be 3:1 , my mom says)
  • Jaggery , powdered - 1 cup
  • Banana - 2 small or 1 long one 
  • Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp (optional, to enhance taste)
  • Ghee - to fry (since we use Appa kaarai (அப்பகாரை ), we can make appams with lesser ghee than if you were to fry them in a kadai. Another advantage is that you get a well rounded, uniform shape for all your appams).

How To -

1. Take a bowl, add wheat flour and rice flour.

2. Take powdered/grated jaggery in a kadai, add 1/4 cup water and let it melt.

3. Once the jaggery mixture boils, add it to the bowl with the flours. Mash the banana and add it as well.

4. Mix them all together to make a liquidy paste. Add cardamom powder now. Add some boiled water if it is too thick and pasty. This is to ensure the appams turn out to be soft.

Add caption
Note : The mixture in my picture is a bit thick, so make sure you make it slightly liquidy.

5. Get your appakarai (or aebleskiver pan) ready and grease the 'holes' with enough ghee :)
My Appakaarai was gifted by my mom-in-law and it is really useful. See Paniyaram recipe made using the same  pan :)

Appa Kaarai or Aebleskiver pan

6. Keep flame on med-high and pour the mixture into the holes. You can see the right consistency of the mixture in this picture.

7. Once the sides start browning, turn them over using a small stick (usually comes with the appakarai pan package)

8. Slid some more ghee through the sides so that the other side gets cooked and crisp too :) You need to wait patiently on medium flame for it to get cooked well inside.

Sweet Nei Appams

Enjoy the sweet appams just like that (plain)!

Sending these to "Dish -it-out with Wheat flour and Jaggery" event conducted by Vardhini's Kitchen and South Indian home.

Chocolate- Banana Smoothie (No sugar required!)

This is such a simple, nutritious drink that both adults and kids would love :) Makes a fulfilling breakfast! I have used honey instead of sugar, and it tasted really yummy :) Bananas being innately sweet, don't require too much extra sweetness added.

Chocolate-Banana Smoothie

What You Need -

  • 2 Bananas (Use 3 if they are small)
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder - 1/2 tbsp
  • Honey - 2 tsp
  • Vanilla essence - 1/2 tsp
  • Milk - 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup
  • Ice cubes (optional) 

How To -

  • Peel off the skin of bananas and cut each of them into 6-7 pieces. 
  • Add cocoa powder, honey and vanilla essense and blend well using an electric mixer. Do not add milk yet.
  • When there are no more pieces/lumps of bananas seen, add milk (and ice cubes, if you like) and give it another whip until everything is incorporated together. Be careful and hold the lid well so that the smoothie does not spill over the blender jar :-)
Chocolate-Banana Smoothie

Enjoy and have a great day ahead!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Easy Chocolate Brownie Fudge (Eggless) - with Step-by-Step pictures (No oven or microwave needed)

Don't have an oven? No problem! You can still treat your family with these addictive, not-too-sweet chocolate yummies!  Isn't that wonderful that you can make brownies by spending just 5 minutes of your time and using as little as 5 ingredients? Plus, this is 100% vegetarian-friendly. Interested? Read on...

Easy Chocolate Brownies

You Require -

Marie biscuits - 25 nos.
Unsweetened cocoa powder - 2 tbsp
Sweetened Condensed milk (I used Low fat Milkmaid) - 1/2 of the standard 400 gram tin
Unsalted Butter - 1 tbsp
Cashewnuts -  15 nos (chopped) - You can use combination of nuts like Hazelnuts or Pistachios. Just roast them before adding.

Raisins - 10 (optional)
Sugar - 2-3 tsp , powdered (optional)

How To -

  • Break each biscuit into 4 and powder them finely in a food processor/electric mixer.

  • Take the powdered biscuits in a bowl and add cocoa powder to this.

  • Mix them well so that the cocoa flavor is evenly incorporated and well-blended together.

  • Add powdered sugar at this stage. My hubby opined that the brownies are sweeter, so you may choose to omit the extra sugar (as the condensed milk already contains the required sweetness).

  • Melt butter in a small pan and then slightly roast chopped cashewnuts.

  • Stir in the cashews along with butter.
  • Finally, pour condensed milk and mix well. This step requires some effort to make sure everything is combined well and the mixture is moist.

  • Spread on a flat pan (so that you can make pieces easily, later) and refrigerate (do not freeze) for atleast 4 hours. It's advisable to use a baking sheet to line your tray.
  • Stud raisins or tutty fruities at this stage, if you're like me :) This is purely optional.
  • After 4 hours or more, cut into squares and enjoy these goodies

Eggless Chocolate Brownies
P.S.  The quantities given above yield 10 brownie cubes of size 1.5 inches.

Indian Cooking Blogs

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Potato Salad - American Style

I'm certainly not an expert in American food but we both love their potato salad, onion rings, mashed potato, pancakes, pumpkin pie, apple coleslaw and much more...That explains why Billy Bombers is our favorite place to dine on a weekend.

I wanted to try potato salad at home since it appeared to be simple and promptly added Red Skinned potatoes to my Mustafa shopping list, since we were going there anyway. In fact, it is very simple. I have adapted the recipe to suit my taste but the original recipe is Rachael Ray's.

But you may ask, why red skin potato, why not the usual brown-skinned Russet potatoes? The differences are that red potatoes are sweeter and less starchy and more nutritious too. Also, they are cooked with their skin on (slightly scrubbed though) because it’s relatively thin and soft and adds extra fiber to the dish. On the other hand, brown potatoes are best suited for frying/roasting, baking and they make the perfect fluffy mashed potato. More on that later...

Now, let's move on to the recipe.
What I Used -

Red Potatoes - 3
Yellow Onion - 1/2 (chopped)
Garlic - 3 pods, chopped
Italian seasonings - 3/4 tsp
Mayonnaise - 3 heaped table spoons (Choose the one that has Dijon mustard and Vinegar as well) *
Olive oil - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Pepper (I used 4 black pepper pods and powdered them with a small hammer) - to taste

How I Made It -

  • Wash the potatoes thoroughly and scrub the skin lightly (with a knife) so that there is no dirt.

  • Cook them in a pan with enough water and salt (I added 1/2 tsp). Note that mayo usually contains salt. The potatoes should still be firm but just cooked at the same time. I boiled water first, added the potatoes, switched off after exactly 12 minutes and let them sit in the hot water for 5 more minutes. Drain the water and let cool (When too hot, they can get mashed up very easily). 
  • Take a skillet, heat olive oil and fry garlic and onions for 3-4 minutes. 
  • Take a bowl, add mayonnaise and add the fried garlic and onions to it. Add the Italian seasonings as well.  Add pepper powder. Mix them thoroughly.
    • If you wish to avoid mayo (or its cholesterol), stir in a diced avocado* instead.

  • Cut the cooked potatoes into big chunks and add to the bowl. Toss them carefully so that the potatoes don't get mashed. Mix them gently so that the potatoes are covered with the dressing.

  • Garnish with celery. I used cilantro though :)

  • Refrigerate for 8 hours before serving. This gives time for the flavors to blend in well.

Let me know if you liked it too :)

Sending this recipe to Soups and Salads Mela hosted by Srivalli and Breakfast Club hosted by Scrumptious Sally


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