Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Karuveppilai Podi - Spiced Curry leaves powder - Great accompaniment to rice!

I had bunches of curry leaves getting dried up and sitting in my fridge! Although they're given FOC (free of charge) at Indian grocery stores when you buy a reasonable amount of veggies from them, I didn't want to waste soo much of curry leaves! I really hate wasting food and I have even gobbled down leftovers (when they're too little) in an attempt to not waste food.

This spiced powder can be a great accompaniment to rice, esp on those days when you're in no mood to make sambar/rasam/dal! Just sprinkle some "Karuveppilai podi" and half a teaspoon of Ghee (ahem! Gingely Oil will taste just fine too :-) ) and wow! all you need is a packet of Potato Chips to complete your meal :-)

You Need -

Curry leaves - 1 cup
Urad dal - 2 tbsp
Channa dal - 3 tbsp
Dry Red chillies - 4
Cumin/Jeera - 2 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 2 tsp

Method -

Ensure that the curry leaves are dry. Ideally, you should begin by washing thoroughly and drying them in paper towels.

Take a pan, pour oil and start frying all the ingredients together. Once a beautiful aroma emanates, you know it's done and you can switch off the fire. Let it cool down before you powder them.

Store in an air-tight container and label it with date.

Home-made Karuveppilai podi

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Orange Cake from freshly squeezed Orange juice - YUM!

This is my go-to recipe whenever I need to bake a cake for guests or a potluck party or an office party. I just sprinkle some powdered sugar on top and serve the cake and have received lots of appreciation for its yummilicious taste! 

It's an easy recipe and more importantly, fail-proof! C'mon, take a look and try it yourself ! I've adapted this recipe to my taste from Chefandherkitchen

Dry ingredients:

1 and 1/4 th cup All purpose flour/ Maida
1 and 1/4 th cup Wheat flour/Chapathi aata
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp baking soda

A pinch of salt

Wet ingredients:

1 can  (400 ml) of Condensed Milk
1/2 cup- melted Butter, at room temperature 

1/2 cup Oil (sunflower oil is what I used)
1 cup - freshly squeezed Orange Juice

5 tbsp Honey or Dates syrup (I've tried with both and got good results)

2 tsp Vanilla Essence 
2 tsp Apple cider Vinegar
 or lemon juice
1 tsp Orange Zest (just grate orange skin with a fine grater, don't skip this - it really enhances the taste)

Freshly squeezed orange juice and real butter this time!

Fresh out of the oven!


1. Take out the butter from the fridge and let it soften at room temperature.
2. Now, start with sifting the flours together with the baking soda, baking powder and salt .
3. Take a big bowl and whisk all the wet ingredients(except orange zest) together and whisk well. 
4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
5. Now, make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and slowly, add in the wet mixture. 
6. Make sure there are no lumps and it's of uniform texture.
7. Add the orange zest finally and mix gently.
8. Take a baking pan (I used my circular pan) and line with baking sheet.
9. Pour the batter on it and tap well so that it's spread evenly through the pan and there are no air bubbles.
10. Bake at 180 degrees for about 25 minutes. Keep checking after 20th minute. If a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean and non-sticky, then the cake is done :-)
11. Switch off the oven and take out the pan after 10 minutes. 
12. Slice into pieces after it has become warmer. Enjoy!!!
Eggless Orange cake

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Pidi kozhukattai - Best South Indian tiffin ever!

I have a special love for steamed foods, especially the kozhukattai kinds. I was craving to eat some and made this quick pidi kozhukattai as it doesn't require any special ingredients. 

This was our dinner tonight. It took me 20 minutes end-to-end to prepare this. Awesome, isn't it? 

Pidi kozhukattai with Onion thokku and Sambar


Rice - 1 cup
Coconut - 1/2 cup

Tempering :

Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard -1 tsp
Channa dal - 1 tbsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Green chillies-  3 , finely chopped
Red chilly -1
Asafoetida - 2 dashes
Salt - to taste (~1 tsp)


Wash and rinse rice as usual. Then take a pan, fry the rice as such (dry).  Stop when it starts becoming slightly reddish. Let cool and grind coarsely to a powder. This is typically called "rice rava".

Take a kadai, heat oil and do the tempering as given above.
Then add water and let boil. Rice rava to water ratio is 1:2.5
Add salt and coconut to the water.
After a minute or two, slowly add the rice rava and keep mixing. Ensure there are no lumps. Keep stirring.  In 2-3 minutes, all the water would have been absorbed. Test if the rice is cooked, if not, do add another 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup water and let it cook well.

Now transfer to a plate and allow it to cool , so you can handle it with your palms to make kozhukattai.

Steam in an idly cooker and switch off flame in 10 minutes exactly. Kozhukkattais are done :-)

Pidi Kozhukattai - South Indian tiffin

Enjoy with Onion Chutney and Sambar :- )

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Low fat Fruit and Nut Cake ~ Christmas Cake - Butter-free, Eggless cake :-)

Nowadays, I am inclined towards fat-free baking. True, we cannot avoid sugar in cakes, but we can minimize them by adding natural sources of sweetness. What do we do for butter? Substitute with natural sources of fat, that are good for your heart.

Guilt-free Fruit & Nut Cake 

Here's my Low fat Fruit & Nut cake that absolutely delicious and nobody can tell its butter -free or has no plain flour.

I've adapted the recipe from maria's menu but made it healthier by using Avocados and 100% whole wheat flour in place of Maida / All purpose flour/Plain flour. Read on ...


2 Avocados - ripe (dark green in color)
Whole wheat flour - 1.5 cups
Brown sugar - 1 cup
Dry fruits (like raisins, tutty fruity, apricots, figs, ) +
Nuts (I used chopped almonds and cashews) = totally 1 and 1/2 to 1 and 3/4 cups roughly
Fruit juice (I have tried both Apple juice and Cranberry juice with good success)
Hot milk - 1/4 cup
Yogurt - 1/2 cup
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp

Baking powder - 0.5 tsp
Baking soda- 0.5 tsp
Cardamom powder - 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder - 0.5 tsp
A pinch of salt

Preparation -

  • Soak the dry fruits in the fruit juice overnight.
  • Drain the juice( save it so you can drink later!) and take  the soaked fruits and nuts in a bowl.
  • Coat it with 2 tbsp of flour roughly.

  • Start by pre-heating your oven to 180 degrees.
  • Sieve the flour along with a pinch of salt and baking soda, baking powder --> all dry ingredients. Add cardamom and cinnamon powder.
  • Beat the avocados (pitted) with sugar in a mixie.

  • Add hot milk to yogurt and mix this to the avocado-sugar mixture. Sure, the batter appears curdled at this stage but fret not!
  • Add vanilla essence as well.
  • Slowly mix the sieved flour mixture into the wet batter mixture until well-incorporated. You can add more chopped nuts at the stage. I like to add some walnuts :-)

Batter ready to go into the oven! 

  • Prepare a pan by lining with baking paper. Pour the batter and let the oven do the magic :-)

  • Do check after 20 minutes using a toothpick to see if the cake is done/ nearing doneness. If its too wet, let bake for another 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust timing by checking every 5 to 7 minutes. If the top is brown but the insides are uncooked/wet, then cover with an aluminum foil so that the top doesn't get burnt.

Just out of the oven! Heavenly goodness!

Enjoy your cake guilt-free :-)

This is suitable even for heart patients as there is no butter or oil added.

This year (26th Dec 2015), I made this lovely cake again for a potluck party and it was a big hit!!
Some photos -
Christmas Cake

Shopped for dry fruits and nuts and candied fruits :-)


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