Saturday, December 7, 2013

Basil & Rosemary Focaccia Bread

I saw this beautiful bread in Anushruti's blog. It was irresistable!! and had to make it at once. The focaccia had all my favorite ingredients... basil, rosemary, loads of olive oil...But I found the maida to be li'l too much, so made little tweaking here and there to suit our palate. This recipe is definitely a keeper...everyone at home enjoyed it very much.


Instant yeast - 2 tsp (i used little more than the original recipe since I was using atta)
Milk - 1 1/3 cup
Sugar - 1 tsp

Combine lukewarm milk and sugar. Sprinkle yeast over it and keep it aside for almost 10 minutes.

Whole wheat flour (I used Ashirwad Atta) - 1 1/2 cups
All purpose flour - 1 3/4 cups
Salt - 2 tsp
Olive oil - 3 tbsp (slight variation from original recipe which called for 2 tbsp, just because I love olive oil)

Attach dough hook to the stand in mixer. Sieve and add whole wheat flour to the bowl. Add maida, salt and olive oil. Give it a good mix. Add the yeast mixture and knead the mixture for about 5 minutes. I didn't need to add any more water, and the dough consistency (smooth and pliable) was perfect. Take it out of the bowl and knead with your hand for couple of minutes more. Slightly dust a clean surface and roll the dough in a rectangular shape. Slightly grease a 9 X 12" baking tray (using olive oil) and place the rolled out dough in this. Press and spread using your palms to fit in the tray. Cover with an aluminium foil and place it in a warm place for about 1 1/2 to 2 hrs till it doubles the volume.

Meanwhile prepare the herb infused olive oil, as mentioned below.


Olive oil - 1/4 oil
Basil leaves - 8 leaves , chopped
Rosemary (I used fresh) - 2 small sprigs
Garlic - 1 pod, crushed

Heat the olive oil and switch off when warm. Add the herbs and garlic in the oil and keep it aside for about an hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.

Once the dough has doubled, make equal spaced indentations with your forefinger. Spoon in the herb mixture along with oil to these indentations and also brush the surface with oil.

Place it in the oven and bake for about 15 min. If you are using only maida, then baking time may vary between 18-20 min. In case of using atta, you need to be careful about the time as atta gets baked pretty fast, after which it hardens.

Enjoy it with your favorite stew or olive oil or just like that (like I did).

Kerala Jam Roll / Swiss Rolls

Certain images get etched in your mind forever! One such is the sight of pretty jam rolls sitting happily in the bakery shelves in Kerala. We got to eat these only on special occasions like birthdays or other celebrations. Just the sight of it is enough to make us drool. They are amazingly soft and sweet pieces of cake rolled in with the goodness of jam.

I have never seen them in bakeries in Dubai. So thought of making them at home to give an opportunity to my kids to enjoy what their parents devoured as kids!!


All purpose flour - 100g
Castor sugar - 100g
Eggs - 4

Mixed Fruit jam (warm - I used Kissan) - 6 tbsp


Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. Put the eggs and sugar in a deep bowl and beat on high using a hand-mixer. Keep beating till you get a rich creamy mousse like consistency. It will take about 10 minutes to reach this stage. By now, the quantity would have almost tripled. Now slowly sieve the flour into the egg-sugar mixture. Combine using cutting action, not allowing any air to escape (you need that air for the fluffy rolls). It will take some time to combine everything, don't hurry!

Lightly grease a 9 X 12'' tray and line it with baking sheet. Carefully transfer the mixture to the tray and place it in the oven. Check after 10 - 12 minutes, it should be done.

Warm the jam and keep it aside.

Take the tray out of the oven. Place a baking sheet on the flat surface and slightly dust it with flour or icing sugar (I missed this and my cake slightly broke while rolling as it got stuck to the sheet!). Now slowly turn the cake from the tin onto this prepared sheet. Spread the warm jam on the top of it. Start rolling the sponge from the short side, till you reach other end (need to be done slowly and carefully). When you reach the end, hold it in position for approx 1 min. Remove the crusty edges. Cut into thin slices and enjoy!

Lessons Learnt!!

1. You have to be really fast while making the sponge. So make sure all ingredients are measured and kept ready for use before you start. The air that is built up in the egg-sugar mixture while beating (for 10 min) is what gives spongy texture to the roll. So if you take too much time after air is built up, there is a threat that you might lose all the air and the cake will end up hard.

2. I checked the cake after 10 min and the skewer came out clean, so took the cake out. But guess I should have waited for couple of minutes more so that the cake would have nicely browned and wouldn't have broken while rolling.

3. Unfortunately my baking sheet got over while I was about to bake and was forced to use aluminium foil. But the cake stuck to it and was difficult to separate it. So please ensure you have enough baking sheet or parchment paper in hand!

4. If you don't flour the surface to which you overturn the sponge (after baking), there is a high probability that the cake will break while rolling.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hot Fudge Sunday Cake

This is the quickest, easiest, yummiest dessert I have prepared yet!!

Just mix all the ingredients in a pot and pour into the tin. When the guests are about to arrive, transfer the tin to the oven. While the guests are being entertained and the main course is being enjoyed, (approx 30 min later) check the cake. If done, remove it from the oven. In another 5 minutes, the fudge sunday cake is ready to be served along with a scoop of your favourite ice-cream. Believe me, it tastes out of the world. You just cannot stop in one slice...


All purpose flour - 1 cup
Granulated sugar - 3/4 cup
Cocoa powder - 2 tbsp
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp

Sieve all the above ingredients and keep aside.

Milk - 1/2 cup
Vegetable oil - 2 tbsp
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Cashew nuts, crsuhed - 3/4 cup

Mix milk, oil and essence together in a deep bowl well with a wooden spoon. Now slowly add the sieved dry ingredients from above into the bowl, give a thorough mix. Now add the broken cashew nuts into this and mix well. Pour this mixture into a 6 x 6 square tin (no need to grease it).

Brown sugar - 3/4 cup
Cocoa powder - 1/4 cup
Hot water - 1 3/4 cups

Sprinkle brown sugar on top of the batter that is kept in the tin. Next sprinkle cocoa powder. Top it with hot water (you may feel there is too much water on top. It will be fine once baked).

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Place the tin in the oven and wait for 30 min. Check if an inserted skewer comes out clean. If yes, your sunday fudge is ready. Take it out of the oven and cut it while its still hot and move the piece to the dessert plate. Serve it along with a scoop of ice-cream of your choice. (Turn it upside down while serving, as the chocolate syrup will be at the bottom of the cake)

Almond Digestive Chocolate Squares

Here is the recipe of a wonderful sweet snack, adapted from my favorite blog. I don't need to blabber too much about this one, just try it for yourself and see how you and your family is gonna enjoy it.


Digestive biscuits - 250g
Almonds - 85 g
Butter - 75g, melted
Condensed milk - 400g or 1 tin

Chocolate chips - 100g
Slivered almonds - handful (I didn't use them)


Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking tray (8 x 8" square) with parchment paper.
Place biscuits and almonds in the tall jar of mixer and pulse it 3-4 times till both are powdered (It won't be finely powdered, rather slightly coarse). Now add this to bowl of food processor and attach the dough hook.


While its running on medium speed (in my Bosch processor, speed 3), add the melted butter, followed by condensed milk. They will all come together to form a "sticky" blob. Take it out and spread on the prepared tray. I found it better to spread with my hands. Place it in the oven and bake for about 20 min, till its slightly firm to touch. Take it out, and sprinkle the chocolate chips. Leave it for about 10 min. After that, spread the chocolate using a butter knife. Sprinkle the almond slivers, if using. Leave the whole thing to cool well. Transfer to fridge so that the chocolate sets. Later you can cut into desired shape.

Beans - Carrot Stirfry / Mezhukupuratti

A quick, easy side dish for rice..


Chopped beans - 2 cups
Chopped carrot - 1 cup
Sliced onion - 1 small
Green chilly, slit - 2
Garlic, crushed - 1 pod
Curry leaves - 3-4
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 1 tbsp


Heat a pan, and add oil. Once hot, add the sliced beans, carrot, chilly, garlic and curry leaves. Stir well. Do not close the vessel. After couple of minutes sprinkle some salt. Keep stirring to ensure that the veggies donot stick to bottom of the vessel. Once cooked, remove from heat and serve with rice.


The unavoidable item in sadya...something that comes to rescue during cold wintery nights...when you have a bad cold or you are struggling to breathe due to a blocked nose..

I still use store-bought (Brahmin's) rasam powder for making rasams. I have tried a couple of times to make it entirely from scratch, but it didn't give me complete satisfaction, nor could I find happy faces at dinner table. So till I get a proper recipe, I will continue my trust in Brahmin's.


Water - 4 cups
Tamarind - size of a lemon, soaked in water
Rasam powder - 2 tbsp, heaped
Coconut oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Dried chilly - 3
Tomato - 2, medium, roughly chopped
Coriander leaves - 2 strands



Squeeze the juice out of tamarind, add it to the water and bring it to boil. Add the rasam powder and let it boil until it thickens slightly. Switch off the stove. In a non-stick pan, add oil. Once its hot, crackle the mustard seeds. Add curry leaves, dried chilly and saute for half a minute. Now add the chopped tomatoes and saute for another minute. Add this to the rasam along with chopped coriander leaves. Serve with hot rice.

Jackfruit Unniyappam

I have not made the traditional unniyappams yet, using unniyappams are quick fix ones using the jackfruit halwa (chakka varatti) thats always there in my freezer.


Jackfruit halwa / chakka varatti - 1 cup
Rice flour - 2 cups
Jaggery syrup - 1 cup (if you need it to be more sweet, add either more jaggery or brown sugar)
Black sesame seeds - 3 tbsp
Salt - a pinch
Sliced coconut - 1/4  cup (roasted)


Mix chakka varati, rice flour and jaggery syrup well, either with your hands or using a ladle. Add more water as needed, the mixture should have a thick flowy consistency. Add the roasted coconut pieces, salt and sesame seeds, mix well. Set the mixture aside for atleast 1 hr.

Heat the unniyappa chatti, and fill 1/4th each impression with oil. When the oil is hot, pour the jackfruit mixture using a ladle or spoon into each impression. Once the bottom side is cooked (which takes about 5min), using a spoon, turn the unniyappams upside down and cook for another 5 min. After that remove the unniyappams and drain oil. Repeat the process till the whole batter is used.

Beetroot thoran

An easy, quick and healthy side dish for rice...


Grated or chopped beetroot - 2 cups
Grated coconut -  3/4 cup
Small onions - 6, crushed
Garlic - 1 pod, crushed
Salt - as per taste
Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Green chilly - 2, slit lengthwise
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Coconut oil (or any other oil) - 1 tbsp


Heat a kadai and add oil. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and let it crackle. Add curry leaves, crushed small onions and garlic and the slit green chilly. Saute for a minute. Then add the grated beetroot along with grated coconut and mix well. Cover and cook. No need to add water. Stir in between. Once the beetroot is almost cooked, sprinkle salt and pepper powder. Mix well. Cook for another 5 minutes with the lid removed. Switch off the stove.

Nurukku Gothambu Payasam / Broken Wheat Payasam

Before marriage, I had tasted only white (made using sugar) payasams. It was my MIL who introduced me to this wonderful payasam, and ever since I am in love with it. Even my hubby, who dislikes anything else with broken wheat, loves this dish.


Broken wheat - 1 cup, soaked for atleast 4 hrs
Melted jaggery - 2 cups
Thick coconut milk - 1 cup
Thin coconut milk - 1 (randampaal) - 2 cups
Think coconut milk - 2 (munnampaal) - 4 cups
Salt - a pinch
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Cashewnuts - 10
Sliced coconut - 1/2 cup


Cook the soaked broken wheat in 2 cups of water until its cooked very well. If you haven't soaked the wheat, then you may need to pressure cook the broken wheat. Once the wheat is well cooked, add the jaggery syrup. Bring it to boil.

(Tip - If the jaggery is added before the wheat is cooked well, then wheat will harden and won't taste good

For the jaggery syrup, melt 2 cups of grated jaggery in less than 1/2 cup water. Heat it till the jaggery completely melts. Switch off the stove. Once cold, sieve the syrup to remove the impurities from jaggery.

How to extract coconut milk - Grate 1 coconut. Add it to the big jar of mixer and add 1/2 cup water to it, grind well. Then sieve it to extract the thick coconut milk or thani paal. Take the residual grated coconut and add to mixer with 1 cups of water. Grind and extract the milk. This is the thin coconut milk-1 or randaampaal. Again take the residual coconut to the mixer and add 2 cups of water. Grind it and then sieve, extract the milk. This makes the moonnampaal or thin coconut milk-2).

Now add the thin coconut milk - 2 (moonnampaal) and bring the whole thing to boil. Keep the flame on sim and let it boil for sometime till the mixture slightly thickens. Then add the think coconut milk-2 (randampaal), let it boil for atleast 10-15 minutes till the mixture thickens or reaches your desired consistency. Now add the thick coconut milk. Before it boils, switch off the stove.

In a pan, heat ghee. Once hot, add thinly sliced coconut pieces and roast them till they are nicely brown. Drain ghee and add the roasted pieces to the prepared payasam. Now in the remaining ghee, add cashewnuts and roast them till brown. Add these also to the payasam. Serve warm!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Steamed Fish Fillet with veggies and sauce

Finally I can boast of some recipe that is entirely my own. I had some fish fillet sitting in my freezer and had to finish it off before the start of advent. With half of it, I made Kottayam style fish curry, there was still a good portion left. So thought of making IKEA style fish fillet. But one thing I wanted to avoid was the use of too much butter and milk in the sauce (Remember, as per Ayurveda, fish and milk don't get along well). Plus I wanted my dish to be slightly tangy. And also I wanted to avoid the hassles of baking fish. So came up with an easy and quick recipe as per our liking.


For the fish fillet

Fish fillet (I used mahi-mahi) - 3/4 kg, cut into 4 or 5 big chunks
Salt - as per taste
Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Lemon juice - juice from half lemon

Marinate the fish with all the above and let it sit for 15 min. After that boil it by adding little water. Switch off the stove as soon as the fish is cooked. Reserve the juices, we'll need it for making the sauce.

Steamed Vegetables

Vegetables (I used cauliflower, green peas and carrots) - 3 cups, cut into chunks

Either steam them in a steamer or boil using little water. Boil till they are done. Reserve the remaining water, we'll use them for making the sauce.

Big onion - 1 small, finely chopped
Garlic - 1 pod, crushed
Butter - 1 tbsp
Salt - as per taste
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice - of half lemon
Corn flour - 1 tsp

In a pan, heat butter. Add the onions and garlic and saute well. When they start to turn brown, add the juices from steamed fish and vegetables. Add more water if required. Check salt and pepper and add as needed. Add the lemon juice and let it boil. Mix cornflour with 2 tbsp of cold water and add it to the sauce. The sauce will start to thicken. When it reaches the right consistency switch off the stove and remove it from heat. Serve it on top of the fish and vegetables. You can even have steamed rice instead of steamed veggies if you need more carbs.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Though I have made quite a few cakes, this is the first time I am making brownies. I got a recipe from the net and thought of giving a try...I am no big chocolate fan! So even after I made this, I wasn't too excited. I just had a small piece of it, while it was still warm, had it along with some store-bought ice-cream and a quickly made chocolate sauce. It was good, but tooo chocolaty for me!! But my son (food-lover) and daughter (fussy-eater) came back for a second helping. Then again for a third I am getting to be little surprised and excited...Is it that good?? When they came for the fourth, I scolded them and had to hide the tray on the top of fridge!

Next was my husband's turn. When he came back from office, I happily gave him a piece. "It's too good!" was his verdict. When I was giving bath to kids, I heard him ask where the tray was kept. I replied, and got on with my chores. It was the next day I checked the tray...GOSH...half is already gone!! No wonder he didn't eat much for dinner...

Hmm...Now I need to be careful. We had a little friend visiting us. When she was leaving, I packed half of the remaining half for her (I am making sure that my men and the little lady will have only little to eat). I checked the tray before going to  bed, there is still 1/4th left. The next day morning I got a call from one of our friends, that his family along with his parents are visiting us, in another half an hour. I quickly checked what I could serve them, and had yesterday's image of a quarter tray of brownies left. And this little girl (who is going to visit us) likes cup cakes, so I quickly got onto making some cup cakes. When they came, I happily gave them warm cupcakes first. Next I went onto take the brownies out...OMG..2 small (read Really Small) pieces and some crumbs left!! When did my hubby eat all these? Did he really get up from his sleep (after I slept) to eat these? so many unanswered questions...I was so ashamed to give them those, but was forced to as I didn't have anything else!! BUT WAS REALLY HAPPY TO SEE OUR FRIEND LICK THE TRAY CLEAN!

So, all the chocolate lovers out there....THIS IS THE PERFECT BROWNIE for you!! It's SINFULLY CHOCOLATY and ADDICTIVE. Do try it out yourself.


Unsalted butter - 150g
Bitter chocolate - 185g
All purpose flour - 85g
Cocoa powder - 40g
White chocolate - 50g
Milk chocolate - 50g
Eggs - 3
Powdered brown sugar - 275g
Cashew / walnuts chopped - 1/2 cup


Cut butter into small chunks and put it in a steel vessel along with the chopped bitter chocolate. Melt both together till they are combined well either in microwave or over the stove. Stir well till they are thoroughly combined, take it off the stove and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Chop the white and milk chocolate to very small pieces and keep them aside.  (I used the Hershey's chocolate chips).

In an electric mixer, combine eggs and powdered sugar. Beat on maximum speed till you get a thick creamy consistency. Now pour the cooled chocolate + butter mixture into this, and gently fold in. Sift flour and cocoa together, mix in the nuts and gently fold these also into the mixture, a little at a time. Keep folding in till all are combined well. Finally stir in the milk and white chocolate chips.

Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees. Prepare a loose bottom rectangular tray and pour the prepared mixture into this. Place it in the oven and bake it for 30 - 40 min. Mine got done in just over 30 min, so keep checking after 30 min. It should be done if an inserted skewer comes out clean. e
The top of the brownie will look flaky with a thin papery crust. Take it out, let it cool and then slice. Enjoy with a scoop of ice-cream and chocolate sauce.

Recipe for chocolate sauce

Chocolate - 100g
Double cream - 100g

Boil both of them, till well combined.

Kerala Mussels Roast / Kallummakkaya Varattiyathu

I first tasted kallummakkaya (Kerala mussels) while in engineering college, when my kannur friend brought "kallummakkaya nirachathu" which her mom made. It was really yum!! ..I can still get that taste in my mouth! I have never seen it in Cochin times have heard my mom (she was raised in Calicut) sigh about the taste of this wonderful dish. I am happy to see these now a days in Dubai. I grabbed half a kg during the weekly shopping, but this time I wasn't lucky..the guy at the counter refused to clean it for me :) ...I hate the cleaning process...its a long and hard one, but the end product is worth all the effort that you put in.


Mussels / Kallummakkaya - 1/2 kg
Salt - as per taste
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Small onions - 8, crushed
Garlic - 4 pods, crushed
Chilly powder - 1 tsp
Pepper powder - 1 tsp (as per your tolerance level)
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Sliced coconut - 1/2 cup (optional)
Coconut oil -  as required


Clean the mussels thoroughly (beware! cleaning mussles is a long painstaking process, so be prepared for it). Wash it under running water 2-3 times. Drain the water, and marinate the mussels with salt and turmeric powder. Let it rest for 20 min. Then cook the mussels in little water (less than half cup). Let all the water get evaporated (Don't cook the mussels for too long, as it will become rubbery). Remove it from stove.


Crush the small onions and garlic using mortar and pestle. In a chatti or kadai, heat coconut oil. If using coconut slices, add it first. Saute for sometime till its cooked. Then add the crushed onions, garlic along with curry leaves. Saute till the raw smell goes. Add the chilly powder and saute for a minute. Now add the cooked mussels and mix well with the masala. Let it get cooked for approx 5 min. Sprinkle the powdered pepper, mix well and switch off the stove.