Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Aloo Gobi Gravy Recipe - Potatoes and Cauliflower sautéed in a tomato yoghurt sauce. – My Way

There are many forms of comfort food..soups, gratins, a nice hot spicy curry. With the weather still being as cold as it can ever be, I find myself craving for some comfort food. This aloo gobi or Alu Gobi is quite a staple dish on the menu in our home. I make it all year round. Its very simple and quick. My little boy likes it too. He is fond of anything that has “caulifaalaa” in it. Though he isnt very keen on potatoes, they are forgiven because they come along with the “caulifaalaa”!

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Aloo Gobi Gravy Recipe

Serves 4

1 medium head of cauliflower, cleaned and cut into florets
3-4 medium potatoes, boiled and peeled. Boil them just until done such that they retain shape and do not turn mushy.
1 large onion, chopped fine
3 medium tomatoes, chopped. Alternatively use 1 cup tinned tomatoes
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced fine
1 inch of ginger, grated
1 cup thick yoghurt
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp dhania/coriander powder
1 tbsp garam masala or kitchen king masala
1 tsp methi or fenugreek seeds
2 tsp salt, or as per taste
half tsp sugar
1 tbsp kasoori methi
2 tbsp oil + 1 tsp oil
1 lt + half cup water
half tsp turmeric
a few coriander/cilantro leaves, onion rings, lemon wedges, optional, for garnishing

Method -

1. Cook the cauliflower florets in salted 1 lt water until just done. This took me around 2-3 mins. Drain water and keep florets aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, onions and fry until onions turn translucent.
3. Add tomatoes and cook for another 2 mins until tomatoes are softened.
4. Add kasoori methi, garam masala or kitchen king masala, dhania/coriander powder, chilli powder, turmeric and cook for 3-5 mins until you see the oil separating from the spices.
5. Take out the mixture from the heat and puree it into a smooth paste using a blender.
6. In the same pan, heat a tsp of oil and add methi/fenugreek seeds. Once they splutter, Add the cauliflower and potatoes and sauté for a min or two. Add 1 or 2 pinch of salt.
7. Now add the pureed mixture and remaining salt, sugar, half cup  water and mix well. Bring to boil.
8. Turn off the heat and add yoghurt, mix well and garnish with cilantro, onion rings.
9. Serve with rice or rotis.

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ranjka – South Indian Red Chilli Chutney


Ranjka  is a north Karnataka specialty, the region where I come from.  It is usually enjoyed with steaming hot rice mixed with a dollop of ghee or simply as an accompaniment to cool curd rice. But best known to be savored with the jowar(Sorghum) flat breads,  jowar bhakri (jolada rotti). It is made with ripened fresh red chillies a.k.a byadgi chillies. Now, I couldnt find these here, so after a lot of running around various super markets, I finally substituted them with cayenne peppers. They have a much greater punch to be used for chutney, So I added a bell pepper to tone down the heat.



Ranjka – Red Chilli Chutney

Yield - Makes around 200gms

100 gms fresh red chillies
1 large red bell pepper
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp methi/fenugreek seeds
half tsp hing/asafoetida
1 tsp salt
5 tbsp vegetable oil, any neutral one will do. I used  sunflower oil

Method -

1. Heat the oil in a small pan until fuming. Keep aside to cool.
2. Split the red chillies and deseed them with a knife. You may keep the seeds intact of 1 chilli to make it extra spicy.
3. Chop the chillies and the bell pepper coarsely.
4. Dry roast the fenugreek seeds with asafoetida for about 2 mins on low to medium heat.
5. Grind the chillies, pepper, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida with lemon juice, salt into a paste. It need not be a smooth paste. Leave it slightly coarse.
6. Add the heated oil to the ground chutney. Adjust the salt as per your liking.
7. Serve with rotis, rice, parathas etc.

Storage – Can be stored in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for upto 3 weeks.

You can eliminate the red bell pepper completely if you are ok with the spiciness of the chillies. I have used them to tone down the heat of the chillies because I could not find the indian variety of chillies here. If you choose to eliminate the bell pepper, reduce the amount of oil to 1 tbsp and lemon to 1.5  tbsp.
The amount of salt and lemon juice might vary depending on the variety of chillies used. Please adjust as per taste.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Quinoa Vegetable Soup


I woke up the other day with sun rays coming across my window. Its quite rare at this time of the year here. You hardly see any daylight until 8 am. It brought a smile on my face. May be spring is just around the corner…I thought. May be I don't have to put on 4 layers of clothing and on the 2 lil ones before we head for a walk. May be I can finally have more daylight making it easier for me to take photos for the blog..Hmm. Nope. Not yet. That sunny day end with snow fall which then went on for another 2 days. Not that I don't like snow. I love it. But with a touch of sunshine!


But for the lil one, doesn't matter if there is sunshine or not..he is happy with snow. He had fun making snow balls with daddy. He pestered daddy to take him sledging. He rolled around in snow as if it were sand!
As far as I am concerned, it turned out all good. I made quinoa soup :-)


Quinoa Vegetable Soup

Yield - Serves 2

100 gms or approx 1/2 cup Quinoa
1/4 cup Carrots, diced fine
1/4 cup  beans, chopped fine
700 ml or 3 cups vegetable stock or water
Half an Onion, chopped fine
1 clove of garlic, minced fine
2 tsp salt
2 tsp Pepper powder
Few Parsley leaves for garnishing
2 tbsp Cream
1 tsp vegetable oil


1. Roast the quinoa on low-medium heat in a pan. It took me around 5-7 mins. Allow it to cool completely.
2. Grind the quinoa to a fine powder.
3. In a saucepan, heat oil on medium heat and add garlic, onion. Once onions are translucent, add the vegetables and cook for 2-3 mins.
4. Add the vegetable stock, salt and bring it to boil.
5. Now lower the heat and add quinoa powder, little at a time stirring continuously with a whisk or spatula.
6. Simmer for 7-10 mins, stirring frequently to ensure that the quinoa does not settle at the bottom of the pan. If you think, the soup has gotten too thick, add some water to loosen the consistency and boil for another 2 mins.
7. Garnish with cream, pepper and parsley and serve hot.

Linking this to Priyas  event Cooking with Seeds - Quinoa/ Ragi  being hosted by Divya at Divyas Culinary Journey.


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Monday, February 18, 2013

Pasta with Peas And Walnuts Pesto

Honestly speaking, I am not a big fan of walnuts. I know, they are healthy and rich in omega 3 fatty benefits etc etc. But they have always been of least preference to me. Especially when used in sweets. Even back in childhood, I never liked them in cakes or sweets etc. 

But now, with motherhood you start to look beyond your likes and dislikes I believe. I am starting to appreciate the benefits and am inclined towards incorporating these nutritious nuts in my children's diet. And give my kids a fair chance to actually liking it instead of passing on my tastes to them. When paired with pasta and peas, it does make it tempting for sure.

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Pasta with Peas and Walnuts Pesto

Yeild – Serves4

250 gms green peas, fresh or frozen
400 gms Spaghetti( Penne, fusilli also make good variants)
a litre water for cooking pasta
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 tbsp mascarpone or parmesan cheese
200 ml water or vegetable stock
handful of parsley leaves
handful walnuts chopped coarsely
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp salt
half tsp pepper crushed
grated parmesan cheese for garnish,optional


1. Cook the pasta in salted water as per manufacturers instructions. Drain water and keep aside.
2. Cook the peas with 1 tsp salt in boiling water for 2 mins and drain. Run the cooked peas under cold water for a minute which helps retain the lovely green colour.
3. Roast the walnuts for 2- 3 mins in a pan until toasty on low-medium heat. Keep aside.
4. Combine  2 tbsp olive oil, onion, garlic, half the green peas and cook for 2 mins on medium heat. Stir in the stock, parsley and mascarpone and grind this mixture along with 3/4th of the toasted walnuts into a paste.
5. Combine the ground pesto and the pasta and return to heat for 2-3 mins. Add salt and pepper. Toss the pasta well so that the pesto is well incorporated.
6. Garnish with remaining peas and walnuts and grated parmesan.

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Linking this entry to The Flavours of Italy by Simply Food being hosted by Divya at Divyas Culinary Journey and to

MLLA - My Legume Love Affair being hosted by Lisas Kitchen this time.

MLLA was originally started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook and has been popular for many years. Do hop over to the archive that has loads of fresh ideas on using legumes.

Updating this entry to Pasta Please event from Jac of Tinned Tomataoes. For March the theme is homemade pesto and is being hosted by Jen of Blue Kitchen Bakes.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Eggless Red Velvet Mini Cakes with Mascarpone frosting for Mom

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Happy Birthday Mummy! My mother turns 60 today. Unfortunately we couldn't be together today, but these cakes are for Mom.

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Eggless Red Velvet Mini Cakes with Mascarpone frosting

Yield  - Makes 3 mini cakes of approx 3 inch diameter
Inspiration from here.

For the red velvet cake:

1 cup or 120 gms All purpose flour

2 tbsp cornstarch or custard powder

Half cup or 100 gms powdered sugar

Half cup or 125 ml Buttermilk

1 tbsp Vegetable oil

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

2 tbsp cocoa powder unsweetened

3 tbsp Red food color

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting

One and half cup or 360 gms Mascarpone cheese

6 tbsp or 60 gms icing sugar

Vanilla extract

For garnishing

2 or 3 Strawberries sliced length wise

2 tbsp Chocolate shavings

A few sugared silver beads


Prepare the Red velvet Cake:

1. Preheat oven to and grease a shallow pan with oil or butter and line with parchment paper.

2. Sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder and cocoa. Keep aside.

3. In a bowl whisk together buttermilk, oil, sugar, vinegar for 2 mins. Add food color and whisk again for 2 mins.

4. Add the flour mixture to the buttermilk mixture little by little until a smooth batter is formed. Due to buttermilk the batter is quite thin compared to normal cake batters.

5. Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake at 175 deg Celsius for 30 mins or till an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool the cake on rack.

6. Once cake is completely cooled, cut out circles of 3 inch diameter.

Prepare the frosting:

1. Beat the mascarpone for about a minute until smooth and fluffy.

2. Add the icing sugar little by little whisking all along till a smooth mixture is formed. It took me around 5 mins. Be careful not to over beat it as the cheese could curdle.

3. Add the vanilla extract and stir for few seconds and use immediately.

Assembly of the cakes:

1. Fill the frosting in a piping bag with star nozzle. Place a cake circle on a large plate or board  and pipe the frosting to form a layer on top of the cake.

2. Now place another circle on top of the iced layer. Pipe another layer of frosting. So each cake would have 2 layers of cake and frosting.

3. Decorate with a slice of strawberry and chocolate shavings and sugared silver beads.

These are best consumed immediately or within a day when refrigerated.

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1. The thickness of the Cake depends on the baking pan being used.
2. It is best to prepare the mascarpone frosting just before the assembly of the cakes so that it stays fresh.
3. The intensity of the red color may vary depending on the type or brand of the food color. You might have to increase or decrease the quantity of the food color. I used liquid so it took me quite a lot of quantity to attain  the bright red tint. If using gel or powder, the quantity might vary. I have not tried that. But you might have to compensate for the moisture by increasing the oil quantity by another tbsp if you choose to use gel or powder.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Cake Pops


You might have observed that Cake pops have been the trend lately all over the internet and they had been in news especially in the holiday season last year. Yep they are cakes on a stick wrapped in a chocolate! I discovered cake pops via Bakerella last year.


I ve always wanted to make them, but didn't really feel like baking a cake just to crumble it. So when I made the vanilla muffins a couple of weeks ago, I used a few of them to make cake pops. Now, there are cake pop kits available to make this easier, but I don't own one and have made them without a kit. It took a bit of patience but I had so much fun. It was kind of like a cooking cum craft activity. I believe this makes an excellent activity to do with kids or great for kids parties or Valentines day treats.


Cake Pops

Yeild – 6 to 7 cake pops

50 gms cake. Any plain cake will do. Just make sure there are no nuts, chocolate chips fruit pieces etc. This is needed to ensure that the cake pops have an even and smooth structure. I used vanilla cake.
Frosting or icing. Any frosting will do. I used vanilla buttercream.
120gms semisweet chocolate. I used 60% cocoa and white chocolate.
Sprinkles, for decoration
6 to 7 Straws, sturdy ones
1 styrofoam block or a cardboard box to use as a stand for drying the cake pops


1. Crumble the cake with hands or a spatula.

2. Add the frosting one spoon at a time so as to form a dough like mixture. The consistency should be such that the mixture can be rolled into balls. See picture below.

3. Melt about a tbsp of chocolate. Either dark or white.

4. Dip the end of the straw(up to 1 cm) in molten chocolate and insert it into the cake ball. Do this for all cake balls. Refrigerate the cake balls for 2-3 hours at least.

5. Melt the remaining chocolate over boiling water and give it a good stir until smooth. If using both dark and white, melt them separately!

6. Now carefully dip the refrigerated pops into the chocolate such that the chocolate coats the entire cake ball.
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Gently tap off the excess chocolate by tapping the straw on the edge of the bowl. Be Careful while doing this! Excess pressure might cause the cake ball to fall off from the straw.

7. While the chocolate is still wet, decorate with sprinkles or any decorations of your choice. The wet chocolate acts as a glue.

8. Place the cake pops on the Styrofoam block or carton box and allow the chocolate to dry. Alternatively chill the pops in the refrigerator to speed up the process. Since its winter here and temperatures are subzero, I just placed them in my balcony. The time required for the chocolate to harden may vary depending on the brand. It took me around 20-30 mins.


Once the chocolate has dried, cake pops are ready. Enjoy!

Storage - These are best served on the same day or the following day.

Linking this entry to

Sweet Luv 2013 at CooksJoy


Cook like a Celebrity Chef 4 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Eggless Vanilla muffins with Vanilla buttercream frosting

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I bake muffins frequently for my 3 year old. Have done it mostly using condensed milk as a substitution for eggs. But when I discovered the muffins recipe on the lovely Divine Taste that uses milk powder, I wanted to give it a try.
I baked a batch of basic vanilla muffins with tutti frutti(candied fruit mix) last weekend for my nephew. I was very pleased by the results! They were fluffy and light and uber delicious. I will surely be making these often.
I wanted to keep the frosting simple to I stuck with basic vanilla icing and added some sprinkles just to jazz them up.
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Eggless Vanilla Muffins with Vanilla buttercream frosting

Yeild - Makes 12 medium sized muffins.
Makes frosting for 12 – muffins depending on the amount used for each muffin

For the Muffins-
210 gms All purpose flour or plain flour + 2 tsp for dusting
100 gms tutti frutti or candied fruit mix
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
100 gms milk powder
100 gms sugar
100 gms melted butter
250 ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 180 deg.
2. Line muffin tray with muffin cases.
3. Dust the tutti frutti with 2 tsp flour and keep aside.
4. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda.
5. In a separate bowl whisk butter, sugar and vanilla extract until fluffy. I did this for around 5 mins.
6. FOld in the sifted flour mixture into the butter sugar mixture little bz little using a whisk until well incorporated ensuring there are no lumps. Do not overmix.
7. Fold in the tutti frutti
8. Pour the batter into the muffins cases. I filled them to 3/4th capacity because I did not want my muffins to rise much above the muffin cases as I wanted to frost them.
9. Bake for 25 mins or till a skewer or tooth pick comes out clean. Baking time may vary so keep an eye after 15 mins or so.
10. Cool on wire rack or wooden board.
11. Allow them to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting-
150 gms butter at room temperature
120 gms powdered sugar or icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
sprinkles for decoration, optional
1. Whisk the butter until fluffy with a hand held mixer. This took me around 2- 3 mins. Will take longer if you do it by hand.
2. Add vanilla extract, salt and sugar little at time and continue to whisk until well incorporated. I did it for around 10 minutes.
3. Check the spreading consistency of the frosting. If took thick, add a few drops of milk and whisk. If too thin, add sugar until consistency is right so that it can be piped or iced easily.
4. Frost the muffins by filling the frosting into a piping bag with desired nozzle. Alternatively you can frost them using a butter knife. Just place a tsp or so of frosting on the muffin and spread gently with knife until smooth and covered. Garnish with sprinkles, nuts, chocolate chips.
- You can bake them plain or use berries, nuts etc.
- If you like your muffins to rise above the case level, fill the batter up to the brim.

Linking this to Sweet Luv 2013 event at Cooks Joy.