Friday, 10 April 2015

Karikku Payasam or Tender coconut Payasam

Made this amazing Karikku Payasam or Tender coconut payasam/kheer for my husbands star bday...what's that?

 Well you see,we malayalees have two sure all do,but we are the crazy payasam fans..looking for reasons to make them,...the star we are born in,as in today being kartika is marked as our star bday,it is either a few days before or after the date of birth ....
It is usually marked on our calender when amma or dad call and remind us today is my jeevan saathis star bday...payasam of his favorite payasam...

Karikku Payasam...

3 tender coconuts
1Litre Milk
Jaggery syrup[to taste]
1 tetra pack of Coconut Milk(200ml)
Cardamom Powder
Fried Cashews

Boil one litre milk n make it half a litre..
Add the paste of two tender coconut flesh and jaggery syrup according to taste.{i used about two katoris of powdered jaggery and made a thick syrup by boiling it with some water..I did need to add more powdered jaggery later on as the sweetness was not enough ,for payasam]

Add a tetra pack of coconut milk

Mix well...add the flesh of one tender coconut ,cut into small pieces...
Add elaichi powder and fried cashews...

Yummmmy payasam ready
PS.. And well, drink the Coconut not use in the payasam...except to grind the flesh of the coconut ,probably.

Tardis Cake :)

Hello people,
wanted to share this special cake i baked n sculpted for my niece...the theme is Tardis[i had no idea what that was] from a serial , Dr.Who...its supposed to be a run down phone booth that doubles up as a time travelling machine too....
The cake was a chocolate one...recipe I took from,its a yumm moist and v.chocolatey cake.
recipe is as follows
I am copy pasting it from the as not to miss anything out..
1. 120 gm of semi-sweet chocolate chopped
2. 50 gm of unsalted butter room temperature
3. Half cup of confectioners’ sugar
4. 2 eggs separated
5. One third cup of all-purpose flour
6. Two tablespoon of cocoa powder
7. One table spoon of baking powder
8. One tablespoon of powder sugar for whipping egg whites
9. Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven ay 180* C, and prepare your cake tin. In a medium heat proof bowl melt the chocolate over simmering water and add the butter to it. When the chocolate and the butter have melted completely, let the mixture sit on the kitchen counter to cool slightly. Now when the chocolate mix is cold enough add the egg yolks to it and gently give it a stir. (Make sure you cool your chocolate mix before adding eggs to it, or you will end up with chocolate scrambled eggs).
Now sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder salt and sugar. And keep this dry mixture aside.
In a clean big bowl using a hand electric mixer or a stand mixer to whip the egg whites and sugar till soft peak.
Now very carefully and slowly add the dry ingredients mixture and chocolate mix to the egg whites alternatively. Do not whisk them vigorously, but make sure they are mixed well together.
Pour this cake batter into the baking pan and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes. Don’t forget to do the doneness test before you take the cake out of the oven. Let the cake cool on the wire rack for some time and then cover the cake with cling plastic wrap and cool it properly before frosting.
Frosting or crumb coating was done with dark chocolate ganache.
[mix one tetra pack of hot cream to 350 to 400 gms of chopped and use]
Then i scultpted the Tardis and painstakingly finished it off [tore the fondant once and cried like a baby...hihih..then did i all over emoticon }
tada....tardis for my niece..Anisha.

Spicy malabari prawn curry with added raw mangoes

Super lunch ..fragrant and tasty

OK...I have requests for most days now...i am tied up and they call it holidays...
Well...aaj ka lunch... My macchiwali didi got me fresh prawns and I wanted to cook something pure malabari....yummmm
Got this recipe long back from a TV program.
Its absolutely fragrant and yummy
Here goes
Prawns shelled 250 gms
Methi seeds 1/2 tsp
Shallots 5 to 6 sliced
Tomato 2 sliced
Ginger garlic paste 1 tsp
Green chilly

Curry leaves 1 spring
Tamarind paste
Coconut oil for cooking

Turmeric 3/4 tsp
Chilly pdr 2 tsp
Pepper powder 1 to 2 tsp
Coriander powder 1 and 1/2 tsp
Any meat masala 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Grind one katori grated coconut, one and half tsp saumf or fennel seeds, 3 to 4 shallots, 2 garlic ,a few curry leaves and a healthily pinch of turmeric.Grind to a paste n fry it in a little oil and keep aside
In a mud chatti ( this is a mud kadhai of sorts that is a main utensil in Kerala households..especially at non veg enthusiast homes) heat a couple if tsps of coconut oil .
Add methi seeds .Once they crackle ,add the sliced shallots.Saute till the shallots turn a light golden in color.
Now add the sliced tomato and curry leaves.
Next is green chilly and ginger garlic paste.
Let the tomatoes turn mushy.
Now add turmeric , coriander powder ,chilly powder ,pepper,meat masala and salt...once the raw smell of the masala is gone,add the tamarind paste.
Mix well and add the prawns and mix the masala into the prawns.Add 1/4 cup water and cover and cook the prawns for 2 to 3 mins.
Once prawns are done,add the ground paste and mix well...check seasonings and make sure the curry doesn't boil vigorously once the paste us added....just let it all mix.add water if needed....take off heat.
Garnish with coriander leaves...serve hottttttt

Close up of the beauty

Monday, 26 January 2015

Dhaaba Shtyle Rajma

Childhood in our sleepy lil hamlet of Alwal was made memorable by the yummy food my mom dished out,hungry after playing ,we would devour it all up in a jiffy.There was another sweet chef who fed us the most yummy punjaabi khaana ..left us wanting for more and more...Our dear Aunty...She was mom to our  best friends.
.For us ,she was a constant supply of yummilicious Punjabi khaana...starting from the masala chai to the kadhi to the plain dal to the.......Rajma.....I could kill for this dish...
I remember,I used to be thrilled when my mom and dad had to go out and  left us at Auntys home ,in my lil mind was the undying hope that aunty would have made rajma for lunch[please God please!!!]

Years later ,when I was pregnant with my second baby,I craved for rajma like never before...Unfortunately I was not able to have the rajma to my was never the same as aunty made..I have found myself searching for the perfect Rajma recipe ....never the familiar taste.

I chanced upon a recipe from the net and did my additions to that....and BAM!!!I had the perfect recipe....THE PERFECT RAJMA!!

My recipe asks for unsoaked kidney beans[rajma] 
If you wish you can soak and cook it .


Rajma 250gms
Onions -3 big sliced
Tomatoes-4 to 5 big sliced
Ginger -a small piece
Jeera-1/2 tsp

Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
Chilly powder-2 or more tsp[depends on how spicy you want it to be]
Kitchen king Masala-1 and 1/2 tsp
Garam masala-two pinches[purely optional]

Garnish with coriander leaves

1.Cook the unsoaked rajma in a cooker [with enough water] for  10 to 12 whistles[if you add a pinch of baking soda,it gets cooked in 7 whistles,I read that info in thefoodofindia blog]
2.Take a kadhai and heat oil in it.Add jeera and let it splutter
3.Add the sliced onions ,ginger and garlic
4.Once the onions get transparent,add the masalas and saute
5.Add the chopped tomato and add salt.
6.Cook till mushy soft and well done.
7.Cool and grind to a paste
8.Mix this gorgeous paste to the cooked rajma ,add a cup of water[if needed] and check for seasonings.
9.Close the cooker and cook the rajma for another 2 whistles[or simply boil on medium flame for 20 mins...pressure cooker is easier ,na?]
10.Once the pressure has,add a spoon of ghee and chopped coriander

Resist as much as you can....the heady Rajma aroma,its silken texture and taste will get you ,once and for all :D

Serve hot with phulkas or with plain rice.....
Sheer blissssssssssssss.........

Monday, 22 September 2014

Sugar Cookies with royal icing
Hello peoples...been a long time.Have been busy and basically fighting attacks of laziness that lasts for more than 24 hours 
My lil girl has been after me to bake some cookies,and sugar cookies at that.Well seriously I wasnt in mood for cookies..but couldnt handlethe pouty face for more than 2 minutes...hence agreed.
Must say ,it was v.easy...the house smelt divine and the cookies got polished off[thankfully i halved the dough and kept one portion in the fridge  ..I got this amazing recipe from Pininterest, .
Am copy pasting the recipe as is....i made it just the way it has been explained.
3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, unsalted, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, large, lightly beaten
1 TBS milk
2 TBS powdered sugar
In a medium-sized bowl whisk together:
3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Using a stand mixer, whisk until creamed (light yellow in color):
1 cup butter, unsalted , softened
1 cup granulated sugar
Add to the butter mixture and whisk in:
1 egg, large , lightly beaten
1 TBS milk
Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture, and beat until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
Divide the dough in half, wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Sprinkle surface where you will roll out the dough:
2 TBS powdered sugar
Remove one wrapped pack of dough from the refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick.
Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 mins. to chill.
Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment paper or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges.
Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to a cooling rack.
Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.
The Icing recipe is a mix from many sites.I jus added what I felt would work 
1 cup icing sugar
3 tsp milk [or more]
2 tsp corn syrup [or more]
mix all of these without lumps.divide and add food colour and essence if needed.
Ice designs on the cooled cookies.wait for it to set before you serve it.
Waiting to be iced

Anagha tries her hand at designing

blue n pink heart

aimless designs :)

the flower almost looks like a snowflake..dont you think?

made for Anaghas best froiend ,Wami.

Tada...happy baccha party 

Monday, 5 May 2014

Fly away Pickle :)

Holidays are here...summer heat is also here..though not very welcome,it does bring in its share of gifts. Apart from undesirable "gifts" like sunburn,prickly heat and sun stroke...,we do get to indulge in summer fruits..mangoes,watermelon...yumm.

I am in awe of people who pickle foods and use the yumminess later.Perfect way of preserving one seasons offerings right through the other seasons.

When a dear friend Mona ,asked me if I could pack some of the mango pickle for her to take back home to Muscat,I was surprised.I never felt I made top class pickles.
I was happy that my family loved the pickles and preserves I made ,to think that someone else would want to have some...was very flattering :)

Well,I decided to make a whole new lot of mango pickle for her.
I made a traditional avakkai pickle ,a famous pickle from Andhra Pradesh.
Bite size raw mango chunks sundried and then mixed with Sesame oil and red hot spices and condiments.

I sundried them once more after they were made,just to prevent any chances of moulding,lateron.

Had the pickle packed ,sealed and tagged[thanx to my super hubby ] a day before she arrived.

She was very pleased to see the bottle, I was the one having spicy regurgitations...What if she didnt like it?What if it was too spicy?too salty?..what if it leaked??????

Mona has taken her flight to Muscat and I am waiting with bated breath ...for a all clear !
Mona sweetly whatsapped that the pickle was a hit ..and thankfully no complains about leaks or breaks.

Mission accomplished!!Paaras Vignettes is official ..packed ,tagged and all.... :)
mango chunks with a coating of salt and turmeric 


Some spice added to the sundrying mango

Whole lot of spices and oil mixed in with a heavy dose of garlic

one more lot of sun cooking before being bottled 
all bottled and packed.

Paaras Vignettes all set to go abroad!!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Avial ...Ammas Recipe

Avial is a well known dish..this I learnt when Sanjeev Kapoor declared on some show, that Avial was one of his favorite dishes!!!
Frankly, all my childhood,I just crinkled up my nose when my amma made Avial..I just couldn't understand the "funda" of these adults who oohed and aahed with every bite of those vegetables.
When I shifted to hostel ,far far away from home,I yearned for these very vegetables and curries that amma so lovingly made. The "sorry -excuse -for -a -curry" that was served in hostel made all of us regret shunning the yummy home food,at one time or the other .

This fact of life, I try to knock into my kids heads,but in vain[I guess they take after their mom]

Ok Back to Avial....well,it was certainly not one of my favorite dishes ever,but when I came home on a short vacation once,amma had lovingly mixed up some avail and hot steaming rice with pappadams.I remember ,I had binged like there was no tomorrow...and that's when I realized ,how many avail lunches I had wasted!!

My mother and her mother spin stories around pretty much anything. Makes vacation completely worthwhile. This is a story that my grandmom told us.

When the Pandavas were in exile and were living in disguise, as simple poor brahmans. They went to Panchal kingdom for the Swayamvara of the princess.
The brahmans headed to seat themselves in the courtroom, while  Bheema, who was the "perpetually hungry one " went into the kitchen to check on the spread.

As my amma says, poor kid just tasted and checked on salt in all the dishes . The utensils were swiped clean...and the cooks and helpers in the kitchen started blaming Bheema .
He was irritated and just wanted to slip free from there. So he asked the helpers to get all the "leftover" stuff.
The helpers got pieces of different vegetables, leftover scraped coconut [the milk squeezed dry from it, for payasam], some pots of curd ....Bheema quickly cooked the vegetables after slicing them lengthwise, added the coconut and chillys after pounding them and then poured the curd ...he mixed it and poured a ladlefull of coconut oil... huffed, and left the kitchen .

When people were served this assorted vegetable curry, they did not even ask for sambar or any other curry. They kept asking for more of "this" curry.. It became a super hit. Finally one person asked, what is the name of this curry?? The brahman from the crowd said... "Bheeman Curry" [this is time when amma smiles her best smile :D]And thus was born..Avial.

This story has worked with my son. He was made to believe that avial has the magical powers of Bheema.By the time he realized that he was being tricked,he grew to love the curry :)

There are many recipes of avial. My mom in law makes a terrific avial, in which she  incorporates ,raw mango is yummilicious. Will post her recipe in a bit. I will today post the recipe of the avial I shunned and then loved !! My ammas recipe.The Bheeman curry :)

1.Vegetables that can be used are
  • Ash Gourd/Bhopla/Kumbalengya/Safed kaddu
  • Pumpkin
  • Raw banana
  • String Beans
  • Suran/Jimikand/Elephant foot yam
  • Snake Gourd
  • Tindora/Tindli/Ivy Gourd or Gherkins
  • Cucumber

2.The ground paste that forms the base of the curry
   Half a coconut grated
   5 to 6 green chilly

3.Thick yogurt-beaten nice.

5.Salt to taste
6.Coconut oil
7.Curry leaves


Cut all the vegetables in long strips.,and cook together with some turmeric and salt and very little water.
Grind together the grated coconut and green chilly[add more chilly if you like the heat]
Mix the ground coconut and the yogurt.
Add it to the cooked vegetables .Mix well.take off heat[don't allow it to boil]
Pour a generous amount of coconut oil and bruised curry leaves.
Serve with hot rice ,pappadams and enjoy the Bheeman Curry...

One Picture minus the flash :)