Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Mango-Jaggery Pacchadi (Manga-Vellam Pacchadi)

Some dishes have the invariable quality of making you home-sick and if you are home, bring fond memories of childhood. Most such memories are of mom cooking one of her specialties and we devouring it avidly, or of grandma making her specialty dishes and we as kids helping her out. The summer season causes a lot of nostalgia, whether it is the juicy pink watermelon, mild and smooth musk melons, or the sweet and tangy mangoes.

When it comes to mangoes, we are lucky to find a plethora of varieties, each with their specific characteristics that yield them suitable for various preparations. We have the raw mango we use for pickle, we have the varieties that are best eaten ripe and are a treat in fruit salads, custards and desserts... we also have the kili mookku mangai, that we eat raw, sliced and sprinkled with a dash of chilli powder and salt (ooo... the tanginess in some of these makes my skin crawl and at the same time my mouth waters :), thats weird... )...

It is the preparation that mom makes with this raw mango (kili mookku variety) that is the best nostalgic summer memory of all...

She adds a cup of shredded jaggery and a dash of chilli powder and salt to boiled raw mangoes and makes a smooth pacchadi. This is an awesome side dish with dosa, chappathi or bread. It works as a spread too... Well it can be eaten as such :)... That is what my daughter did when she first discovered its taste...

The pacchadi is a breeze to prepare. It would hardly take 5-15 minutes of preparation time and 15 mins cooking time. And you can multi task as you can see in the write-up below.


Raw Mango (Kili Mookku variety) - 1
Jaggery(shredded) - 1 to 1.5 cups
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Turmeric powder - a pinch

Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Oil - 1/2 tbsp


Slice the raw mango as shown. Add chilli powder, salt and turmeric and boil until soft. Add very little water to cook the mangoes.

While the mangoes are cooking, shred the jaggery. Once the mangoes are cooked, add the shredded jaggery and heat until a smooth gravy is formed. Allow the gravy to bubble a bit.

Temper with mustard seeds.

Verdict: Awesome side dish to any tiffin item. It serves as a good side to rice too.
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Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Chocolate Choco-chip Hot Cross Buns

I am obsessed with chocolate... I am obsessed with browsing and blog-hopping too... just as I am obsessed with black accessories, my black and white polka dot flip-flop, my black leather handbag and my black puff sleeved-top... I am obsessed with getting my recipes right even if they continually go wrong in every subsequent attempt. Folks at home think I am nuts. To be trying out the same recipe and beat it down time and again. My daughter is still too young to figure that out yet... I hope I get over it by the time she is old enough to understand, don't you think? Sigh!

I had made a mistake with the chocolate-chip hot-cross buns and they turned out to be chocolate-marble buns. So I decided to bake the chocolate-chip hot-cross buns the following week:

Chocolate choco-chip Hot-cross Buns:
1/2 cup(120 ml) milk
1 - 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated white sugar
2 cups - all purpose flour 
1/4 cup - cocoa powder
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup - oil
1/4 cup chocolate chips

For the cross:
I used up the left over chocolate custard from the chocolate cornets filling.


1. In a small saucepan, or in the microwave, heat the milk until lukewarm (about 100 degrees F or 38 degrees C).

2. Add the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar and stir to combine. Set aside for about 10 minutes or until the yeast is foamy.

3. Meanwhile in the bowl of your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, spices, and salt.

4. Once the yeast is foamy, gradually add to the flour mixture and beat until the dry ingredients are moistened.

5. Add the melted butter and oil and beat until incorporated.

6. With the mixer on medium low speed, with the dough hook, continue to knead the dough until it is silky smooth and elastic.

7. Add more flour if necessary. 

8. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning the dough once, so the top is lightly greased. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise until it has almost doubled in size (about 1 1/2 - 2 hours).

9. When the dough has doubled in size, gently punch it down to release the air, and divide into 9 equal pieces. 

10. Add chocolate chips and knead into a smooth ball. Form each piece into a small round ball and place on a parchment lined baking sheet (Place three buns to a row, three rows altogether. They should be spaced so they have enough room to double in size.) 

11. Lightly spray a piece of plastic wrap with a nonstick cooking spray, and place lightly over the buns.

12. Place in a warm spot until almost doubled in size (about 60 minutes).

13. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.

14. Brush the tops of the buns with the milk/cream.

15. Fill the chocolate custard in a piping bag or plastic bag. Cut out the tip of the plastic bag and pipe a cross onto the buns. 

16. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the buns are nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

17. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 9 small buns.

Verdict: The buns are awesome and filling :) This one was a super hit. Was worth the second attempt at the recipe!
 priya's signature image at photobucket

Butter tarts - April challenge on Eggless-baking

This month's Eggless Baking Challenge was "Butter tarts" from my favorite reference website joyofbaking. I love tarts, I mean I love baking them, but I am very apprehensive about eating even a single tart. I have not checked myself on a weighing scale ever since I started baking and I am dreading the needle reading :(. I postponed baking this for as long as possible, but finally baked it at the end of the month, just in time for posting it; well, almost!

And yes, delicious as it turned out, I could hardly eat more than a single tiny tart. I passed on the large ones to folks at home.

Tart Crust Pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/8 - 1/4 cup (30-60ml) cold water

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar, until combined using a hand mixer.
Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). 
Pour 1/8 cup (30 ml) water in a slow, steady stream, and keep whisking until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water. I used three tablespoons of water.

Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Flatten into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour before using. This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour.

Take a tablespoon full of dough and spread it in a tart tin. Fill about 10-12 tart tins, cover and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm the dough.

Fill the unbaked tart shells with the filling upto 2/3rds full. Bake at 180 degrees C for about 10 - 15 minutes or until the pastry has nicely browned and the filling is puffed and set. 
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

I used 5 small tart tins and 5 medium sized tart tins.

Original recipe - Tart Filling:

1/3 cup (70 grams) unsalted butter, softened 1 cup (210 grams) light brown sugar 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/4 cup (60 ml) light cream(half-and-half) (10% butterfat) 1/2 cup (120 ml) raisins or chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
I reduced the sugar here to 1/4 cup, since I used 1/4 cup condensed milk. I substituted eggs with 1/2 cup peanut butter. I omitted the nuts. Here is my eggless version:

Tart filling: 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup heavy cream 
1/4 cup condensed milk
Chocolate chips - for garnishing

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, condensed milk, butter, cream and brown sugar into a smooth paste. You got to taste it at this stage... But, watch yourself, as this is a tart filling, and you need to have enough...
Fill upto 2/3rds in the unbaked tart shells. Garnish with chocolate chips.
Verdict: Sweet buttery tarts with wonderful peanut butter filling. Awesome taste and loaded with goodness and calories ofcourse, but lets pretend otherwise!

 priya's signature image at photobucket