Monday, 28 October 2013

Pasiparuppu Murukku

Normal murukku with besan and rice flour is addictive by itself. But with moong dal, I was very much tempted to try this recipe from Gayathri's site. The murukku was simply delicious and addictive. This keeps well for more than a week and we snacked on it several times a day.

Recipe source - Gayathri's cookspot
Rice Flour-2cups
Yellow Split Moong Dhal-1/2cup
Salt-to taste
Butter-1 1/2tbs
Sesame Seeds-3tbs
Pepper Powder-1tsp (adjust according to taste)
Oil-To Deep Fry

1. Wash and soak dhal for 30 minutes.
2. Pressure cook with 1 cup of water for 2 minutes.
3. Open the lid and mash the dhal until mushy.
4. In a bowl, add rice flour, dhal mixture, salt, sesame seeds, pepper powder and butter and mix well.
5. You will get a crumbly mixture.
6. Boil water and add it little by little until you get a soft dough.
7. Use the single-star plate in the murukku press.
8. Fill it with the dough.
9. On the back of a ladle, press out murukku into a spiral.
10. Heat oil and add the pressed out murukku.
11. Fry until golden and the sizzling has stopped.
12. Transfer to a plate and allow it to cool.
13. Store in an air tight jar.
Verdict A must try in place of the regular murukku. It consumes a little more oil than the besan-rice flour variety.

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Sunday, 27 October 2013

Ribbon Pakoda

Diwali is our colourful festival of joy and giving. Everyone has a favourite aspect during this time of the year. A few love shopping for apparel, a few the fireworks, some love making the sweets and savory items, but most love binging on the goodies.

This is one simple and quick recipe for one of the popular savory items.

1 1/2 cups gram flour (beesan or kadala maavu)
1/2 cup rice flour
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ghee
Water to make dough
Oil in kadai for deep frying

Mix the besan and rice flour in a bowl. Add the chili powder and salt.

Add the ghee and make a crumbly mix. Add water to make a stiff dough.

Put into the murukku maker and directly press into heated oil.
Verdict This was a part of our festivities last Diwali and I am posting it in time for this year's festivities.

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Saturday, 26 October 2013

Arisi Vatthal (Rice Fryums)

In any Indian feast the first thing that children start eating is the papad. If there are fryums, the kids love it even better. Infact, it seems like they have an apetite only for the fryums and nothing else in the entire banana leaf.

These fryums and papads are usually grandma's passed on recipes in most families. I am lucky to be one of those. Granny to mom and mom to me. And my little girl shows signs of following in my footsteps too. So this is one yummy snack that we are not going to give up making. Infact, there is no dearth of bright sunny days in our part of the world. Even if it means waking up at 5AM to cook the rice and start making the murukkus by 7AM to take advantage of the sunlight during the day. Ofcourse we come away consuming more than our share of Vitamin D on such days. Still the crisp yummy fryums are worth it. 


Jeera/Cumin - 50 gm
Vella Ellu/White sesame seeds - 50 gm
Perungayam/Asafoetida - 1 tsp
Green chillies - 8 salt - to taste
Rice (Maavu arisi or pacchai arisi) - 8 cups (150 ml rice measuring cup)
Water - 20 cups (1 : 2.5, rice : water ratio)
Juice of 1 Lemon

Hot water - if needed

Large Cooker
Large wooden ladle for mashing
Murukku press
Lots of clean plastic sheets


Wash and clean the rice well. Place the rice and water with salt in the cooker. Grind green chilies with a little water and add the chili paste to the rice in the cooker. Add the asafoetida to the rice too. Close the cooker and boil well giving three whistles.

While the rice is cooking, clean the plastic sheets and spread them on the terrace.

Allow the pressure in the cooker to subside before opening. While the cooked rice is still hot, use a large wooden ladle to mash it well. Add the juice of lemon and keep mixing. The lemon is to make the fryums appear white instead of the pearly dull natural colour of the rice. Add the cumin and sesame seeds and mix well.

Check if the mashed rice mixture consistency is appropriate. Fill the murukku press with the mashed rice and try squeezing it. You should be able to make murukkus without much effort.

If not, add some hot water and mix until you reach the desired consistency.

Fill the murukku press and make long strips of murukku vattal or fryums on the plastic sheets.

The murukku press comes with a few options. The tiny holes are for idiyappam. The two flat rectangular holes are for ribbon pakoda. The star-shaped holes and the plain three holes are for murukku.

In Chennai you can use the star-shaped holes to make the murukku. You can fry them the same evening. But in Bangalore's unpredictable cloud cover, you might have to use the ribbon pakoda to make long strips that will dry quickly.

We generally do not worry about the shape. Since we will break it into 2-3 inch long strips after it has dried up.

As mentioned, make the murkkus on the sheets as early in the morning as possible. Allow them to dry out during the day.

If it is a bright sunny day, it mostly dries up by the end of the day. When you try to take it off the sheet, if it is hard and does not bend, it is almost dry. So take it off the sheet, break it into 3 inch long strips and dry it under the fan overnight. Place the strips back in the sunlight the next day to be extra sure that the fryums are totally dry.

These keep well for as long as a year or two, but mostly they are consumed faster than that ;). Fry them any time in hot oil and have as a snack or serve with rice in place of papad.

Verdict Time consuming, strenuous and ofcourse you end up with a bad tan, but if you take pride in home-made stuff then this is something you should definitely try out. 
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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Marble Cake

Pantry clearance time. I had set out to make this marble cake several times to clear up the bottle of Hershey's chocolate syrup, and each time my little girl would ask for something else. This time she asked for marble cake herself and I decided not to waste an opportunity. It is an exciting and anticipatory moment when you slice the cake to find out how the marble pattern has turned out.

Recipe source - Hershey's kitchen
I made some minor modifications to the recipe.

Hershey's chocolate syrup - 1 cup
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Yoghurt - 1 cup
Eggs - 3
All-purpose flour - 2 3/4 cups
Baking Soda - 1 1/4 tsp
Vanilla exract - 2 tsp
Butter - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 1/2 cups


Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Grease a 12 cup bundt-pan.
Sift the flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
In another large bowl, beat sugar and butter with the vanilla until fluffy and light (3-4 minutes).
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
With the mixer in low speed, add the flour mix and yoghurt alternately, starting and ending with the flour (3 additions of the flour and 2 additions of yoghurt).

Transfer two cups or less, of the vanilla batter to another bowl. Add the chocolate syrup and mix well to make the chocolate batter. Add the 1/4 tsp of baking soda to the chocolate batter. Spoon the vanilla batter into the prepared bowl, into a thin layer. Next add a layer of chocolate batter and then the vanilla batter again. Use the back of a wooden spoon and swirl the batter lightly around. Do not mix.

Bake for 60-70 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely in the bundt pan before removing the cake. Slice and serve plain.

Verdict Super spongy and soft textured cake with a lovely crust. I loved the texture of this cake. I felt there wsa too much chocolate batter. The next time I make this cake, I am going to use 1 1/2 cups of vanilla batter to make the chocolate batter.
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Sunday, 20 October 2013

Red Velvet Cake

Every huge happening in life is a bittersweet experience, each bestowing us with a share of joy and demanding some sort of sacrifice or compromise. College, the first job, marriage, motherhood - yes wonderful milestones, but requiring minor if not major adjustments to our lifestyle, habits, environment and so on. But what matters at the end of the day is that the experiences themselves leave us with a sense of inner peace and calm and help us grow better as humans.

Home baking and food blogging changed my life... I try to squeeze in my hobby into my already demanding schedule, and end up double timing often. But the sense of satisfaction that comes from following my passion is unparalleled and makes all this chaos worthwhile. 

I made this "red velvet cake" for my husband's b'day. I had decided to frost it with white chocolate ganache. The red velvet sponge turned out perfect. But the ganache was funny. I will get to that story in a bit. So this was a bittersweet experience too. A perfect sponge with an imperfect frosting. Well, that is life!
Recipe Source (

Since I followed the recipe for the sponge to the t, I will omit repeating it here.

About the ganache. I had read on blogs and other cooking websites that the dark chocolate ganache recipe can be used to make white chocolate ganache too. Having that confirmation, I just proceeded to make the ganache with the following proportions:

200 grams - white chocolate
3/4 cup - whipping cream
2 tablespoon - unsalted butter

The actual proportions for white chocolate ganache to be spreadable or for it to set is: 
340 grams of white chocolate and 45-60 ml of cream. Butter can be omitted. (info source: Ganache problem). The next time I plan to use these proportions.

But no one even noticed the runny ganache. The frosting was so yummy and so was the sponge. 

Do try the red-velvet sponge and the contrasting cream-cheese or white chocolate frosting. It is a feast to look at. 

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Saturday, 19 October 2013

Original Eggless Banana Oats Muffins

 "A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others." - Ayn Rand.

I bake at my own pace. Blog at my own pace. There are a few disasters every now and then ofcourse. And those do not make it to the blog, most often not even to the dining table. Mom and me bury the secret right at the kitchen... That is only until the subsequent attempt is a success. No accolades, only lots of creative inputs from family and friends, plenty of tips and feedback from blogger friends... But the underlying passion to create and consume keeps me going. A creativity that fuels productive pursuits... And a product of that pursuit is this original recipe from my kitchen.


1/2 cup Oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup butter milk
1/4 cup butter
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
a pinch - salt
Blueberry or Chocolate syrup - optional


To make Buttermilk
Measure 1 cup of milk minus 1 tbsp into a bowl. Add one tbsp of vinegar. Gently mix and let th emilk stand for 5 - 10 mins.

In a large bowl, whish together the all purpose flour, wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Place the oats in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk over it. Let it stand for 10-15 minutes.

Melt the butter and keep aside.

Mash the bananas and keep aside.

Make a well in the dry flour mixture and pour the oats-buttermilk mixture in the centre. Quickly combine the wet and dry ingredients using a spatula. Add the melted butter and mashed bananas and combine. Do not overmix or the muffins will turn out tough and rubbery.

Grease and line the muffin cups or muffin tray. I used a mini-muffin tray and 7 normal size silicone muffin molds

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Spoon the muffin batter to fill half the mold. Pour a few drops of blueberry or chocolate syrup and cover again with a spoon of batter. I just did this for some extra zing. The muffins turn out sticky in the middle. You can omit the syrup.

Bake the mini-muffins for 15 minutes and normal sized muffins for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean.

Super-soft spongy and yummy muffins. The mini muffins were downed in no time :)
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Tuesday, 1 October 2013

September Challenge on Baking Eggless - Ferrero Rocher Tarts

On my first visit to Malaysia, I almost bought a big box of "Ferero Rocher" at an unbelievable price, only to realize that it is a duplicate product (note the missing "R") at the time of billing. The box, the logo, the wrapping, everything looked authentic. Such was the fascination for these lovely smooth, nutty flavoured chocolates, that I was terribly disappointed then. I fondly remember the times that I bit into these yummy chocolate, every time I taste nutella. I was super excited to see this month's challenge for the same reason and enjoyed this one every step along the way. 

We typically have a few approaches to problem solving in computer science. The most popular trick is to modularize or break down problems into smaller sub-problems, solve the smaller problems and combine those solutions to obtain the final solution. This is called the "divide-and-conquer" approach. I practically adapted the same for making these tarts. 

Four components to the tart and each one a lengthy procedure by itself with a proofing or chilling period. It had to be done this way in my completely chaotic and disorganized kitchen. 

So looking at the recipe, it seemed simple enough. Roast hazelnuts and caramelize them. Except that hazelnuts are not available in this part of the world. So that left me the option to go with walnuts or almonds and I picked walnuts. Next was the Chocolate Hazelnut Thing - I had to again use Nutella here. That seemed simple enough. The tart shells were a regular affair. That seemed fine too.

The tricky part seemed to be the Hazelnut Mousse. Making eggless custard was not the problem here. Haven't we been making custards eggless in this part of the world from ever since I can remember? For me, the tricky part was the use of gelatin. I had never used gelatin before and I was not sure how long it takes to set. I should have probably made the mousse first, instead of making everything else and waiting for the mousse the set. Hmm... Lesson learnt. 

Please bear with the lengthy post and read on till the end. I promise you there is a point to my philandering ways ;)

Please find the original recipe from Trissalicious at the given link. I am presenting the converted-to-eggless and scaled-down-by-half recipe here:

First the tart base. Probably you should bake this last. 

Tart base adapted from Matt Moran:
Ingredients: (converted from weight to volume)
Cocoa powder - 6 tbsp
Cold butter - 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp
Caster Sugar - 3 tbsp
Egg - 1 ( replace with 3-4 tbsp of cream)
All purpose flour - 1 1/4 cup
Baking Powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp


1. Place the butter, caster sugar, cocoa powder in a food processor and pulse until it resembles fine bread crumbs.
2. Add the cream, flour and baking powder and process until the mixture just comes together.
3. Lay the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a disc measuring around 2 cm in height. 4. Cover with plastic wrap and place int he refrigerator for an hour to rest.
5. Place the dough back on to a lightly floured surface and roll out until around 2 mm thick.
6. Cut the dough into circles, 1 cm wider than the shell, to form the wall.
7. Place the cut dough in the tart shells and allow to refrigerate for another 1 hour.
8. When ready, blink bake for 10 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees C.
9. Once done, bake for another 5 minutes.
10. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Hazelnut Mousse (adapted from Baking and Pastry, Culinary Institute of America):
Milk - 3/4 cup
Caster sugar - 3 tbsp
Omit the 1 1/2 eggs from the original recipe.
Cornflour - 2 tbsp
Nutella - 2 tbsp
Cream - 1/2 cup
Gelatin - 1 tsp


1. Mix the sugar and cornflour with about 1/4 cup of milk and make a smooth paste.
2. Heat the remaining 1/2 cup of milk and when it comes to a boil, quickly add the milk-cornflour paste stirring all the while.
3. Keep cooking until the mixture becomes thick.
4. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
6. Mix the Nutella with the custard using a whisk.
7. Semi-whip the cream and keep aside.
8. Place the gelatin crystals in a small bowl. Pour a table spoon of water to soften the gelatin crystals.
9. Heat the gelatin bowl in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.
10. Mix the gelatin into the custard.
11. Fold the custard into the whipped cream.
12. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Chocolate-Hazelnut thing (adapted from David Chang's Momofuku Cookbook)
Nutella - 2 tbsp
Chocolate (semi-sweet or milk) - 4 tbsp
Oil - 2 drops
Salt - 1 pinch
Corn Syrup - 1/2 tsp
Crushed Caramelized walnuts - 2 tbsp

1. Place all ingredients in a microwave bowl.
2. Microwave in 20 second intervals on high until the chocolate has melted.
3. I repeated the process twice.
4. Add the caramelized walnuts until ready to use.

Caramelized Hazelnuts

Sugar - 2 tbsp
Water - 1 tbsp
Toasted walnuts - 3/4 cup

1. Place walnuts on a roasting tray.
2. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes until the walnuts appear slightly browned. Slightly rearrange the walnuts in-between the microwave duration.
3. Crush the roasted walnuts.
4. Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan.
5. Add the toasted walnuts and take the pan off the heat.
6. Mix the nuts until the texture changes to become sugary.
7. Bring the pan back on the heat.
8. Mix carefully until the sugar turns into golden caramel color.
9. Place on parchment paper to cool.

To assemble the tarts, pipe some hazelnuts mousse on to the chocolate tart shells and then top with the chocolate hazelnut thing and a few caramelized walnuts.

Verdict Given the ingredients that go into this tart, there is hardly any doubt as to how it would have tasted. The texture turned out well too. Just that I should have taken care of the order in which these components had to be made. First the hazelnut mousse, then the dough for the tart shell, caramelized nuts while the dough is chilling, chocolate hazelnut spread when the tart shells are baked and allowed to cool down. So the moral here is, even if you adopt the divide and conquer approach, the order in which you solve the sub-problems matter. 
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