April 21, 2017

Quick Rava Laddu/ Semolina Laddu/ Rava Unda

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Glass jar full of colorful sweets, cookies and biscuits are common in local grocery stores in India. Rava/Semolina laddu was a popular sweet that adorned one of these glass jar during my childhood days. I remember making this dish  several times at home with my mom and very often instead of rolling it up into balls we just leveled into a steel plate and cut it out as barfi. I always had a penchant for these laddus. It was recently that Famidha from My Life in Yanbu expressed her love for semolina and desire to even create a semolina recipes only blog! That is when I got all pumped up to make this laddu again. It is easy with minimal ingredients and done in under 15 minutes. 

So if you have guests popping in at short notice this is a recipe for you , after all semolina is an ingredient readily available in our household.


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Ingredients
  1. Roasted Rava/Semolina - 1 cup
  2. Dessicated coconut -  1/2 cup
  3. Sweet condensed milk - 1/2 cup
  4. Warm milk - 3 tbsp
  5. Ghee - 2 tbsp
  6. Nuts/ raisins
Method
  • Heat ghee in a deep bottomed pan. Add the rava and roast it for two minutes on low flame.
  • Add the dessicated coconut and stir for another minute.
  • Add the condensed milk, warm milk and mix this well. Turn off the flame.
  • Grease your hands with ghee and while the mixture is still warm scoop out spoonfuls and make balls of equal size.
  • Addition of nuts and raisins is purely your choice. In case, you want to add roast it along with the rava.
You may also note - 
  • Can be stored in airtight container up to a week.



April 16, 2017

Pineapple Chiffon Cake with Spiced Pineapples

Happy Easter !!

I did want this post to be done a couple of days early but Easter seems a good enough reason for this cake recipe to go through. I completed two years of blogging this month and if someone told me two years back that this would happen, I would never believe it! Now that I am here, I would just love to say THANK YOU to everyone. 

While I try out my mamma's recipes, she tries some of mine too! My Pappa  religiously clicks away pictures of recipes from newspapers and magazines for me and my sister believes that my blog will make it big some day! My cousins - Vinitha and Neenu - one who diligently gives me ideas and other who meticulously reads them and  questions. My mother in law is the first one to share my recipes on facebook and my bro - in- law and co sister who always read my write ups and provide their comments. My love to all my friends, fellow bloggers and friends who are the reason why I am still in this blogging space and enjoy being here. And to Shibin, well this is our blog so technically it is Thank you from both of us to all of you!

On to my recipe - I wanted to make a pineapple cake and some research led me to this pineapple chiffon cake. So, the next question - what exactly is a chiffon cake? Chiffon cake is simply made with vegetable oil and fluffed up by beating the egg white to form peaks - sort of a cross between a sponge cake and oil cake. With a little bit of tweaking and addition of spiced pineapples - I had my pineapple chiffon cake with spiced pineapples.

kitchenspells.blogspot.com

Ingredients

For the cake -
  1. All purpose flour - 2 cups
  2. Egg - 4 
  3. Sugar - 1 cup + 4 tbsp
  4. Vegetable oil - 1/2 cup
  5. Canned pineapple slices with syrup - 450 gms ( about 10 pineapple slices)
  6. Vanilla essence - 1/2 tsp + 1/4 tsp
  7. Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
  8. Star anise - 2
  9. Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp
  10. Whipping cream - 2 cups
  11. Powdered sugar - 3 tbsp
  12. Water - 4 tbsp
  13. Ghee/ Clarified butter - 1 tbsp
  14. Salt - 1 pinch
Method

Spiced caramelised pineapples
  • Heat a frying pan and add 4 tbsp of sugar to it. Let it melt, brown and caramelise. Add 4 tbsp of water to it - initially it would form lumps but let it boil and it would form a thick syrup. 
  • Reduce the flame and add sliced pineapple to this along with the star anise and cinnamon powder.  Let it caramelise into a beautiful golden yellow. Flip and move around so that it caramelises uniformly on medium flame. Once done, add a tablespoon of ghee and let it caramelise for another 2 minutes. Switch off and let it cool.
Chiffon cake
  • Separate the egg yolks and the egg whites. Beat the egg white stiff.
  • Sieve together the flour, baking powder, salt and set aside.
  • Bring together the wet ingredients - vegetable oil, egg yolks, 1/2 a cup of pineapple syrup from the canned pineapples and vanilla essence. Add the sugar and using a spatula combine them well.
  • Add the flour in batches incorporating them well into the wet ingredients.
  • Finally, add the beaten egg whites and fold them in together.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 degree centigrade and bake the cake for 35 to 45 minutes or till a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
  • Transfer to a cooling tray and let it cool.
Whipping Cream
  • Keep a bowl and whisk in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  • Add the whipping cream, 1/4 tsp essence and vanilla essence into the bowl and whisk on high speed for 6 to 8 minutes till it forms peak stiffs.
  • Refrigerate it until it is time to use.
Combining and decorating
  • Slice the cake into two layers. Level the cake by slicing off any uneven surface. 
  • Prick the cake randomly with a pin and drizzle 1/2 a cup of pineapple syrup for making the layers moist.
  • For the two layer cake, use the layer sliced off from the top as the bottom layer while frosting and keep the bottom of the cake inverted at the top for the top layer. This is done to get a level surface on top.
  • Keep one layer on a rotating cake stand. Slather a generous amount of whipped cream on this layer. Chop five of the spiced pineapple slices and spread this on the whipped cream. Spread a little bit more of whipping cream to hold it together.
  • Keep the bottom of the cake inverted on the top of this. Press it gently.
  • Slather whipping cream on the top of the cake and also on the sides. Decorate the top of the cake with spiced pineapples. Pipe designs on the top for the final touch!
Things to note - 
  1. Let the cake cool before starting the frosting.
  2.  If you are not into decorating - you could simply have the layers slathered with whipping cream and topped with pineapple leaving the edges bare and no piping as well.
  3. If you are using whipping cream for the first time - do not panic! You will find that it has the consistency of nothing but cream first and as you beat it it thickens up and forms peaks. Over beating may result in curdling up.

April 10, 2017

Potato Bhaji

You know, there are some growing up memories that just never fade away and the happiest ones are invariably around the dinner table. Our family had a few ground rules - did I ever mention that my parents are professors? (No wonder we had rules!:P) Rules need not always be bad and are not always meant to be broken. There are some rules that shape your habits and looking back you would never regret having followed them. Our rules were simple -

  1. Always have every meal together - be it breakfast, lunch or dinner! We still follow it.
  2. Never skip a meal. Mamma says,' if you skip a meal it is I who go hungry not you', so I make sure she never goes hungry:)
  3. No TV while eating! Gosh, I wish I could follow that one. That is one rule we had to coax Pappa into relenting at times when our favorite TV programs were running.
  4. It was always the same meal for everyone, no specials! You like it, eat it or eat whatever you like that is on the table but special food for one individual was hardly ever made. Mamma alternated between everyone's favorite.
Small things in life but ones which shapes certain routines in your life.  Sometimes the most important decisions in life are taken around dinner table and the most precious moments are created there. Food is not just about living - food is love - food is sharing happiness - food brings family together! One of my favorite food in my school days were chapatti and potato bhaji. We called it the yellow potato curry:) This has always been my go to recipe for lazy evenings. It is quick - pairs well with chapati and poori and it can well beat the bhaji served at restaurants. 

kitchenspells.blogspot.com

Ingredients

  1. Potato - 2 large chopped into cubes
  2. Onion - 1 medium sliced
  3. Green Chilli - 2-3 slit ( increase or decrease as per your spice quotient)
  4. Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  5. Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
  6. Curry Leaves - 1 sprig
  7. Oil - 1 tbsp
  8. Water
  9. Salt to taste
Method
  • Cook the potato along with onion, green chilli, turmeric powder, water and salt. You may use a pressure cooker with water just enough to cover the potatoes and let it cook up to two whistles. Alternatively, use a cooking pot but add more water and let it cook covered.
  • Once the potato is cooked. Mash it using a laddle until the potato is coarsely mashed and the gravy thickens. In case you have excess water, run on high flame for a while to get rid of the excess water.
  • In a separate pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds. Once it splutters add curry leaves to this.
  • Add the tempering to your gravy and keep it covered until served. There you are - potato bhaji is all ready!
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