Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Marble cup cakes

Cupcakes with streaks of vanilla and chocolate flavors.

I was looking for a simple recipe which would satisfy my sweet tooth and give a boost to my zeal for baking. I find the swirly duo of chocolate & vanilla in marble cakes very pleasing. It occurred to me, why not try them as cupcakes. So here's the recipe for it. Give it a shot and you will be pleased with the results just like I was.

Serves 14-16 cupcakes.

Prep Time : 25 minutes
Cook Time : 30 minutes

  • All purpose flour - 2 cup ( Self-rising flour could be used instead )
  • Baking soda - 2 teaspoon ( Skip this if you are using self-rising flour )
  • Milk - 1 cup at room temperature
  • Butter -1/2 cup( 1 stick ) unsalted at room temperature
  • Vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder - 1/3 cup 
  • Boiling water - 1/4 cup
  • Sugar - 1 cup
  • Eggs - 3
  • Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Steps followed :

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the muffin tray with paper liners.

In a large bowl, take the sieved flour. Add baking soda and salt to it and mix it lightly. If you are using self-rising flour, skip adding the baking powder.

In another bowl, take the butter and granulated sugar and blend it until you get a creamy mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat them till the mixture is fluffy. Add the vanilla essence and give the mixture a final stir.

Now add flour mixture in small quantities to the vanilla mixture, alternating with additions of milk. See to it that no lumps are formed.Stir and beat gently until they are combined well and you get a smooth mixture. 

Divide 1/3 rd of the batter and use this part to make the chocolate batter. Mix cocoa powder in boiling water.  Once the cocoa mixture is well combined, stir it into this reserved 1/3rd part of the batter. 

Fill the lined muffin cups with vanilla and chocolate batter, alternatively. Do not fill the cups fully. Let it be 3/4th filled, so that the cup cakes have enough space to puff up while it bakes. With a tooth pick, give a swirling motion to the batter to get a marbled appearance.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. You can see the curst getting a light gold color as it bakes. Insert a knife/tooth pick in the centre to check if the cup cake is baked enough. If the tooth pick comes out clean, it means its done. 

You can remove the cup cakes from the tray once they have cooled. Swirling dark n white marble cup cakes are up for grabs. Enjoy!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Banana Bread

A bread variety made with ripe bananas and nuts.

Banana bread is perfect for a quick breakfast, as a light snack, or even as a low-calorie dessert.It is a very easy recipe to use the over-ripened bananas which are not very pleasing to eat as is. The nuts, add the extra crunchiness and makes the bread very interesting. 

Serves 4

Prep Time : 20 minutes
Cook Time : 30 minutes

  • All purpose flour - 1 cup ( Self-rising flour could be used instead )
  • Baking soda - 1/2 teaspoon ( Skip this if you are using self-rising flour )
  • Unsalted Butter - 1/4 cup
  • Sugar - 1/4 cup 
  • Eggs - 1
  • Bananas - 1 cup ,mashed overripe
  • Vanilla essence - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Nuts ( walnuts/almonds ) - 1/2 cup ,chopped 
  • Pinch of salt
  • Oil to grease the pan.
Note : I used a 5 x 3 Inch mini loaf pan/muffin tray. The measurements are suited for a mini-loaf rather than a full loaf

Steps followed :

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare the pan for baking by lightly greasing all the sides of the pan with oil.

In a large bowl, take the sieved flour. Add baking soda and salt to it and mix it lightly. If you are using self-rising flour, skip adding the baking powder.

In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add the egg to it and stir it well, until the mixture is fluffy.Next, add the mashed bananas and vanilla essence and blend it well.
    Gently, stir in the banana mixture into flour mixture. See to it that no lumps are formed.Add the chopped nuts.Stir lightly, just to moisten till you get a uniform smooth batter.

    Pour the batter into greased loaf pan.Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. You can see the crust turning golden. Insert a knife/tooth pick in the centre to check if the bread is baked enough. If the tooth pick comes out clean, it means its done. 

    Remove the banana bread from the oven. Let it cool for 10-15 minutes. 

    Invert it on a plate from the loaf pan once it is cooled. Slice it up as you like. Banana Bread is ready to be served.

    Wednesday, July 31, 2013

    Paneer Tikka (oven based)

    Cottage cheese marinated in Indian spices and grilled with veggies.

    Paneer Tikka is the one of the most favorite appetizers amongst Indian food lovers. Traditionally it is grilled inside a clay tandoor. Alternatively, it can be skewered and grilled on an outdoor grill, oven or on the stove-top. This version of paneer tikka makes use of an oven to grill the paneer and veggies.

    Serves 4

    Prep Time : 30 minutes

    Cook Time : 30 minutes

    • Paneer - 200 gms
    • Sour cream or hung curd/yogurt - 3 tablespoons
    • Red chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
    • Turmeric powder - 1/8 teaspoon
    • Chaat masala - 1/2 teaspoon
    • Crushed black pepper - 1/2 teaspoon
    • Ginger garlic paste - 1 teaspoon
    • Lemon juice - 1/2 lemon
    • Ajwain - 1 teaspoon
    • Salt as per taste
    • Oil as required
    • Capsicum - 3/4 cup cubed pieces (I used green and red ones)
    • Onion - 1 medium sized (cut into cubes)
    • Tomato - 1 medium sized (deseed and cut them into cubes)
    • Skewers as needed (Wooden skewers need to be soaked in water for about an hour to prevent them from burning in the oven)

    Steps followed :

    Defrost the paneer in a microwave. Cut them into bite sized square pieces. (Ensure that they are big enough for the marinade to sink in uniformly, and not small enough for it to fall apart on the skewer. 1 inch square cubes generally work well)

    Hung curd is a good substitute for sour cream and can be made at home itself. Take some plain yogurt in a clean cloth and hang it for about an hour. This removes excess water from yogurt and what you get is a creamy sour concentrate, which can be then used to make the marinade. Hung curd is better than using yogurt directly in the marinade, as it eliminates excess water and keeps the marinade from dripping while grilling the paneer on the skewer. 
    Take some sour cream or hung curd in a bowl. Add chilli powder, ajwain, ginger garlic paste, black pepper, turmeric powder, lemon juice and salt to it. Add paneer cubes to this and mix well so that the marinade coats all sides of the paneer properly. 

    Let the marinade rest for sometime at room temperature. Then refrigerate it for about two hours.

    Preheat the oven to 425°F. 

    Lightly coat the capsicum, tomatoes, onions with any excess marinade from the bowl. Arrange the veggies on the skewers in any order - paneer, capsicum, onion, tomato. Repeat the arrangement till most of the skewer is covered. Leave about an inch & half on both sides. 

    Place the skewers on a baking tray. They could either be placed directly on the tray (in which case it's best to have a sheet of lightly greased silver foil over the tray to prevent sticking & burning of the bottom side of the paneer). Or you could crumple up 2 large pieces of silver foil create a simple stand on either side of the baking tray and rest the skewers on them. I prefer the 2nd approach as it does not require oil and grills all sides of the paneer uniformly.

    Leave them in the oven at 425°F for about 18 minutes. If still undone, continue baking for about 2 or 3 minutes more till the edges of paneer turns to a nice brown color. You could also rotate the skewers if the sides are not cooked uniformly.

    Once done, sprinkle some chaat masala and lemon juice on the paneer tikka. Serve hot with mint chutney. 

    Tuesday, May 21, 2013

    Fruit & Yogurt Parfait

    Yogurt parfait can be perfect for an evening snack or as a dessert. Its simple to make, and its a very healthy and refreshing recipe to cheer you up.

    Serves 2

    Prep Time : 10 minutes
    Cook Time : 5 minutes

    Ingredients : 

    • 1 apple 
    • 1 banana
    • 1 cup strawberries or any seasonal berries of your choice
    • 1 orange
    • 2 cups yogurt. You can use greek yogurt instead
    • 1/2 cup granola cereals or corn flakes
    • 1/2 tea spoon cinnamon powder 
    • 1/2 cup dried raisins/cranberries
    • 1/2 cup almond flakes, or some nuts
    • 1 tablespoon sugar or honey

    Steps followed :

    Chop the apple into small pieces. (You can use ripe apricots, instead of apples as well). Sprinkle sugar on top of it on a pan and sauté it little bit, until the sugar melts and forms a uniform coating around the apples. Keep it aside. Sprinkle cinnamon powder and toss it a bit. You can skip this step and use the chopped apples directly.

    Chop the banana into small pieces. Also chop the strawberries or any other seasonal berries into halves and keep aside. Clean and cut the oranges into small pieces.

    Add honey and whip the yogurt thoroughly.You can skip this step, if you are using flavored yogurt. I prefer plain yogurt, as it brings out the taste of the fruits.

    Use a wide enough glass. Add a layer of whipped yogurt at the bottom. Add the sautéed apple and banana. Again layer it up with yogurt. Then goes a layer of nuts/almond flakes. Finally another layer of yogurt. Top it with cereals, dried cranberries or raisins and almond flakes. Garnish with orange pieces and honey. Serve it chilled.

    Tuesday, May 14, 2013

    Aloo Jeera with Baby Potatoes

    Baby potatoes, stir fried in indian spices.

    Potatoes are loved by everyone. And its one of those vegetables that always seems to be present in the kitchen, even when you've missed out on your grocery shopping. Aloo Jeera will definitely make the meal very interesting, making use of the basic ingredients, available in your kitchen.

    Serves 2

    Prep Time : 20 minutes
    Cook Time : 10 minutes


    • Baby Potatoes - 250 gms/0.5 lb (Alternatively you could use normal russet potatoes cut into small 1-inch cubes)
    • Red chillies - 1 or 2 
    • Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoons
    • Chilli powder - 1/2 teaspooon
    • Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
    • Dry mango powder (Aamchur) - 1 teaspoon
    • Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
    • Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
    • Asafoetida (Hing) - 1/2 teaspoon
    • Oil to fry -  1 1/2 tablespoons
    • Fresh coriander leaves chopped 
    • Salt as per taste

    Steps followed :

    Boil the potatoes in a pressure cooker (upto 3-4 whistles). Check if the potatoes are cooked evenly, by piercing them with a fork. Peel the potatoes.

    Take oil in a pan.
    Once the oil is heated, add cumin seeds and red chillies. Let it splutter. 
    Lower to medium flame, so that you won't burn the spices.

    Add the cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder, aamchur, hing and stir it up lightly. Spices with strong flavor should be added first, lighter spices are added later on. 

    Then add turmeric powder, followed by the potatoes. Sprinkle salt over the potatoes, as per taste.Toss them gently in the spice mixture until all the sides of the potatoes are coated properly. 

    Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with rice, dal or phulkas.

    Monday, May 13, 2013

    Achari Gobi

    Spicy, tangy cauliflower florets cooked with indian spices in a yogurt gravy.

    I wanted to make a cauliflower dish which would go well with phulkas. The name of the dish itself was mouth-watering. I gave it a try. Trust me, the kick of the mild flavours you get on the first bite is a bouncer! I bet, you wont be disappointed too. 

    Serves 2

    Prep Time : 12 minutes
    Cook Time : 25 minutes

    • Cauliflower - 1 medium
    • Onion,finely chopped - 1 medium
    • Oil - 1 1/2 tablespoons
    • Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
    • Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
    • Fenugreek seeds (methi dana) - 1/4 teaspoon
    • Fennel seeds (saunf) - 1/2 teaspoon
    • Cumin seeds, crushed - 1 teaspoon
    • Onion seeds (kalonji) - 1/4 teaspoon
    • Asafoetida - 1/4 teaspoon
    • Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
    • Salt as per taste
    • Green chillies,chopped - 3
    • Ginger paste - 1 teaspoon
    • Garlic paste - 1 teaspoon
    • Yogurt - 3/4 cup
    • Fresh coriander leaves chopped 

    Steps followed :

    Chop onions into fine pieces. 
    Cut and clean the cauliflower into medium sized florets.

    Heat oil in a non-stick pan.
    Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, onion seeds and asafoetida and saute till the seeds splutter. 
    Add onion and saute till they turn golden brown. 
    Add cauliflower florets, turmeric powder and salt.  
    Sprinkle some water and toss it properly, so that all the spices uniformly cover the cauliflower florets.
    Add ginger paste, garlic paste and yogurt. 
    Mix well. 
    Cover and cook on medium flame. 

    It will take around 10 -15 minutes for all the water to evaporate and the cauliflower is cooked properly.
    Garnish with coriander.
    Serve hot with phulkas.