11 Feb 2016

Ilaneer idli - Tender Coconut Idli

Tender coconut idli, the name says it all. Idlis are my favourites and I can gobble them anytime of the day or night. Idlis [if made the right way] are so soft, fluffy and the accompaniments are endless. Idlis are a perfect medium to carry out numerous variations which yields delicious goodies, a flexibility trait very few dishes possess.

I know the process of soaking the rice / dal , grinding and fermenting is a long process but there is no gain without pain. I mean it is this process that lends Idlis their crown as "the most healthiest of dishes".

Coming to the recipe, I saw this recipe in one of the Tamil magazines [Snegithi - May 2015] by Mallika Badrinath. The recipe was very intriguing but I have reduced the recipe by half in weight as it was the trial version. I must say that the trial version is a great success.

I am sure you are aware of all the common variations and additions :  millets / vegetable / sweet / savoury / manchurian / podi etc and the list is endless. Adding tender coconut was something new to me atleast. Yes, I do add fresh coconut when grinding for appam but this was something new.

Tender coconut is abundantly available throughout summer. There are two kinds of tender coconut available - the green one which is quite large and red one which is a bit smaller. The red variety [sevilaneer] is more tasty than the green variety.

For this recipe I chose the Sevilaneer [5 nos] which lends a subtle sweet taste to the idlis. I know it is a lot of tender coconuts to buy, even the vendor looked at me asked if anyone was sick in my household. When I mentioned that I was going to make idlis, he was even more amazed.

This idli has a subtle sweet taste which was complimented by peanut chutney and sweet beetroot chutney perfectly. Any chutney which has a sweet vegetable ingredient [carrot / sweet potato / pumpkin etc] would be fine. You can sweeten the batter more by adding palm sugar [powdered] and can make sweet idlis.

I haven't yet tried making dosai with this batter but should try it in the future.

All the other commitments have kept me away from my dear blog but the passion to blog doesn't vanish, no matter what. I am starting with all the draft posts which have been in the file for more than 6 months.

Kindly read the "Notes" section before trying this recipe.

Idli rice : 2 cups
Urad dal : 1/2 cup
Fenugreek seeds: 1/2 tsp.
Tender coconut water : 6 cups
Tender coconut flesh [scrapings] : 1 cup

Wash the rice and urad dal in cold water twice. Soak the rice and dal in coconut water for 4 hrs. Grind to a smooth batter. Add the tender coconut scrapings at the last stage and grind for about a minute. Collect the ground idli batter onto a vessel [stainless silver preferably]. Cover and ferment for about 6 to 8 hours. Use the batter to make idlis the usual way.

Pour onto greased idli plates or idli plates lined with a thick cotton cloth and place it in the idli cooker. Steam for 10-15 minutes. Serve with any of the usual accompaniments.

The number of tender coconuts [water and scrapings] used depends on the size of the fruit. It is a good idea to keep a cup of tender coconut water extra. The liquid should be one inch above the the rice and dal when soaking.
It is essential to cook all the batter on day 1. It will not taste good the second day like the normal idli batter..
The tender coconut scrapings should be very tender [இளம் தோசை பதம்] . Kindly don't use mature coconut scrapings.
Keep the soaked rice and dal in a cool place. Even when grinding, don't let the batter become warm. Transfer the batter once done.
There is no need for the batter to be ground to a very fine paste.


Scribbled by Reva

15 Oct 2015

Paal Payasam .. For a new beginning

Hello everyone,

Its been a long gap but here I am back to my favourite hobby "blogging". Everytime I look at the lovely food photos uploaded by blogger friends, I yearn to put on my food blogger cap and start cooking out dishes until I drop dead.

Not everything goes as planned, does it !! especially in life.

So much has happened in the past two years - good, bad, super-good twists and turns which constantly reminds that life is a roller coaster ride.

Spent the past two years in India, now again back in the UK, having a second child, shifting houses, school admissions, juggling work amidst looking after 2 young kids ... hhhmmm, I need a break.

Taking a turn in a new direction to step onto a new platform, I am launching my own preschool chain "LotusLeaf Preschool"  in India today.

As today is Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam's birthday which has been declared as "World Student Day", I could not have asked for a more perfect day for the launch.

Every celebration calls for a sweet dish. As Navarathiri celebrations have begun, I made my favourite paal payasam. I am sure most of you are familiar with this dish.

Paal payasam is a liquidy sweet dish made of rice, jaggery and milk flavoured with cardamoms, cashews, raisins and sometimes saffron. This dish has various regional names and prepared mainly during festivals and temple offerings [prasadham].

General tip for making a good payasam , use good quality rice and full fat milk.

Raw rice : 1 cup.
Powdered jaggery : 1 cup.
Milk [full fat milk]: 6 cups.
Cardamom powder : 1/2 tsp
Cashews : a few.
Raisins : a few.
Ghee: 4 tbsp.

1. Fry the rice in 2  tbsp ghee until just warm. Pulse the rice once just to break it up. Do not grind the rice.
2.In a pressure cooker add the broken rice and milk.Cover with lid. Once the steam starts coming from the steam opening on the lid, put the whistle on.
3.Keep in low flame and cook for 20 mins or until you get the first whistle. Switch off the flame and let the steam settle.
4.Meanwhile roast the cashews and raisins in the remaining ghee and set aside.
5.Open the lid and mix the cooked contents well. Simmer in low flame.
6.Add the jaggery and cardamom powder and mix well until everything is well blended.
7. Simmer until thick. Switch off the flame and add the roasted cashews and raisins.

Serve hot or cold.

1.The measurement for jaggery varies depending on your liking for sweetness. The sweetness for the measurement given here will give you a tasty "just" sweet payasam. If you like more sweet flavour add a bit more according to our preference.
2.If you are using sugar instead of jaggery, for a perfect sweet payasam add 3/4 cup of sugar instead of 1 cup.
3.If you are using jaggery cubes instead of jaggery powder, use around 350 gms. Immerse the cubes in boiling hot water [1 cup] for 15 mins. Filter the jaggery syrup and use accordingly.

Happy cooking..



14 May 2013

Mini Pizzas with Pesto and Tomato Sauce

Very excited to post the first of Home Bakers Callenge recipe, a lovely event started by Priya Suresh of Priya Easy n Tasty Recipes . Divya  is the first host of this event and her choice is one of the world's most famous dish ... Pizza, thanks Divya.

Pizza, the name says it all. Though the exact history is obscure, pizza is thought to have originated in Italy around 900 AD. Pizza is basically dough flattened to form a circular disc of various sizes topped with vegetables or meat and cheese and baked in a stone oven. In the beginning it was known to be the dish of the poor.

Pizza is more famous in the US than any other country apart from Italy. There are hundreds of variations for pizza toppings - Margherita, Veggie supreme, Hawaiian with ham and pineapple, Pepperoni, BBQ Americano etc. The more modern newer varieties include Tandoori hot [Indian version], Tuna delight, Seafood delight, Fruit pizza and even Chocolate pizza.

The variations does not stop with the toppings but the dough base of the pizza can be modified too. Thin crust, pan base, gluten free and stuffed crust are few of the variations available in any pizza eatery.

As you can see my the first tough job was to select base, then the sauce and then the toppings for my pizzas.

As I am a complete foodie, I love variations and so does my family. I had no other choice but to make tiny little ones rather than one large pizza. My daughter loves cherry tomatoes, my H likes prawns and I love the veggie version of pizza.

So here comes my favourite pizza varieties with different sauces and toppings. Feel free to mix and match as per your liking or even adding more toppings to suit your palate.

Dough base:
Strong white flour: 250 gms.
Olive oil: 2tbsp + extra.
Salt: 1/2 tsp.
Dried yeast: 7 gms.
Water: 150mls approximately.

Mix all the ingredients together except water. Add water little by little to form a soft dough. Knead gently for 10 minutes and shape it into a ball. If the dough is too dry add a bit of water. Coat with a thin layer of olive oil. Keep the dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Place it in a warm place for about an hour until double in size. Gently knead again for 30secs. Place it in the bowl and cover it with the damp cloth until further use.

Tomato sauce with Soya granules: For the classic Italian sauce visit here

Ripe large tomatoes [chopped]: 6
Tomato puree: 3 tbsp.
Small red onion [chopped]: 1.
Soya granules [soaked in warm water for 15 minutes and drained]: 5 tbsp.
Dried Italian herbs: 1 tsp.
Garlic pods: 10-12.
Red chilli flakes: 1 generous pinch
Nutmeg powder: 1/4 tsp.
Ginger powder: 1 tsp
Salt : to taste.
Olive oil: 2 tbsp.
Juice of one large lemon.
Water: 1 cup

Place a heavy bottomed vessel on medium flame and add 1 tbsp of oil. Add chopped garlic and chilli flakes. After 2 minutes add the chopped onions. After 2 minutes add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Close the lid and let the mixture simmer for 30 minutes stirring in between. Open the lid and simmer for 10- 15 minutes so that the mixture thickens to saucy spreadable consistency [not too runny nor too thick]. Check salt and remove from flame. Stir in the lemon juice. Reserve until later use.

Pesto with Coriander and Green Pepper Corn:

For the original pesto recipe visit here
Mint: a handful
Coriander: a handful
Curled parsley: 5-6 sprigs [washed and chopped along with the stem]
Basil: 5-6 leaves.
Green pepper corns [soaked in brine]: 1 tbsp
Unsalted pistachio: 2-3 tbsp.
Garlic pod: 1
Salt: to taste.
Olive oil: 1-2 tbsp.

Wash the mint leaves and chop. Wash the coriander and chop along with the stem. Take all the ingredients in a mixer grinder and pulse. Open the lid and scrap down the leaves sticking to the sides of the mixer. Pulse again until everything is combined. If very dry you can a little bit of water. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and reserve until later use.

Roasted veggies
Cherry tomatoes: 10-12
Aubergine: 1 large
Green capsicum:1
Red onion: 1 large
Olive oil: 1-2 tbsp
Dried rosemary: 1 tbsp.
Salt: to taste.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Wash and dry all the veggies. Cut the tomatoes into halves. Slice the aubergine, red onion and capsicum. Apply some oil on the tray and place all the veggies. Drizzle the remaining oil on top of the veggies and sprinkle with salt and rosemary. Roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the veggies are cooked. Remove from the oven and reserve.

For the mini pizzas: I made the base as thin as possible as I love a crisp base.

Divide the dough into 3 parts. Keep two parts of the dough covered in damp cloth. Roll one part thinly [if the dough is sticky sprinkle some flour on the surface of the dough]. Place a plate roughly 5-6 inches in diameter on the dough and cut the dough around the border. Keep the circle dough disc seperately and continue the same process with the rest of the dough. You will get around 12-14 discs depending on the thickness and size of the discs.

Cheeses: Cheddar cheese and mozzarella according to taste.

Preheat oven to 220 degrees C/Gas mark 6/ 400 degrees F. Place the pizza sheet or pan in the preheated oven for 5-6 minutes and then place the pizza on the heated pizza sheet or pan.

Margherita Pizza: Disc smeared with tomato sauce topped with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella cheese baked for 6-8 minutes. Serve immediately garnished with fresh basil leaves.

Mushroom Cheddar Cheese Pizza: Disc smeared with tomato sauce, topped with chopped mushrooms, mozzarella, cheddar cheese and baked for 7-8 minutes. Serve immediately garnished with fresh parsley.

Olive Onion Pizza: Disc smeared with pesto sauce, topped with chopped green olive, roasted red onion, cheddar cheese and baked for 5-7 minutes.

Aubergine Capsicum Pizza: Disc smeared with pesto topped with roasted aubergine, capsicum, roasted onion slice, cheddar cheese and baked for 7-8 minutes.

Prawn Sun dried Tomato Pizza: Disc smeared with tomato sauce, topped with cleaned prawns, chopped sun dried tomatoes, red chillies, cheddar cheese and mozzarella and baked for 8-10 minutes.

Notes: Instead of making mini pizzas you can make 4 medium size ones or 2 large pizzas from this dough measurement. Increase the baking time by 6-8 minutes more.  You can do " half and half" with the toppings or add your own. Add more spice in the sauces or add chillies as toppings. Add or substitute chicken in place of prawn.

The variations are endless with the toppings/dough base and sauces.


Scribbled by Reva

24 Apr 2013

Kambhu Koozh - Pearl Millet Porridge

Finally the weather is changing ... the temperature is rising but not as much as in India. Somehow I love the "Indian Summer" because of all the special goodies and dishes that glorify summer.

Mangoes, water melons, goose berries, tender coconuts, ice apples flood the market and the scent of each fruit pulls fills the air with such a refreshing feel.

Food and eating patterns have specific meaning in Indian society and summer is the best time that truly reflects this deep rooted practice. Certain dishes are cooked and consumed specifically during the summer to cool the body and provide the much needed energy.

Raagi [Finger millet] and Kambhu [pearl millet] are cooked more often and consumed early in the morning before venturing into the sun. Kambhu [Bajra in Hindi] is rich in protein and minerals. It does not contain gluten, so can be consumed without any fear of allergic reactions.

The traditional method of preparing this porridge is time consuming. The pearl millet is soaked overnight. The next day it is cooked with buttermilk with proportions of 1 part millet to 3 parts buttermilk.

It takes about a couple of hours to cook the millet and needs frequent stirring. Once done the entire content is kept aside for atleast 8 hours. This is to kick start the fermentation process of the dish which gives a slight tangy taste when consumed. The usual accompaniments are pearl onions and green chillies.

This is more of a quick method of preparing the porridge where I have used pearl millet powder to prepare the drink. There are two variations - sweet and sour. I love the sour version and my daughter likes the sweet version.

For more info about the grain visit here and here

Buttermilk Pearl Millet Porridge.
Kambhu powder: 3 tbsp.
Garlic pods: 2
Buttermilk: 2 cups.
Cumin powder: 1/2 tsp.
Ginger powder: 1/4 tsp.
Salt: to taste.
Fresh coriander leaves to garnish.

1.Mix the pearl millet powder with the buttermilk, chopped garlic pods and salt in a heavy bottomed vessel and place it on medium flame.
2.Cook in medium flame stirring often until thick. This will take 12-15 minutes.
3.Remove from flame and add the cumin and ginger powder.
4.Check salt and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Serve warm.

Sweet Pearl Millet Porridge.
Kambhu powder: 3-4 tbsp.
Cardamom powder: 1/4 tsp.
Panang kalkandu: 2 tbsp.
Thick coconut milk: 1/2 cup.
Water: 1 1/2 cups.
Sliced banana to garnish.

1.In a heavy bottomed pan mix the kambhu powder with water and cardamom powder.
2.Place the pan on medium flameand cook until thick stirring often.
3.Remove from flame and add the kalkandu. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
4.Once the porridge has cooled a bit add the coconut milk.

Garnish with sliced banana pieces and serve at room temperature.

For the sour version of the porridge - you can add sliced pearl onions and green chillies to the porridge while cooking.

You can serve it with fried mor millagai [chillies soaked in buttermilk and dried] or lemon pickle.

You can cook the porridge and leave it overnight to ferment a bit.

For the sweet version - you can add caster sugar or rock candy according to your taste.

Instead of coconut milk you can add regular cow's milk. Do not refrigerate as it tastes best at room temperature.


Scribbled by Reva

6 Mar 2013

Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes - Happy Birthday to Prem..

Happy Birthday Prem ... May all the happiness be with you all the time...

I personally believe that siblings are the best gifts that you can ask for ... atleast when you are not fighting with each other and tearing each other's hair out.

Being the eldest in the family means adjusting to your siblings all time which is enjoyable most of the time and not so enjoyable sometimes. The age difference between me and my sister is just 13 months which made us look like friends rather than sisters.

When you know a person for more than 30 years, you understand things even without any words involved.....it is the same with me and my sister.

The above photos which were taken 30 years back are really close to my heart. The first one from the left is me and my sister with my parents, the second one is both of us with my mom. The small girl standing next to a beautiful lady is me and the bay one her lap is my sister.  The last one is my sister when she was 100 days old.

Career and marriage has brought a physical distance between us but in our case the very same long distance has brought us even more closer, not only with my first sister but with my second sister as well.

Now she is a mom for an adorable little cutie [Raghav Adithya] who is 8 months old...

I still can't believe that she is a mom as for me she is my sister who is not so soft spoken, sensitive, brainy and a CHOCOHOLIC ... There are so many dishes and snacks that she likes - lime rice, mutton chukka, thaen mittai [தேன் மிட்டாய் ], raw mango with chilly powder and salt etc, etc, etc... I had to go for chocolate based recipe as she is crazy after it.

I had a  tough time selecting a recipe for this post as I wanted something simple yet special ... something which has decadence. I stumbled upon this recipe in one of the foodie websites and I was impressed right away. I have altered the original recipe a little.

Moreover I used regular muffin tray and mini cupcake tray - cakes for mother and son. Prem , many more happy returns of the day.

These cupcakes are made especially for you and Adithya....:) Hope you like it..

For the original recipe go here 

For the cinnamon truffle:
Dark chocolate: 120 gms.
Double cream: 1/2 cups.
Cinnamon powder: 1/2 tsp.

Gently heat the double cream, chocolate pieces and cinnamon powder in a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water. Make sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the simmering water. Let all the ingredients melt and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat and cool completely. Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for atleast a couple of hours until it sets.

For the cupcakes: Makes 12 regular sized cupcakes and 12 mini cupcakes
Plain flour: 2 cups.
Cinnamon powder:1/2 tsp.
Ginger powder:1/2 tsp.
Cardamom powder:1/4 tsp.
Nutmeg powder: 1/4 tsp [optional]
Salt: 1/2 tsp.
Baking powder: 1 tsp.
Bicarbonate of soda: 1/4 tsp.
Light muscavado sugar: 1 cup.
Caster sugar: 1 cup.
Large eggs: 2.
Vegetable oil: 1/2 cup.
Strong coffee: 3/4 cup [at room temperature]
Semi skimmed milk: 1 cup [at room temperature].

1.Preheat the oven to 170 C /325 F. Line a regular muffin tray and a mini cupcake tray with cupcake liners.
2.In a large bowl sift all the dry ingredients starting from flour to bicarbonate of soda twice.
3.Add the sugars and mix thoroughly.
4.In another bowl, whisk all the wet ingredients together for a couple of minutes.
5.Add the wet ingredients to the dfry ingredients and mix well. Do not over mix. The resulting batter will be very wet.
6.Spoon into the cupcake cases until 3/4 full. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
7.Cool the cupcakes in the tray for 5 minutes and transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Assembling the cupcakes:
1.Using a melon baller or a stainless steel 1tsp measuring spoon [this is what I used] scoop out the top portion of the cupcakes.
2.With the same melon baller or spoon, scoop out the truffle and place on the top portion of the cupcakes and press gently.
3.Proceed with all the cupcakes and place in a tray. Place the tray in the fridge until serving time.

For the sweet fresh cream:
Double cream: 400 mls.
Icing sugar: 6-7 tbsps.
Vanilla extract: 1/2 tsp.
Cocoa powder: 1- 2 tbsp [for dusting].

Whip the double cream, icing sugar and vanilla extract together until stiff. Spoon into a large piping bag fitted with star nozzle. Pipe the cream on the cupcakes and dust with cocoa powder.

Serve chilled.

Notes: For the coffee decoction , I mixed 2 tsp of instant coffee powder with 3/4 cup of warm water and allowed it to cool to room temperature.

You can store the truffle for three days in the fridge. The left over truffle can be covered with melted chocolate and served as after dinner chocolates with coffee.

I have substituted light muscavado sugar [half the amount] for caster sugar. You can use only caster sugar if you wish.

Try different flavours for the truffle and the cupcakes.

Double flavoured and coloured frosting works just as well for the cupcakes - as given in the original recipe or combinations of your own like : Coffee and cream , Cinnamon and chocolate or Coffee and chocolate.

The cupcakes can be baked 3 days in advanced and stored in the fridge wrapped individually in cling film. As it is fresh cream frosting, make the sweetened cream just before serving.


Scribbled by Reva
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