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Friday, 27 February 2015

Eggless Pineapple Cake prepared in pressure cooker


Hi friends -  
This is my  50th post.  I can’t imagine that I have reached this milestone in such a short span of time (3 months) and this would not have been possible without the support and push from one person - my hubby :)
I am heartily thankful to him for making me believe that my interest in cooking can result in a blog and for enabling me do such a lot of things. Next is my mother...She is my all in all in cooking and with out her help I cannot imagine this…

Now here I am, posting my 50th recipe which is a cake. I am doing this for the first time. This cake is especially dedicated to my father,my son and my niece (bro's daughter). My hubby hates cakes :)


The idea that a cake can be cooked in a pressure cooker was given to be by Preeti, my sis-in-law (hubby's sis) when she cooked one. 

My other sis-in-law, Vidya (bro's wife) helped me with ingredient ideas and my dear friend Geetha Kartha also helped me with ingredient ideas and gave me the tips to properly make the cake... My special thanks to these 3, the cake has come out well! 

Also, thanks to my friends for their comments and suggestions ! I hope I will continue to get this support...

Now getting into the preparation method:

Ingredients:

Main cake:

Wheat flour (Maida) - 1 cup
Powdered  Sugar - 1/4 cup
Condensed milk - 1/2 cup
Butter - 50 gms
Baking powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Pineapple essence - 1/2 teaspoon
Milk -1/2 cup
Salt – 1 pinch

Icing:

Butter - 25 gms
Icing sugar - 100 gms
Vanilla essence - 1/2 teaspoon
Milk -1/2 tablespoon
Cocoa powder - 2 tablespoons

Cherry - 8 nos (depends upon how many we want to keep on the icing)
Ingredients added for mixing

Process:

Baking the cake:

In a  bowl, combine together powdered sugar, condensed milk and butter using a whisk. 

Mix well  until  combined. Then add flour, baking powder, milk, pineapple essence and a pinch of salt and mix thoroughly till it becomes a smooth batter. 


Now take a wide mouthed-flat base pan and apply butter on the inside of the pan for baking to avoid the cake sticking to the walls of the pan
Final Batter ready to be poured

Since this pan needs to be kept inside your pressure cooker, please take a pan which will fit well inside the pressure cooker.  

Next, pour the batter to the greased pan. 


How to bake cake in pressure cooker:

Pour 1-1.5 liters of water and  place a stand (an inverted lid also will work) into the water in the cooker. On this stand, keep the greased cake pan with the batter inside it.  Remove the whistle of the cooker and heat for 5 minutes on high flame for the water to boil, after that put it in a low flame. Do not open the lid while steaming, and also don’t have any plastic items in the cooker.
Steam for around 45 minutes in low flame without the whistle. 

Baked cake w/o icing
Check it after 45 minutes by inserting a wooden tooth pick in the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, your cake is done, otherwise cook it for some more time, say 15 min. more.

Once done, remove the cake from the cooker, allow it to cool for sometime, loosen the sides and invert the cake pan to a plate. 

Preparing the Icing for the cake: 

In a bowl, take the butter and  beat butter until soft. Add 1/2 table spoon of milk and add icing sugar. Add cocoa powder and vanilla essence.
Beat the icing sugar, vanilla essence, cocoa powder and milk to make a firm but spreadable paste. 

Spread it over on the cake. Decorate with cherries! I also sprinkled the cocoa powder and the icing sugar on the top for fun :)

Eggless Pineapple cake prepared in pressure cooker is ready! 

#cake, #egglesscakes, #pineapplecake, #indianrecipes, #vegetarian ,#vegetariancakes

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Kothamara Parippu Thoran (Cluster Beans stir fried with grated coconut and mixed with Tur Dal - called Yellow Pigeon peas spilt in english) - South Indian recipe

Hi friends... Today I tried something different which is a combination of a vegetable and a legume - Cluster beans (Kothamara in Malayalam / Kothavarangai in Tamil) cooked with Tur Dal and grated coconut.



This is a very simple yet tasty and nutricious dish... 

Ingredients:

Cluster Beans - 250 gms
Tur Dal - 100 gms
Coconut - 1/4, grated
Onion - 1, small
Green Chillies - 2 nos
Turmeric - 1/4 teaspoon
Mustard - 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 3-4 leaves
Dry Red Chillies - 2 nos.

Process:

Cook the Tur Dal in a normal vessel. Avoid using the cooker since it tends to ger over cooked and mashed up. In case cooker is unavoidable, use bare minimum water such that the dal gets just cooked and not mashed. 
Drain the water completely and keep aside.

Chop the cluster beans into small peices - around 5 to 6 mm thick. 
In a separate vessel, add 200 ml of water, add the cluster beans, add salt and cook. Keep aside.

Meanwhile, chop the onion into small pieces. Also chop the green chillies into small circular pieces. Keep these aside.

Tale a frying pan and add 2 table spoons of oil into it and heat in low flame. Once hot, add mustard and wait for it to splutter. Once the mustard seeds splutter, break the dry red chillies and add into the frying pan. Add curry leaves. 



Now add the chopped onion and green chillies into it and saute. Once the onions become soft and transclusent, add the cooked cluster beans into it. Add Turmeric powder and mix well. Allow it to get a bit fried. Add grated coconut and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.

Next, add the cooked dal into it and mix well.

This is the Kothamara Parippu Thoran... Serves around 4-5 members in you family

#kothamara, #dal, #kothamaraparippu, #thoran, #keralarecipes, #indianrecipes, #vegetarian

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Manga Achaar - Kerala Style Mango Pickle - Manga Oorugaai

Hi friends... this is my first post on pickles... I just tried the mango  pickle in the kerala style and this is the result... There are various methods of preparing the mango pickle such as chopping the mangoes and adding salt and keeping it for a long time in a ceramic jar (bharani) for year long consumption...

What I have tried is a simple and easy to make version of the pickle which we can start consuming within a few days.

Pickles are considered very good when eaten along with main food since they aid digestion, help in adding probiotic bacteria into our gut etc. 

However, we must be careful to eat less of pickle - usually a max. of one table spoon a day since pickles contain lot of salt and hence sodium, which increases blood pressure.

So enjoy the mango pickle along with a main course consisting of rice and other vegetable curries... 



 Ingredients:

Raw mango - 8 to 10 nos, sour variety
Kashmiri chilly powder - 5 to 6 teaspoons (if Kashmiri chilly powder is not available, the 2-3 teaspoons of chilly powder). Kashmiri chilly powder is preferred due to the color and texture that it imparts to the pickle.
Asafoetida Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Fenugreek Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Gingelly (sesame) oil - 4 teaspoons
Salt - 2 tablespoons (add more if required depending upon the extent to which the mangoes are sour)

Process:

Cut the mango into small cubical pieces. Add 1 tablespoon of salt into the chopped mangoes, mix well and set aside for 5-6 hours.
Take a frying pan and add 4 teaspoons of gingelly oil and allow it to get heated. Once hot, add the kashmiri chilly powder,  asafoetida powder, fenugreek powder and 1 table spoon of salt. 

Mix thoroughly and stir fry in low flame for a couple of minutes untill it becomes very consistent and fairly thick paste. 

Remove from the heat and allow it to cool. Once it gets cooled, then add  the chopped mangoes and mix well. 


Take care to add the chopped mangoes only after the oil-spices mixture cools down


Taste and add salt if needed.Transfer it in a ceramic jar or a glass bottle. 

Start consuming after a few days so that the spices and salt get absorbed by the chopped mangoes and the mango pieces start dissolving into the mix and get softer

#pickles, #mangopickle, #mangaachar, #keralarecipes, #indianrecipes, #vegetarian

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Vazha Pindi Cherupayar Thoran - Banana Stem and Green Gram Stir-Fried with Grated Coconut / Vazha Thandu and Pacha Pairu Poriyal

Banana tree is called Kalpavruksha in Sanskrit. This means that this plant gives us every thing that is desired. Needless to say, another highly nutrituous part of the banana plant is the Banana Stem or Vazha Pindi in Malayalam / Vazha Thandu in Tamil. 
It is very high on fibre and hence extremely good to treat constipation. It is also known to be very effective in treating kidney stones and is also an excellent diuretic.
Banana stem juice combined with buttermilk and taken on an empty stomach helps in weight reduction. 
The juice also relieves ulcers, burning sensation and acidity. 
Banana stem is believed to have a cooling effect on the body and hence, is recommended in tropical climates.





Here we use this banana stem to prepare a side dish for rice which is called Pindi Cherupayar Thoran.

Banana Stem peeled
Ingredients:


Green gram – 50 gms
Plantain stem - 1 no. – around 20 cms long
Onion - 1 big no
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Green Chilly - 3 nos.
Coconut - 1/4 grated
Mustard - 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 6-8 nos.
Dry red chillies - 2 nos.
Cooked Green gram
Salt to taste

Process:

Soak the Green gram in water overnight.
Wash the green gram thoroughly. Cook the green gram. If you are cooking in a pressure cooker, for one glass of green gram one  glass of water would be required. This ratio is applicable only to green gram that has been soaked overnight. 
Add salt as required. Keep it aside.

Banana stem slice
Remove the outer cover of the plantain stem till it reaches a point where there is no cover to peel off. Cut it into circles of around .5 cm thick. While cutting it, remove the web-like fibers with your index fingers. Pour some coconut oil into your hand while doing this to avoid hands getting stained.
Banana Stem chopped
Then chop these into small pieces as shown. Cook this separately in boiled water and add salt while cooking these.Once coked, keep it aside.

Chop onions into small pieces and keep it aside. Also chop green chillies into long pieces and keep aside.

Take a frying pan pour 2 teaspoons of oil. Once the oil is hot, put one teaspoon mustard into it and wait for mustard to splutter. Put 2 broken red  chilies into the pan and stir. Add turmeric powder and mix well so that these get fried. 

Then add the cooked Plantain stem into the pan and mix it thoroughly for it to get sauteed. 
After a minute, add the chopped onions and green chillies into it and mix thoroughly.
After a couple of minutes, once the onions get slightly cooked/become translucent, add the cooked green gram into the pan and mix it thoroughly.

Then add the grated coconut into it. Mix these well and leave for 4-5 min with the pan open for the constituents to get sautéed.

The steps are shown below:



Pindi-cherupayar thoran is ready. Serves 4-5 people.
#vazhapindi, #plantainstem, #cherupayar, #greengram, #thoran, #keralarecipes, #indianrecipes, #vegetarian

Monday, 16 February 2015

Kodappan Thoran (Vazha Poo / Banana Flower stir fried with grated coconut)

The plantain or the banana plant is one perfect example of how all parts of a plant/tree can be used. 
Apart from the banana fruit which is one of the favourite fruits on the planet, raw banana is also used as a vegetable, plantain leaves are extensively used in South India as a plate for eating food and also for many other cooking purposes, the banana plant stem is also used as a vegetable and is an excellent coolant, high fibre vegetable. 
The banana flower is also a highly nutritious part of the banana tree and is used extensively used in south India. 
The most commonly known benefit of the Banana flower is that it known to help increase the female progesterone hormone which reduces bleeding during menstruation. According to Tarla Dalal, the noted chef, consuming the cooked banana flower with curd or buttermilk reduces pain and bleeding during menstruation. 
Banana flower is also a very good source of Vitamin A and C and hence improves immunity and is also is a good antioxidant...


Now lets prepare this tasty Banana Flower dish.

Ingredients:

Banana Flower - 1 no
Coconut - 1/4 grated
Onion - 1 no., big OR Shallots – 10 nos. Shallots are better and add to the taste in a big way.
Green Chilies - 2 nos
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Final banana flower to be used - after peeling off petals
Red Chilly - 2 nos
Curry leaves - 4-6 nos
Salt to taste

Process:
Peel off the outer petals  of the banana flower to reveal  a white inner flower as shown.

Applying little oil (preferably coconut oil) on your hands before you begin to chop prevents banana glue stains on your hands.
Chop the flower into very small pieces. All parts of the flower can be chopped together.  

After the complete flower is chopped, pour 1 teaspoon oil again on your hand and mix the chopped flower well with hands, rubbing the chopped flower between your palms and fingers.
As you rub you will see webby fibres – this is to be discarded. Continue rubbing the complete chopped flower this way and you will be left with a small portion that is sticky with a web like fibre. Discard this portion and set the remaining part aside.
Chopped Banana Flower
The above is the most important part of preparing anything with plaintain flower and once the above is done properly, 80% of the job is done!!

Chop the onions/shallots too into small pieces and keep aside.

Next, take a frying pan and pour 2 table spoons of oil into it. Once the oil is hot, put one teaspoon mustard ,wait till the mustard splutters. 

Once the mustard splutters ,break and add the dry red chillies into it and mix it to get fried.
Then, add the chopped banana flower into it. Add turmeric powder, salt into it and mix thoroughly. Close the lid of the pan and allow it to get cooked for 2 minutes. Then add the chopped onions and green chillies, vertically slit, into it. Mix it again and close the pan with the lid.
Cook in low flame for around 5 minutes. Once it is cooked, add the grated coconut into the mix and stir well.

Allow it to get a little fried for 2-3 minutes without closing the pan. Add curry leaves into it and mix.

Delicious thoran is ready…
It serves around 3-4 people in a family

#kodappan, #bananaflower, #vazhapoo, #thoran, #kodappanthoran, #vazhapoothoran, #keralarecipes, #indianrecipes, #vegetarian

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Rava Puttu (Wet Semolina steamed with layers of grated coconut in cylindrical shape)

We have earlier seen how to make white rice puttu. You can read that post by clicking here. 
Now we see how the same dish with Rava or Sooji. This is especially good for people who avoid rice dishes.


Ingredients:

Puttu Maker
(Bottom part is called puttu kudam
and the top cylindrical part is puttu kutti)
Upma Rava (also called Bombay  rava)/Sooji - 250 gms
Coconut - 1/2-grated
Salt to taste

Puttu Maker or Puttu Kudam with Puttu Kutti is required to prepare this dish. You can purchase this online or from a vessel shop. Ask for Kerala Puttu Maker.

Process:

First of all, roast the rava in a frying pan in medium flame until the raw smell goes away (around 10-12 minutes). Spread the roasted rava on paper and allow it to cool.

Parallelly, pour around a litre of water into the puttu kudam and keep it in medium flame for it to boil.

Once the roasted rava cools down, take a wide mouthed pan and put the rava into the pan. Sprinkle little amount (approx. 2 table spoons) of water on the rava  and mix fast and  thoroughly. Repeat  this 7-8 times to make a lump free dough.
Final Puttu dough
Each time you add water, mix the rava  thoroughly  until it is lump free and looks dry. Rava has the ability to soak up water fast. Your dough is ready when your mixture is moist enough to hold shape when pressed gently in your hands. When pressed more, it  should crumble easily.

Add  2-3 spoon grated coconut into it and mix it again. 

Next take the the puttu kutti (the cylindrical portion of the puttu maker) and put some grated coconut into it. Make sure you put the mesh that comes along with the vessel into the cylinder. 
Then add the prepared rava dough till it reaches  almost  half of the kutti. Add a handful of grated coconut into the kutti. Again add  the prepared rava dough till it reaches  almost  top of the kutti. Add a layer of grated coconut again and close the kutti with its lid.

Place it into the puttu kudam (bottom portion in which water would have started by now. Keep it in medium  flame. After some time, steam would start coming out of the pores in the lid. At this point, reduce the flame to Low for about 5 more minutes.  

Now remove the kutti from the kudam and push the puttu into a plate.


Rava puttu is ready. Best to be eaten with Banana, Kadala Curry, Pappadam etc.


#puttu, #ravaputtu, #semolina, #keralarecipes, #indianrecipes, #vegetarian

Aval Upma (Red Rice Flakes cooked with grated coconut)


Aval is the malayalam name for Rice flakes or beaten/flattened rice.

Upma is a very famous south Indian dish which is cooked in all 4 south Indian states. It is commonly cooked with Rava or Sooji, broken rice etc.

In Kerala, apart from cooking with rava, it is also cooked with Red Aval or Kerala Rice (Red one with fibre) flakes. The advantage of the traditional Kerala red rice is that its is unpolished and hence retains the fibre and also the other essential vitamins and minerals which are lost when rice is polished.

Lets make Upma out of the red (Kerala) rice flakes.

Ingredients:

Aval (red rice flakes) - 200 gms., thin variety. White Aval can also be used if Red Aval is not available. However, Red Aval is tastier.
Onion – 1, big or shallots – 10 nos.
Green chilly – 2-3 nos.
Ginger – a small piece 
Coconut - 1/2 grated
Red chilly - 2 nos.
Curry leaves - 6-8 nos.
Mustard-1 teaspoon
Washed Aval/Red Rice Flakes

Salt to taste
Process:

Wash aval 2-3 times and drain it in a Colander (vessel with mesh to drain water) with . Keep it aside 15 minutes by which time, it would have absorbed the water and become soft.



Chop the onion into small pieces. Clean the ginger, remove the skin and chop into very small pieces (around 2-3 mm). Chop the green chillies too into small circular pieces. Keep these aside.  
Take a frying pan and pour 2-3 tea spoons of oil. Once the oil is hot, put 1 teaspoon mustard and wait till the mustard splutters. Once the mustard splutters, break the dry red chillies into 2 and put it into the pan. Also add curry leaves. 

Then add the chopped onions, green chillies and ginger into the frying pan. Add salt and sauté. Adding salt to the onions while sautéing, speeds up the process. Saute till the onion turns pale brown. 

Then add grated coconut, salt as required (approx. one teaspoon) and mix it thoroughly and stir fry for 2 minutes. 

At last add the aval into the pan and mix thoroughly. Check whether salt is enough, add if required. If salt is added again, mix thoroughly. Since this is a dry dish, it takes time for the salt to mix in the dish, hence stirring/missing it thoroughly is important.  

Aval upma is ready… Serves 3!
#avalupma, #redrice, #keralarice, #brownrice, #keralariceflakes, #aval, #keralarecipes, #indianrecipes, #vegetarian

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Ottada (Wheat pancake stuffed with coconut & jaggery and roasted)


Similar to the Ela Ada which is made is of rice, we have Ottada which is made of wheat and roasted on Tawa instead of steaming. 
Children love this and is one of the best evening dish for them when they return from school :)


 Lets see how to make this yummy dish... 

Ingredients:

Wheat Flour - 2 cups (around 200 gms) 
Jaggery - 100 gms, grated/powdered/sliced (Sugar also can be used in place of jaggery, but jaggery tastes better)
Coconut - 1/2 grated
Cardamom - 2-3 nos, powdered
Plantain Leaves - thick, mature ones (avoid tender plantain leaves will burn-off even before the Ottada gets cooked on the tawa) - 4 medium sized leaves (approx. 20 cms x 20 cms)
Salt to taste - since this is a sweet dish, just a pinch of salt must be added

Grated coconut Jaggery mix
Process:

In a bowl, mix grated coconut, powdered/sliced jaggery and powdered cardamom. Keep it aside.

Adding a pinch of sugar into the cardamom seeds while powdering, makes it easy to powder the cardamom seeds well.

In another bowl, take the wheat flour, add a pinch of salt and add water little by little to make a dough. The dough should be a bit loose (not as tight as the dough for chapatti).

Now make a Lemon size balls with the dough and keep it aside about 15-20 minutes. 

Meanwhile cut the banana leaves into a rectangular shapes of size as mentioned above. 
Place one ball of dough on the banana leaf and flatten it on the leaf with your fingers. Dip your  fingertips  occasionally in water as it makes the flattening easy and the dough does not stick to your hands. 
Flatten it uniformly to approx. a millimeter or 2 thick. 

Place 2 table spoons of coconut–jaggery mix on the flattened dough. Spread this mix evenly on the flattened dough. Now fold the leaf along with the dough and jaggery-coconut mix in it and keep aside. Repeat the same with the rest of the dough. 

Now heat a pan or tawa on medium flame. Put each ada on the tawa and cook for about 10 minutes. While cooking, cook on both the sides - keep each side every 2-3 minutes on the tawa. 
The plantain leaf will turn brown slowly. 
Once cooked, we will get the smell of the cooked wheat and jaggery. At this point, you can remove it from the tawa.  

Ottada is ready… You can make around 3-4 ottadas with the flour taken...
#jaggery, #ottada, #ada, #keralasnacks, #bananaleaf, #keralarecipes, #indianrecipes, #vegetarian

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Beetroot Thoran (Beetroot stir fried with grated coconut)

Beetroot is a vegetable with a lot of health benefits esp. for ladies and kids since it is an excellent source of iron and helps improve blood. We have seen the health benefits of beetroot in this post on Beetroot pachadi.





Ingredients:

Beetroot - 1 no. (big size)
Onion - 2 nos. (medium )
Green chilly - 4 nos
Coconut – 1/4 , grated

Turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 4-6 nos
Salt to taste

Process:

Chop the beetroot into small pieces, keep it aside. Chop the onion also into small pieces and keep aside.

Take a frying pan and pour 2 teaspoon oil and once the oil is heat is hot ,put  1 teaspoon  mustard. Wait till the mustard splutters. Once the mustard splutters, break and add  the dry red chillies into it and mix it for it to get fried. Add curry leaves and stir fry. 

Then add the chopped beetroot into the pan. Add salt, turmeric powder and green chillies vertically split. 

Sprinkle a hand full of water. Close it with a lid for some time. After around 5 min., add the chopped onions into the pan and mix it well. Again cover the pan with the lid.

After around 10 minutes, open the lid and check whether beetroot is cooked. If it is cooked, then add 2-3 tablespoons of grated coconut into the cooked beetroot and mix it well. Leave it for few minutes in the frying pan for it to get little fried.

Beetroot thoran is ready.. serves 4 people.


#beetroot, #thoran, #beetrootthoran, #keralarecipes, #indianrecipes, #vegetarian