November 14, 2012

Tiramisu Whole Wheat Layered Cake




I got a slice of Tiramisu cake from the local French Bakery on a day out with my little girl, we shared that single slice happily one evening never realizing that we would have a whole cake all to ourselves the very next day. I couldn't resist recreating it at home. I made the 2 layers of cake with whole wheat flour, layered with one layer of lady fingers and some custard/frosting in between. It is not the traditional Tiramisu custard in the sense that I did not use Mascarpone cheese at all. Omitted that all together and instead just used home whipped cream along with the egg custard to give it some volume and lightness. But if you do have some Mascarpone cheese to spare, then by all means add that instead of the whipped cream. It would result in a richer and creamier custard.
The layers in this cake synced up harmoniously and it just complimented each other just perfectly. Just like a regular Tiramisu, it is best eaten the next day, being in the refrigerator overnight marries all the layers and flavors well.

The littlest person in the house was ready for a tasting even before I could get it all assembled. She went on "repeat" with "Can I eat it now?" for the whole time I spent making it.

And she ended loving it! Yippie!



Tiramisu Whole Wheat Layered Cake 


For the custard/frosting:
Eggs - 5
Sugar - 3/4 cup (Or a 1/4 cup more if you want it sweeter)
Pure Vanilla - 1 tsp
Whipping cream - 1 cup

For the ladyfinger's layer:
Lady fingers - 10-12 (more or less depending on the size of the pan)
Instant Coffee - 2 tsp
Warm water - 1 cup

For the cake:
Whole wheat pastry flour - 1 cup
All purpose flour - 3/4 cup
Cocoa powder - 2 tbsp
Vegetable oil - 1/3 cup
Eggs - 2 large
Sugar - 1 cup
Water - 1 cup mixed + Instant coffee - 2 tbsp (mixed together)
Baking soda -  1/2 tsp
Pure vanilla - 1 tsp


For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix both the flour, baking soda and cocoa powder and keep aside.
Beat the oil and the eggs till the eggs become light in color. Add the sugar and whisk well.
Add the water to the instant coffee powder till well combined. Mix into the egg mixture along with the vanilla.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk just until well combined. Do not overmix.
Pour into a 8" round pan and bake at 350F for about 40 min or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from pan after baking and set it down on a cooking rack till the cake is completely cool. You may alternatively set it in a refrigerator after it reaches room temperature.
After chilled, removed and slice the cake into two halves. Set aside.

For the custard/frosting:

In a double boiler, in a simmer, whisk the egg yolks and sugar on the top bowl till it is pale in color. Add in vanilla essence. Cool this thoroughly.
Whip the heavy whipping cream in a large bowl separately and slowly add into the custard mixture.
Whip everything well. Set in the refrigerator to cool.

For the assembly:

Take an 8" spring form pan of your choice that will fit the cake perfectly and is about 3"-4" in height.
Lay one half of the cake on the bottom and layer on a-third of the custard/frosting evenly.
Dip the lady fingers in the coffee for the next layer and lay close to each other one by one.
Now, for another layer of frosting/custard.
Lay the other half of the cake and press down gently. Spoon in the last layer of the custard/frosting on top and make sure it is even. Tap down very gently.
Cover the pan with a plastic wrap or a plate and set it in the refrigerator overnight to chill. This is mandatory for best taste and texture.

PicMonkey Collage

The next day, sift on some cocoa powder evenly on the cake. Open the latch on the spring form pan. Cut out a slice and enjoy!


November 11, 2012

Quinoa Mint Burger/Cutlet


A blog post after a while... have really missed being around! Every time I promise myself that I will be more consistent, I try, but then fail sometimes. Life has been exciting. So can't complain!

Quinoa has ended (replaced?) our brown rice saga temporarily. I guess we just needed a change and a really good one at that. Quinoa promises, it is versatile, and I have made some good dishes with it. You probably will be seeing a lot more of this wonder grain/seed on my blog. Slap these patties on hearty whole grain bun, and some lettuce, tomato and mayo and call it a burger or just eat it plain and simple and call it a cutlet. So, burger/cutlet/patty, whatever you want to call it... this has replaced our lunch for the day and it was scrumptious! I see myself making a lot more of this for sure!


Quinoa Mint Burger/Cutlet


Organic Quinoa - 2 cups washed, rinsed and cooked (just like you would white rice)
Potatoes - 2 small boiled and mashed
Scallions - A cup chopped finely
Onions- 1/4 cup chopped
Mint - 1/2 cup chopped
Cilantro - 2 tbsp chopped
Carrots - 1/2 cup finely diced
Ginger - 1 tbsp chopped
Garlic - 1 tbsp chopped
Green chillies - 1 small chopped (more if you want more heat)
Pepper - 1/4 tsp
Bread crumbs - 1/2 cup
Salt - To taste
Oil - To roast patties on a griddle


Mash the potatoes thoroughly and add all the ingredients except the quinoa and bread crumbs. Reserve the oil for the griddle. Add the quinoa to the mashed vegetables and mix in the bread crumbs lastly.


Try not to mash up the quinoa too much. The texture is nicer if you don't. Form into patties, depending on what you are aiming to make. Bigger for the burger patties and smaller if you are making cutlets.


Pour a little oil and roast the quinoa cakes on the griddle in batches. Make sure it is browned evenly on both sides. It gets nice and crispy on both sides. Remove from heat and serve warm. The beautiful mint flavor is something to look out for! Enjoy.


April 10, 2012

Paneer Tikki


Beautiful, gorgeous weather in Seattle for the last few days. We had a glorious weekend and a even better Monday! When there aren't very many days of sunshine in a place like ours, we learn to appreciate the sunny days a little more than what you blessed folks do. All we talk about is the "weather" when we meet with friends or anyone on the street!
This was so not the time to stay indoors and cook but there was one dish that I enjoyed making for a quick snack - Panner tikkis/cutlets. My daughter seemed to love it, so that means it should have been good!

Paneer Tikki



Paneer - 2 cups shredded
Potatoes - 2 medium boiled and mashed
Onion - 1 medium chopped finely
Cilantro - 1 cup chopped
Bread slices - 2
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Chilly powder - 1 tsp (You may use green chillies)
Salt - To taste
Olive Oil - About 1 tbsp for every 4 tikkis
Bread crumbs - To coat
A.P flour - 2 tbsp mixed in 4-6 tbsp of water. It should be pretty runny.


Soak the bread slices in water. Squeeze out the excess water, tear it apart with your hands into small pieces and add to the mashed potato and paneer.
Add the rest of the ingredients to this (except the oil) and mix well.
Pinch out even balls and flatten into a disc shape.
Dip in the flour and water paste and then coat evenly with breadcrumbs.
Heat a non-stick pan (works better because of the less oil) and roast the tikki in batches, and on both sides.
I used about a tablespoon or two for every 4-5 tikkis/cutlets.

Serve with onions, mint chutney or ketchup.


*Clean pan in between batches of frying the tikkis. It prevents the loose breadcrumbs from burning further.

* Dust off extra breadcrumbs before frying and ensure a good even coating

* Freeze the paneer for 30 min before shredding. This will make the grating a little easier.

* Use the cookie cutter to cut out the tikkis into fun shapes for the kids.


March 11, 2012

Quinoa Idly (Gluten-free)


A huge bag of Quinoa in my pantry prompted me to try out this Idly. I have used it in place of white rice in other recipes, but this one is by far the best. If you are used to regular idlies, then this may take some time getting used to since it has a distinct and strong earthy taste with a hint of sweetness. Some kind of chutney or Idly chilly powder to go along with it is highly recommended.
Quinoa is gluten-free, has a low glycemic index and is a good source of protein for vegetarians, thus making this a perfect healthy food.


Quinoa Idly


Quinoa - 3 cups
Urad Dal - 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp
Salt - To taste
Water - To grind


Wash the quinoa well, say 4 to 5 times. Soak in water for about 6 hours or overnight.
Wash Urad Dal and soak in water for 6 hours or overnight along with the fenugreek seeds. Do not close either of them.

Grind both separately using a blender or a wet grinder. I used a blender since I was experimenting and had only a small quantity to work with. Then mix both together and add salt.
Let it sit covered in a warm place and allow to ferment. It would take anywhere from 8 hours to 12 hours depending on the climate. Warmer climate ferments the batter very quickly. But in a place like mine it took 12-14 hours.

Then grease idly plates and steam in a pressure cooker for about 10 min.
Scoop out the idlies and enjoy with some chutney, sambar or some "Idly molagai podi."



March 8, 2012

No Fry Sweet Puri


This vaguely has been adapted from my earlier recipe which happens to be one of my favorites. This is a healthier version and has layering in the puri itself. These puris are crunchy and sweet. Almost like a cookie.
The rose flavoring is by far the best when it comes to fried (in this case -baked) sweets dunked in sugar syrup. You may add other flavorings like saffron, almond,or even vanilla if you don't have the suggested flavoring in your pantry.
Lastly, make sure it is not too brown when it is baked. I removed mine when it was slightly golden in color. The layers give a parotta texture to it and ensures even baking.


No Fry Sweet Puri


For Puri
Whole wheat flour/Atta - 2 cups
All purpose flour - 3 tbsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Water - For the dough

For Syrup
Sugar - 1 1/2 cup
Water - 1/4 cup
Rose essence - 2 drops
Cardamom - A pinch

For layering
Melted butter/Ghee - 3 tbsp
Rice flour - 1 tbsp

Sliced Almonds- For garnish (optional)


Mix the melted butter/ghee and the rice flour and set aside.

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the water and knead to a dough. Add the 1 tbsp of oil and knead for about 5 min till the dough becomes soft.
Let it rest covered for 5 min.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Roll out the dough into a large circle and about 1/4" thick using a rolling pin. Spread a thin layer of the butter+ rice flour mixture. Let it sit for 2 min.
Then roll the dough from one side to form a tight log. Cut into 1/2 inch thick pieces. Flatten each one with you palm.


Roll out each round into 3" diameter circles. Lay them on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. It would look something like this.


Bake at 375F for about 8-10 min or until golden.


Flip it over and bake for another 8-10 min. Both sides should be golden brown in color.

While the puris are baking in the oven, heat the sugar and water in a pan and bring it to a boil. To prevent crystallization, you may add a couple of tablespoons of corn syrup.
When the sugar reaches soft ball stage/one-string consistency, turn off the heat and add the rose essence and cardamom.

Dip the puris one by one in the sugar syrup and let it dry on a sheet.


You may garnish with sliced nuts and saffron if you have some on hand.



February 28, 2012



This recipe if from my friend R who is great at cooking traditional South Indian food. The thing is I have not tasted her Karakuzhambu, but I asked her for this recipe since I knew that it would be good. Well, her other dishes are, so I made sure this was on my blog :)
I have this strong attraction for South Indian food these days, that all these traditional cooking is taking main stage in everyday food. I am so glad R shared the recipe with me, this is one of the best kuzhambu I have tasted. Somehow reminded me of the "Grand Sweets" Karakuzhambu that they have in Chennai. Only even better.
She asked me to add either manathakkali or sundakka vathal, but I added both since I had it. The "Grand Sweets" version has both too. This recipe calls for a lot of heat, so if it does not suit you, then you may adjust it according to your palate.




Small onion - 1 cup
Garlic cloves - about 12
Curry leaves - A sprig
Red chillies - 3
Mustard - 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds -1/2 tsp
Manathakkali vathal - 1 tbsp
Sundakka vathal - 1 tbsp
Coriander powder - 2 tbsp
Chilly powder - 1 tbsp(more if you can take more heat)
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Sesame Oil - 3-4 tbsp
Tamarind extract taken from a lemon sized ball
Salt - To taste


In a pan, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds.
Once the mustard starts to splutter, add the red chillies and curry leaves. Add the sundakka and manathakkali vathal. After they get roasted, add the small onion and garlic cloves.
Then add salt, coriander powder and chilly powder.
When everything starts to get nicely sauteed, add the tamarind extract of about 4 cups taken from a lemon sized tamarind. You could alternatively used tamarind extract, but it may not give the same result.
Let the kuzhambu boil down and reduce a little in volume. It took me about 10-15 min on medium flame.
Add the asafoetida finally and boil for a minute more. Turn off heat.


Serve with hot steaming rice. It tasted even better the next day.


February 21, 2012

Avocado Bruschetta


A little different from the regular tomato bruschetta, this avocado variant is lemony, fresh and vibrant. All that we need here for the gloomy, wet weather we have been enduring for a really long time. I served it on whole wheat mutligrain bread drizzled with some EVOO and baked in the oven prior to adding the avocado. You could alternatively toast using a toaster. The stove top method did not get the bread toasty enough to hold the avocado topping.
So the next time you have some bread and avocado sitting in your counter, you know what to do!


Avocado Bruschetta


Avocado - 3 medium
Vinegar - 2 tbsp
Lemon Juice - 2 tbsp
Red Chilly flakes - 1/4 tsp
Salt - To taste
Garlic - 1 small pod finely chopped
Cilantro - 2 tbsp
Olive Oil - 2 tbsp

Whole wheat bread - About 4 slices


Take out the seed in the Avocado. Score the avocado flesh into little squares and scoop out leaving the skin.
In a mixing bowl, mix the lemon juice and vinegar. Slowly stream in about 2 tbsp of Olive oil mixing vigorously. It should form a nice emulsion. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
Add the dressing to the avocado and toss to coat.

Serve on a slice of toasted bread. I put my oil drizzled slices in a preheated 425F oven for about 5 min.


February 15, 2012

Beetroot Biriyani/Pulao with Black Beans Raita


My mom always has had rave reviews about this particular kind of rice called "Seeraga Samba."
She tells me that this rice has a very aromatic quality to it just like basmati rice and is also very flavorful. It is extremely cute to look at, kind of like baby basmati.
If you are not able to find this at your store under the name of "Seeraga Samba" or "Kalijira", you could use the regular white basmati rice. It shouldn't make that big of a difference. The grated beets add a lovely pinkish red hue to the rice grains. I tried not to add any other vegetable just to keep the color intact.
It looks beautiful when it is done, like the tiny grains just blushed!

The raita was something I decided to make with the pulao when I started planning this meal. Keeping the beans crunchy is key to making this raita. Mushy beans and yogurt is not what I would recommend. Finish off with some cilantro for some fresh flavor.


Beetroot Biriyani/Pulao with Black Beans Raita

Beetroot Biriyani/Pulao:


Seeraga Samba rice - 2cups
Water - 3 cups
Clove - 3
Cinnamon stick - 2-3
Cardamom Pod - 3
Star Anise - 1
Beetroot - 2 cups (grated and packed)
Shallots/Onions - 1 cup chopped
Tomato - 1/2 cup chopped
Chilly powder - 2 tsp (or to taste)
Green chillies - 2 small slit
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp + 2 tbsp
Grind to a paste:
Garlic - 6-8 pods
Ginger - 2 tbsp roughly chopped
Shallots - 2 tbsp roughly chopped
Fennel seeds - 1/2 tbsp


Grind the ginger, garlic, shallots and fennel seeds to a paste and set aside. Do not add water.

In a large pan, add 2 tbsp oil, and add the washed and thoroughly drained rice. Sauté till the grains turn opaque. Turn off heat and cool. At this point I add the rice to the rice cooker and use the same pan for making the masala.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in the same pan, add the cloves, star anise, cinnamon, cardamom and green chillies.
Add the ground ginger-garlic paste and sauté well till the raw smell is gone.
Then add the chopped shallots, followed by the tomatoes. Once they are halfway cooked, add the grated beets and mix well. Allow to cook till the beets soften. Finish off with salt and chilly powder.

Now add this beets masala to the rice. Add 3 cups of water, and let the rice cooker do its thing. If you are using a pressure cooker, cook for about 20 minutes or two whistles. Do not overmix after it is done.



Black Beans Raita:



Dried Black Beans - 1 cup
Yogurt - 1 cup
Shallots - 1/2 cup
Cilantro/Coriander - 1/4 cup chopped
Salt - to taste


Soak the black beans overnight in some water. Pressure cook the beans for about 15 min or 2 whistles depending on your cooker. It should not get mushy, it should still have a bite to it.
Drain water, rinse with cold water till the water runs clear.
Add yogurt, shallots, cilantro, salt and mix well. Garnish with a little more chopped cilantro and serve with biriyani or any kind of rice.


February 12, 2012

Tandoori Paneer Pizza


I am an avid lover of Indianised pizzas. I try mixing Indian spices into the pizza sauces, adding cilantro, topping it off with curried eggplants. Really, the list just keeps going on and on in my kitchen. My daughter loves to keep it simple... the two magic words "Cheese" and "pizza."
So, whenever I make "adult" pizza at home, I try to reserve some dough to make a small cheese pizza for her. At least, it is made with whole wheat, so I don't feel that guilty. But I wished that she would eat something as colorful as this!
And for this pizza, I added colorful bell peppers I got at my local store, mixed it up with some spring onions and finished it off with the wonderful robust flavors from the tandoori paneer. I do not own a tandoor, and I turned to my trusty oven to bake the paneer cubes.
Here goes the recipe.

Tandoori Paneer Pizza



Whole wheat/Regular pizza dough (Recipe coming up)
Pizza sauce - As required
Paneer - 2 cups cubed into one inch pieces
Red bell pepper -1 small
Green bell pepper -1 small
Yellow bell pepper -1 small
Tandoori spice mix - 1 tbsp
Thick yogurt - 1/2 cup
Salt -To taste
Red chilly powder -1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Cilantro - 2 tbsp chopped
Green onions - A bunch chopped
Part Skim mozzarella cheese - As required (I went really light, so about 1 cup for the entire large pizza)


Preheat oven to 400F to bake the paneer.

In a bowl combine yogurt, spice mix, cumin, salt, red chilly powder, turmeric, cilantro. Toss in the paneer and let it marinate for about 30 min.
Bake the paneer pieces till they get firm and golden brown on the sides. About 15 min. Keep aside.

Raise the temperature to 450F to bake the pizza.

Spread the pizza dough onto a tray/stone and spread some pizza sauce on it.
Add the peppers and spring onion evenly on the dough and sprinkle some salt over it.


Finally add the paneer and the cheese.
Bake till the crust is brown and the cheese is melted.


February 2, 2012

Easy Chocolate Fudge


Easy Chocolate Fudge


Dutch processed cocoa - 4 tsp
Fat-free Condensed milk - 1 can
Skim Evaporated milk - 1 can
Butter - 4 tbsp
Vanilla - 1/2 tsp
Sliced almonds - For garnish


Mix all the ingredients in a non-stick pan or a heavy-bottomed pan on medium-low heat. Keep stirring till it starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.
At this stage it should not be sticking to the pan anymore.
Pour it into a small tray lined with parchment paper. Top with the sliced almonds. Allow to cool for at least 2 hours.
Cut into desired shapes.
Store in airtight container.