Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

 Instant oatmeal is low in saturated fat and even lower in cholesterol. It is a very good source of calcium, iron, manganese, vitamin B6, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, vitamin B12 and I could go on. Of all the flavors that Quaker oats produces, I find the regular and old fashioned one particularly difficult to consume. May be because the taste is a bit too bland? but I've managed to find interesting ways to dish them! Apart from mixing milk and nuts before cooking it and having it as a breakfast cereal, baking oatmeal raisin cookies paves way to a tasty way for a quick and delicious snack. So I collect all the old fashioned oats packets and when I have a good amount I bake cookies.

  1. Softened Butter 1/2  cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons, softened
  2. Brown sugar -3/4  cup
  3. White sugar- 1/2  cup 
  4. Eggs-2 (optional)
  5. Vanilla essence=1 tsp
  6. All-purpose flour- 1-1/2  cups
  7. Baking soda- 1  tsp
  8. Ground cinnamon- 1  tsp
  9. Salt-1/2  tsp (optional)
  10. Quaker Oats-3  cups (the old fashioned variety)
  11. Raisins-1  cup
      1. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars using a medium or low speed food mixer until a creamy mixture is obtained. 
      2. Add eggs and vanilla. Ensure that each egg is followed by a gentle and thorough mix before you add another one. 
      3. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon powder and salt to the mixture and continue to beat it. 
      4. Add oats and raisins and mix well. Ensure that the food mixer does not beat the raisins too hard that they start to break into pieces.
      5. Place many a tablespoon full of dough on ungreased cookie sheets and bake in the oven at 350F for 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown. Don't keep it in for too long, or they will start to get too hard. 
      6. Once done, Remove the cookie rack and cool them for 5-10 minutes before you gorge on them. Bon appetit!

      Oatmeal Bars- A variation
      1. Instead of dropping a spoonful of dough in cookie shapes, you could smother the entire dough to take the shape of the cookie tray. Let it bake in the over for around 30-35 minutes or until light golden brown. Take it out of the oven once done and allow it to cool for a few minutes. Then, cut them into bars. Voila! oatmeal bars are ready to be eaten.
      2. You can also substitute the raisins with any kind of nut for a crunchy snack. Let me know how you liked them.

      Monday, November 7, 2011

      Chocolate Chip Cookies

      I like to be my niece's favorite aunt, and one of the reasons why she thinks this is 'cause of the chocolate chip cookies that she loves so much! Of course, there are reasons other than food that I lure here towards me with :) but I dish these out to my little darling whenever I can. Here goes:

      • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
      • 3/4 cup brown sugar
      • 1 cup butter, softened
      • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
      • 1 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1/2 tsp salt
      • 1 cup nuts coarsely chopped (optional)
      • 2 cups (12 ounces) semi sweet chocolate chips

      1. Mix sugars butters and egg in a large bowl, throw in the flour, baking soda and salt. The dough will a little stiff as you mix. Stir in the nuts and chocolate chip. 
      2. Cover the baking pan with cookie sheet and drop dough tablespoonfuls onto the pan. 
      3. Preheat the over to 375F and bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes or until light brown. Once done, remove the cookies and cool them on a wire rack.
      1. If you are using self rising floor, you do not need to use baking powder. 
      2. Using an ice cream scoop makes the job of arranging the dough on the pan less messy.
      3. If you think these cookies are not tasty enough, throw in half a cup of semi sweet chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, milk chocolate chips and butterscotch chips instead of the 2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips. The cookies would taste even more incredible!

      Monday, October 17, 2011

      Mutton Korma ( மட்டன் குருமா)

       Mutton Korma can be mixed with rice or used as a side dish for rotis, dosas or idlis. A south Indian, spicy version of the korma is found in this post. For the audience, this is K's version of the korma :)


      1/2 kg (2 pounds) Mutton
      1 tsp Cumin powder
      1 tsp Fennel Powder
      1/2 tsp Coriander powder
      1/2 tsp Chill powder

      1/2 tsp turmeric powder
      2 tbsp plain yogurt

      1/2 tsp salt
      1/2 inch ginger shredded
      1 garlic clove shredded
      1 black cardamom
      2 reg cardamoms

       Tomato Paste
      2 tomatoes
      1/2 tsp coriander powder
      1/2 tsp cumin seeds
      1 tsp cumin powder
      2 tsp fennel Powder
      2 tbsp coconut gratings
      1 tsp poppy seeds
      1 small cinnamon stick

      3 cups of chicken stock
      1/2 tomato- Finely diced
      Chill powder to taste
      salt to taste
      2 tsp poppy seeds
      1Cinnamon stick
      2 cloves
      1 star anise
      1 inch ginger shredded
      2 cloves of garlic
      1 or 2 green chillies

      Directions to cook
      Marinate the mutton pieces overnight with 1tsp fennel powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp chilly powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tbsp yogurt, 1 black cardamom, 1 clove of garlic diced, 1 inch of ginger.

      Heat a pan over the stove and drizzle some oil in it
      Once the oil is heated, shallow fry the mutton pieces to give it that sear on its surface.
      Once there is a crisp layer formed on the surface of the mutton pieces, pressure cook them with some chicken stock for upto three whistles.
      While the mutton is getting pressure cooked, in the same pan used to fry the mutton add one cinnamon stick crushed, one black cardamom crushed and 2 cloves and saute till it starts to splutter.

      Now add the onions, some salt and saute it until the onions are golden brown
      Now add the green chillies, 1 inch ginger shredded and 2 garlic cloves minced.
      Now add the diced 1/2 tomato and 2 tsp of poppy seeds and stir to cook

      In a food processor make a paste out of the tomato paste ingredients. The paste should not be too watery. Now add this paste to the pan's contents and continue to saute for 3 or 4 mins.


      Once the mutton is pressure cooked, add the cooker's contents to the mixture in the pan. If you want the korma to be more spicy add more chilly powder and let it cook in low heat for 30 minutes. 
      When the korma is done, add some curry leaves and stop the cooking process.

      Slow cooking the mutton would give it a better taste
      Shallow frying the mutton would give it that crispness
      You can replace chicken stock with water for pressure cooking. 

      Friday, October 7, 2011

      Garlic Rasam (பூண்டு ரசம்)

      Rasam mixed with rice is a very popular South Indian dish that goes well with most vegetables at the side. A variant of rasam, made with garlic, is especially good for digestion.

      1. Asafotedia powder- 1 pinch
      2. A few curry leaves -to taste
      3. Garlic Cloves sliced thin- 10-11
      4. Lemon sized tamarind
      5. Red Chillies2-3
      6. Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
      7. Tomatoes chopped 1-2
      8. Turmeric powder 1tsp

        1.  Take the tamarind pulp and make a juice out of it by soaking and squeezing it in water. Keep this aside.
        2. Pour about a tablespoon of ghee in a vessel and heat it over the stove.
        3. Once the ghee is hot, add some mustard seeds to it. 
        4. When the seeds start to splutter, add asafotedia powder, red chillies, garlic cloves and tomatoes. If you are like me and you do not prefer chunks of tomatoes in your food, make a paste out of the tomatoes and add it instead. 
        5. Now let it simmer for a minute before you add the turmeric powder. Stir for a couple of more minutes so the raw smell of the turmeric disappears. 
        6. Add the tamarind juice (without the pulp) and some salt to this mixture. 
        7. Let the rasam simmer in the stove for about 10-15 minutes. Within this time, when you notice that the mixture starts to boil, add some curry leaves to it and turn off the stove. Rasam is ready.

          Key to a tasty rasam is that you don't over cook it. Stop the cooking process once you notice the first boil. 

          Saturday, September 17, 2011

          Rava Kesari (ரவை கேசரி )

          My husband ‘K’, an ardent supporter and encourager of my blogs, has the innate qualities of a top chef. There hasn't been one dish that he has 'hobbied' with which I did not like. Unfortunately, he is the obligated lab rat who has been at the prestigious end of not being spared for any of my culinary experiments :). This post, ladies and gentlemen, is his contribution to my food blog which starts off on a sweet note.

          Rava Kesari is a popular Indian dessert that is made during special occasions. But when it comes to relishing this mouth watering dessert, do not restrict yourself to certain days of the year only.

          1. Rava-1 cup
          2. Sugar 1-2 cups
          3. Water -2 cups
          4. Handful of raisins and chopped nuts
          5. Food coloring -1 or 2 pinch
          6. Ghee (clarified butter) 4-5 tblsp
          7. Cardamom 3-4
          1. In a pan heat 3 tblsps of ghee.
          2. Once hot, add the cardamom, raisins, nuts and saute them until golden brown.
          3. Now gently add the rava and stir it until it turns light brown.
          4. Lower the stove flame and add water.
          5. When the water starts to boil, add sugar in small quantities and ensure you stir after each added portion. 
          6. Add the food coloring and continue to stir gently.  
          7. Once the sugar is melted and mixed well turn off the stove. Rava Kesari is ready.

          The secret to making kesari is to keep stirring it constantly while adding water and sugar so that there are no lumps formed.
          PS- Thank you K for this sweet addition!

          Wednesday, September 7, 2011

          Masala Vada (மசாலா வடை )

          Masala vada is a south Indian snack that is often made on indigenous festivals. It is also a comfort food that can be served as an evening snack.

          1. Channa daal- 2 cups
          2. Finely chopped onion-1
          3. Chopped green chilly-1
          4. Garlic cloves 1-2
          5. Red chilly 1-2
          6. Green chilly 1-2

          Directions to make
          Soak the daal for 30 minutes in water so that it softens up a bit
          Now add the garlic and red chilly in the food processor and grind it
          Drain and add the daal into the processor along with some salt and mix it.
          Add a little bit of water to make a thick paste out of the mixture (this should not be watery)

          Heat some oil in the kada over the stove
          Take the paste out and mix it with the chopped onions, green chillies and 1 tsp of non soaked fresh channa daal
          take a tblsp of the mixture and make a ball out of it, place it in your palm and flatten it out
          Place this flattened ball in the hot oil and deep fry it until crisp brown.
          Masala vada ready!

          If the mixture made is too watery, it would be difficult to make small balls that would stick together.
          If you find it too watery, add some basin and mix it up until you get the right consistency.
          The additional tsp of non soaked daal would give that extra crunchiness in the vada.

          Wednesday, August 17, 2011

          Gobi Paratha

          The word Paratha literally means layers of cooked flour. It is a rich and crisp version of Chapathi especially popular in the northern parts of India. Hot Paratha`s served with curd and pickle are a good combination.

          1. Florets of one whole cauliflower (Gobi) 
          2. 1 tsp Cumin seeds
          3. 1 pinch of Asafoetida
          4. 3 or 4 cloves of garlic
          5. Equivalent piece of ginger
          6. 1 tsp cumin powder
          7. 1 tsp coriander powder
          8. salt to taste
          9. chilli powder to taste
          10. 2 cups of whole wheat atta
          11. 1/2 a bunch of coriander leaves and mind leaves (optional)
          12. 1 or 2 green chillies

            Directions to make dough
            This is fairly a similar to making dough for chapathis/rotis. Mix dough with a pinch of salt. Add 1/4 cup of water and mix it, repeat the process until you get a nice soft dough. Drizzle some oil on its surface so that there is no layer formation. Cover the dough with a vessel and keep it aside. This needs to rest atleast 15-20 minutes before it is used.

              Take the cauliflower florets and grate them in a food processor, do not make a paste out of it, pulse it enough to make a coarse mixture.
            Remove this shredded mixture and place it on some tissues and let it rest for a few minutes. The water in the shredded cauliflower will to an extent be absorbed by the tissues.

            Add some oil to the pan and heat it over the stove.When the oil is hot add some asafoetida and cumin seeds. When the seeds start to splutter, add the minced ginger and garlic and saute for a few minutes.
            Now add the shredded cauliflower, coriander powder, cumin powder, chili powder and salt.
            Keep stirring this mixture until it is cooked and all the water is evaporated.
            Once cooked, take the mixture out of the pan and spread it out in a broad vessel and let it cool down. Do not start stuffing when Gobis are hot, wait until they attain room temperature.
            Once they have cooled down, mix the green chillies, cilantro and mint leaves with the mixture. Round them up into equal sized balls.
            Now take the dough you have kept aside and split it into equal sized balls (equal in number to the balls of Gobi)

            Take one of the dough balls and make it into a flat disc, ensure that the center is a bit thicker than the outter rim so that the filling does not leak out once stuffed.

            Join the rims and gather them all together and twist once. Twist the excess dough and gently press it down.

            Now place this filled dough with the twisted side facing down and start to flatten it out gently. Ensure that you do not use too much pressure that the filling starts to squirt out.

            Hot Hot yummy Parathas!

            Once you have a reasonably sized paratha, place it on a heated pan  and rub some oil on both the sides of the paratha's surface as you roast them.


            • The trick to flattening a stuffed paratha is to make sure that after filling the dough, there is no gap found once you`ve closed it and to go gentle while rolling it.
            • The filling should not have any liquid in it, this would then mess things up when you are flattening the stuffed parathas. 

            Tuesday, August 9, 2011

            Apple Pie Dessert

              Sweet apples and a flaky crust are a yummy combination. Home made apple pies are delicious desserts to dish out to your guests. I tried my hand out at one over the weekend. Check it out.

            Pie Crust
            1. 2Cups (250 g) of all purpose flour
            2. 1tsp salt
            3. 3/4 cup (170 g) butter
            4. 6-8 tbsp of ice water

              Pie Filling
              1. 6 Granny Smith Apples
              2. 1/2 cup (60g)all purpose flour
              3. 1 cup (200g) white sugar
              4. 1 cup (220 g) brown sugar
              5. 1 tsp cinnamon powder
              6. 1 tsp nutmeg (optional)
              7. 1 tbsp lemon juice
              8. 2 tbsp butter
                Pulsed Pie Crust

                Directions to make the Pie Crust
                An hour before you start cooking, refrigerate a glass of water and cut small cubes of butter and keep them in the freezer. Mix the flour and the cold butter in the food processor by pulsing it, don't go high speed on this or you might just make things squishy. Add a tablespoon of cold water into the food processor as you make the dough and continue to pulse until the flour begins to thicken. Add about 6 - 8 tbsp of water pulsing after each spoon of water. Continue until the flour becomes a nice dough. The flour will be granulated as found in the picture on your right.

                Take the contents of the food processor and roll the moist dough into a ball.  Place it on a cutting board coated with flour to prevent it from sticking. Divide the dough ball into two halves. Take one half and roll it out into a 9 inch circle, this will be the bottom crust of the apple pie. Transfer this onto the pie pan and allow the dough to take the shape of the pan. Cut off the excess dough around the edges.
                Roll the second half of the dough ball into another 9 inch circle that will be used as the top of the crust.

                Directions to make the Pie Filling
                Take the 6 granny smith apples and slice them into several thin slices. To these apples, add the pie filling ingredients and mix them gently and thoroughly until all the slices are coated with the mixture. Now transfer the apple contents onto the pie pan. Make sure you arrange the apple slices in the same direction while filling the pie, an even arrangement ensures an evenly cooked filling. Toss some cubes of butter over the slices after arranging them. Once this is done, cover the top of the pie with the second half of the dough that you had rolled out earlier. Now, gently press the edges of the bottom and top crust (use water while pressing them, it helps the edges to stick to each other). Brush some butter over the top crust.

                Take a fork and punch a few holes at the top of the crust, this will help the hot air from escaping out while the pie is getting cooked, else the filling might leak (notice the holes on the pic on the left).

                Preheat the oven to 375 F (170 C) and place the pie in the bottom rack. Heat the oven for atleast 50 to 60 mins or until the crust gets brown. Once it is cooked, remove the pie and let it rest for at least 30 minutes before you fork it!

                A slice of the warm apple pie tastes best with a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream. The tartness of the granny smith apples mixed with the sweetness of the sugar melts in your mouth and tingles your sweet tooth! Hope you found this delicious. If you tried this out, let me know how things turned out!