Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Plain Cake

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As the name suggests, this is a simple cake with very few ingredients. Also known as pound cake (in which all the ingredients are a pound each), it is my family's all time favourite because of it's soft, light and fluffy nature.


Ingredients:

1. All purpose flour - 1 cup
2. Unsalted Butter - 1 cup (can use less ~3/4th cup)
3. Sugar - 1 cup
4. Eggs - 4
5. Baking powder - 1 tsp
6. Vanilla essence - few drops

7. Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl (all purpose flour, sugar,cardamom powder and baking powder).
  3. Keep the butter at room temperature. Blend it with hand mixer until it becomes fluffy (the more we beat, the more fluffy and light the cake will be).
  4. Add eggs one at a time and blend well.
  5. Add dry ingredients to the above and blend well. Finally add vanilla essence and mix well.
  6. Grease the cake pan with oil and place a parchment paper. Fill the pan with the cake batter 3/4th full and bake for 45 mins (or) until the cake is done. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Another entry to Event for Eggs.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sunni Undalu

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Minapa Sunni Vundalu/Urad dal laddu is a traditional andhra sweet and is easy to prepare. We can store the urad dal flour and sugar mix in an air tight container for atleast 2 months. And whenever we want to make these, we can just add ghee to the mix and make laddus.



Ingredients:

Urad dal / Black gram lentil (without husk) - 1 cup
Granulated Sugar - 1 cup
Ghee/clarified butter - 1/2 cup or less (I use just enough to make laddu shape)

Instructions:
  • Dry roast urad dal on low heat until it turns brown. Keep stirring continuously as urad dal burns quickly.
  • Let the dal cool and blend it into a smooth powder.
  • Blend the sugar to a fine powder.
  • Mix the urad dal flour with sugar powder in a bowl.
  • Slowly add ghee and mix with hands until the mix holds together to make a round ball.
  • Store these in an air tight container. They will stay fresh for 2 weeks.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dosakaya (Cucumber) Pachhadi

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This is a delicious, easy to make recipe with raw dosakaya or cucumber. Dosakaya pachhadi is also known as Dosakaya Mudibaddalu (or cucumber pickle). Total preparation will take less than 10mins if we have all the ingredients handy.


There are different ways to make the gravy - we can substitute the red chillies with green chillies, can add coconut, and can skip jaggery. Here is how I make it.

Ingredients:

Dosakaya (Cucumber) - 1 (chopped into small cubes)
Dry red chillies - 2
Cumin seeds, Sesame seeds, Urad dal, Chana dal, Peanuts - 1 tsp each
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Salt - as required
Tamarind paste - 2 tsp (Soak tamarind in water and extract the thick paste)
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Curry leaves - a stem
Jaggery - 1/2 tsp (optional)

Instructions:

  • Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan and fry the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, chana dal, peanuts, Asafoetida and chillies for 2mins. Once mustard seeds starts popping, switch off the heat and cool.
  • Grind the above ingredients along with tamarind paste, turmeric, salt and jaggery to make a coarse paste.
  • Mix this paste with the cucumber pieces.
  • Lastly, fry mustard seeds, curry leaves in a tsp of oil and add to the chutney. I ignore this step most of the times, as I don't find much difference in taste.

I can't ask for anything more if I have dosakaya pachhadi and tomato dal along with rice for a meal.



Monday, April 20, 2009

Frittata with Vegetables

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Here is a simple and delicious recipe for Frittata - an Italian version of Omelette. Can be served for breakfast/lunch.


Ingredients:

Eggs - 4
Olive Oil - 2 table spoons
Mixed Vegetables - 1 cup (I used carrots, potato, beans, peas and corn)
Onion - 1 (finely chopped)
Salt & Pepper - as required
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese - as required (optional, can use any kind of cheese)

  • Pre heat oven at 400F.
  • Heat oil in a skillet and add onions. Fry till onions turn brown in color.
  • Add mixed vegetables and cook until they are soft.

  • Add salt and pepper as required.
  • Break eggs in a bowl and beat well.
  • Pour eggs into the vegetables mix and turn off the heat.
  • Transfer this entire mix into an oven safe bowl (greased with oil).
  • Bake for 5 mins or until the sides turn brown in color.
  • Sprinkle cheese on top and bake until it melts completely.

I am sending this recipe to the Event for Eggs hosted by Sudeshna.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Spinach Tomato Sauce for Pasta/Spaghetti

3 comments


Here is one simple pasta/spaghetti sauce recipe made with spinach and tomato sauce.


Ingredients:


For Sauce

Fresh Spinach - 1 bag (finely chopped)
Onion - 1 (small, finely chopped)
Garlic cloves - 4 (crushed)
Tomato sauce - 1 can
Salt - as required
Pepper - as required
EVOO(Extra Virgin Olive Oil) - 4 tsp
Parsley - for garnishing
  • Heat EVOO in a pan. Fry the garlic cloves for 2 mins. Add onion and fry until they are soft.
  • Add the chopped spinach, cover the pan with lid and cook for 10mins.
  • Add the tomato sauce and cook for another 10mins.
  • Add the salt and pepper as required.

For Spaghetti

  • In a saucepan, cook spaghetti according to package directions. Rinse in cold water and drain well.
  • Add sauce and enjoy the delicious spaghetti.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Garbanzo Beans & Soya Beans Curry

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This is our family's favourite side dish with parathas or naans.
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) have a delicious nutlike taste and buttery texture. They provide a good source of protein that can be enjoyed year-round and are available either dried or canned. Soya beans are rich in the plant hormones phytoestrogens that in the human body seem to act to dilute the impact of the body's own oestrogens.
If we use canned beans, we don't have to soak them overnight. If we are using dry beans, it's always easy to cook them if we soak for overnight.



Ingredients:

Garbanzo beans - 1 cup (dry beans)
Soya beans - 1 cup
Onion - 1 (finely chopped)
Tomatoes - 2 (finely chopped)
Salt - as required
Dry chilli powder - as required
Water - 1/2 cup
Chana Masala - 2 tsp (chole masala)
Oil - 3 tsp
Cloves - 4
Cinnamon - 1" stick

  • Pressure cook both the beans with water until they become soft.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add cloves and cinnamon stick and fry for 2mins.
  • Add the chopped onions and when onions turn brown in color add tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are soft.
  • Add the cooked beans to the above mix and add 1/2 cup water and cook for 5mins.
  • Add salt, chilli powder and chana masala powder.

Plain Naan

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I learnt this recipe from one of my Gujarati friends. The naan dough is very similar to pizza dough, but needs 4 hrs to ferment. We can add butter to the dough to make butter naans.


Ingredients:

All-purpose flour - 2 cups (makes ~6 medium sized naans)
Active dry yeast - 1 tsp
Luke warm water - 3/4 cup
Sugar - 1 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tsps
Plain curd/yoghurt - 2 tsp


  • Dissolve the yeast in luke warm water and keep it aside for 10mins.

  • Mix all the dry ingredients with oil and curd in a separate bowl.

  • Add the yeast water to the above making a soft dough as shown below. Apply oil to the hands so the dough doesn't stick. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and set aside for 4hrs.

  • Pre heat oven to 475F.
  • Divide the dough into equal parts. Use flour to roll the dough into naan shape (~1/4 inch thick).
  • Flour or greese the pizza stone or any other oven safe pan and bake the naans for 3mins or until they are done.


  • Brush the naans with a little butter or ghee to keep them soft.
  • Enjoy the naans with your favourite side dish like chole masala or chana curry.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Vegetable Biryani

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Having lived in Hyderabad for almost 6 years, I am a big fan of biryanis (veg/non-veg). Biryani can be made either in rice cooker or in an oven(dhum style). If there is plenty of time(min 2hrs), I prefer cooking it in an oven. In a rice cooker, biryani comes out a bit moist, but still tastes very good. Veg biryani is a must have item on our menu when we have guests. Here is how I make biryani in a rice cooker.


Ingredients:

Basmati rice - 2 cups
Water - 3 cups
Oil - 4 tsp
Cloves - 4
Bay leaves - 4
Cinnamon sticks - 2
Cardamom - 2 (whole)
Salt - as required
Green chillies - 2 (finely chopped, add more if you want more spice)
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Mixed vegetables - 1 cup
Plain curd/yoghurt - 2 tsp
Garam masala powder - 2 tsp
Onion - 1 (slice length wise)

  • Wash the Basmati rice and remove the water.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add cloves, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cardamom and fry for 2 mins.
  • Add chillies and onion and fry till onion turns brown in color.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and fry for another 2mins.
  • Add mixed vegetables and salt. Cook until vegetables are half cooked, for about 5 mins, covering the lid of the pan.
  • Add garam masala and curd and fry for another 2mins.
  • Now add basmati rice to the above mix and fry for another 2mins.
  • Pour this entire mixture into the rice cooker/pressure cooker and add water. Mix well and check the salt/spice. Add more of these if required.
  • Cook until rice is done.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Atukula (Flattened Rice) Upma

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This upma is easy to make and is yummy to eat. We can make this using either thick or thin poha. I like thick poha as it has more flavor. It is a custom in our village to make poha every January, after a new rice crop is harvested. The rice grains are soaked overnight in water and are processed in a mill to produce poha. The smell of the fresh poha is mouth watering. We can also have this fresh poha with Jaggery.


Ingredients:

Poha - 1 cup

Raw peanuts - 2 tsp

Onion - 1 (finely chopped)

Green chillies - 2 (finely chopped)

Carrot - 1(optional, finely chopped)

Potato -1 (optional, finely chopped)

Popu mix (cumin seeds, mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal) - 1 tsp

Curry leaves - 1 stem

Turmeric - 1/2 tsp

Salt - as required

Oil - 3 tsp

Lemon juice - 1 tsp

Coriander leaves - for garnishing


  • Wash poha in water for 2 -3 times and soak for 5mins.
  • Heat oil in a pan and fry peanuts till brown. Add chillies, popu mix, curry leaves to the peanuts.
  • When mustard seeds starts popping, add onion and fry till onion turn brown.
  • Add carrot, potato pieces and fry until they are soft/cooked.
  • Add poha, turmeric and salt to the above mix and fry for 3 mins.
  • Sprinkle lemon juice on top of poha for a better taste.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Semiya (Vermicelli) Upma

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Ingredients:

Semiya - 1 cup
Water - 2 cups
Poppy seeds - 2 tsp
Popu mix (cumin seeds, mustard seeds, urad dal) - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 stem
Ghee - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Green chillies - 2 (or as required)
Cashew nuts - 10

  • Heat ghee in a pan and fry semiya till they turn brown color. It will help semiya not stick to each other when making upma. Keep it aside.
  • In the same pan, heat oil and add chopped chillies, poppy seeds, popu mix and curry leaves. Heat for 2mins. (optional - we can add some vegetables if we want).
  • Add cashews and fry for another 2 mins. Now pour water and bring it to boil.
  • Add semiya to the boiling water and cook until semiya is soft or until water evaporates.
  • Serve with sugar/ketchup.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Murukulu (Janthikalu)

3 comments

Murukulu is my husband's favourite snack. These are made often during festivals at our home.




I used the tool below to make these. It's very easy to use and convenient, and it needs very little effort/strength. We can make different shapes using the appropriate plates that come along with this tool.


Ingredients:

Rice flour - 2 cups
Besan flour - 1/2 cup
Urad dal flour - 1/4 cup (Optional, I usually prepare this at home - fry the skinless urad dal till brown in color and powder them in a mixer)
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Ajwine seeds - 1 tsp
Salt - 1 table spoon (or as required)
Chilli powder - 2 table spoons (or as required)
Clarified butter - 3 tsp
Water - to make the batter (~ 1 and 1/2 cup)
Sesame seeds - 1/4 cup
Oil - for deep frying


  • Mix the flours, seeds, salt, chilli powder, clarified butter into a batter using water (batter shouldn't be too thick, see the picture below). Adjust salt and chilli powder according to the taste.


  • Heat oil in a pan.
  • Fill the murukulu tool with batter and dispense the batter in concentric circles in the hot oil. Actually the shape doesn't matter as long as it tastes good :)).


  • Flip the murukulu till both sides turn brown in color.
  • Cool them over a paper towel to absorb oil. Store them in an air tight container.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Karela (Bitter Gourd) Fry

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This is one of my favourite curries. Some people don't like the bitter taste but adding little jaggery makes this curry yummy. With this recipe, we don't need to wash the karela pieces with buttermilk/salt water to avoid it's bitterness.

Karela is said to be helpful in fighting cancer and a number of infections. The bitter properties of karela make it effective as a blood purifier.




Ingredients:

Karela/Bitter Gourd - 4 medium
Onion - 1 big (cut into small pieces)
Oil - for deep frying the karela pieces
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp (or as required)

Chilli powder - 2 tsp (or as required)
Jaggery - 3 tsp
Popu mix (cumin seeds, mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal) - 2 tsp
Sesame seeds and Poppy seeds (powdered) - 2 tsp (optional)

  • Cut the karela into small pieces (circular shape).

  • Deep fry the pieces in oil until they are crispy or golden brown in color.
  • Heat oil (2 tsp) in a pan. Add popu mix. When the mustard seeds start popping, add the onion and fry till onions turn brown color.
  • Add the fried karela pieces, salt, chilli powder (as required), sesame and poppy seeds powder and fry for another 4 mins.
  • Add jaggery and fry till jaggery melts into the curry.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thin Crust Pizza

2 comments


I like pizza more than any other fast food. But we can't have it frequently because of it's fat content. So I decided to make it at home in a healthy way, with less cheese.


The dough for the crust needs to be made 1 day in advance. I followed the dough recipe from Food Network. But only change I made was, used 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour instead of 2 cups bread flour. I used Fleischmann’s yeast and it's really worked well for my pizza.

I don't have a pizza stone, so I baked it using my 8"cake pan. End result is sufficient for 2 people with medium appetite :). And it tastes Yummy.

There is no specific measurement for the toppings, it's completely our choice of how much we need. Here is how I made the topping for the Pizza -


  1. After making the pizza from the dough, place it in pizza stone or pan greased with flour or oil.
  2. Sprinkle olive oil on top of the pizza.
  3. Spread the pizza sauce.
  4. Sprinkle the Mozzarella cheese. (I used organic low fat Mozzarella cheese from Trader Joe's).
  5. Spread the olives, pineapple chunks, onions, jalapenos, artichoke hearts and any other vegetables of choice.
  6. Sprinkle the Mozzarella cheese again on top.
  7. Pre heat the oven at 450F. Bake for 10mins or until the edges of the pizza turns golden brown in color. Cool it for 3 mins before serve.


I replaced some of the veggies with Chicken pieces for my chicken pizza :)).


Mango Pulihora

2 comments

Since it's the beginning of fresh mango season, I decided to make Mango pulihora/Mango rice. Umm... when I was in India, my Mom used to make this very frequently in summer. We used to get a huge raw mango for ~5 Rs; a similar Mango costs 5$ at Indian grocery stores in the US :)). The more sour the Mango, the better is the pulihora.


Ingredients:

Raw Mango - 1

Rice - 2 cups

Turmeric - 1 tsp

Peanuts and Cashews - handful

Oil - 4 tablespoons (Mustard oil gives a very good taste to pulihora, but optional)

Popu Mix (cumin seeds, mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal) - 2 tsps

Green Chillies - 4 (sliced length wise)

Salt - as required

Asafoetida powder - a pinch

Curry leaves - 1 stem

  • Peel off the Mango and grate into a fine pulp. If Mango is not sour enough, add tamarind paste (2tsps) or lemon juice.

  • Heat oil in a pan, add chillies. Fry peanuts and cashews till golden brown. Add popu mix and curry leaves. When mustard seeds starts popping, add grated mango pulp and fry for 3mins. Add Asafoetida powder. Keep this thalimpu aside.



  • Cook the rice until it's done. It's better to cook the rice in parallel while preparing the thalimpu.
  • Add 1tsp of oil, turmeric powder and salt (as required) to the hot rice and mix well.
  • Mix thalimpu with the above rice. Adjust the salt according to the taste.

I am sending this recipe to "CFK-Rice" event started by Sharmi.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Gobhi Manchurian

2 comments


Gobhi is one of my least preferred vegetables, it's mainly because of the odor when it's being cooked. Gobhi is much more palatable in the form of manchurian. May be it's the flour coating that supress the smell of gobhi or the sauces. It's my family's all time favourite appetizer.




Ingredients:

Gobhi - 1 (below are the measurements for a large Gobhi)
Salt - as required
All-purpose flour - 1/2 cup
Corn flour - 1/2 cup
Rice flour - 1/4 cup
Ginger-Garlic paste - 2 table spoons

Chilli powder - as required
Warm water - as required
Oil - for deep frying

  • Cut the gobhi into florets. Wash and soak the florets in a hot salt water for 10mins.
  • In a bowl, mix all the flours and ginger-garlic paste. Add chilli powder and salt as required. Using warm water mix all the above ingredients until it forms a thick batter (it should be like a bajji batter).
  • Heat oil in a pan. Dip the gobhi florets in the batter and fry them in oil. Turn the heat to medium and cook until the gobhi is fried well. Place the fried pieces on a paper towel to absorb the oil.

Gravy Ingredients:

Onion - 1 (finely chopped)
Chillis - 2 to 3(split length wise)
Soy Sauce - 3 tablespoons
Masala Chilli Sauce - 5 table spoons
Ginger - Garlic paste - 1 table spoon
Olive oil - 2 tsps
Water - 4 tsps
Coriader leaves - for garnishing


  • Heat oil in a pan. Fry onions till golden brown. Add ginger-garlic paste and chillies. Fry for another 2 mins.
  • Add soy sauce, chilli sauce and water and fry for another 3 mins.
  • Add the fried gobhi florets to this mix and fry for 3 mins.
  • Garnish with Coriander leaves.

Sri Rama Navami

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We celebrate Rama Navami on the 9th day from Ugadi.

"Sri Rama Rama Rameti, Rame Rame Manorame
Sahasranama Tattulyam, Rama Nama Varanane." - Chanting the name of 'Sri Rama' is equal to reciting the entire thousand names of Lord Vishnu.



The highlights of this festival are Paanakam and Vadapappu, the favourites of Lord Rama.

Here is the simple recipe to make Paanakam -

Ingredients:

Water - 1 cup

Jaggery - 2-3 tsps

Pepper powder - 1 tsp

Cardamom seeds - 1 (powdered)

  • Dissolve jaggery in water, add pepper powder and cardamom powder.
  • Filter to remove the large particulates.

Vadapappu is nothing but split Moong dal soaked in water for 4-5 hours.

This festival takes me back to my childhood days in my village, when Sita-Rama kalyanam was performed at the village's Rama temple. And I remember my grand mother giving me the prasadam even before it was offered to God :)). The kalyanam used to involve the whole village. The ladies used to prepare prasadam on the back side of the temple, while the men made arrangements for the pooja and the community lunch. We kids used to have a good time running around the mandapam. In the night, there used to be a movie screening in the center of the village (open air theatre) using the old film projectors, where somebody has to change the reel everytime. Good old days!

Welcome to Lakshmi's Kitchen. Your feedback is always welcome. Happy reading.

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