January 27, 2015

4 years of blogging, and a giveaway for my blogoversary...

Happy anniversary bloggie ! 4 years, 600 posts. Lots of satisfaction, great blogging circle of friends, amazing family support for this blog, responsive readers. Long way to go, lots of plan on the anvil.

But for the moment, its time to cheer and be happy. Gratitude - Guess that sums it up.With that I bow my head and thank God and all you readers and supporters, friends and my family.

And a small token of love and appreciation- a giveaway too : A Vegetarian cookbook by a best selling Author. 

To win this, all you need is the rafflecopter below. Event and giveaway ends 14th Feb 2014. 

Am sure you would want to win the giveaway. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

January 26, 2015

Thinai Khara Pongal | Foxtail Millet Pongal or Savoury porridge | How to make Thinai Ven Pongal

After Oats chakkarai pongal, it was another successful experiment for pongal this year with Thinai ven pongal or Thinai Khara Pongal. Millets are known to reduce the glycemic index as well provide a hearty meal. So pongal festival this year was about two healthy experiments that the family liked. I made this for Mattu Pongal (3rd day of Pongal) where cows and all farm are worshipped. The cattle are washed, horns painted and Jallikattu - a popular cattle race is seen in villages to this day. 

Thinai Khara pongal (or foxtail millet savoury porridge) for pongal festival. Can be had for breakfast or evening tiffin / supper too. 

Cuisine : South Indian, type - breakfast
can be made vegan if desired, Gluten Free
spice level : medium
Serving suggestions : Avial, Coconut chutney, sambhar

Prep time - 15 mins , cook time - 15 mins , serves - 4

  • Foxtail millet - 200 gms
  • Moong dal - 50 Gms
  • Ghee - 2 tbsp *
  • Milk - 3/4 cup *( *Omit milk and ghee for a vegan version or use vegan substitutes)
  • Salt to taste
  • Tempering : cumin seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida, black pepper, grated ginger
  • Cashews - optional - 1 tsp

  1. Wash and soak thinai for 20 mins. In the meanwhile dry roast moong dal till aroma comes but it doesn't burn.
  2. Mix both and add 4 cups water and 3/4 cup milk. Pressure cook for 3 whistles. Let the pressure cool on its own. Mix once done, add salt as required
  3. Heat ghee in a pan, roast cashew nuts and transfer to a plate. In the remaining ghee, splutter cumin seeds, asafoetida, ginger, pepper seeds, curry leaves. Pour this tempering on the cooked thinai-Dal mixture. Check for salt and spices. Serve hot with coconut chutney or sambhar or Avial
Sending this to BM#48 under Tiffins. 

January 25, 2015

Bangalore Bakery Style Masala Toast | Evening Snack varieties

After Majjiga Upma, another quick to make Tiffin is Bangalore Bakery Style Toast. It brings back so many memories of wolfing down these delicacies while growing up. Grandmom used to mention that bakeries thrive on people like us, who bought regularly from them. But in the carefree days of growing up, all this advice was thrown to the wind. I make these toast (as its known locally in Bangalore) regularly for a evening snack, and its quite filling. Don’t miss on grilling them a bit (or in the tava) for a crusty yet soft snack

Prep time : 20 mins | Cooking Time : 15 mins
Makes :  4 sets (8 slices)

Bangalore Bakery Style Toast
Type : Snack, Cuisine : South Indian ; Spice level : Medium – high

  • Bread slices – 8 nos
  • Oil – to pan fry / grill + 2 TBSP
  • Onions – 1 large – minced fine
  • Grated carrots – ¼ cup
  • Chopped and deseeded tomatoes – ½ cup
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Green chillies – minced fine – to taste
  • Coriander leaves – minced fine – 1 tsp
  • Garam masala powder – ½ TBSP
  • Red chilli powder – ½ tsp (or to taste)
  • Sugar – a pinch
  • Butter – normal or vegan  - 1 TBSP
  • Tempering : Cumin seeds

  1. In a pan, heat 2 TBSP oil, splutter cumin, add onions and turmeric and sauté well till onions turn translucent.
  2. Now add green chillies, grated carrots and sauté for 4 mins till tomatoes turn mushy and raw smell of carrots go away.
  3. Now add salt, spice powders, garam masala, coriander leaves and rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Cool the mixture thoroughly
  4. Heat an oven to 150 deg C.
  5. In a baking pan, line with parchment or baking sheet.
  6. Slightly butter both sides of the bread slices.
  7. On one side of the slice, spread 1 TBSP of the mixture. Repeat for all slices.
  8. Bake in the oven (or a heated tava ) for 4-5 mins.
  9. Grill for further 1-2 mins till sides are slightly crusty.
  10. Remove from oven, cut into diagonals and serve immediately

January 24, 2015

Biyyapuravva Majjiga Upma | Buttermilk broken rice upma | Easy Nashta Varieties

Nashta is a colloquial term used to define a mild-heavy snack had around 4-5 pm in South Indian homes between lunch and dinner. Sometimes it could be filling enough to skip dinner altogether, and ending the day with just buttermilk or curd rice. This week, we shall see 3 varieties of quick to make and filling nashta. You can also make this for a weekday dinner and skip dinner too. The first of these is a quick Upma or savoury pudding made with buttermilk and Broken Rice.

I have already blogged about using Broken Rice Rava with field beans for a Karnataka style Avarekaalu Akki Thari uppittu. Today's dish is from Andhra, and my high school classmate used to bring it to school often. I had forgotten about it, and when I saw it on Hari's blog I made it instantly. It brought back so many memories of sharing lunchboxes and munching on some fryums.. Thanks Hari, since then I have made this several times and as we are a upma loving family, we quite liked the tang from the slightly sour buttermilk. Its good to eat on its own, but if you are finicky (read fussy), you can eat it with some chutneypudi or even coconut chutney.

Sending this to BM#48 under Nashta series. Check out fellow marathoners here.

Biyyapuravva Majjiga Upma (Buttermilk and broken rice upma)
Cuisine : South Indian / Andhra ; course : Breakfast / evening nashta
Serving suggestion : Coconut chutney or as it is..
Spice level : medium to spicy | Difficulty level : Easy- medium

On how to make Rice rava from scratch at home, click here

Prep time : 15 mins | Cook time : 10 mins | Serves : 4

  • Rice Rava - 2 cups (cup measures 150 ml)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Slightly sour buttermilk - 4 cups (See Notes below)*
  • Oil - 3 tsp*
  • Tempering : Mustard seeds, curry leaves, red chillies (broken -2 nos), large pinch of asafoetida
  • Hot water - 1 cup (if required)* 

1) If you dont have sour buttermilk, churn 1 cup curd with 3 cups of water, add a dash of lime juice or 1/2 tsp of tamarind juice to it and churn again. Use a mixer grinder to blitz it for lump free buttermilk.
2) Dont add cold water if the upma turns dry, keep 1 cup of hot water ready, but add in batches as required.
3) 3 tsp of oil is sufficient if made in non stick pan. However, if making in cast iron or other pans, more oil may be needed.
4) Cashewnuts / peanuts / Urad dal (split black gram) also may be added to the tempering if required.
5) This upma is generally made without onions or any veggies. However, if you are adding onions, saute them in oil before adding the rice rava.

  1. Clean rava of any impurities and keep aside.
  2. In a non stick pan, heat oil. Temper mustard seeds, curry leaves, red chillies and asafoetida. As the curry leaves slightly shrivel, add the rava and fry for 1-2 mins. Add salt.
  3. Now add the buttermilk and quickly stir in without any lumps. If the rava is still dry, add a dash of hot water.
  4. Close and cook covered for 10-12 mins (this rava requires longer cooking time than normal Sooji).
  5. Check for salt and consistency. If required, add 1-2 TBSP of hot water and keep stirring.
  6. Serve hot with chutney or as it is. 

January 15, 2015

Oats Chakkarai Pongal | Pongal recipes | How to make Oats Sakkarai Pongal

Oats in Chakkarai pongal - a new beginning of healthy eating this pongal festival.

Celebrated as the harvest festival, pongal has come to symbolise the celebration of the bounty of the new crop. Similar festivals like lohri, sankranti and Bihu dot the country around this date.

While we generally make Sakkarai pongal and Ven pongal (Khara Pongal) with rice and moong Dal , this year was a successful experiment with oats for sweet version and thinai (foxtail millet) for the savoury version. We loved both of them .  Sharing the oats sweet pongal now. Thanks to Sangee for this inspiration .

Prep time - 10 mins , cook time - 30 mins , serves : 4 generously

Ingredients :
  • Oats - 1 large cup (250 ml)
  • Moong Dal (split green gram) - 1/2 cup
  • Paaka vellam / red jaggery -3/4 cup
  • Ghee - 2 tsp
  • Cardamom powder - 1 pinch
  • Saffron strands - few
  • Cashew and raisins - as required

  1. In a pan, dry toast moong dal and oats separately. Bring 3 cups of water to a rolling boil, add roasted dal and let it cook for 15 mins till soft but not mushy. Retain the Dal with the water
  2. Meanwhile dissolve powdered Jaggery in 8-10 tbsp of water and heat on medium flame to make a single string syrup. Cool thoroughly.
  3. In a third pan, bring 2 large cups of water to a boil, add roasted oats and cook for 4-6 mins till done. If you are using milk, add 4-5 tsp of milk and mix into the oats once cooked. Add saffron strands, cardamom poWder, cooked moong dal and boil the entire pongal for 5-6 mins. Let it cool completely. Now add the cooked oats-Dal mixture to the syrup and mix gently.
  4. Add ghee roasted cashew and Raisins and serve immediately. If reheating the next day or later, add a tsp each of ghee and milk and then micro for 1 min and serve warm. Don't reheat directly as the sugar and Dal would burn.
Linking this to Vardhini's New U

January 14, 2015

Mini Choco Coconut Rolls | No cook Kiddie Treats

Life has its strange twists and turns. I was supposed to post something else for Day 3 of wraps and rolls and the weather god kept playing havoc, it turns so dark even at 5pm. So after multiple futile attempts, although the recipe was written and ready, I got to finally make these Mini Choco Coconut rolls which , well, disappeared as fast as it was made. These are similar to the No Bake Choco-Nutty bars I made last month, but is totally nut free. 

A little chocolate, lots of love and some patience, and u have these beauties that warm the heart of any kid. So these Choco Coconut rolls are almost sugar free and healthy to bite into. My younger one was very impatient, so she kept opening the refrigerator to bite into these, so given a little more settling / chilling time, I would have got perfect spirals. But the kids didn't give a damn as they munched upon these. You really can't go wrong with chocolate, can you ? 

Hope you enjoyed the treats with Wraps and rolls theme on Blogging Marathon this week, with Corn Crusted Pizza Pinwheels, Vietnamese Spring rolls and today's Choco Coconut Rolls. 

Prep time : 10 mins | Chilling Time : 1 hour min (no cook)
Makes : 2 dozen mini spirals

  • Marie biscuits - 15 to 20
  • Dark cocoa Powder - 3 TBSP (I used Dutch processed Valrhona)
  • Condensed Milk - 3 TBSP (It can take 2 tsp more)
  • Ghee - 2 tsp
  • Powdered Sugar - 3 tsp
  • Desiccated coconut - 4 tsp
  • Vanilla essence and elaichi powder (optional)

  1. Powder the biscuits in a blender till smooth. In a bowl, add these powdered biscuits, toss in cocoa powder and half of the powdered sugar. Mix well. Now add the 3 TBSP of condensed milk , ghee and mix to a soft dough., Keep covered for 5 mins.
  2.  In another bowl,  mix the desiccated coconut, rest of the powdered sugar, essence, cardamom powder (if using) and 2 tsp of the condensed milk. Mix lightly so that the mixture doesn't fall apart.
  3.  On a greased surface, roll out the chocolate dough into round or square shape. Toss the coconut - sugar mixture and spread evenly with a spatula or flat spoon. From one end, roll quickly but firmly into a log shape. Pinch and seal both ends so that the filling doesn't fall apart
  4.  Now wrap in cling film or foil and refrigerate for 1 hour minimum. unwrap and cut into thickish roundels. Serve immediately. 

January 11, 2015

Vietnamese Veg Spring Rolls | How to make Spring Rolls | #Party #Appetiser

Its not everyday that we make deep fried food, but the day we do, its a welcome indulgence. Given that the mercury has dipped in the past couple of weeks, we all enjoyed this rather scrumptious veg spring rolls filled with lots of veggies. Both the kids enjoyed and we had just a few left for the snaps. Highlight of this dish was the elder girl helped me in making these and she rather enjoyed rolling the wraps. 

This is a popular appetizer, and the fillings are pretty much endless : Tofu, bean sprouts, cabbage etc. Non vegetarians, I am told, enjoy theirs with shrimp, chicken or even bacon. Enjoy these with a steaming cup of tea or as an appetizer to add more zest to your party / get together.

Sending this to BM#48 under Wraps and Rolls. Check out other marathoners here.

Prep time : 15 mins | Fry time : 10 mins | Makes : 1 dozen rolls (largish)
  • Spring roll sheets- 1 dozen sheets - slightly thawed.
  • Filling: 
  • Shredded veggies - 1 cup ( I used cabbage, onion, carrots, capsicum, french beans, scallions)
  • Onions - 1 medium - minced fine
  • Soya sauce - to taste
  • Salt - to taste
  • Tomato ketchup - 1/2 tsp
  • Green chili paste - 1/2 tsp (omit for kids, if required)
  • Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
  • Oil - 2 TBSP + for frying (1 cup approx)
  • Cornflour + water - 1 TBSP each - to be mixed into a paste (for sealing)

  • Peel out the spring roll sheets carefully and press them between paper napkins to thaw them completely. Keep them wrapped under moist kitchen towels to prevent them from drying and prepare the filling first.

  1. In a wok, heat oil. Saute onions, add ginger garlic paste, all shredded veggies and toss a bit till they are still crunchy. Add the sauces and check for salt. Add additional salt only if required. Let the mixture cool completely.
  2.  Spread out one spring roll sheet. Add a tsp of the filling and gently roll diagonally till you reach the end. Seal with the cornflour-water slurry. Make all the rolls likewise.
  3.  Heat oil for heating, When its medium hot, add the rolls and fry gently on both sides till golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
  4. Cut into bite sized pieces if required.
  5. Serve immediately with tomato ketchup / any chilly sauce.


January 10, 2015

Corn Crusted Pizza Pinwheels | Easy Snack for kids

Pizza Pinwheels was one of the most awaited snacks during the recent Christmas break that kiddo had. Ever since I told her I would make it, everyday she would start the day with the same question "are we making it today?" .. The day we actually made it, we had it as a snack rather than for dinner. She loved it with a cup of tea, while little one had the non-spicy version and loved it too. surprise, surprise, my inlaws and mom who are not so into baked goods also liked it quite a bit.

All in all, a snack that has endless possibilities for filling. I am sure to make this for her birthday too (as per her 'orders' :D) . So do make it and let me know how you and your family liked it.

Sending this to BM#48 under Wraps and Rolls. Check out other marathoners here. Also to Vardhini's Bake Fest # 39, Nupur's Whats with my Cuppa

Prep time : 15 mins | Standing time (rise time : 1.5- 2 hours)
Bake time :20 mins | Makes : 1 dozen medium sized rolls
Cuisine : American , type : Snack or appetiser

  • Unbleached bread flour - 2 cups ( I used king arthur brand)
  • Instant yeast - 1 tsp
  • Sugar - 1 tsp
  • Warm water - 1/3 cup + little more for kneading
  • Olive oil - 1/4 cup
  • Salt - to taste (about 1/4 tsp) 

  • Pasta sauce - 3/4 cup
  • Boiled corn - 1/4 cup
  • Diced capsicum / bell pepper - 1/4 cup
  • Diced onions - 1/4 cup
  • Dried herbs - 1 tsp (I used oregano, basil and thyme)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese - 1/3 cup
  • Olive oil - to brush the bakes

  1. Proof the yeast with warm water and sugar. (I proof the yeast every time although its instant, just to be sure). Once done, add the oil and whisk it well. 
  2. Sieve flour and salt twice over, make a well / dent in the flour and add the proved yeast + oil mixture. Knead to a smooth dough adding any additional warm water if necessary. Cover with a wet kitchen towel and place in a draft free environment till it doubles (I keep it in an oven with the light on). My dough generally doubles in an hour, however that week it was chilly and took about 90-95 mins to double.
  3.  Punch down the dough a bit and divide  the dough into two parts (One portion went to make a lovely veggie margarita type pizza for the husband and me). Knead the other portion lightly.
  4. On a floured surface, roll into a rectangular sized sheet. 
  5. Spread the pasta sauce, sprinkle  the veggies, cheese, dry herbs, and top it with cheese. 
  6. With the shorter end of the rectangle facing you, roll into a tight roll (like a cinnamon roll) and press the ends to seal. Roll all through the length of the pizza sheet. 
  7. Clingwrap and refrigerate for 20 - 30 mins (this is an important step, dont miss, else you would be left with messy pinwheels). Towards the end of this 20 mins, Preheat oven to 180 deg C. / 375 deg F.
  8. With a sharp serrated knife, cut thickish roundels, place the pinwheels with the cut portion facing upwards on a greased / lined baking sheet
  9. Bake for 12-18 mins till you get golden brown pinwheels, keep an eye after the 15th min to avoid hard pinwheels. 
  10. Serve warm as a snack or for dinner with any soup 

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