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Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin cranberry muffins

We are all getting ready for Hurricane Sandy.  There may be power outage, so decided to bake something and stock up. As Halloween is coming nearby, I wanted to bake something with pumpkin, So baked this Pumpkin cranberry muffins. It was soft delicious and those spices in the muffin definitely brings the holiday mood. 
Through out the day, weather was cloudy and it was raining, so pictures are quite dull. 
As I am typing the storm is at its peak, so am posting this recipe in a hurry, just in case if the power supply is cut. My prayers to all those in the path of Sandy. Hope there is not much destruction.

Coming to the recipe

Adapted from Cooking with my Kids

What are the ingredients needed?
All Purpose Flour, 1 1/2 cup
Baking soda, 1 teaspoon
Baking powder, 1 teaspoon
Salt, a pinch
Ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon
Ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon
Ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon
Sugar, 3/4 cup
Pumpkin puree, 1 cup
Vegetable Oil, 1/2 cup
Yogurt, 1/3 cup
Eggs, 2 nos.
Dried cranberries, 1/2 cup

How it is made?
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Prepare the muffin pan, by greasing and flouring them. Alternatively you can use  muffin liners too.
  3. Combine the Flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and set them aside.
  4. In another bowl, combine  pumpkin puree, oil, yogurt, sugar and mix them well. 
  5. Beat in eggs one by one and mix them well.
  6. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and mix them well, then add dried cranberries and mix well, till they are fully incorporated.
  7. Pour the muffin batter to the prepared muffin pan and bake for 15- 18 minutes till the tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Let it cool completely before removing from the pan.
  9. Store them in air tight container and Enjoy!!
It yields 18 regular sized muffins.

  • Instead of using all these 3 ground spices(cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger), you can use a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.
  • The timing taken for baking varies with oven to oven.  Take care not to over bake the muffins. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Aval Payasam/ Poha Kheer

For any Indian festival, the must have dessert is Payasam/ Kheer.  If any feast is planned, payasam definitely has its place. With the festive season around, I decided to post some dessert recipes for this week. Todays recipe is Aval Payasam. It is a rich, creamy pudding made with flattened rice/ Beaten rice, sweetened with Sugar and loaded with raisins and cashews. Very easy to make and a very comforting payasam. 

What are the ingredients needed?

Aval/ Poha/Flattened Rice, 1 cup (I used the thick variety)
Milk, 4 cups
Sugar, 3/4 cup- 1 cup
Cardamom, 4-5 pods
Ghee, 2 Tablespoon
Cashews & Raisins, 10-12 each
Saffron, a pinch (optional)

How it is made?

  1. Powder cardamom with 2 Tablespoons of Sugar and keep it ready.
  2. Fry cashew and raisin in a tablespoon of ghee and set aside.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of ghee, add aval and fry it for a minute or two till it lightly changes color.
  4. Now add 2 cups of milk and simmer at low flame till the aval cooks.
  5. Then mix the rest of the sugar and another 2 cups of milk and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  6. Now add the powdered cardamom,a pinch of saffron, fried cashews and raisins mix well and turn off the heat.
  7. Serve it warm or serve chilled as desired.


  • You can increase or decrease the cashews and raisins as per your preference.
  • For a variation, you can add other dry fruits and nuts too.
  • Payasam thickens with time, so dilute with little milk before serving.
  • I added 3/4 cup of Sugar, If you like to be more sweeter then add 1/4 cup. Adjust the sugar as per your personal taste.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Oven Roasted Broccoli- Indian style

Today's recipe is Oven Roasted Broccoli made in Indian style. I was not in a mood to cook an elaborate meal, but wanted to cook a simple and healthy side dish which involves less work. So decided to make oven roasted Broccoli in Indian style. Washed, cut the broccoli and tossed with few spices, kept in the oven, turned on the timer and went to do other chores. It was ready without having to stand in front of the stove. Simple and easy yet a healthy and delicious side dish. 

What are the ingredients needed?

Broccoli, 1 lb
Olive oil, 1 Tbs
Ground pepper, 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder, 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste

How it is made?
  1. Wash and cut the broccoli into small florets. Drain the excess water and dry them thoroughly.
  2. Mix the oil, chilli, pepper & turmeric powders along with ginger garlic paste and salt.
  3. Toss the broccoli well in this mixture such that all the florets are coated well.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 F.  
  5. Take a cookie sheet, line it with aluminium foil, then grease with few drops of oil.
  6. Arrange the broccoli in the sheet and roast in the oven for 15 minutes.
  7. Then take the sheet out, gently toss the broccoli and bake for another 10 minutes.
  8. Now it is crispy and slightly browned on the edges. It is ready to serve.

  • If you want the broccoli to be crisp, then after washing, pat them dry thoroughly.
  • Also while arranging the broccoli, don't pile them up one above the other.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Chicken Biryani Recipe - Quick and Easy Chicken Biryani using Pressure Cooker / Easy Pressure Cooker Chicken Biryani

Easy Chicken Biryani Recipe,  Chicken Biryani in Pressure Cooker
Chicken Biryani made in Pressure Cooker
Today I am posting here Chicken Biryani made using Pressure cooker.There are different versions of biryani. This Pressure cooker Chicken biryani is the simpler version which can be made quick and easy. This is a one pot meal. If you are a beginner or you don't want to go through the elaborate process and not spend much time to cook, but want an aromatic and delightful biryani, then this recipe is just right for you. Apart from the time taken for marination, this biryani will be ready in minutes. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcake with Cream cheese frosting(Eggless)- Halloween special

It is Halloween time of the year. Everywhere in the blog o sphere there are dishes with pumpkin. I wanted to bake a egg-less cupcake, and baked this chocolate pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting. The cake was soft , chocolate'y and not overly sweet. Perfect combination!! 

What are the ingredients needed?

For the cupcakes
All purpose Flour, 1 1/2 cup
Cocoa powder, 1/2 cup
Baking Soda, 1/2 teaspoon
Baking Powder, 1 1/2 teaspoon
Ground Cinnamon, 1 teaspoon
Salt, 1/4 teaspoon
Light Brown Sugar, 1 1/2 cup
Yogurt, 1/2 cup
Oil, 1/2 cup
Vanilla extract, 1 1/2 teaspoon
Pumpkin Puree, 1 cup
Milk, 1/4 cup

For cream cheese frosting
Cream cheese, 1  cup
Unsalted Butter, 1/2 cup
Vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon
Powdered Sugar, 3 Cups
Food Color(Orange), few drops 

How it is made?

The cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Prepare the cupcake pan by using cupcake liners.
  3. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.
  4. Mix the yogurt, sugar and oil together till they are well blended. Then add vanilla extract and mix well.
  5. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and mix well.
  6. Now add the pumpkin puree and mix till they are fully incorporated. 
  7. Finally add 1/4 cup of milk and mix well.
  8. Pour this batter to the prepared cupcake pan and bake for 18-20 minutes till the fork inserted in the centre comes out clean.
For the cream cheese frosting
  1. With a electric mixer, mix well cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract. 
  2. As mixing keep adding the powdered sugar little by little till all the powdered sugar is incorporated and it is smooth.
  3. Let the frosting sit in the fridge for half an hour to one hour, then start frosting.

  1. Let the cupcakes cool completely, before applying the frosting.
  2. Fill the frosting bags and apply the frosting as desired.
  3. Cupcakes are ready to enjoy!

  1. The cupcakes tastes better when they are completely cooled. So have patience.
  2. Make sure all the ingredients are in room temperature.
  3. I got around 10 cupcakes. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Tomato chutney & Tomato Rice in Microwave

Today's Recipe is Tomato Rice. There are 2 ways to make a tomato rice. One cook rice with tomato and the other one is make rice and make chutney separately and mix them together. If I have less time and on a time crunch usually make it together. Otherwise if planning a somewhat elaborate menu, then will make rice and chutney separately and mix them. Now a days am on a spree to cook in Microwave. Cooked both rice and chutney in microwave and mixed them and served it with onion raitha. Simple lunch. 

For Tomato Chutney

What are the things needed?

Oil, 2-3 teaspoon
Mustard seeds, 1/4 teaspoon
Channa dhal/Kadala paruppu, 1/2 Tablespoon
Garlic, 4-5 cloves
Onions(Small), 1 no.
Curry leaves, a sprig
Green chillies, 2 nos.
Asafoetida, a pinch
Turmeric powder, 1/4 teaspoon
Tomatoes (large), 2 nos.
Salt to taste

How it is made? 
  1. Heat oil in a microwave safe bowl for a minute.
  2. Then add mustard seeds and microwave for another minute.
  3. Then add chopped onions, slit green chillies, chopped garlic and a sprig of curry leaves and microwave for 2 minutes.
  4. Then add the chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, asafoetida and mix well.Then microwave for 5 minutes covered.
  5. Then add salt to taste mix well and then microwave for another 3 minutes.
  6. Now check the consistency of chutney. Till u get the desired consistency microwave at equal intervals of 2 minutes take out and check.
  7. When the water is all evaporated and the tomatoes are all soft and mushy the chutney is ready.

For the tomato rice (Final Assembly)

What are the things needed?

Tomato chutney, refer above
Rice, 1 cup(I cooked in microwave too, for recipe click here)
Salt to taste
Cilantro to garnish(optional)

How it is made?
  1. Add the chutney to the rice and mix well without any lumps.
  2. Then check and adjust the salt. Mix well.
  3. Garnish with Cilantro and Serve.

Serves 2.

  • The chutney can be used as a side dish for chappathi too.
  • The type of tomatoes, determine the time of cooking. Also cooking time in each microwave varies. Mine took totally 14 minutes from the beginning till the end. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Eggless Mocha Mug Cake - Ready in 2 minutes

For this month's Blog Hop Wednesday, I am paired with Surabhi Nayak. She has a wonderful space with some cool recipes. I was most attracted by her Mocha Mug Cake. It is a chocolate and coffee combination and also I love Mug cakes, they are easy to make and can satisfy your cravings instantly. Earlier I have posted a Chocolate Mug Cake
 Surabhi had posted the recipe with egg, but I wanted to try it without egg and also tweaked it a little bit to suit our tastes. Yum!! The cake came out soft and delicious. I served it with chocolate syrup and added sprinkles too. 

What are the ingredients needed?

Whole wheat flour, 4 Tablespoons
Cocoa Powder, 1 Tablespoon
Instant Coffee Powder, 2 Teaspoons
Sugar, 2 Tablespoons
Salt, a pinch
Baking Powder, 1/4 teaspoon
Baking soda, a pinch
Milk, 2 Tablespoons
Yogurt, 2 Tablespoons
Oil, 2 Tablespoons
Vanilla Extract, 1/2 teaspoon
Chocolate syrup, to drizzle
Sugar Sprinkles(optional)

How it is made?
  1. First combine flour, cocoa powder, coffee powder, sugar, salt , baking soda and baking powder.
  2. Then add milk, yogurt, oil and vanilla extract and mix well.
  3. Pour this into a greased mug and microwave for 2 minutes.
  4. Cake is ready. Drizzle some chocolate syrup add some sugar sprinkles and enjoy.

  • You can use the mug itself to mix and microwave. (One less bowl to clean). But make sure it is mixed well.
  • It you don't want the coffee flavor to be strong, adjust the coffee powder accordingly.
  • Also this is mildly sweet cake. You can adjust the sweetness as per your taste.
  • Time in the microwave for the cake to be done, varies with each microwave. Mine was done in less than 2 minutes. So keep your eye on the microwave when it is close to 1.30 minutes. 
  • Only when taken out in the right time, the cake will be soft.Over done cakes are dry.  So watch out.

This is for the Blog hop Wednesday @ Tickling Palates

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cooking Plain Rice in the microwave

Microwave in my kitchen is more of a accessory or a show piece than a appliance. I hardly use it for cooking. I use it for heating or making desserts once in a blue moon. One day my brother asked about cooking in microwave and some recipes to cook, that is when I realized I am yet to explore that area. So decided to start with the basics. Today's recipe is the plain rice.  

Required Ingredients

Rice, 1 cup
Water, 2.5 cup

How it is made?
  1. Wash the rice and drain excess water.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, Soak the washed rice with required water(2.5 cup) for 30 minutes.
  3. Microwave them for 5 minutes uncovered.
  4. Then cover it and microwave for 12 minutes.Water will start bubbling and to avoid splatters keep it covered, but make sure there is vent for the steam to escape. 
  5. Once it is done, let it sit for 5 minutes then fluff it up and serve.
  6. If there is water still left, microwave again for another 2 minutes. 
Serve with gravy of your choice. 

  • I used sona masoori. Type of rice determines the water-rice ratio. 
  • Also if you need the rice to be mushy, increase the water and also adjust the timing accordingly. But however please remember, it is not going to be as mushy as rice cooked in pressure cooker.
  • I cook the rice plain, if needed, you can add salt to taste and little bit of oil.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Thengai Chutney/ Coconut Chutney

The best side dish for any South Indian tiffin items is Coconut Chutney.  So it doesn't need much introduction. It is very simple, easy to make, and can be made in a jiffy. 

What are the ingredients needed?

Shredded Coconut, 1 cup
Green chillies, 2 nos
Pottu kadalai/ roasted gram, 2-3 tablespoons
Salt, to taste
Oil, 2 teaspoons
Onion(small), 1 no.
Mustard seeds, 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves, a sprig

How it is made?
  1. Grind together coconut, roasted gram,  and green chillies in to fine paste adding required water.
  2. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, once they crack add chopped onions and curry leaves and saute till the onions turn golden brown.
  3. Add the ground paste to this and mix well. Adjust the consistency by adding required water, salt to taste.
  4. Mix well and serve. 
  • For a variation, in flavor, you can add 3 cloves of garlic while grinding or instead can use a small one inch ginger. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Urulaikizhangu Podimas - Mashed Potatoes, South Indian Style

When I was a child, I was a picky eater. I would run away  just by the sight of many vegetables. There are only very few vegetables that could grab me to the table to eat them. Imagine how hard it would have been to my Mom. Thank God Thaara is not like that. Potatoes were top on that list. I love potato in any form, fry it, boil it, mash it anything, in any way and with anything you serve the potato, will finish the whole meal without any complaints. Even now my love for potato hasn't changed. My Mom used to make potato podimas, which is my favorite of all. The aroma of garlic and ginger in each bite makes it more delicious, the bright yellow color of it with mustard and channa dhal jeweled on it with hints of greenery added by curry leaves and cilantro makes it visually appealing.. What a description for mashed potatoes? mmmmm.. Try this podimas then you will also sing their praise like me.. 

What are the ingredients needed?

Potatoes, 4-5 nos. (depending on the size)
Oil, 2 Tablespoons
Mustard seeds, 1/2 teaspoon
Chana dhal/ kadalaparuppu, 1 tablespoon
Onion, 1 (small)
Green chillies, 3- 4 nos(depending on its size and spice level required)
Garlic, 4-5 cloves
Ginger, 1 small piece (2" size approximately)
Curry leaves, a sprig
Asafoetida,a pinch
Turmeric powder, 1/4 teaspoon
Salt, to taste
Cilantro, to garnish

How it is made??
  1. Boil the potatoes. Peel the skin and mash them well.
  2. Chop the onions,slit the green chillies, finely mince the garlic and grate the ginger.
  3. Heat the oil in a skillet, add the mustard seeds and when they crack add the channa dhal and fry for a minute and add onions, green chillies, curry leaves ,garlic , ginger and asafoetida. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Then add turmeric powder and cook for a minute, then add the mashed potatoes, salt to taste and mix them well.
  5. Remove from heat. Mix well and garnish with chopped cilantro.
Serve with rice along with rasam or any spicy tangy gravy. Also it makes great combination with yogurt rice.
It serves 4 persons.

  • If you don't prefer chana dhal, you can add urad dhal instead.
  • Some add lemon juice, but my mom doesn' t add though. So if needed you can 2 tsp of lemon juice.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mysore Pak - for the Challenge!!

When Divya Pramil announced the South Vs North Challenge , I loved the concept and wanted to take part in it, so mailed her expressing my interest and got a reply from her, if I would be willing to challenge the North Team. I said, I would be glad to. So here I am posting the challenge for the north team, "Mysore Pak", traditional south Indian dessert. 

I know there might be quite few of you who might be wondering what this is all about? This Challenge is the brain child of Divya Pramil.Its a monthly challenge. There are two teams - One for North India and the Other for South India. Each team will challenge the other with the recipe. Like now for the month of October, I from the South team challenging the north team with Mysore Pak, and all the members from North will try this and link it here and similarly Shruti from north has posted be the challenge for the south team to make Bhelpuri Chaat here. The main aim of this is to learn the regional recipes of India. For more information click here

Coming to the recipe, Mysore Pak is a traditional South Indian dessert. According to wikipedia, it was originated in the royal kitchens of Karnataka. It is made of Ghee, Sugar and Gram flour. Usually all South Indians make it during Diwali.  But am no expert in making it. So the person I turned on to for help is my neighbor, Geetha. She was kind enough to come home and make it for me. As she was making, I was clicking, so am able to give step wise pictures for you here. 

The ingredients needed?

Besan/ Gram flour, 1/2 cup
Oil, 1/4 cup
Sugar,1 cup
Water,1/2 cup
Ghee,1/2 cup (approximately)

How it is made?

  • Prepare a tray by greasing it with ghee and keep it aside.
  • Mix oil and Besan.

  • In a pan mix sugar and water, Boil them to get the required consistency of syrup. The required consistency is when you drop syrup in a bowl of water, it should stand without getting dissolved.

  • Then add the besan mixture to the syrup and keep stirring. 

  • Add ghee little by little and keep stirring.
  • You have to keep stirring till the mixture changes in texture and starts leaving the edges. There is light change in color too.

  • Pour this into the prepared pan. It hardens immediately.
  • Grease the knife with ghee and cut them to the desired shape. When it is still warm turn the plate and remove them.
  • Store them in the air tight container and enjoy

  • Use a non stick pan, for cooking it makes it easier.
  • Consistency of sugar syrup is more important.
  • Keep stirring, never take your hand away.
  • As stirring, keep adding the ghee with the other hand till you get the desired consistency, not necessary you have to add all the 1/2 cup though. so it is approximate measure.
  • Prepare the pan ahead, as you wont have time later, once the required stage is reached immediately transfer to the pan. 
  • Slice it to required shape while it is still warm.

Dear North Team, 
So here is the challenge, recreate this mysore pak and link it to the linky tool given below. In case of any doubt, feel free to mail me @ c.divyaprakash@gmail.com
My Facebook page. Divya's Culinary Journey
Best of luck from me and the South Team.
Divya Prakash