Easy and joyful cooking

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Marigold Blossom

Bringing color to my Balcony.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Oatmeal-Applesauce cookies

Now a days there is lot of focus on oatmeal. Even all the top cereal racks of grocery stores are occupying by foods highlighting the usage of oats. I remember that oats are once considered as 'horse food', but now because of growing health awareness in people, oats are termed as best healthy food. Studies shows that daily eating of oatmeal lowers the blood cholestrol. It is difficult to eat raw oats, but with the addition of other flavours we can enjoy oatmeal. One such favourite food using oats is cookies. Soft,chewy and healthy. Lots of variations can be done like adding nuts,chocolates,apples and dried fruits.

1 3/4 cup quick oats
1 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tbsp Baking soda
1 tbsp Baking powder
1/3 tbsp salt
1 tbsp cinammon
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup softened butter
1 large egg
3/4 cup apple sauce
Handful of raisins,nuts,dried fruits


Cookies ready to bake

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a bowl combine oats,flour,baking powder,soda,salt and cinnamon powder. Take a large bowl and add sugars and butter. Blend well to form a paste. Add applesauce and mix thoroughly. Now add the flour mixture, chocolate chips, raisins, nuts(i added only raisins bcz my kid don't like nuts) and blend. Do not overmix. Drop a tablespoon of dough onto a baking sheet and bake for 10-14 minutes or until cookies turn brown color. Applesauce oatmeal cookies are done.

Applesauce-Oatmeal cookies

Note: Adding applesauce to the flour mixture gives the chewy texture and taste. You can omit applesauce but requires additional butter.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

First Non-Veg Post: Chilli Chicken

Chicken is the most common non-vegeterain dish. If a person is non-veg means we take it for granted that he/she eats chicken..thats the popularity. There are numerous varieties that can be done with chicken. Even chicken curry can be done in many ways esp in india and depends on where you live like kerala chicken curry,mughalai chicken,chicken masala,butter chicken etc.. Sometimes i confuse seeing the masalas available at grocery stores for chicken. No matter how you prepare the chicken itself is delicious.

Chilli Chicken: Great Appetizer

Chilli chicken

Boneless Chicken-250 gms
Egg -1
Cornstarch-3 tbsp
Ginger Garlic paste-2 tbsp
Salt and chilli powder(according to your taste)
Soy sauce- 2 tbsp
Chilli Garlic sauce- 2 tbsp
Masala ppowder-1 tbsp
Stir fry vegetables- Onions,Chillies,Capsicums,Brocolli,Red Bell pepper and so on


1. Clean and cut the chicken into meduim size peices(about 2 inches long).
2. Beat egg thoroughly.
3. Add ginger garlic paste,salt,chilli powder, 1 tbsp soysauce,2 tbsp cornstarch and egg mixture to the chicken pieces and marinate for 1 hour.
4. Heat up the kadai(Wok) and add enough oil. For non-veg dishes oil usage should be liberal( i learnt from my mil and sister).
Now add marinated chicken pieces and fry until the chicken pieces becomes crisp and turn into nice golden color.
5.Add remaining cornstarch,soysauce,chilli garlic sauce and fry for some more time.
6.Adjust the salt and chilli powder.
7. Take out the chicken pieces and in the same wok add onions,chillies and vegetables and stir fry them.
8. Now transfer the chicken pieces into the wok and mix with vegetables.
9. Serve hot the chilli chicken.

Note: Here you can substitue cornstarch with cornflour

Monday, June 19, 2006

Learning Series: 1

This session is an attempt to try the recipes of my fellow bloggers. This weekend i learned how to prepare tomato chutney and moongdal payasam. We are great fans of dosas,Thanks to sailaja for letting me know tomato chutney which i have tasted long ago in india. Moongdal payasam heard from my friend before but never tried thanks to indira for step by step explaination. Needless to say that i spent most of my time in kitchen this weekend.

Dosa with tomato chutney,peanutcoconut chutney and pudina karam

Moongdal Payasam:

Moongdal payasam

Bread Pakora

There are very few foods which are inseperable from us.. like rice,dal,milk etc. For me this list also contains bread probably because its our daily breakfast,weekend snack and outside sandwich. I wonder how many different types of breads are there..Sliced white bread,loaf bread,italian bread,french bread,bread rolls,hamburgers and so on. Another main thing is..bread is instant, just take out from the refigerator and use. Ok. Our recipe today is bread pakora. Pakora means dipping anything like onions,chillies,eggplant,fish in batter usually in besan flour and deep frying in oil. Its somewhat similar to bajji in andhra cuisine and most popular fast food in india(the smell itself draws the crowds). It has its crispiness when eaten hot and normally served as snacks.

(BreadSlices,Potatoes,Mintleaves,Batter and lemon)

2 cups Besan flour(can be substituted with corn flour)
Bread Slices-8 (crustless)
Potatoes-2(boiled and de-skin)
chopped Mint leaves
chopped Coriander leaves
chillies -4(thinly sliced)
salt and chilli powder(accordint to your taste)

(Bread slices ready to go into oil)

Mix the batter by adding water,salt and chilli powder to the besan flour. The batter should not be too watery. Mash the potatoes add green chillies,salt,mint and coriander leaves, juice the lemon into it. Mix everything and form into 8 balls. Cut the bread slice diagonally giving two triangular shapes. Place the potato ball in a traingular bread slice, spread the ball to cover the bread evenly and cover with another traingular shape bread. Do the same with all the bread. Meanwhile heat the oil in the skillet. Dip each stuffed bread in the batter and deep fry in the oil. Serve hot the bread pakoras with tomato ketchup. Perfect summer evening snack

Hot bread Pakoras

Note: Should be very quick in dipping the bread and placing in oil otherwise the bread will absorb water in the batter, becomes very soft and is difficult to hold to place in oil

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Strawberry Pie

Eventhough i couldn't able to partcipate in 'jihva for mango' event, iam happy that i making it to Strawberry event being hosted by bakingfairy. Back in india, seeing pictures of strawberries, i used to think 'oh!! its very beautiful..how it tastes like??where can i eat this fruit?? '. Finally God listened to me, I with my family went to North-East India tour and there i saw this fruit same like my book strawberries and i coudn't wait but taste..then immediate reaction was 'Is this the same fruit??' because it is having nut in it and having citrus taste. I was mistaken..its lychee (litchi)fruit not strawberries. Again in US, i saw the same type of fruit but this time i know for sure iam seeing strawberries only(no more confusion :-)).

Lychee(Litchi)fruit and Strawberries(courtesy"wikipedia)

Strawberry Pie
1 pound of strawberries sliced(eqauls 4 cups)
1 Strawberry flavoured No-sugar jello packet
2 tsp cornstartch(cornstarch and cornflour are different)
1and1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 graham cracker pie crust
Whipping cream

Strawberry pie dessert

Preparation: In a bowl mix water and cornstarch,bring it to boil add sugar and jello powder mix well so that there will be no lumps. Take out from the stove and add strawberry slices. Cool for some time and pour the mixture into the crust. Refrigerate overnight or until set. Before serving top with whipped cream. Very easy..isn't it. Delicious strawberry pie is ready.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Poppy seeds

Yesterday i went through indira's mahanandi and i came to know about mythili's event 'mistress of spices'. I know i was late but can't restrain myself to showcase my favourite spice-'Poppy seeds'. It is a must spice in southindian cooking and i still remember i used to eat them while my mother was preparing paste in her very own mortar and pestle to use in non-veg dishes. An anonymous count claims 900,000 that’s how many poppy seeds are said to be in one pound. Interesting... isn't it. Below is a breif description about this nutty flavoured spice.

Poppy seeds (regular gray and Indian white types)(courtesy: spice pages)

Origin: Poppy seeds(popularly known as khus-khus in india) are tiny nutty-tasting, blue-gray seeds inside capsules on Papaver somniferum, a yellowish-brown opium plant. You may wonder what poppyseeds came from opium plant? Yes, indeed the drug opium is produced from the unripe seed pods and poppy seeds are from ripen seed pods. A perfect example that good and bad lies very close to each other.

They are native to Mediterranean regions, India, China, Turkey, and Iran. Today, Holland and Canada are the main producers of poppy seeds.

opium plant (courtesy: wikipedia)

Kitchen Uses: Poppy Seeds are used to flavor breads, cakes, rolls, and cookies in European and Middle Eastern cooking. They are often ground and used in desserts. In India, the seeds are ground and used to thicken sauces. They also add nutty flavor and texture to pastry crusts, pancake and waffle batters.

Medical Use: Grandma's tip for initial stomach viral-diarrhea is to take 2-3 tbsp of poppy seeds. Poppy seeds is rich in unsaturated fatty acids which is essential for nutrition. It is also used in ayurvedic medicine as a natural sleep aid.

Other Use:Poppy seeds are also the source of a drying-oil, used for manufacture of paints, varnishes, and soaps, and in foods and salad dressing.

Poppy Seeds(Khus-Khus) Biscuits

After the above writeup i wanted to prepare something having and highlighting poppy seeds in it. Making is simple and adding poppy seeds gives the nutty flavour,perfect with cup of tea.


1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup poppy seeds
2-3 tbsp milk


In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients then add vanilla,milk and butter. I prefer to mix everything with hand because hands are best tools. Make into a ball. Take a gallon size ziploc, place the ball in it,close the ziploc leaving a little gap at the corner to let the air pass through it. Roll the dough ball evenly (about 1/4th inch thick) using the rolling pin and put in the freezer for 20-30 minutes,so that the butter gets hardened and is easy to cut. Take out the ziploc cut the sides of the cover and open the top carefully. Then with cookie cutter( i did it with glass having sharp edges) cut into desired shapes and transfer on to a nongreased cookie sheet. Do with the remaining scrapes in the same manner. Preheat oven to 375F and bake for 12-15 minutes and checking inbetween until the biscuits turn golden in color. Even a minute of extra baking these biscuits will result in 'oops! what happend??' because the khus-khus will turn black. Crunchy,nutty and buttery biscuits are ready.

(poppy seeds biscuits)

Carrot Cake for veggies

We invited our indian neighbours for dinner,they are vegeterians and won't even eat eggs and dishes having eggs in it. I always wonders seeing her how she is controlling herself, that too here in U.S where 90% are non-veg and egg plays a vital role in baking, hats off to her. So, i want to prepare cake for them without having eggs but still retain the texture and came up with eggless carrot cake. The main ingredient is carrot. Carrot has an excellent source of vitamins and is a popular versatile root. It has lot of uses in everyday kitchen so don't forget to buy carrots when you went for grocery shopping.

(yummy carrot cake)

Flour - 2 cups
Curd - 1 cup
Sugar - 2 cups
Grated carrots - 3 cups
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 2 tsp
Melted butter - 1 cup
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Chopped Cashew nuts - 1 cup (optional)
Handful of Raisins
Cinnamon powder - 1tsp

First beat curd and sugar. Take a bowl and mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon powder and salt together. Add curd mix. Add the nuts, grated carrots and finally the melted butter. Pour into a greased tin and bake at 375°F for 30 minutes or until done. Take out the cake,cool it and cut into desired shapes. Very easy and healthy.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Bhel for Beach

Iam looking for something that can be eat outside and is easy to prepare like chaats. I have a north indian friend who is very good at cooking so i asked her is there anything that i can make and i have plenty of mamra(puffed rice) then she told me to prepare bhel. I prepared and my husband liked it a lot. The next day i prepared again and took to the beach enjoyed it after soaked in sun and water. For good and fresh taste pack the ingredients in seperate ziplock bags and mix everything just before serving, otherwise the mamra will become soggy. It is great for outdoor eating having the aroma and crunchy taste and above it we are hungry :-)

( Mamra(puffed rice),Sev,chopped onions,tomatoes, green chutney,salt,dhaniya powder and lemon)

Ingredients: The quantities depend on how much you are going to prepare and how spicy you want)
Mamra(puffed rice)
Thin Sev
Chopped onions,tomatoes,cucumbers
Dhaniya powder
Green chutney
one lemon

(spicy bhel)

1. Take puffed rice onto a baking pan, sprinkle 2,3 drops of oil and put in the oven for 5 minutes until the puffed rice is crispy (careful it should not get blackened)
2. Prepare green chutney ahead
For preparing green chutney:
Bunch of corainder leaves
Mint leaves(if you don't have mint leaves add mint powder available in indian stores)
lots of chilles
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
Grind everything and season it. Store in the refirgerator. Stays for 2-3 weeks.
3. Mix mamra,sev,chopped onions,tomatoes,cucumbers. Add green chutney,salt and dhaniya powder. Mix well. serve immediately.