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Banana Bread

Banana Bread

I purchased a bag of ripe bananas from a local grocery store. There was a recipe for banana bread on the bag. I tried it and the recipe is a keeper. The bread has a cake like texture.

If you have just one banana at home, try making Paniyaram.

The ingredients below makes one loaf of banana bread.

Ingredients:

  • Sugar – 3/4 cup
  • Butter – 8 tbsps, plus more for the pan at room temperature
  • Eggs – 2
  • Baking soda – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • All purpose flour – 1 cup, plus more for the pan
  • Whole wheat flour – 1 cup, I used chapathi flour
  • Very ripe large bananas – 3, mashed
  • Walnut or any nuts – 1/2 cup, chopped
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Grease a 9 x 5 x 3″ loaf pan with butter.
  • Dust the pan with flour and tap out the excess flour
  • Sift all-purpose flour, wheat flour, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.
  • Beat butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until creamy.
  • Add eggs and beat until well combined.
  • Add vanilla extract and mix.
  • Add the flour mixture little by little to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  • Add the mashed bananas and chopped nuts. Mix until well combined.
  • Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, rotate the pan half way through baking (or until a cake tester comes out clean).
  • Let the bread cool down in the pan for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the bread from the pan and let it cool down completely on a wire rack.

Varutha Kozhi Kulambu

Varutha Kozhi Kulambu

We watched Paravai Muniamma cooking on a tv show called gramathi virundhi. My husband was more interested than me to try this recipe. We did not have the exact measurements. So we adjusted ingredients according to taste. Here is my husbands version of Varutha Kozhi Kulambu. It has the taste of pottu kadalai/dalia and the tamarind extract adds punch to this dish. I never knew that you can add tamarind extract to a chicken dish. This gravy goes well with rice, chapathi, parotta, dosa……

The chicken pieces have to be cut into very small pieces. Our chicken was cut at the store and it was cut into big pieces.Smaller pieces will absorb the masala better than big chunks.

Ingredients:

  • Sesame oil – 3.5 tbsps + 1.5 tbsp
  • Boneless chicken breast – 2.27 lb, cut into small pieces
  • Tamarind – 1 tbsp
  • Cinnamon stick – 1 inch
  • Cardamom – 2
  • Onion – 1/4 cup (optional), chopped into small pieces
  • Salt – to taste
  • Water – as required

Grind to a fine paste the ingredients below:

  • Dry red chilli – 4
  • Pottu Kadalai/ Dalia – 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
  • Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Shredded Coconut – 2 tbsp
  • Poppy seed/ kasa kasa – 2 tsp

Method:

  • Add hot water to the tamarind and let it rest.
  • Heat 3.5 tbsp oil in a pan.
  • Add the chopped chicken to it and add salt to taste.
  • Saute until the chicken turns golden brown.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and add 1.5 tbsp oil to the pan.
  • Add cinnamon and cardamom. Saute for few seconds.
  • Add onion and saute until the onions turn golden brown.(optional)
  • Add the ground masala and let the masala cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Add the cooked chicken, salt and tamarind extract.
  • Adjust the amount of tamarind extract added according to your taste.
  • Add water as required .
  • Let the gravy/kolambu boil for 10 minutes.

Notes:

Try adding mustard seeds, curry leaves, cumin seeds and fennel seeds for the seasoning.

Avial

Avial

Avial is a side dish that we make at home during Pongal along with mixed vegetable sambar. My chithi shared this recipe with me. I don’t follow the measurements when I make avial. It is always by tasting and guessing that I add the ingredients. Pongal avaial is more special because we go wild with the vegetables that goes into the avial. We add different root vegetables that gives it more flavor.Raw mango pieces can also be added. Adjust the quantity of curd added if you are using raw mango to make avial.
I have used vegetables like carrot, beans, peas, cauliflower, butternut squash, plantain, potatoes and drumstick.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil/ Coconut oil – 2 tbsps
  • Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 10 leaves
  • Hing/ Asafotida – 4 pinches
  • Mixed Vegetables – 3.5 cups, chopped
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Yogurt – 1/4 cup
  • Water – as required
  • Cilantro – for garnishing

Grind to a fine paste:

  • Shredded coconut – 1/4 cup
  • Serrano pepper 1.5 tbsps, adjust according to taste
  • Cumin seeds – 3/4 tsp

Method:

  • Heat oil in a wok.
  • Add mustard seeds and wait till it splutters.
  • Add curry leaves, hing and turmeric powder. Saute for 5 seconds.
  • Add the mixed vegetables and add salt.
  • Add water. Make sure that 3/4th of the vegetables are submerged in water.
  • Cover the wok with a lid and let the vegetables cook. Stir occasionally.
  • When the vegetables are half done, remove the lid and let the vegetables cook.
  • When the water almost evaporates, the vegetables will be fully cooked.
  • Add the ground coconut paste and little water depending on how much water remains.
  • Let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Stir occasionally.
  • Add yogurt and mix well. Let the avial cook for few minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and garnish with cilantro.

Microwave Kalakand

Kalakand (1)

A friend of mine suggested I try the recipe for kalakand from Show me the curry.

I tried it and it was simple and tasted so good. Since then, I make it for Diwali. Adding rose essence adds more flavor to the dessert.I grind the nuts to a coarse(almost fine) powder and sprinkle it on the kalakand.

Ingredients:

  • Ricotta Cheese – 15oz
  • Condensed Milk – 14oz
  • Rose essence – few drops,use as required
  • Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Almonds – for garnishing
  • Pistachios – for garnishing

Method:

  • Mix ricotta cheese and condensed milk in an eight inch glass dish.
  • Use a whisk to mix it until well combined.
  • Microwave the mixture for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from microwave, mix it and let it cook for 3 minutes
  • Stir again. Let it cook for 2 minutes.
  • Stir and let it cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Stir the mixture and let it cook for 6 minutes.
  • Stir and cook again for 2 minutes.
  • The result will be a crumbly but a bit moist kalakand.
  • Adjust time according to your wish, but in the end the mixture has to crumbly and a bit moist.
  • Stir in rose essence and cardamom and mix well.
  • Spread the kalakand evenly in the dish using a spatula.
  • Grind almonds and pistachios together to a fine or coarse powder and sprinkle it over the kalakand.
  • Press it down gently using a spatula.
  • Let the kalakand cool down and refrigerate it.
  • Cut it into desired shape and serve.

Kalakand (2)

Samosa

Samosa 11

Samosa is a popular snack throughout India. I have this fail proof recipe from Manjul’s Kitchen that works like a charm.

The filling is made with potatoes and peas. But you can also use your own potato filling and use mixed vegetables too.

The recipe below makes 10 medium size samosa’s.

Ingredients for the samosa crust:

  • All purpose flour – 1 cup
  • Rava/ Sooji – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Oil – 3 tbsps
  • Luke warm Water – as required
  • Oil – for deep frying.

Method:

  • Mix flour, rava, salt and oil in a bowl.
  • Add water as required and mix the flour-mixture to form a soft dough. Keep kneading until you get a smooth dough.
  • Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.

Ingredients for filling:

  • Potatoes – 3 cups, chopped
  • Oil – 2 tbsps
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Hing/ asafoetida – 4 pinches
  • Serrano pepper – 2 tsps, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • Peas – 1/4 cup, boiled peas or use frozen peas
  • Corriander powder – 2 tsp
  • Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp, adjust according to taste
  • Garam masala – 1 tsp
  • Salt – to taste

Method :

    • Boil potatoes in water and strain them.
    • Use a potato masher or a fork and mash the potatoes lightly.
    • Heat oil in a pan.
    • Add cumin seeds and wait till it splutters.
    • Reduce heat and add serrano pepper, peas, corriander powder,chilli powder, hing and salt.
    • Saute for 3 minutes.
    • Turn off the heat and add the potatoes.
    • Add salt to taste and mix well.

Samosa 1

  • Let the filling cool down a bit.
  • Divide the filling into 10 balls and set them aside.

Assembling the samoa:

    • Divide the dough into 5 balls and set them aside.
    • Take one ball of dough and roll it out flat in the shape of a circle.

Samosa 2

Samosa 3

    • Use a knife and cut the circle into a semi-circle.

Samosa 4

    • Fold the semi-circle into a cone.
    • Wet the orange lines in the photos with water. It helps to seal the samosa. Follow the picture tutorial and make a cone.

Samosa 5

Samosa 6

    • Fill the cone with a ball of filling.

Samosa 8

    • Seal the samosa and pinch the edges to make a tight seal.

Samosa 9

Samosa 10

  • Follow the above method to assemble all the samosa’s.
  • Heat oil in a pan to deep fry the samosa’s.
  • Add the samosa’s to the oil and cook on medium heat.
  • Serve hot samosa’s with or without condiments.

Bajji

Bajji

Bajji is a popular snack throughout India. Never miss the bajji that is sold at Marina beach, Chennai. This is my mom’s recipe. You can make bajji’s with capsicum, plantain, onion, cauliflower, potatoes , banana pepper,bread, etc. Can use any vegetable of your choice. Hard boiled eggs can also be used. Above is the image of capsicum bajji.

Banana pepper/ Bajji Milagai can be cut into four strips and fried( do not remove the seeds) or you can fry the whole pepper without cutting it.

If the baji batter is too thick, it will mask the flavor of the vegetables. If it is too thin, the batter wont stick to the vegetables. You have to get the right consistency.

Ingredients:

  • Gram flour – 1 cup + 1/2 cup
  • Rice flour – 3 tbsps
  • Salt – to taste
  • Baking soda – 3 pinches (optional)
  • Orange food colour – 3 pinches (optional)
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilli – 2, adjust according to taste
  • Garlic – 2 cloves
  • Hing / Asafoetida – 4 pinches
  • Water – 1/2 cup + 2 tbsps , approximate
  • Vegetables
  • Oil – for deep-frying

Method:

  • Mix gram flour, rice flour, salt, hing, baking soda, food color and  cumin seeds together.
  • Grind red chillies and garlic together into a fine paste using little water.
  • Add the chilli paste to the gram flour mixture and mix well.
  • Add water as required and mix it into a lump free paste.
  • The batter should be similar to a pancake batter ( thick and flowing, not too watery).
  • Heat oil for deep-frying.
  • Dip the vegetables in the batter and deep fry the bajji’s.
  • The bajji’s should turn golden slowly because the vegetables have to cook. Cook on medium-low heat.
  • Serve hot with ketchup or chutney.

Modakam 1

I would like to wish everyone “Happy Vinayaka Chaturthi”.

This year I made poorana kozhukattai and sundal.  I used modakam mold this year.

Modakam 2

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