March 28, 2006

Banana Muffins- A Pleasant Breakfast

(Click the above picture to have a bigger and better view)

Well guys its really a long time since I have blogged.Well I had been working on 2 recipes namely 'Victoria Sponge Cake' from Tarla Dalal's "Pleasures of Vegetarian Cooking' and the 'Thattai Murukku' from Priya's "Sugar and Spice". But both the recipes turned out a big flop for me.

Here goes the thattai murukku story. I was too enthu when I started to make this because the batter when put together tasted so yummy and I dint know that the frying part would pose such a problem.But after batch after batch of deep frying I got totally frustrated because each batch of thattai's came out soft , chewy and only a few came out crispy.I just couldn't think what was wrong.Well the only thing I could come up was the oil temperature.But Priya gave some very good tips too(Thanks Priya I will make sure I follow them next time). While deep frying its always better to use the right vessel. I used an aluminium kadai which was in a slanting position all the time and no wonder the heat from the coil did not pass thru to the kadai.So next time when I try this I want to buy a flat cast iron pot or I would love to hear suggestions from you guys!!

OK..ready for the next sad story(Well if you have forgotten.....iam talking about the cake!!!fellas!! )I made cake acc to the directions and I thought I would get a perfect cake.But the cake wasn't spongy nor hard.It was kinda inbetween.It had bits of baking powder here and there throughout the cake.The reason- I did not mix the dry ingredients properly and hence the above result. My friend Kay had dropped by and asked her to taste the cake and she said that it tasted eggy.Another thing was I did not use the center rack while baking the cake so it was baking all the while close to the bottom heat rods and it turned dark brown on the edges and the inside did not cook thru completely.So the tip here is "Always use center rack while baking cakes or muffins". Another tip learnt here is "Always mix the dry ingredients thoroughly before adding them to the wet ingredients".

Well today I wanted to give a last try for the Banana muffin recipe as it also had a couple of trial runs in my kitchen and I came to a point where I wanted to give up but just thought why not give one more LAST shot and then give up. So I did what I had to do and the result is STUNNING!!! Well before presenting the recipe I would like to say that I have reduced the recipe from original version to make just 7 large banana muffins.(the original recipe calls for 18 muffins)

OK now without much further ado I hereby present the AMAZING recipe that I have learnt from Food Network...


all purpose flr or maida- 3/4 cup
baking soda - 1/4 tsp
baking powder - 1/8 tsp
salt-1/4 tsp
ground cinnamon-1/8 tsp
ground nutmeg-1/8 tsp
sugar - 1/2 cup
safflower oil - 1/4 cup(the recipe calls for vegetable oil)
egg -1
vanilla essence - 1/4 tsp
banana - 1 ripe (mashed nicely)


  1. Whisk all dry ingredients nicely in a med size bowl(flr,baking powder,baking soda,salt,g.nutmeg,g.cinnamon).There shouldn't be any lumps at all.
  2. Whisk (sugar,oil,egg,vanilla essence) in another large bowl just till blended.Now stir in bananas.
  3. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until blended. I repeat here do not overblend which will tend the batter to become fibrous and will result in a thick muffin.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  5. Divide the batter among muffin cups(Spray PAM on each paper muffin cup and dab throughout cup with a tissue paper)
  6. Bake the muffins in middle rack about 25 - 27 min.
  7. Now cool the muffins on a cooling rack and apply whatever frosting you prefer and enjoy to your heart's content.

(Note:When using a muffin pan if there are empty muffin cups with no batter to be filled, fill them with water just till halfway of each cup.)

I would love to contribute this recipe to
Sweetnicks ARF 5 a day Tuesday

March 15, 2006

Fennel Roasted Eggplants

The Eggplant is native to southern India and Sri Lanka. "Aubergine" is the British name given to this vegetable. The eggplant is a member of the potato family, and it is known worldwide as aubergine, eggplant, brinjal, melanzana, garden egg, and patlican. It is available year-round, with the peak season during the months of August and September. Smaller, immature eggplants are best. Full-size puffy ones may have hard seeds and can be bitter. Choose a firm, smooth-skinned eggplant that is heavy for its size; avoid those with soft or brown spots. Gently push with your thumb or forefinger. If the flesh gives slightly but then bounces back, it is ripe. If the indentation remains, it is overripe and the insides will be mushy. Also make sure an eggplant isn't dry inside, knock on it with your knuckles. If you hear a hollow sound, don't buy it. Eggplants are very perishable and become bitter with age. They should be stored in a cool, dry place and used within a day or two of purchase. To store in the refrigerator, place in a plastic bag. If you plan to cook it the same day you buy it, leave it out at room temperature. When young, the skin of most eggplants are edible; older eggplants should be peeled. Since the flesh discolors rapidly, an eggplant should be cut just before using.There are many varieties which range from dark purple to pale mauve, and from yellow to white.

About the recipe I have combined 1 to 2 recipes from Food Network.And I have to say it's a very interesting combination. So guys if you have eggplants at home, you may want to try this easy breezy snack....... (Yes I said it is a snack with an eggplant!) .Well guys I think these baked eggplants dont have a photogenic face to show off but what I love about the eggplants is the complex taste, depth in flavor and the variety of dishes that could be made from this vegetable...... Well ....Well...Happy Snacking Guys!!!


Eggplants - 2(round slices)

Spice Rub
fennel seeds- 1 tblsp
coriander seeds-1/2 tsp
black peppercorn-1/2 tsp
salt - 1/2 tsp
oil - 5 tsp

  1. Cut the eggplant into round slices(not too thin nor too thick).
  2. Now add 1tblsp of oil and toss until it coats evenly on all eggplants.
  3. As for the spice rub , dry roast all the ingredients in a saute pan until you get a fresh aroma on a med heat.
  4. Now cool the spices on a plate and grind to a fine powder along with salt.
  5. Once the spice rub is ready, add the spice rub to the eggplants and toss till the eggplant is well coated.Let sit for 10 min(optional).
  6. Line an ovenproof tray with foil and gently coat with 1 tsp oil.
  7. Now arrange the eggplant slices in the tray.
  8. Preheat oven to 500 degree F. Bake the eggplants for 1o min and not more since it may cause burns on the eggplant.
  9. Now all you gotta do is snack on them guilt free!!

March 13, 2006

Drumstick Sambhar with Karela Crispies

First off my salutations to Dr. Hemant Trivedi. If anyone hasn't visited this site ( I request those people to visit and try his mouthwatering 'Drumstick sambhar'.It is truly an amazing recipe. Secondly I want to thank all food bloggers who have shed light on Dr.Hemant Trivedi and his website.

I chose this recipe as I had drumsticks in my freezer yesterday. What impressed me most about this recipe was about the correct method of preparing Drumstick sambhar which I havent followed so far. This recipe calls for Karnataka/Madras sambhar powder. The recipe for this powder can be obtained from here (

After reading the recipe I couldnt wait to try, but the sad thing was I did not have few ingredients to make the sambhar powder, so I used MTR Sambhar powder and the result was indeed mind blowing.Guys if you make the Karnataka sambhar powder pls do let me know how it came. To go along with the drumstick sambhar I made Kay's No Fry Karela Crispies which was simple,healthy and definitely a time saver.

drumsticks- 3 nos
toor dhal- 1 cup
tomato - 1 med diced
curry leaves - 1 sprig
sambhar powder - 3 tsp(heaped) (MTR Sambhar powder)
chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
fresh jeera powder - 1/2 tsp
jaggery - small piece
coriander/cilantro- 1/4 cup
hing - 1/4 tsp

Oil - 2 tsp
Red chillies - 2
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds -1/4 tsp
Hing - 1/4 tsp


  1. Cut drumsticks into small pieces about 2" in length.
  2. Soak in water about 30 min.
  3. Drain that dirty water and in another or same clean vessel take 150 ml of water add little salt, little sugar, drumsticks and boil in a med flame till the veggies are 3/4 cooked.
  4. Cook the toor dhal along with hing for 3 whistles and once the cooker cools down take out the dhal and churn the dhal till its very very smooth.
  5. In a microwaveable bowl or plastic container transfer the dhal.
  6. Now add half a sprig of curry leaves, tamarind juice(from lemon sized), little salt and microwave for 5 min.
  7. Now add the 3/4 cooked drumsticks along with the water, chilli powder,turmeric powder,fresh jeera powder, remaining salt and let it simmer for another 2 min.
  8. Add another half sprig of curry leaves and let it simmer in the microwave for another 2 min.
  9. Add sambhar powder and let it simmer for 5 min.
  10. Add diced tomato and freshly cut bunch of coriander and jaggery at the last. Mix well and let it simmer for two minutes.
  11. Temper with red Chillies,mustard, fenugreek,and hing in oil. Add hing finally. Temper the sambar and cover it with a lid immediately.


Sambar must be made at least two hours before you are to serve to self or the guests. The real taste of sambar comes only after two hours of cooking. A very good tip that I have learnt from his website.

I would like to contribute this recipe towards SweetNicks ARF 5 a Day Tuesday.

March 08, 2006

Gherkin Fry

Here goes the Gherkins story...Well Gherkin is a young cucumber picked when it is 1 to 3 inches and mostly used for pickling. Gherkin may have probably originated in India. Well for the few who are wondering what gherkins in your mother tongue is , it is nothing but
Dondakai in Telugu
Kovakai in Tamil
Tindoora in Hindi
Tendli/Tondli in Marathi and finally
Gherkins in English
Wow!!!!!! I wish I knew how they call this vegetable in other languages?Guys!! if you know please do share it!! I would love to find it out... Ok now about the recipe ,this is a recipe I borrowed from my cousin sis S who happened to declare this as the tastiest recipe and well I wanted to check it out for myself and the result is indeed stunning and now this has become a favorite in our house.


Tindoora- 6 cups (sliced)
red chilli powder - per taste
salt - per taste
oil/ghee- 5 tsp


  1. First slice the tindoora vertically into 2 halves.Then slice each half into vertical slices.
  2. Heat oil nicely in a deep kadai.
  3. Add the tindoora and mix.
  4. Keep a med-high flame.
  5. Once in few min keep mixing the tindoora.
  6. Once the tindoora turns to a deep dark brown add salt and chilli powder.
  7. Wallah!!! your curry is ready...Quick,simple and yet flavorful..

March 06, 2006

Bean & Lentil Curry(Beans Paruppu Poriyal/Beans Pappu Koora)

The curry which I have presented today is one of my husband's favorite curry and mine too.We devour it like a snack.Its the most simplest ,easiest and yet tastiest recipe. Well now really I would like the nutritional facts of beans to speak for themselves and here goes my favorite part...

Green beans are quite low in calories(44 calories in a whole cup) and are loaded with plenty of nutrients.They are an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin A and manganese.They are a good source of dietary fibre,potassium,folate and iron.And, green beans are a good source of magnesium, thiamin, riboflavin, copper, calcium, phosphorous, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and niacin. Actually the list ends but definitely not the goodness of this vegetable. The vitamin K provided by green beans - a spectacular 122.0% of the daily value in one cup - is important for maintaining strong bones.

As we all know lentils(dhal) are very popular in India. Lentils are shaped like lens. Lentils are high in protein/carbohydrate content but lower on the nutritional value. Protein content ranges from 22% to 35% .They mostly come in split form which we commonly use, as well as the full form which we generally dont use that much in Indian cooking. A variety of lentils exist with colors that range from yellow to red-orange to green, brown and black. The colours of the seeds when removed from the pods vary, and there are large and small varieties. They are sold in many forms, with or without the pods, whole or split.

Thus the nutrition from the beans, the protein and carbohydrate from the lentil makes this curry a very healthy option to accompany your rice. So here goes my RECIPE.................... TADAH!!!!!


Regular/French beans- 3 cups (chopped)
toor dhal- 1/4 cup(cooked)
seasoning- urad dhal(2 tsp),bengal gram dhal(2 tsp), red chillies(3)
salt - to taste


  1. Chop beans thinly.
  2. Cook the beans in microwave with very less water(like 1/4 cup) till somewhat tender.
  3. By the time beans are ready, heat oil(1 tblsp) in a pan and fry seasoning one bye one in the given order until reddish brown.
  4. Now add the cooked beans and fry till it is cooked completely and gives a nice fried taste.
  5. Finally add the dhal and mix for just 2 min in that heat and switch off.
  6. Thus a delicious curry is ready to go with your rasam or sambhar.