Chocolate Brownies

Chocbrownie3

My little one loves brownies.

Did I say little one?

Let me rephrase that.

My not-so-little-one-but-still-little-for-me, and who is now the older one loves brownies.

Chocbrownie5

While the actual little one…my 2nd one who is going to turn 2 soon….tasted brownies for the 1st time…and he couldn’t be least bothered about it. Atleast not until his father and his older brother got busy indulging and stuffing themselves with these yummy dense chocolate goodness topped with icecream and chocolate sauce… then he wanted some too! Because we don’t like being left behind.

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My not so little older one has been asking me to bake brownies for long. And I for many reasons, kept stalling it.

He has this new thing. Every day when he comes back from school, he’ll give me a surprise (which most of the days might not be a surprise for me, it’s something I expect of him…like finish his snack box) and I in turn have to surprise him…and the surprise he’s waiting to hear but rarely does, is for me to say….Surprise, we’re having noodles for lunch..no chapathi, no rice…but noodles!! HA!

Anyway, I decided to surprise him with brownies today. He had one serving of plain brownie, then a 2nd with ice-cream and later after dinner he topped it with ice-cream and chocolate sauce.

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The recipe I followed has been minimally adapted from Joy of Baking. And like all her recipes, it’s perfect. I may have over baked it by a minute or 2 more…but still it was perfect!!

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Chocolate Brownies:

  • Dark Chocolate – 5 ounces / 150 grams, chopped ( I used Lindt 70% cocoa)
  • Unsalted butter – 1/2 cup / 1 stick / 115 grams
  • Cocoa powder – 2 tablespoons / 15 grams
  • Sugar – 1 cup / 200 grams
  • Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
  • Eggs – 3 large
  • All purpose flour – 3/4 cup / 95 grams
  • Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips – 3/4 cup (optional)

Brownies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Butter (or spray with a nonstick cooking spray) an 8 inch (20 cm) square pan, and line the bottom of the pan with parchment or wax paper.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a large stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and stir in thesugar . Next, whisk in the vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift the flour, salt and cocoa powder. Stir or fold these in along with chocolate chips (if using).

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a little batter and a few moist clumps clinging to it. Do not over bake. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature or chilled. These freeze very well.

Makes 16 brownies.

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Top it with icecream, chocolate sauce and some walnuts toasted and you’ve got a sinful indulgence!Chocbrownie

Enjoy!

Posted in Baked Goodies, Cakes, Desserts and Sweets | 3 Comments

Kerala Style Beef Fry

Beef Fry2

If and when I make beef, this is the ONLY recipe I follow.  This recipe is my mothers and like every other recipe of hers, it’s foolproof. And every time, I serve it to someone, they invariably end up asking for the recipe. I made this beef when my IL’s were here last fall and needless to say, they loved it too. My MIL actually even asked me for the recipe. :-) That sure success it is.

My brothers, my husband and even my very choosy 5 year old son loves it. They can finish it in one go! My son calls it the “beef with the leaf” dish. Because you add a lot of curry leaves which adds to the taste. Common thing between my son and my brothers is that they like this beef really crispy, very dry and with loads of onions. (That’s proof my older one has gone totally on my side of the family in his eating habits. And it’s going to be a living hell for me. They are very choosy, very sure of what they want n how it should be served…n will not eat leftovers!!) My husband and his family are very adjusting…as long as it’s meat and it’s tasty..be it in whatever form, they won’t mind. However, I don’t prefer it totally dry….as in I need no gravy but each piece should have some of the masala coating.

Beef Fry3The advantage with this beef recipe is you can have different styles of beef with this one recipe. This is my secret…. I pressure cook 2 kilos beef and normally there will be a lot of gravy. Dish 1 -  I take some beef and all of that gravy and store it to be served as a side with rice. Dish 2 -  I then go about with the next step of sautéing onions in a saucepan and add all of the remaining beef. Once, it’s dry to my level of satisfaction i.e. where the beef is still soft and moist and masaley-daar ..I keep some aside for me and the husband to eat with chapathi for dinner. Dish 3 – I then continue frying some more till it’s crispy n dry and serve that to my son and brother (if he’s joining us).

You need to try it and you’ll be happy you’ve got a delicious beef recipe for yourself.

Beef Fry

KERALA STYLE BEEF FRY

Ingredients

  • Beef, cubes – 1 kg (I use bobby veal)
  • Pearl Onions/Shallots – 15-20 (when i’m really lazy, I substitute half of these with 1 large onion chopped)
  • Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tablespoon
  • Turmeric – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Kashmiri Chilli Powder – 1 tablespoon
  • Corriander Powder – 2 tablespoons
  • Garam Masala – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Curry leaves – 7-8
  • Oil – 1/4 cup

For Stir fry

  • Onion – 2 sliced
  • Tomato – 1 sliced
  • Green chilies – 3-4 split
  • Curry leaves – lots like about 15-20
  • Oil – 1/4cup

Method

Wash and clean the beef cubes and keep aside.

Heat the oil in a pressure cooker, add the sliced or halved pearl onions and sauté for a few minutes.

To this add the ginger garlic paste. Saute till the raw smell is gone and then add curry leaves.

Add the spices – turmeric, chilli powder, coriander and garam masala. Saute again very well…make sure the spices don’t get burnt.

To this add the cleaned beef cubes, salt and stir.

Pressure cook without adding water (as the beef contains a lot of water) for 3 whistles on high, then reduce the flame to lowest and cook for 15 minutes. Once, the pressure has been released, open the cooker and your Dish 1 – Beef Curry is ready. Keep aside the gravy and some beef if u need. Else, increase the flame and cook it on high till all water has evaporated..

Meanwhile, heat oil in a frying pan, add the sliced onions and sauté it for a minute. Add the curry leaves, and the beef and cook it on medium flame. Don’t keep stirring it, else the beef will start shredding and it’ll be all mushy. Let it cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes and then when you want to turn sides, place the spatula underneath the beef and turn it over like how you do for an omelet. Once the beef is almost getting crispy, add the sliced tomatoes and the green chillies. Cook the beef till you achieve your desired level.

I switch it off as soon as the beef changes color but there’s still a coat of masala on it (like the pictures). My mother when she cooks for my brothers, makes it totally dry …a stage where there’s absolutely no gravy and even the tomatoes would have got all mushed up and cooked with the beef. But to get it that level of dry n crispy you need to keep adding oil. It tastes really amazing that way for sure, but not good for the calorie conscious people. :-)

Sprinkle a few drops of lemon juice especially if you’re opting for the completely dry version.

Beef Fry1

Believe me, this is a must try recipe!

P.S. We normally don’t eat tomatoes but in this dish, we fight for the wilted ones :)

Enjoy!

Posted in Beef Recipes, Recipes, Side dish, South Indian Dishes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kerala Christmas Fruit / Plum Cake

Kerala Xmas Cake

It’s December!! Yay! I love Decembers. It’s the best month of the year for me. The weather in UAE is amazing, the children , by mid Dec. are off from school for winter break (don’t know if that’s always a good thing…but yes it’s a blessing too), the tree is out waiting to be dressed up like a bride on her wedding day, and everyone is so happy. Don’t you think? I am. I am always happy in December….more happy rather. it’s like it’s the month where nothing can go wrong, and all the worries of the world and mine will be just lifted up and surely the world and my life will be a better place to be in or live . Makes sense?? No? well then just understand December is a good month. Period.

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But honestly speaking, how did the entire year go by so soon? Wasn’t it just a couple of months back that we welcomed 2013?? So now that it’s already Christmas season, I’m sure most of you wld have got your trees up and decorated. And how’s the cake preparations coming along? Have you soaked your fruits?? I have. I did it last year itself for this year. Need help with soaking fruits….its not too late. Click here and soak it immediately. You still get a good 10 days of soaking in all the goodness :-).

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Enough of yakkity yak…let me get straight to the Christmas recipe which I promised to blog about last year…but didn’t happen. Believe you me when I tell you that this cake is just heaven. Amazing. You won’t believe, I had soaked only about 1 kg of fruits for this year. That’s because we’d just moved last year to this new apartment, 3-4 months before Christmas, and had only made so many friends for whom this quantity was sufficient to bake cakes for and distribute. But in one year’s time, not only the number of friends increased, but the word spread that the X’mas cake I baked last year was so good, that this year all these new friends also want their share. So last week, I went and got another kilo of fruits and soaked them. Now, I just pray that I’m able to do justice to this recipe, just like I did last year. Thinking about how many cakes I need to bake this time, is already giving me nervous breakdowns… plus I even need to do one eggless fruit cake and one plain cake…maybe chocolate flavor,…I dunno. it’s for this boy who doesn’t like fruits or nuts in his cake.

Anyway, spoke too much. Below is the recipe which I’ve very mildly adapted from here.

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KERALA CHRISTMAS/FRUIT/PLUM CAKE
Serves: 12-15

Ingredients

For Soaking

  • Mixed fruits – 3 cups – 1/2 kg
  • Rum/Brandy – 1.5 cups (I used brandy)

For Caramel:

  • Sugar – ½ cup
  • Water – 1 tablespoon
  • Warm water – ¼ cup

For Cake:

  • All purpose flour (maida) – 2 cups
  • Baking powder – 1¼ teaspoon
  • Baking soda – ½ teaspoon
  • Sugar – 1 cup+ 2 tablespoon
  • Unsalted Butter – 250 grams (1 cup + 2 tbsp, approx) @ room temp
  • Eggs – 4 @ room temp
  • Vanilla essence – 2 teaspoon
  • Jam – 1 tablespoon (I used mixed fruit)

For Spice Powder:

  • Cloves – 2
  • Cardamom – 2
  • Cinnamon – a small piece
  • Nutmeg – a small piece

Method

  1. Soak the Fruits – I used a combination of black raisins (sultanas), cashew nuts, currants, orange and lemon candied peel, watermelon and orange fruit cubes, and dried plums. For a better idea on what brand I used, please check my post on soak your dried fruits. The amount I’ve soaked or mentioned in that post is double than what’s needed for this recipe. That’s because I had made 2 cakes from that. Please soak the fruits for a minimum of 2 weeks for best taste.
  2. Caramel Preparation - Combine ½ cup sugar & 1 tbsp water in a sauce pan. Heat it & let the sugar melt. When the color of the melted sugar becomes dark brown, remove the pan from fire & add ¼ cup warm water to this. You need to be very very careful at this stage since the water tends to splash & can cause burns (not can in my case, I got badly burnt, so be careful). Bring it back to the heat & boil for a few more mins, 3-4 mins. Remove from fire & let it cool completely. You can prepare the caramel in advance & refrigerate it.
  3. Spice Powder Preparation - Grind all the spices with a pinch of sugar, to a fine powder & keep aside.
  4. Cake Preparation -
  • tablespoon the oven @ 180 C for 10-15 mins, before baking.
  • Drain the soaked fruits & keep aside. Retain 4 tablespoon from the drained liquor. Toss the drained fruits in 1-2 tablespoon of flour. (This will prevent the fruits from sinking to the bottom of the cake).
  • Sift the plain flour with baking powder & baking soda.
  • Powder the sugar & keep aside.
  • Separate the yolks & white of the eggs. Beat egg whites till soft peaks form. Keep aside.
  • Beat the egg yolks & add the softened butter to it. Beat it till it forms a smooth paste.
  • Add powdered sugar to this, gradually. Beat after each addition.
  • When it becomes smooth add vanilla essence & cooled caramel & spice powder & beat again.
  • Add the sifted flour in 2 batches. Beat after each addition.
  • Add jam & combine.
  • Fold in the beaten egg whites in 2 parts & combine till no white streaks are visible.
  • Fold in the soaked fruits & 4 tablespoon of retained liquor.
  • Grease the baking dish (refer notes) & line with baking paper. Pour the batter into the prepared tins.
  • Bake in the pre heated oven for 40-45 mins or until the skewer inserted comes out clean. The baking time can vary depending on the oven & also the size of the tin used.

Notes

  1. For alcohol free version – Soak 3 cups of fruits in 1.5 cups of fresh orange juice or grape juice overnight @ room temp. The rest of the recipe is same.
  2. The quantity mentioned in this recipe is enough to bake a 9 inch round cake.
  3. It’s best to bake the cake atleast a day in advance, so as to give it enough time to rest and for the flavors of the spices and alcohol to be absorbed by the entire cake.
  4. if you’re making it way ahead, say more than a week before then once a day just brush it with little alcohol – use the same drained one. But remember your cake will now have a strong alcohol flavor and taste because of the soaked fruits plus the 4 tablespoon that you added while baking and then from the brushing of alcohol too. In such a case, where you don’t want it to be so strong, add only 1 tbsp. of alcohol to the batter and then brush a little daily for it to stay fresh. As for me n my friends, we love the extra kick…we’d say bring it on!

Do try this cake and I’m sure you’ll not be disappointed.

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Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!!!

Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Hot and Sour Chicken Soup, restaurant style….

…sans the Ajinomoto and other flavorings! Hot n Sour Chicken Soup2

Believe me when I say this tastes just like the Hot and Sour Chicken soup at your favorite Chinese restaurant. This recipe belongs to our previous neighbor who’d so sweetly made this for me on a day when I was having severe morning sickness and just didn’t feel like getting out of bed. And boy oh boy, everyone including the kiddo was in love with this soup. Obviously, I asked her for the recipe, tried and tested it on my family and now as always sharing it with you wonderful people!

The pictures don’t do any justice to this recipe. Actually I personally think it’ll be some time before I can take good pictures of what I cook. Cooking itself has become a major task… now I find I’m cooking for hours something I normally would have finished in half hour. This is because of the interruption by a 2 feeter. The baby has now started to walk, pulls out things from drawers, closets, cupboards….I put him on his walker n he hates it. And then as with all babies, they need to be fed, soothed, need diaper change, and gets cranky when they’re sleepy but still won’t sleep n you know the drill. All during my cooking!! So ultimately what happens is… lunch is ready maybe only a few minutes before the husband comes home for his lunch break and the son gets back from school. Or if it’s dinner, its ready only by 7 pm. Afternoons, there’s lot of light but no time for photography because the man needs to get back to work and evenings, there’s no time again because they’re all hungry including the baby and have no patience…plus there’s no natural light for pictures. So in all that, I manage to take a picture as fast as possible, with the hope I’ll soon click a better one in the near future.

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Here’s the recipe of a really yum soup, which is a meal in itself.

HOT AND SOUR CHICKEN SOUP

Ingredients

  • Vegetables – 1 cup ( chopped carrot, chopped capsicum, chopped mushrooms, shredded cabbage….you can add or omit any vegetable you choose)
  • Chicken – 1/2 cup, cooked and shredded
  • Spring onions – 1/4 cup
  • Chicken Stock – 4 cups
  • Soya Sauce – 1-2 tablespoons
  • Red Chilli Sauce with garlic – 1 tablespoon
  • Green Chilli Sauce – 1/2 tablespoon
  • Black peppercorns – 1 tablespoon, crushed
  • Vinegar – 2 tablespoons
  • Sugar – 1/2 tablespoon
  • Corn flour – 3 tablespoons
  • Egg White – 1
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil – 2-3 tablespoons

Method

  1. Take chicken thighs with skin on (or breasts – read note!) and cook it in water along with some salt, pepper, crushed garlic pods and one onion sliced. Once chicken is cooked, take the chicken pieces out of the cooking pot and strain the liquid in to a bowl. What you now have in the bowl is delicious home-made stock. This tastes much better than stock made out of cubes or even ready-made stock. I promise.
  2. Now remove the chicken skin and shred the pieces by hand. Add the shreds back into the stock and let it all come to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok and add the vegetables one by one…according to the time it takes for each to cook (I put the carrots in 1st, mushrooms then, followed by cabbage, capsicum and last spring onions). Saute for a couple of minutes. Now add the sauces, vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar. Stir again and keep aside. Don’t cover, over stir or over cook it, else your vegetables will lose its crispness and color. Add the vegetables into the chicken and cook for a minute.
  4. Now mix the corn flour with 1/2 cup warm water and add it to the soup and stir well till the soup has thickened to desired level of consistency. Check for salt. You could even add some more sauce or pepper according to your preference. Turn off the flame.
  5. Quickly take the egg white in a bowl and beat lightly. Pour the egg white into the soup little by little by running it through a fork. Keep stirring also. This will give the egg white shreds that you find in most soups. Remember to have the flame off and also not to pour it directly into the soup or else you’ll get an egg white omelette. It’s not difficult at all….keep the fork above the pot and pour the egg white slowly onto the fork…..and stir! Again pour…and stir.
  6. Serve hot along with some fried noodles and you’ve got your restaurant style soup right at home without stepping out!

Note:

  • you could even uses breast pieces but I prefer thighs as it’s softer n fattier, yielding a tastier and better stock.
  • stock can be made in advance n frozen for a cold winter day when you feel like having hot soup or when you’re just in no mood to cook a 3 course meal.
  • You could make it a vegetarian soup by

    avoid the chicken shreds and add vegetable stock instead.

Hot n Sour Chicken Soup

Enjoy with fried noodles or toasted bread!

Posted in Recipes, Soups | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Butter Mutton

Butter Mutton1

Hello! Greetings!

I know it’s been ages since I’ve posted a recipe here. And even longer since I’ve visited and commented on many of the blogs I follow. Well, there are 2 reasons for that. Reason 1 – is because I don’t even get a minute to spare with a baby in hand.  Now that he’s crawling, standing and even climbing onto low furniture, all my time is spent behind him. When he’s sleeping, I’m either trying to cook, bathe, do the dishes or something. And oh yea, along with that I’m addicted to Masala TV -  it’s a Pakistani cooking channel which airs live cooking… each show is 1.5 hours live…3 out of the 5-6 daily live shows, I watch n record!! Later, when I get a few minutes to myself, I replay the recorded video and jot down the recipe. And that was reason 2. The addiction is so bad that my older son n husband are really fed up!! One can’t watch his cartoon and the other his news. But thanks to the recording option, mostly I let them.

Now in between all the baby, TV and cooking (not in that order exactly), I just can’t seem to find time to get online to even check my emails, or FB (thank goodness for iPhone!). So blogging is out of the question.

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Anyway, todays delicious recipe is one I tried from the channel….It’s from the cooking show called Dawat by Chef Zakir. This recipe is just amazing. Finger licking good! Follow the instructions step by step, do not use pressure cooker and you’ll see that the result will be a tasty gravy with meat that is so tender n juicy.

Off to the recipe

Butter mutton15

Ingredients For Butter Mutton:

  • Mutton - 1/2 kilo
  • Butter - 100 grams
  • Yogurt  250 grams
  • Ginger garlic paste – 2 tablespoons
  • Onion chopped - 2
  • Chili powder - 1 tablespoon
  • Turmeric – 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder – 1 tablespoon
  • Nutmeg mace powder - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Roasted n Crushed cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Crushed coriander seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Kewra - 1 tablespoon
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Melt the butter in a wok and add the chilli powder, roasted n crushed cumin seeds, crushed coriander seeds and turmeric. Sauté it for a while till the raw smell of the masala is gone and the color change to bright red.
  2. Then add ginger garlic paste and mutton and sauté on low flame till the meat color changes.
  3. Now add the chopped onions and sauté till they become translucent. Cover and cook for a few minutes
  4. Meanwhile, in a bowl whisk the yoghurt so that there are no lumps. Add coriander powder and nutmeg mace powder and whisk.
  5. Add the whisked yoghurt to the meat along with salt and little water. Cover and cook for another 25-30 minutes. Once meat is done, if there is lots of water, increase the flame and roast it because this is a thick gravy dish.
  6.  Add kewra water, mix and serve.
  7. Enjoy hot hot with tandoori roti, naan, chapathi or paratha

Butter mutton

Hoping to see you guys soon with another fabulous recipe :)

R!

Aside | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Soak your dried fruits for the X’mas cake!

It’s Christmas (X’mas) season and one of the traditions along with singing Christmas carol, putting up the Christmas tree, lighting up the house, baking gingerbread cookies or making gingerbread houses….. is baking the Christmas cake/fruit cake. …(more about the cake below).Dried fruits soaked

My fondest memory of X’mas is decorating  the tree and house with ornaments and lights. My mom would bake atleast 3-4 huge X’mas cakes… one or two for us and guests that visit on X’mas day, one that she divides among the non-christian neighbour friends and then one to give to the church –  Women who were good at baking were asked to get cakes, which were cut into slices and distributed to all the Church attendees when they exited the church after the midnight X’mas mass (even today cake is given). As kids, we would keep going in and out of the church so that we could try different versions of cake….and every year, me and my brothers would conclude that my mother’s cake was the best. Soft, moist, right amount of fruits….amazing!!!

Come November, all the Christian women especially at churches, are talking about X’mas cakes – how many are they going to bake, when will they soak the fruits, and of course exchange of recipes is a must!!

This is the 1st time I’m going to bake a X’mas cake and I hope it turns half as good as what my mother makes. Also, I hope to carry this tradition each n every year so that my children can look back in time and say exactly what we siblings feel about my mom’s cake…. perfect!!! But the problem is my mom hasn’t baked in years because she says our home is an empty nest with the kids away and now when 2 of her kids (we are 3 siblings)are nearby, her health isn’t in her favor of standing and baking for long….infact, even the smell of melting butter isn’t good for her.

Traditionally, Christmas cake is made using dried fruits that’s been soaked in alcohol for months or even upto a year. The cake is baked couple of weeks ahead of X’mas, afterwhich, you “feed” the cake with the same alcohol that was used for soaking. Feeding the cake ensures the cake taste much better as they age or mature. It is done by making small holes on the top of the cake with a cocktail stick or small skewer, then spoon over a few teaspoons of brandy. This is done only once a week and should not exceed more than 3-4 times in total. Else, the cake will be tooo moist and will crumble.

But nowadays due to lack of time people do it slightly differently.  One way is to soak the fruits months in advance and then bake it only a week ahead of X’mas. Feed the cake once, wrap it in clingwrap/kitchen towel that’s been brushed with alcohol, cover it in 2 layers of foil, keep it in an airtight tin and store in a dark place.They say the taste is not affected much because the fruits were soaked for months. But yea, it won’t be that moist and soft. The other way is to soak the fruits overnight, but then in that case, the cake is baked atleast a month, ideally 6 weeks ahead. The cake is then fed with alcohol once a week, wrapped in clingwrap/kitchen towel that’s been brushed with alcohol, covered in 2 layers of foil and kept in an airtight tin and stored in a dark place. Every week the cake is fed, the clingwrap/towel is brushed with more alcohol and wrapped.

Personally, I’d go for option 2 because that method ensures the whole cake matures well, the fruits absorb the alcohol pretty much and the cake is nice and soft.

Anyway, if you haven’t soaked your fruits, it’s still not late. Soak it today, so that the fruits get atleast 2 weeks for it to absorb all the alcohol. Mine have been soaking in since 2 weeks already because I soaked it in the 3rd week of November. Delayed post I know, but with 2 kids it was really difficult for me to post this sooner.

Here’s what you need to bake 2 fruit cakes that’s filled with nuts and dried fruits with barely enough cake batter to hold it all together. :) As always you can halve the recipe if you want just one fully loaded cake or want two not so loaded cake.

Dried fruits

Ingredients for Soaking of fruits - I don’t exactly have a break down per se

  1. Dried Fruits - 1 kg i.e about 6 cups
    • Black Raisins/Sultanas – 250 grams (I used Nectaflor brand and cut the raisins into halves/quarters depending on its size)
    • Cashewnuts – 200 grams (chopped into small pieces)
    • Dried Mixed Fruits – 375 grams (1 Whitworths box that contains sultanas, raisins, currants, Orange and Lemon Candied peel – and again cut these into smaller pieces)
    • Watermelon and Orange Cubes -200 grams (Aptsienne brand – the red and orange fruit cubes that’s normally put in ordinary fruit cakes)
    • Dried plums – 8-10 plums, chopped (not shown in the pic as it was added later on)
  2. Brandy/Rum/Whiskey – 700 ml bottle i.e. 3 cups (half of the quantity of fruits)

Method

Do this atleast 2 weeks in advance for better results.

  • chop up all your dried fruits, if they are not that small.
  • Pour the brandy or other preferred choice of alcohol into it. Mix.
  • Transfer to a container with a tight lid and keep it in dark place.
  • Shake the contents atleast every alternate day till you’re ready to bake the cake.

Dried fruits soaked1

General notes

  • the quantity mentioned is for baking 2 cakes loaded with lots of fruits.
  • If the fruits are big pieces, it’s ideal to chop them into smaller pieces….this increases the amount of fruits in your batter and when you eat the cake it tastes better when you bite into small pieces than one big raisin.
  • You could increase or decrease the quantity of dried fruits
  • You could even add other types of dried fruits like dried peaches, apricots, prunes, pecan nuts, almonds, walnuts…..

Notes on Soaking the fruits

  • Soak the fruits in alcohol (preferably brandy) atleast 2 weeks in advance.
  • Mix or stir the fruits in the alcohol atleast once in 2 days.
  • Within a day of soaking the fruits you’ll notice the alcohol doesn’t cover the fruits completely now. That’s because the fruits have absorbed the alcohol and there’s no need to add more. Just keep mixing it occasionally so that the uncovered fruits don’t dry up.
  • See that the jar you use for soaking the fruits is free of any water and has a tight lid.
  • Store it in the Kitchen cupboard where there’s no direct sunlight.

The cake recipe will be uploaded sooon :)

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Traditional keralite Parippu Payasam to celebrate 2nd anniversary of Blogging

It’s our 2nd anniversary!!

It’s been 2 years since I’ve started this blog or rather another food blog was added to this huge pool of lovely food blogs.  When I started I didn’t know if I could sustain this even for a month. All I thought was a portal for me to save all my tried and tested recipes. But it’s all your lovely comments and feedback and the knowing that there’s someone atleast reading my blog, that makes me carry it forward.  Initially my blog was called Purpletreat and then within months I changed it to Reneesrecipe for some reasons. Anyway, what’s in a name right?? I know it wasn’t much of a big deal for many of you because you followed me right here. And I thankyou for that.

So formally let me once again, thank all of you who have visited my blog (be it even once!), requested for recipes, tried many of them out, left constructive comments and feedback…… all of which encouraged me and continues to do so to keep this blog going on.

The journey so far has been just great, as I got to learn about so many cuisines, make some good blogger friends and of course it’s helped me experiment and bring new dishes to the dinner table.  We’re a happy family especially at meal times. I’m happy that I’m able to introduce new foods to my kindergartner and he eats better because he doesn’t get tired of the same old stuff…and my husband though he loves the experimentations, is upset because of his weight gain and waistline increase.  :-)

So to celebrate our 2nd anniversary, I thought of the most traditional keralite dessert – Parippu Payasam or moong dal kheer. This is made using jaggery and one of the main desserts served for Onam and other occasions like weddings and birthday parties in Kerala. At my father’s place, it’s made in a big vessel called Urali and not on gas top but by making a wood-fire. A fire would be started and 3 big bricks will be put around it and then this big urali is placed on top of the bricks and the whole mixture will be stirred continuously by the women of the house using a brass spoon called chattakam. The more the mixture is stirred, the tastier and darker color payasam you’ll get. We as kids would keep circling around that area, with our mouths watering and losing our patience waiting for it to be ready. We would have it piping hot, then have it while it’s at room temperature and then even when it’s really chilled…straight from the refrigerator. Anyway hot or cold is your personal preference….but I guarantee you, you’ll ask for more!!! Off to the recipe.

PARIPPU PAYASAM (Moong Dal Payasam)

Ingredients

  • Cheru payar/Moong Dal/ Green gram lentils - 1 cup (about 200 grams)
  • Melted jaggery – 350 grams ( you could add more if needed)
  • Sago pearl -1/3 cup
  • Ghee – 3 tablespoon (for jaggery n dal mix and 1 tablespoon to roast nuts, coconut pieces and raisins)
  • Cardamom powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Water – 2 1/2 cups
  • Thin coconut milk (moonaam paal) - 3 cups
  • Medium thick coconut milk (randaam paal) - 3 cups
  • Thick coconut milk (onnaam paal)-  1 cup
  • Cashewnuts – 1/2 cup
  • Raisins - handful (I add quite a bit cos my kid likes them)
  • Coconut bits - handful

Method

  1. Soak the sago pearls in 1/2 cup hot water for 15 mins. Then bring to a boil and cook till it becomes translucent….about 15 mins. Keep aside.
  2. Meanwhile dry roast the dal in a dry kadai (no oil) till light brown, stirring constantly. Remove from fire and wash. Cook this dal in a pressure cooker with 2 cups of warm water for 5-6 whistles. Mash them well with the back of your spoon. Transfer this mixture to a non -stick kadai / urli / heavy – bottomed vessel.
  3. In another pan, melt jaggery in ½ cup of water. Strain the syrup through a muslin cloth….done to remove impurities if any.
  4. Add the jaggery syrup into the dal in the urli and boil for a minute, mixing everything together. Add 2 tablespoon ghee to this & mix well.
  5. Now add the thin coconut milk to the mix and when it starts boiling, cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for 30 – 40 minutes. When it thickens quite a bit, add medium thick coconut milk and cook it for 5-10 minutes. When this mixture thickens slightly, add the thick coconut milk. Stir well for 5 minutes on low flame. Do not bring to boil again. Remove from gas and pour into a serving bowl.
  6. Heat ghee in a pan and fry the coconut bits till brown, cashewnuts also till brown and raisins till they puff up (Please do this separately because they all have a different browning point). Pour the ghee with the nuts and raisins over the payasam in the bowl.
  7. Sprinkle some cardamom powder and mix well.
  8. Parippu payasam is ready now. Serve hot or chill in the fridge and serve cold.

Note:

  1. The payasam keeps well in the fridge for even a week.
  2. Coconut milk : If unable to obtain fresh coconut milk, mix 4-5 tablespoon instant coconut milk powder to 1 cup lukewarm water for thick coconut milk. For medium thick, use 2-3 tablespoon coconut milk powder in 1 cup lukewarm water. And for thin milk, use 1-2 tablespoon coconut milk powder in 1 cup lukewarm water..

Enjoy!!!

Posted in Desserts and Sweets, Recipes, South Indian Dishes, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment