Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mango Wheat Muffins ~ Egg Free ~ With Stepwise Pictures

Mango season is here :) I was so happy to spot some juicy ripe mangoes when I went grocery shopping last week. I like all kinds of fruits but mangoes definitely have a special place in my heart. Since I know that these delicious fruits cannot be found all the time, I try and make the best of the season. Of course, these days you can get the canned version anytime year round. But I prefer fresh fruit versus canned and try and use fresh fruit whenever possible :)

One of the first things I made with mangoes this time were these mango muffins. I kept the recipe simple and just added a little cardamom for flavor. These muffins turned out very soft and spongy,  with subtle mango and cardamom flavors. These are great for snacking or even for the weekend breakfast :)

Other recipes with mangoes
Mango Lassi ~ Mango Yogurt smoothie
Mango Frozen Yogurt
Mango Popsicle

Mango Wheat Muffins ~ Egg Free ~ Butter Free

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Ingredients and Method to make Mango wheat muffins
Dry Ingredients
1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (Atta/ godumai maavu)
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour (maida)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Wet ingredients
3/4 cup fine sugar (shakkar/ sakkarai) (see notes)
1 cup mango puree (aam/ mambazham) ( I used about 1 large mango and a quarter of another one to get this)
1 cup milk (doodh/ paal) (use non diary milk for a vegan version)
1/4 cup oil

3/4 tsp cardamom powder (elaichi/ellakai)

Pre heat oven @ 350 deg F (approx 180 deg C). Line standard sized muffin tray with muffin liners.

Add all the dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk/ sift together. Keep this aside.

If you have mango puree readily, it can be used in this recipe. Otherwise, peel and cut into little pieces and puree in a blender/mixer adding no water to it.  Measure out 1 cup from this, I needed to use 1 large mango and about 1/4 of another for this quantity of puree.

In another large bowl, mix together mango puree, sugar, milk, oil and cardamom powder and  mix together.

Add dry flour mix to the wet mix and gently mix together. Do not over mix, just mix well to make sure that the two mixtures and well mixed.  Spoon mixture into the pre lined muffin cups until it is 2/3 to 3/4 cup full. Place in pre heated oven and bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick/ cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove, cool a little and enjoy :)

With this quantity of sugar, this muffin is not too sweet, it is mildly sweet. If you like a bit more pronounced sweetness, increase the quantity of sugar to 1 cup or even 1 and 1/4 cup of sugar depending on the sweetness of the mangoes and on how sweet you like your muffins.
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Instant Oat Bran Dosai ~ Savory Indian Oat Crepes ~ With Stepwise pictures

Oat bran as I mentioned in this post is the outermost  edible layer of the oat grain. Just like oatmeal, oat bran too has a lot of health benefits.  Check out this post for more information about the health benefits of oat bran.  I have begun to use oat bran a bit more these days in my kitchen. The last two oat bran recipes that  I  posted in this space were this oat bran muffin and this carrot muffins. I have also begun to use oat bran in more savory recipes like rotis (Indian flat bread) and dosas.

This instant dosa is one of the dosa types that I make with oat bran. This is a super quick and easy version that hardly takes any time to put together. These kinds of instant dosas are my favorite for weekend breakfasts, it is one of the easiest ways to make something quick, tasty, healthy and guilt free:) It works just as well for a quick dinner or just as a snack as well.

 Instant Oat Bran Dosa ~ Savory Indian Oat Crepes

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Ingredients and Method to make Instant Oat Bran Dosai
1 cup oat bran
1 cup whole wheat flour (atta/ godumai maavu)
3/4 cup rice flour (chawal ka atta/ arisi maavu)
salt to taste (namak/uppu)
1/2 tsp red chili powder (lal mirch/ molaga podi) (or to taste)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi/ manjal podi) (optional)
pinch of asafoetida powder (hing/ perungayam)
approx 2 and 3/4 cup of water

little sesame oil (til ka tel/nalla ennai) to shallow fry the dosa

In a large bowl, add oat bran, rice flour and whole wheat flour and mix well. Add all the spices and salt to taste and mix again.

Add water as needed to make a batter, this should not be too thin and runny nor too thick. The batter should be of pouring consistency. I needed about 2 and 3/4 cups of water for this quantity of flour. Keep the batter closed and allow it to "sit" for about 30 minutes at least.

Heat a heavy pan/ griddle/ tawa and pour a little batter in the center and quickly make a thin circle. Pour a few drops of oil around the circumference of the dosai. When the lower side becomes golden flip over and cook the other side until it gets small brownish spots. Remove from heat.

Serve hot with chutney of choice/ sambar of choice and some molaga powder (spice powder).

Refrigerate the balance of the batter if any and use within 2 to 3 days.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Tomato Chutney ~ Thakkali chutney for idlis/ dosas.

The combination of onions and tomatoes in chutney is classic and tastes especially good when made to go with dosa (savory Indian crepes) or idlis (steamed savory cakes) . Something about this combination is just so appealing that trying different variations of chutneys with these two main ingredients never gets old. No wonder than that there are already two other chutneys with this combination that have already made their way into this space :)

This third version is something I make quite often these days. It is super easy, quick and is perfect for when you do not want to spend too much time on the chutney part of breakfast, tiffin or dinner :) It tastes amazing with all kinds of dosa / idli varieties and even as a spread in sandwiches or as a dip for veggies. So if you are looking for a quick, easy and versatile chutney, give this one a try :) 

Tomato chutney ~ Thakkali chutney for idli and dosas

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Ingredients and Method to make Tomato Chutney
1 medium sized red onion cut fine (pyaaz/vengayam)
3 medium large tomatoes cut fine (tamatar/thakkali)
1 clove garlic cut fine (lehsun/poondu) (optional)
3 dry red chilies (or to taste) (Lal mirch/molaga vathal)
1/2 tsp sugar (shakkar/sakkarai)
salt to taste (namak/uppu)
1 Tbsp oil

Seasoning (optional, see notes)
1 tsp oil
3/4 tsp mustard seeds (sarson/rai/kadagu)
a pinch of asafoetida powder (hing/perungayam)

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed medium sized pan. Add onions and stir until the onions are translucent. Add garlic (if using) and dry red chilies and stir a few times.

Add tomatoes and stir until the tomatoes are cooked, soft and mushy. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Puree/ Grind this mixture in a blender/ mixer until smooth. Add salt to taste, sugar and give it another turn in the mixer. Remove and place chutney in a bowl.

In a small pan, heat oil and  add mustard seeds to it, when the seeds splutter add pinch of asafoetida powder and stir once or twice. Pour entire seasoning on the chutney and mix well.

Serve chutney with dosa/ idli or any other Indian breakfasts/ tiffins or you can use it as a dip for veggies or a spread for sandwiches.

The seasoning is not absolutely essential, it tastes good even without it, so if you want to skip it you can.
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Bell Pepper Curry ~ Capsicum masala ~ With Stepwise pictures

Bell pepper or capsicum is one of my favorite vegetables. I love the taste, flavor and color of these beautiful vegetables. I also love that it is so versatile and can be combined with so many different vegetables in various curries and dishes and it adds such a wonderful flavor and texture to these dishes. It is no wonder then, that capsicum masala is one of my favorite curries. With capsicum being the star ingredient in this curry and a very unique gravy , this curry has a very distinctive taste. It is also very quick and easy to make and pairs perfectly with plain steamed rice or phulkas/ chapathis/ naans/ kulchas.

Before I go on to the recipe, a quick update. I have been updating pictures on a lot of my older posts. If you would like to take a quick peek, here are a few of them that have updated pictures....
Asparagus in coconut lentil curry ~ Kootu
Gujarati Kadhi ~ Seasoned buttermilk soup/curry
Aloo Paratha ~ Indian flat bread stuffed with spiced potatoes ~ With stepwise pictures

Bell Pepper Curry ~ Capsicum Masala

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Ingredients and Method to make Capsicum Masala

3 large or 4 medium bell pepper cut into 3/4 inch cubes (capsicum/ simla mirch/capsicum) (yielded 4 cups of pieces) (see notes)
1 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp oil (I use coconut or peanut, but any flavorless oil is fine too)
1 medium sized red onion (pyaaz/vengayam) cut into small pieces
1 medium tomato cut fine (tamatar/thakkali)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera/ jeeragam)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi/ manjal podi)
1/4 tsp minced ginger (adrak/ inji)
1/2 tsp red chili powder (mirch/ molaga podi) (or to taste)
salt to taste (namak/ uppu)

For the masala (dry roast each separately and grind to paste)
1/4 cup raw peanuts (mung phali/ nila kadalai)
1 Tbsp coriander seeds (dhania)
2 Tbsp sesame seeds (til/ ellu)
1/4 cup fresh grated coconut (or frozen thawed to room temperature)

Dry roast each of the items for the masala separately and keep aside. After it cools, grind together to a smooth paste with a little water. Keep this masala aside.

Prep the vegetables. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a large heavy bottomed pan and saute the bell pepper pieces until it is tender crisp, that is cooked yet not too soft. Remove and keep aside.

In the same pan, heat another 1 Tbsp of oil. Add cumin, when the cumin sizzles add onions and stir until it is transparent, then add minced ginger, stir a few times. Add tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are soft and mushy. Add turmeric powder and stir once or twice.

Add sauteed bell pepper/ capsicum pieces, salt to taste, chili powder, ground paste and 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups of water. Simmer until the flavors mingle.

Remove from heat and serve hot with plain steamed rice or phulkas/ chapathis or naans/ kulchas


I usually use either 1 each of red, yellow and orange bell pepper or green and red bell pepper. Any combination of bell pepper works fine in this curry, so whatever you find/have on hand can be used in this curry.
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Brownie in a mug ~ Egg Free ~ Butter free ~ In under 2 minutes ~ With Stepwise Pictures

Sometime last year, my cousin Sandhya mentioned that she has begun to try some of the single serving desserts that she has bookmarked from various sites. She went on and on about how easy it is and how convenient to make just the right sized dessert that I was kind of hooked into the idea before our conversation ended. I kind of liked the idea of a single serving dessert, just a little bit of indulgence without the chance to go overboard. I figured if I split that with R too, then I would end up having a taste of the sweet without having to worry too much about the calories.

 Brownie in a mug ~ Egg Free ~ Butter Free ~ In Under 2 mins

The first recipe I tried was a brownie recipe, sadly though it did not work out for me. Not sure why but I found it a tad bit too dry for my taste. That kind of dampened my enthusiasm to try any other single serving dessert for quite a while. After a bit though, I began to think maybe I needed to try experimenting on my own and see if I could come up with something that was moist and fudgy, the way I love my brownies :)  This brownie is the result of my experimentation :) I have played around with the proportions of this recipe many times, increasing and decreasing the almond meal and the quantities of the other ingredients too. But this version is the one that I love the most. It has everything I want from a brownie, its moist, fudgy, chocolatey and delicious. A perfect indulgence :) And the best part this can be ready in just a couple of minutes, and cleanup is a breeze too :)

  2 Minute Mug Brownie ~ Egg Free ~ Butter Free

Click here for a printable view of this recipe

Ingredients and Method to make brownie in a mug
Dry ingredients
2 Tbsp almond meal (powdered almonds/badam) (see notes)
2 Tbsp unbleached all purpose flour (maida)
1 Tbsp Cocoa powder
3 Tbsp fine sugar (shakkar) (see notes)
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

Wet ingredients
2 Tbsp plain yogurt (curds/dahi/thayir)
2 Tbsp milk (Doodh/paal)
1 Tbsp oil
2 tsp semi sweet chocolate chips

In a large mug add all the dry ingredients one by one and mix well. I usually add in the order of almond meal, apf, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, pinch of salt.

Add yogurt, milk, mix well. Add oil and mix again. Scrape the corners to make sure all the flour mixture has gotten mixed. Add semi sweet chocolate chips and mix gently.

Place in microwave and cook for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Here is how it looked at the end of 1 minute

 and at the end of 1 min and 30 seconds

My microwave strength is 1000 watts, so if yours is more powerful you will need to microwave it for lesser time and if yours has less strength it will take a little more time. I like my brownies a bit fudgy and soft and moist, if you like yours a bit drier microwave for an additional 15 seconds to 20 seconds.

Remove, cool for a minute or so and dig in. Enjoy this brownie just as is or with some vanilla ice cream on top:)

For the almond meal, you can powder a little bit of almonds in a mixer/blender with short bursts of powder until it is powdered fine. Do not over blend as the nut butter in will cause clumping. If you have store bought almond meal you can use that too in this recipe. I usually powder about 1/4 cup of almonds at one time and store the rest in an airtight container and use it in this or other recipes like this almond cashew cookies.

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