Thursday 30 May 2013

Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie - Vegan Option

There are some days when you are sitting on your computer and you find something that has to be made then and there. This is one such recipe. I saw this posted by my friend Priya. And I just went to the kitchen and made it before I commented on her post. Totally loved it. I always love Banana with Peanut Butter.  But never drank the combo as a Smoothie.

Quick and Easy, Super Healthy, Filling!!


Banana 1
Cold Milk 1 cup (Or Soy Milk for Vegan Drink)
Peanut Butter 2 tbsp

Method of Preparation

1. Roughly cut the bananas and add to to blender.

2. Add Peanut Butter. Grind to a paste.

3. Add Milk and blend again. Make it Vegan by using Soy Milk instead of Milk.

Serve Chilled! 

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Sweet Potato Poriyal - Chakkaravalli Kizhamgu Poriyal - Sweet Potato Dry Curry

I never made many dishes with Sweet Potatoes. Lately I have started using it a lot. I cannot believe I have missed using it for sooo long. Radhika's blog is a repository of amazing recipes. Every time she posts something interesting I make it a point to try it. This one caught my eye when she posted it a few weeks ago.. Such a flavourful side. I will be making this often. Super easy to prepare as well.

Ingredients (Serves 4 as a side for Roti)

Sweet Potato 4 medium
Mustard 1/2 tsp
Urad dal 1 tsp
Hing a little
Curry leaf few

Oil and salt to taste

To pulse in mixie

Coconut 1 cup
Cumin 1 tsp
Fennel seeds 1 tsp
Shallots 6
Garlic 4 pods
Kashmiri red chilli  powder 1 tsp (or use 3-4 red chillies)
Turmeric 1 tsp

Method of Preparation

1. Peal and chop sweet potatoes into small pieces. Add to a pot with enough water. Boil till it is cooked, but still has a nice shape. Do not overcook. Drain and keep ready.

2. In a mixie, pulse together the coconut, cumin, fennel, shallots, garlic, chilli powder and turmeric.

3. Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard. When it sputters, add urad dal, curry leaf and hing.

4. When the dal browns, add the coconut paste and saute for a couple of minutes.

5. Add the cooked sweet potatoes and salt. Mix well.

6. Cover and cook in a slow flame for a few minutes till it all comes together.

Serve as a side for rice or roti. 

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Sorakka Puli Kari - Lauki ki Khatti Subzi

Ingredients (Serves 6-8)

Lauki/Doodi/Sorakka 2 big (about 8 cups)
Onions 2
Mustard 1/2 tsp
Jeera 1 tsp
Curry leaf 2 sprigs
Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder 1 tsp
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Hing a little
Sambar powder 2 tsp
Coriander powder 2 tsp
Tamarind 1 tbsp
Rice flour 1 tsp
Oil and Salt to taste

Method of Preparation

1. Heat some oil in a pot. Add mustard.

2. When it sputters, add jeera and curry leaves.

3. When it sizzles, add finely chopped onions. Saute till it is slightly browned.

4. Add Kashmiri red chilli powder, turmeric, hing, sambar powder and coriander powder. Mix well.

5. Add chopped lauki and mix. Add 1 cup of water. Let the Lauki cook a little bit.

6. Now add 2-3 cups of water, tamarind paste and salt. Add a little rice flour to thicken the gravy.

7. Cook the raw smell goes and the gravy is slightly thickened.

Serve with some warm rice.

Saturday 25 May 2013

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Rolls (Pizza) and Butterfly Pizza

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a very popular Children's Book. It is the first book that we read to Neel and it has been a family favourite. It has a beautiful story of a caterpillar, starting out as an egg, developing into a caterpillar, the adventures as a caterpillar, then it gets a cocoon and finally becomes a butterfly.

On Sunday the egg pops and a tiny caterpillar comes out.
On Monday, it eats 1 Apple
On Tueday, it eats 2 Pears
On Wednesday it eats 3 Plums
On Thursday 4 Strawberries
On Friday 5 Oranges
On Saturday, loads of Junk and gets stomach ache
On Sunday, it eats a green leaf, gets a cocoon..
And finally becomes a beautiful butterfly

As you can see, it also teaches little ones Metamorphosis, Days of the week, counting, names of fruits, message about healthy eating.

What's more little ones just love the colours and illustration. And the little worm holes in all the food is adorable.

When Avant Garde Cookies decided to cook from your favourite cook book, my little one and I donned our Aprons and 'cooked' this bread/pizza. he enjoyed both the cooking and eating part. It was a fun project during Easter holidays.

For Dough


Bread Flour (Or All purpose flour) 1.5 cups
Fast Acting Yeast 1 7gm packet (21/4 tsp)
(Note : though I used 1 pkts, now I use only 1/2 and I find it has a better taste. So use just one)
Salt 1/2 tsp
Sugar 1/2 tbsp
Warm Milk little under 3/4 cup (use as required)

Oil a little to grease

Method of Preparation

1. In a bowl, add the flour, yeast, salt and sugar.

2. Warm the milk and add a little at a time and make a dough. Knead it well till it is all incorporated.

3. Apply a little oil all around. Place in a bowl. Cover with cling film and let it rise, till it doubles.

For Green Sauce (Pesto)


Basil leaves few
Parmesan cheese 2-3 tbsp (skip for vegan version)
Sunflower seeds 1 tbsp
Olive oil 3 tbsp

Method of Preparation

1. Add everything to a mixer (food processor) and blend into a paste.

Other ingredients

Mushrooms for legs
Green Pepper small bits for head
Carrots (or olives for eyes)
Tomato sauce for head
Mozerella grated (if making as a pizza)
Olive oil to brush

Putting Together the caterpillar

1. Divide the dough into 15 parts.

2. Take 3 parts and join to form a ball. This will be your head. Flatten it a little.

3. Roll the rest 12 pieces and flatten them. Arrange them to form the body.

4. Add mushroom legs.

5. Brush the caterpillar with oil.

6. Preheat oven to 230C. (I used a fan oven this time. So my baking time was very less). Bake for 8-10 minutes. (It usually takes me more time).

7. If making as Pizza, Spread the sauce and add cheese toppings to all the body and head. I did not make it as a Pizza.

8. Once out of the oven, apply the green sauce for body and red sauce for head. Add eyes, mouth etc to head.

Once the caterpillar was made and enjoyed, my son asked me for more the next day. I had some dough and decided to surprise him with a Butterfly Pizza!


For the Butterfly Pizza, I used the same quantity of dough. Shaped as shown in the photo. Used Pesto as sauce. You can use Tomato sauce as well. For the top wings we topped with mushroom and bottom ones we used pineapple as they are my little ones fav toppings. You can use any of your choice.

Check out the other AGC thoughout this week 
AnushaJayanthiKavithaPriya MRadhikaPriya S

Friday 24 May 2013

Bialys - Rustic Style Roll with a Savory Onion centre - New York Bialys

The Bialy (pronounced bee-AH-lee) maybe thought of as a cousin to a Bagel but is quite different from it. For one thing, a Bialy is baked whereas a Bagel is boiled and then baked. A Bialy is round with a depressed middle, not a hole, and typically filled with cooked onions and sometimes poppy seeds. So it is not shiny on the outside with largish puffy bubbles on the inside. A good Bialy should have a springy soft crumb and a chewy and floury crust. Bialys are best when eaten within 5 to 6 hours of making them.

The name Bialy comes from Bialystocker Kuchen which translates as “bread from Bialystok” which is in Poland. Apparently, Bialys are rarely seen or made in Bialystock these days. In the days when there used to be Bialys in Bialystock, it seems the rich Jews ate Bialys with their meals, while the Bialys were the whole meal for the poorer Jews.

In the early 1900s, many Eastern Eurpoeans, including the Polish, immigrated to the US and settled down in New York. Naturally, they also brought their Bialy making skills with them and that is how the New York Bialy became famous. What lends Bialys their signature chewiness is the use of flour that is high in gluten. So to make Bialys, use bread flour if you can find it. Otherwise use all-purpose flour and add 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten (for the 3 cups). If you can find neither bread flour nor vital wheat gluten, go ahead and make it with plain flour. You’ll still have very nice Bialys that are slightly softer, that’s all.

Bialys usually have a thin layer of caramelised onions and poppy seeds. Check out this Video on how to shape the Bialys

Ingredients (Adapted from King Arthur Flour

For the dough:
Instant Yeast  1 tsp
Sugar 1 tbsp
Water 11/4 cup
Bread Flour 3 cups
Salt 1 tsp
Flour for dusting

For the Onion Filling:
Oil 1 tbsp
Onions 3 medium, finely chopped
Cumin/Jeera 1.5 tsp 
Salt to taste

Method of Preparation 

1. Add yeast, sugar, salt and flour in a bowl. Give it a mix.

2. Add the warm water slowly. Knead until the dough comes together as a mass and then let the dough rest for 10 minutes. This will help the dough absorb water. 

3. Knead again, adding a little more water or flour (not too much) if you need it, until your dough is smooth and elastic but not sticky.

4. Shape it into a ball and put it in a well-oiled bowl, turning the dough till it is well coated. Cover and let it rise till about double. This should take about 2 hours (Mine was ready in 45 min, keep checking). If you’re not making the Bialys right away, you can refrigerate the dough overnight at this point. When ready to make them, keep the dough at room temperature for about half an hour and then proceed with the rest of the recipe.

5. In the meanwhile, make the filling. Heat the oil in a pan, and add the cumin seeds. When the crackle, add the onions, and sauté over low to medium heat. Sprinkle a little salt and continue sautéing until they become soft and turn golden brown in colour. Keep the caramelised onions aside to cool.

6. Sprinkle your work surface lightly with flour and place the dough on it. Divide it into 8 equal pieces and shape each one into a roll by flattening it and then pinching the ends together to form a smooth ball. Place the rolls on a lightly greased baking sheet and cover them with a towel. Let them rise for about one hour (about  1 1/2 to 2 hours for refrigerated dough) till pressing with a finger on the top leaves a dent. Mine were ready in 30 min. 

7. Work on one piece at a time, while you keep the others covered so they don’t dry out. When the rolls are ready, pick them up one at a time. Dip it in a bowl of flour. This step is optional. I loved the rustic look I saw in the video above. If you do not want that, skip the flour dusting.

8. Using your fingers, form the depression in the middle. Hold the roll like a steering wheel with your thumbs in the middle and your fingers around the edges. Pinch the dough between your thumb and fingers, rotating as you go and gradually making the depression wider without actually poking a hole through. If a small hole does appear, do not worry, just join it and keep going. 

9. Remember not to press on the edges, or they will flatten out. Once shaped, you should have a depression about 3” in diameter with 1” of puffy dough around the edge, so your Bialy should be about 4” in diameter. The centre will be like a thin membrane. Prick the centre of the Bialy with a fork so the centre doesn’t rise when baking.

10. Place the shaped dough on a parchment lined (or greased) baking tray leaving about 2 inches space between them. Place the caramelised onion filling in the depressions of each Bialy. 

11. Bake the Bialys at 230C (450F) for about 15 minutes till they’re golden brown in colour. Cool them on a rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

This recipe makes 8 largish Bialys.

Baking with the group - We Knead to Bake has been fun as always. Do Check out Aparna's blog for the original post/recipe and other bakers baking with us.

Other Breads baked as part of the group - We Knead to Bake
February    : Classic Croissants 

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Beetroot Kootu

Kootu finds an important place in Tamil meals. Making same kootu often is kind of boring, won't you agree? This beetroot kootu is sure to be a winner. Though the recipe is quite similar to regular kootu, I just thought of sharing it as we do not see Beetroot used much in this form.


Beetroot 4 big
Moong Dal 1 cup
Turmeric 1/2 tsp

Oil and Salt to taste

To grind to paste

Coconut 1/2 cup
Green chilli 2
Curry leaf few
Jeera 1 tsp

Method of Preparation

1. Pressure cook the moong dal with enough water till it is well cooked.

2. Chop the beets into small pieces. Add to a pot. Add a little water. Cover and cook till the beets are almost cooked.

3. Make a paste of coconut, green chilli, curry leaf and jeera.

4. Add the coconut paste to the beets, along with the cooked dal and salt.

5. Add some water if needed. Bring to a boil and simmer for a little bit till it all comes together.

6. You can optionally temper with some mustard, curry leaves and dry red chilli.

Enjoy as a side for rice along with sambar/kozhambu or you can just mix it with rice and eat. We used it as a side for Roti.

Monday 20 May 2013

Classic Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Growing up I have eaten only biscuits. Cookies is something that had for the first time when I lived in US. The famous Chocolate Chip Cookies did not interest me much. My love affair with cookies started when I ate Oatmeal Raisin Cookies! The Crisp outer layer and the chewy inside with it melt in the mouth taste, the sweetness from the raisin and the goodness of oats. What's not to like.

There is a restaurant in US called the Panera Bread. They have an array of amazing soups, bread and ofcourse, cookies. They do a catering box with soup, 1/2 sandwich and a cookie. We used order that a lot when we ordered lunch as a group in office. And my favourite was the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie. Those cookies are not the small ones that I have made. They were slightly bigger than the size of our palm. They were pretty amazing considering it comes from the kitchen of a chain restaurant. I usually do not go ga ga over mass produced stuff.

My son and I have been doing all our baking experiments together. As it does not involve any gas flame and hot pans/pots I am more comfortable letting him work with me. I measure out ingredients and he keeps count of the cups and then adds them to the bowl. Does most of the mixing etc. I let him do as much as a little one of 4 yrs can do. You get the idea right! So we don our aprons. No, not figuratively. We actually do. One rainy afternoon last week, we baked these cookies and enjoyed it warm afterwards.

Ingredients (makes about 2 dozen small cookies)

Butter 6 tbsp
Brown Sugar 1/2 cup
Sugar 1/4 cup
Milk 2 tbsp
Egg 1/2
Vanilla Extract 1/2 tsp

All Purpose Flour 1/2 cup
Cinnamon 1/2 tsp
Baking soda 1/4 tsp
Salt 1/8 tsp

Oats 1.5 cups
Raisins 1/2 cup
Chopped Almonds (or peacans or any nut of your choice) 1/2 cup - optional

Method of Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 190 C (375 F). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

3. Beat the butter, sugars, milk, egg and vanilla in a large bowl till light and fluffy

4. Add the flour mix to this mixing well.

5. Stir in oats, raisins and nuts.

6. Drop tablespoon full of dough to the sheet. Don't worry if they are not perfect in shape or anything. It will just be lumpy. And will shape up while baking.

7. Bake for 12-15 min. For softer cookie bake for less time and more time for a crispier cookie. I baked mine for about 13 min.

8. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10-15 minutes. Note that the cookie will be very soft when it comes out of the oven. It will become harder as it cools down.


Sunday 19 May 2013

Instant Paruppu Rasam

What do you do on the days you make Kozhambu and want to make Rasam as well? Do you like Dal in Rasam? Believe Rasam is just not the same with out dal? My husband is one such person. He loves Rasam with Paruppu/Dal in it. So I used to keep some dal in cooker just for Rasam.

While browsing thru some recipes, I came across this recipe that found a place in my heart. Dal rasam/Paruppu rasam without precooking Paruppu. I found it intriguing. Decided to try it. Had my fingers crossed. Will my husband approve of this short cut? Interestingly, he did. He was ok with this method.


Toor Dal 2 tbsp
Dry Red Chilli 2
Coriander Seeds 1 tbsp
Cumin 1 tsp
Pepper few

Tomato 3
Ginger a little
Green Chilli 1

To temper
Ghee 1 tsp
Mustard 1/2 tsp
Cumin 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves few

Method of Preparation

1. Soak the dal and dry red chillies in water for 30 minutes

2. Dry roast coriander seeds, cumin and pepper. Add to a mixie.

3. Make a paste along with the dal and red chillies.

4. In a pot, add tomatoes, chopped ginger and slit green chilli along with little water. Boil till the tomatoes are almost cooked.

5. Add the dal paste till the raw smell is gone. Keep stirring.

6. Add 2 more cups of water. Bring to a boil and when it froths, switch off.

7. To temper, heat ghee in a small pan. Add mustard. When it sputters, add cumin and curry leaf. When it sizzles, pour over Rasam.

Serve with Rice and a dry spicy curry.

Friday 17 May 2013

Maharashtrian Masala Baath - Tindora Baath - Masala Rice made with Ivy Gourd

Tindora is one of my favourite vegetable. And the best way I like it is to just saute it in a little oil with jeera, turmeric, chilli powder and salt. Simple and delicious. Usually a side like that works perfect with Rasam Rice. I also like it that way. But my way of eating it is to mix it with some warm rice.

For the Blog Hop week of our group AGC, I am visiting Priya's blog. I was trying to decide what I wanted to make and bookmarked a whole bunch of recipes. My favourite was the Nutella Brownies. I so badly wanted to make them, but somehow could not. Will have to make soon..

That is when this recipe caught my eye. It was an improved version of the rice that I usually love to eat. And am glad I tried it. It was just too good. Thank you Priya for the recipe!


Rice 2 cups
Onions 2
Tindora or Ivy Gourd around 30 vertically slit into quarters
Tomato 2 chopped

Bay leaf 2
Cumin 1 tsp
Hing 1/4 tsp
Turmeric 1 tsp

Oil and salt to taste

For the masala
Cumin 1 tsp
Coriander 2 tbsp
Red Chilli 3
Clove 4
Cinnamon 2 inch piece

Method of Preparation

1. Dry roast the masala ingredients and powder it.

2. Pressure cook the rice with required water and keep ready.

3. Heat a little oil in a pan. Add the bay leaf, cumin seeds and turmeric.

4. When it sizzles, add sliced onions. Saute till it starts to brown.

5. Add the tindora and chopped tomato. Mix well.

6. Sprinkle a little water and cover and cook till the tindora is cooked, yet firm.

7. Add the powdered spice mix and salt. Cook for a few more minutes.

8. Add the cooked rice and mix well. Switch off.

Serve with some raita.

Check out the other AGC thoughout this week 
AnushaJayanthiKavithaPriya MRadhikaPriya S