Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Christmas recipes

Hi friends,
I am sure everyone has great plans for Christmas. Along with the Christmas decorations, Church schedules,  and shopping comes the cooking plan. We all wonder and think of many many recipes, but still the family's vote goes for our usual successful recipes That too native recipes stay in our menu forever. As we both are from Tirunelveli, our town's recipes comes to our minds first. Every year Xavier gives me a long wish list Here is that list ! Enjoy !

Merry Christmas !

Christmas plum cake (Indian style)

Plain vanilla cake

 Butter biscuit (Sooji berry biscuit / benne biscuit) :

Gingerbread cookies:

Orange butter cookies:



 Munthiri kothu

Porikadalai laddu:

Pineapple Kesari

Spicy snacks:
Butter Murukku

Coconut milk murukku


Oma podi (sev)

Kara sev:

Ulunthu vadai

Paruppu vadai

Aappam (rice pancake)

Turkey biriyani

whole fried chicken

Dindigul chicken biriyani (in cooker)

Tirunelveli mutton varuval

Egg kuruma (Tirunelveli style)

Stuffed egg (keeru muttai)

Dessert : (Paruppu Payasam)

Merry Christmas !

Friday, December 8, 2017

How to make Roti dough in kitchenaid mixer ?

Whole wheat flour - 3 cups
oil - 2 tbsp
salt - 1/2 tsp
water - almost 1 1/2 cup

Put flour and salt to the bowl of mixer.
Fix the bowl to the stand mixer.
Attach the dough hook to stand mixer.
My mixer is pro 600, so I lifted up the bowl and fixed it.
Now start in lowest speed to mix well for less than 30 seconds.
Add 1 cup water.
Slowly increase to 2 and 3 speeds.
Then I always set it in speed 4 or 5 for making the dough.
Add required water and let it run for 2  more minutes.
Almost within 3 minutes and 30 secs the dough will be ready.
The dough should be stiff enough to roll roti / chapati but soft and pliable (not sticky),
Then add oil and run for few seconds more.
The dough will be ready .
Switch off, take out and keep inside an airtight container. (or) we can start preparing roti right away.

Chapati / roti dough is ready !

Click to see chapati recipe.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Pizza with perfect crust

Though I have posted few pizza recipes earlier, getting a perfect crust recipe  was always in my 'to learn' list.  My hubby is a person who will  eat only the best of the best and so his reviews have made me improve my cooking skills since the day we got married :) So I try, try and try, till I get the best version in all my recipes. If he has approved it then it becomes my 'blog worthy' recipe :)
I prepared this pizza last Friday evening for dinner. It resulted in a 'large size pizza'.  In my view , it would be more than enough for 2 people. As always we shared our weekend special meal with our neighbor aunty and we all loved it very much.  After many of my pizza attempts, this is the one, my  hubby dear love the best :) So I am sure this is recipe is a keeper. Anyways, after finishing that he said that, "next time just make a cheese pizza  ...ok :) too much veggies :) ". 😀😀😀😀😀 

I love this recipe very much. So I am narrating this post as a best medium-thick crust pizza (not too thin and not too thick, just like the way we love it).
Here in this recipe I have made the crust like a bread dough (rising the dough twice) and I think that's the secret behind the uniformly successful ones.
I prepared the dough using a 'kitchenaid stand mixer' and I am sure hand kneading also would bring closer results.
Also , always be careful on  the 'lukewarm water'  temperature. The yeast should froth within 10 minutes.  Keep in mind to use the yeast within 2  months after purchase and keep it refrigerated always. If the 'proofing of yeast' is successful, then the baking would be definitely successful.
Homemade pizza slice
Vegetable toppings 


Sauce I made for pizza

Before the yeast rises

After 10 minutes of yeast proofing.

Kneading the dough

The pizza dough 

After 1 hour of rising

After second rising

Flatten the dough to pizza shape

Bake for 5 minutes

Apply sauce

Add toppings

Add cheese

Baked pizza

Pizza crust:
lukewarm water  - 1/2 cup
olive oil  - 3 tbsp
1 sachet active dry yeast (1.5 tablespoon approximately) 
salt - 1 tsp
sugar - 2 tsp
All purpose flour - 2 1/2 to 2 3/4  cups
garlic powder - 1 tsp

Microwave the water for 10 seconds (0r) just get the warm water from tap.
Add the  oil, yeast, salt, sugar and keep it for 10 minutes.
It will become frothy.
Mix this with flour and garlic powder.
Knead to make a soft dough. We can knead the dough in a kitchenaid mixer. Use the dough hook and keep the speed at 4 or 5.
Coat the dough with little oil and cover with a damp cloth. Keep it in a tight vessel and keep it for 1 hour inside a warm place (I preheat oven to 150 F for 5 minutes).
Let it raise for 1 hour. After 1 hour , the dough will triple in volume.
Punch and knead again. Keep it to raise again for one more hour.
Now also the dough will raise.
This is the perfect pizza dough. We can prepare the dough and keep it in fridge for 1 or 2 days or we can use it immediately.

tomato puree (from can) - 1/4 cup
sugar - 1 tbsp
hot sauce - 1 tbsp
salt - to taste
Italian seasoning - 1 tbsp
garlic powder - 1 tsp
crushed red pepper - a pinch
fresh basil leaf - handful (chopped)

Mix this in a bowl and keep aside. Or just use a 1/2  cup of store bought sauce. My neighbor aunty would add tomato ketchup + hot sauce + seasonings only. 

Pizza topping:
Shredded mozzarella cheese - 1 /2cup
Parmesan cheese - 2 tbsp
red onion - 1/2 (sliced thinly)
red capsicum - 1/4 cut in to small pieces
Jalapeno pepper - 1/2
pickled yellow pepper - 1
olives - few
Slice and keep the vegetables ready.

How to bake a pizza?

Preheat the oven to 375 F for 10 minutes before we start baking.
Pizza chefs know a lot of skills to prepare a flat bread. But I have only one trick. I just place the dough on a pizza baking tray and flatten it using a rolling pin or by hand.
Then apply a little oil over the flattened dough., spread it. Using a fork prick a few times all around.
Bake it at 375 F for 5 minutes.
Take it out.
Spread the prepared pizza sauce.
Spread the prepared toppings and cheese.
Bake at 375 F for 12 - 15 minutes, until fully cooked,

Take out. Slice and enjoy while it is hot.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Cups and mugs !

I know most of the food blog readers know 'how to prepare a tea' and this post is not about a recipe....but about drinkware and traditions. For very long , I just wanted to write a post on various sized mugs, cups and saucers I see here and hope it would be useful for some like me 😀  . Recently I discussed with my friend Malar about buying a perfect tea set. Then I realized much more and started writing this.

My experience :
Only after coming to USA , I realized that there exists something called a coffee mug (may be that became popular in India too nowadays, but I was unaware of it then).
We  grew up drinking coffee or tea out of a stainless steel tumbler (or a dabara set - a tumbler sitting on a SS cup).  Amma would make n number of coffees everyday for our big joint family and also for appa's clients. After marriage I started my tea legacy with a lot of cheer.  If there is a guest, I would take out my pretty China tea set (a porcelain one, not too expensive but cute) , which we had bought fondly from a T.Nagar Saravana stores and would enjoy that moment. Carrying those tea cups and saucers here was not an option at all (and so my tea times would be achieved with some regular coffee mug). Anyways having some coffee is a must everywhere and so I too got introduced to all kinds of Walmart / Target /  dollar tree mugs. (Trust me, they are good enough for regular household usage). Then after some years I convinced Xavier to buy me a cute tea cup and saucer set and that's how I got that cute little set (see below).

If you are more interested in knowing about English formal tea , you will find this link interesting. .

Indian Serveware:
Traditional stainless steel coffee dabara set and a  porcelain tea cup and saucer set.
The traditional South Indian filter coffee should be served in this kind of stainless steel dabara set. Sometimes these dabara sets come in golden color (brass) too. The tumblers should be of capacity between 150 ml - 200 ml. Just like that the tea should be served in a small porcelain cup and saucer set preferably of 6.5 oz (190 ml) - 8 oz (235 ml).  Nowadays these serving sizes come in much smaller sizes too, but I prefer these sizes, as we can vary the servings as per need.

My teas are more of a typical Indian style ones (my masala tea recipe).
Indian style spicy masala tea

Coffee cups, tea sets and tumblers (India)
When it comes to comparing the various coffee mugs and tea cups, sky is the limit. But my article would surely give a rough idea for a novice.
200 ml tumbler coffee set, 6 oz (180 ml) tea cup and saucer set along with a 12 oz Walmart coffee mug. That 12 oz coffee mug is called a medium size mug. More bigger mugs (14 oz) can be used for having black coffee.

Indian stainless steel tumblers :Buttermilk tumbler 600 ml,  lassi tumbler 350 ml, measuring tumbler or water tumbler 200 ml, coffee tumbler 180 ml

Cups : 6 oz,  12 oz , 14 oz

A BIG cup for fun on display in Shoprite.  I think this would be used as a candy serveware.

Various sizes (USA) :
*The easily available , 12 oz (350 ml) mug is often called as standard mug or medium .
(They are not considered as formal tea cups, but giving a hot cup of tea in any cup with love is adorable in my view).
Walmart's Mainstays brand (the blue band mugs and white ones) are quite popular to start with.
Corelle brands are more worthy and unbreakable. So it is a good choice (IMO) if we want our mugs to last long. There are more expensive brands like Lenox, pfaltzgraff etc.....the list is endless.

* When it comes to fine dining (tea parties), a formal tea cup and saucer set is necessary. which varies from 6 oz to 8 oz.
* A formal tea serving session requires : A serving tray, napkins (small), cup and saucers, spoon, tea pots, sugar and creamer pots, sugar handling tongs. An afternoon tea in English style should be served with some sweets and savory snacks of small servings. In some novel I read that English ladies (people) would reserve some fine topics (without hurting anyone) to talk while having tea in their parlor....some would knit, some would share a recipe , some would read a book loudly lovely . That's a distant dream !

*One of the most beautiful thing most of us have enjoyed in the past is the 'little girl's tea set'.  I can only imagine an Alice in wonderland kind of tea party I used to enjoy in my childhood with my toy tea set :) . Nothing can replace those memories.

* One more version is : The Cappuccino cups (Demitasse cups / tasting cups) range between 2 oz to 5 oz.

* I am sure there exists much more varieties of tea / coffee / hot drink traditions all over the world. I would say that the tea in chaya shops of  Tamilnadu and Kerala are the best  along with a vadai ,bajji pakora:)

But cooking with love and serving with smile is much important than these fancy pots and pans and traditions. Nowadays we can buy any kind of tea set from internet, but the hardest part is finding a friend  / moment to share this tea :) I always love my morning tea time with my husband.   I guess tea traditions were invented by our ancestors to improve our socializing skills.  So let's make use of every opportunity to take out our fine dining ware and cherish those moments !

Update (Nov 2017):
And then I bought this beautiful vintage (but new) corelle cup & saucer (almost 8 oz)  and I LOVE it very much:)
Photo courtesy : seller's image

Happy tea time!

Vazhaikkai Poriyal (Plantain stir fry)

This vazhaikai poriyal was a staple in our house as we had some (lot) of banana trees in our backyard. I have seen amma running there to pic...