Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Ginger Bread Cookies

Ginger Bread Cookies are baked during Christmas season.  It is a spicy and delicious cookie, resembling the fruit cake in flavor. 

I bake this cookie every year during Christmas and it is loved by all of our family and friends. Here is the recipe.

This recipe is for the quantity of making 20 - 25 small ginger bread cookies.

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First prepare the Spice powders and keep it handy. This stays fresh in freezer for nearly 6 - 12 months.

Dry ginger powder - 1 tbsp
black pepper powder - 1 tsp
nutmeg - 1/20 of a nut (powdered)
All spice powder - 1/2 tsp
cinnamon powder - 1 1/2 tsp
cloves - 5 (powdered)


Wet Ingredients:
Butter - 6 tbsp
Dark brown sugar - 1/2 cup 
sugar - 1/3 cup
orange zest - from 1 fruit
Egg - 1
molasses - 1/4 cup
lemon - 1 tbsp

Mix well.



Dry Ingredients:

All-purpose flour - 2 cups
baking powder - 3/4 tsp
baking soda - 1/4 tsp
salt - 1/2 tsp

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix well, using hands or stand mixer.

Make it as a dough.

Spread using rolling pin into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slabs.

Dip the cookie cutter in flour and cut into desired shapes.

Bake at 350 F for 8-10 minutes.

The dough can be kept in refrigerator for up-to a month.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

கிறிஸ்துமஸ் ப்ரூட் கேக் Indian Christmas Fruit cake

I.For caramelizing
sugar-1/2 cup
water - 2tbsp + 1 cup
Add sugar and 2 tbsp water keep in stove at low to medium heat. When the sugar starts to turn brown , stir slowly .The sugar will start to change color from light brown to dark. In between , keep in microwave the water for 2 min and warm it. When the sugar starts to turn brown , pour slowly the warm water. Be cautious, as it may splutter (wear a hand gloves always for this step).

dry ingredients:
All purpose flour (maida)- 2 1/2 cup
baking powder - 2 tsp
baking soda - 3/4 tsp
Nuts and fruits:
dried fruits-(dates, raisins, tooti frooti)- 2 cup
dried nuts-(almonds, cashews and walnuts) - 1 cup
grape juice - 1/4 cup + orange juice- 1 cup + apple juice - 1/4 cup
(or) orange juice - 1 1/2 cup
wet ingredients: (others)
sugar -  1 1/2 cup
butter- 2 sticks (16 tbsp butter = 1 cup oil)
(use butter for perfect flavor)
egg - 6
salt -  1 tsp
vanilla extract -2 tsp
To powder:
lemon and orange peels - 2 tbsp
(I use peels of a large naval orange)
All spice powder (see below for recipe)- 2 tsp

Take half of the amount of dry fruits. (reserve the rest  for direct baking later). Except raisin chop others.

Soak 1 cup of dry fruits in grape + apple + orange juice for a few hours.
( I puree apple , grapes at home and use store bought orange juice).
Without any other juices,  orange juice will also do the same job.
I soaked it in orange juice for 3 days inside fridge.
Bring the butter, egg and everything to room temperature by keeping them out of fridge for few hours -  overnight.
Dry roast the almond, cashew and other nuts. Then chop them into small pieces.

Before baking:
Preheat the oven at 350 F.
Grease a 9 x 13 x 2 inch cake pan ( 1/4 sheet cake pan) generously with butter.
Sprinkle 2 tbsp all purpose flour and spread  it all over by shaking.

Wet ingredients: 
 In a blender (Indian mixie) add orange peel and crush it. To it add butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla essence, salt and beat again till fluffy.
Pour this to a large mixing bowl along with caramelized sugar.
Dry ingredients:
Sift together all purpose flour, baking soda , baking powder. I sift this over a large newspaper and will sift twice to ensure a fluffy cake. Sifting is  a MUST.
Add this dry ingredients to wet ingredients in the mixing bowl. Mix well with a large spoon. (or electric mixer).
Add the soaked fruits along with juice. it was soaking.
Take 2 tbsp of AP flour and mix it with the broken nuts and remaining unsoaked dry fruits.
Pour the cake batter to the cake pan .
Now spread the flour coated nuts and nuts over the cake batter . Shake gently and let the nuts sink a little. Don't stir them.
Bake in middle of the rack for 40 to 50 minutes in 350 deg F. If not cooked increase 10 min each time. The cake will be done in 45 minutes. The cake is ready when a toothpick inserted into it comes out clean.

Take out and cool for at least 10 - 20  minutes before transferring to cooling racks.
Cool the cake completely over cooling rack for 4 - 5 hours and slice as per need.
Store in airtight containers.
The cake tastes more delicious after 1 day - 3 days.

Makes one large 9 x 13 cake. or four 6 inch round cakes.
The above recipe gives 2 kg  ( approx 4.5 lb ) of fruit cake ( little more than that , depending upon the nuts and fruits we add).
Always use a good quality aluminum baking pan (eg Wilton cake pans) for evenly baking.
If using glass bakeware (eg Pyrex) , bake at 325 F . Don't exceed the recommended temperature.
Using some kitchen appliances will make cake baking an easy job. Here are some of my tips for using various mixers for making fruit cake.

For kitchenaid mixer:
Using a whisk attachment beat the egg to fluffy (1 min - 2 min). (whites first then add yellow).
Melt the butter . Add butter and sugar together for 1 minute in speed 2.
Remove the whisk attachment and fix the flat beater.
Add all the wet ingredients and beat for 30 seconds at speed 2.
Then add dry ingredients and beat at speed 6 for 1 minute.
DO NOT over-beat the cake mixture.

For Indian mixie:
Beat the eggs together.
Then add all the wet ingredients.
Pour this to a mixing bowl.
Using a spatula or hand held electric mixer, blend together for 1 minute.

For Hand mixer (electric):
Cream sugar and butter together for 1 minute in low speed.
Then goes the wet ingredients for 1 minute in medium speed.
Add dry ingredients gradually and whisk at lowest speed till they get folded.
Then increase speed and mix for 1 minute.
This is the all spice powder I use in my fruit cakes, pumpkin cake, ginger bread cookies etc. I think this flavor is fresh and better than the much expensive store bought varieties.

All spice powder:
cinnamon - 2 long rolls
cardamom - 1 tbsp seeds only
cloves - 1 tbsp
nutmeg - 1/4 of one
mace - 1
cumin - 1 tbsp
black pepper - 1 tbsp
dry ginger powder - 1/2 cup

Dry roast everything except ginger powder. Finely powder them all together and mix with ginger powder. (While powdering , I add ginger powder). Keep in a zip lock pouch or air tight container and keep in freezer for an year.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Chicken Tikka Kebab சிக்கன் டிக்கா கபாப்

Kebabs are said to be originated in Persia. It is called as kabab in Arabia and Kebab in Turkey.
Chicken tikka kebab is an Indian version of Shish kebab.
Tikka means small pieces or chunks.
Chunks of meat or vegetables are grilled along with masla.
Here goes the recipe. Click to see my youtube video on 'how to make chicken tikka kebab' in Tamil with ingredients typed in English.


(For Tikka)
Boneless chicken - 2 lb (1 kg)
Maida (AP flour ) - 1/2 cup
salt - 2 tsp
Pink salt - 1 tsp
thick Indian yogurt - 1/2 cup
Peanut oil - 2 tbsp 
Apple cider vinegar - 1 tbsp
turmeric - 1 tsp
ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
garam masala powder - 1 tbsp
red chilly powder - 1.5 tsp
cumin powder - 1 tsp
ginger garlic paste - 3 tsp

Wash and clean the meat. Cut chicken into 1.5 inch size cubes.
Blend the masalas listed under Tikka together in a mixing bowl.
Keep the chicken pieces marinated in that masala for 2 hours (room temp.) or overnight inside the refrigerator.

Soak the bamboo skewers in water more than 1 hour.

Cut 2 colorful bellpeppers. 

Thread the pieces of meat and bell pepper in the skewer with a little spacing. Bake them in oven at 425 F for 15 mins one side. Then flip and bake for 10 mins. Then broil it both sides.
(Instead the pieces can be grilled or deep fried also).

Take out and remove from skewers. Keep aside.

Chicken tikka is ready!

We can serve them simply as a snack or side dish or stuffing inside chapati rolls.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

அவகடோ சட்னி & பயனுள்ள தகவல்கள், Guacamole recipe and uses

Guacamole is a popular delicious Mexican food. It can be related to coconut chutney (thick version).
Click to see my video on making Guacamole. Please Subscribe and click bell notification to get newer videos. Also share our channel to your loved ones.
Viki Xavier

Avocado - 6 (Hass variety)
Lemon - 1 (or)  2-3 tbsp lemon juice
Red onion - 2
Garlic - 1 whole
Tomato - 1
Jalapeno - 1 or Green chili -3
Salt - to taste
Cumin - 1 tsp (powdered)
Cilantro - handful bunch

Peel and scoop meat of avocado.
Peel onion, garlic.
In a food processor, chop finely onion, tomato, garlic, chili , cilantro together coarsely.
Pulse and grind coarsely the avocado.
Put them all together in a mixing bowl.
Add lemon juice, salt, cumin powder.
Mix well and store in glass container.
Keep refrigereted.

Use as a dip with tortilla chips.
Also as an accompaniment with tacos, rice bean bowl, enchilada, burger spread, sandwich spread.
Half of an avocado along with an egg in the morning as breakfast will help to get satiety factor for the day. Thus it helps in reducing excess weight.
Also the good cholesterol is good for health.

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...