Sunday, January 27, 2013

Baker's Corner: Apple Cinnamon Cake

Ok so there isn't going to an elaborate prologue to this post. I'm not in a mood to ramble today so I'm going to state my case as succinctly as possible! This is a cake recipe that I've posted on my blog before but since that was a modified version, I decided to keep it true to the original recipe in this post. I also decided to chuck in the step-by-step pictures because I didn't have time for that in the earlier post.

The only other thing I will say (to make my case stronger!) is that this is one my hubby's most loved cake recipes.

Enjoy it with ur favourite cuppa!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Back to basics: Making homemade paneer

What is the best thing that you can make with just two basic ingredients? My humble opinion is the delicious and versatile - PANEER!

Paneer is Indian cottage cheese that is used to make a variety of dishes. If anyone asked me what my favourite appetizer/starter in the world was then without batting an eyelid, I would say paneer tikka. I love this dish so much that I can keep eating it until my stomach sends signals of distress to my brain to stop! And my infatuation with paneer doesn't just end with tikka, I love any form of paneer for that matter.

In India, fresh paneer is always readily available. Unfortunately, the same luxury is not always available for those of us living abroad. Fresh paneer is available in Singapore but it isn't something that I can just run to the nearest grocery store and get whenever my heart desires it. I figured that if I had a sudden impulse to make a paneer dish especially one that favors fresh paneer over the frozen variety (as in paneer tikka/paratha/bhurji), then I would have to learn to make it myself. 

Here is the recipe for homemade paneer. The resulting paneer was soft, spongy and firm. It is a really simple procedure and the end product is worth the extra effort.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Snapshots of my trip to India 2013


After a very eventful past month in India, I'm back to the grind. It feels good in a bittersweet sort of way. I'm looking forward to getting back to my usual and familiar routine of home-husband-work-friends-blog!

This post is just to share some pictures with you that I took on my recent holiday. I was mainly flitting between cities within my home state of Karnataka, starting with Bangalore and then heading off to Udupi, Manipal, Mangalore, Shimoga and then to Mysore along with a very brief visit to the neighboring state of Kerala.

The pictures you will see begin with a wedding in Udupi and move on from there to the beaches of Dakshina Kannada, some scenic spots in North Kerala and finally the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary and Venugopalaswamy temple near my beloved Mysore.

A special word of thanks to my lil brother Samarth (those interested can check out his amazing photography at his Facebook page here) and my husband for taking some of the lovely photos in this post.

I hope you enjoy the pics!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Recipe of the month: Vegetarian Burgers

This is my first actual post in the new year. I wanted this post to be about something that is close to my heart. This vegetarian burger has a small story attached to it so if you arrived at this post only to check out the recipe, then please feel free to ignore my ramblings and scroll away!

There wouldn't be many married women from South India who wouldn't have heard of the name Mallika Badrinath. She is a cook book author famous for her Indian vegetarian recipes. My mum has the entire range of her recipe books and on countless occasions, me and my siblings have served the role of guinea pig for my mum's cooking exploits that were adapted/inspired from her books. A long time ago, while flipping through one of her books, my mum found a recipe for potato kebabs which she tried out and it turned out to be a hit with our family. The recipe is a very simple one in which the potatoes which are boiled and mashed, mixed with fresh chopped herbs like mint and coriander, spiced with green chillies and flavored with a few Indian spice powders. Bread/breadcrumbs and rice flour are incorporated for texture and crispiness after which the potato mixture is shaped into kebabs and subsequently deep-fried in hot oil. I was familiar with this recipe long before I got married and it was the very first dish that I prepared as a new bride at my in-laws house so you can imagine why it has special significance for me. Over the years, I've made these potato kebabs many many times and they have become somewhat of a signature snack of mine. 

So one day I was sitting at home wondering what to make for dinner and I suddenly felt like tucking into a burger. It so happened that there were burger buns sitting around in the fridge. I began to wonder about what kind of patty I was going to make. My husband makes amazing Portobello Mushroom burgers but that being his specialty, I wanted to do something different. I wasn't really in the mood to start cutting a whole lot of veggies so I decided to translate my trusty potato kebab recipe into patties for my burger. It did occur to me that the overall result could be a major carb overload but who can turn down bread and potatoes right?! I stuck to the kebab recipe pretty much expect that I shaped the potato mixture into cutlets and instead of deep-frying, I shallow fried them in a little oil until golden brown. I assembled my burger with my favorite toppings, added a dash of fiery sauce and I was ready to tuck in! You could always add in lettuce or some other salad leaves of your choice for that extra color and crunch but I didn't have any so I skipped the greens (regretted it later as I was photographing my burger!).

Here is the recipe for my veggie burger. The best thing about burgers is that they are so versatile. You can play around with the patty ingredients, toppings and the sauce to suit your taste. Although the word "burger" is usually associated with meat-based patties, this vegetarian version is worth a try. It is a slightly Westernized take on the Indian Vada Pav but you might find it a pleasant change!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Welcome 2013!

I know my wishes are coming in a little late but I'd like to wish all my friends, family and blog readers a very happy new year! 

I haven't been keeping tabs on my blog lately because I've been too busy having fun in India! This year, I celebrated new year's at my in-laws place in Bangalore. We had a small gathering of family members at home and it made for an intimate and eventful celebration. My MIL, SIL and me compiled the menu for the evening which featured an assortment of each of our signature dishes. 

As you can see from the picture, one of my dishes was a Pineapple and Cherry Upside-down Cake. This is an adaptation from Peach Caramel Upside-down Cake that I had posted some time ago. The base is a French yoghurt cake which is ridiculously simple and requires only a few ingredients. All I did was substitute the canned peaches with canned pineapple slices and cherries. I had a few issues with the brown sugar during the caramelizing process because it was markedly different in color, texture and sweetness from the kind that I use in Singapore but the overall outcome of the cake was still good. It was a learning experience in resourcefulness for me because for the first time, I was outside of the comfort of my own kitchen where I have all my baking related equipments and tools. Using a rice measuring cup for the main dry ingredients, a plastic measuring cap of a cough syrup bottle for the smaller tsp measurements, a hand-held whisk to mix the ingredients, a baking dish that was one size too large and an oven completely different from my own was something I had never done before! But I handled it better than expected and even managed to have a whole lot of fun. I think a lot of it can be attributed to my kitchen collaborators - my MIL and my SIL :) 

I chose this image for my new years post because like this cake, I hope that your year is filled with sweetness, vibrancy, color and a variety of experiences that enrich your life. 

Happy 2013!!!