Therattipal (Palkova)

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No festive occasion or social function among Tamilians is complete without therattipal as one of the dishes in the cuisine. A very laboriously prepared dish by simmering huge quantities of milk over low flame to reduce the bulk with constant stirring to ensure that the milk does not get burnt, this dish is quite time- consuming too. Once “Aavin” started selling this sweet it became an easily accessible sweet in our family and the effort one needs to invest was forgotten.  At one point in one of my family member’s place I happened to taste microwaved therattipal and it was quite like the traditional dish and was pleasantly surprised to learn that it takes principally just two ingredients and less than 15 minutes to prepare the sweet. In a family that loves this sweet, there couldn’t have been a better treat!

It saved the bother of full-cream milk and sweat over the steady stirring The caramelization is so perfect that it gives you the color as in traditional preparation.

The best part is that we do not have to worry about sugar proportion and the texture that depends on the milk quality. Yogurt added ensures on the grainy texture and gives a lovely feel.

Ingredients

Condensed milk  1 can (400 ml)

Thick yogurt  2  tsp

Ghee ½ tsp

Almonds (slivered)  2 tsp

Saffron strands 1 pinch (optional)  but I prefer to add them

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  • Grease a large glass bowl (1 liter or bigger) with ghee and pour the condensed milk into the bowl. Add the yogurt to the milk and mix well to blend the curd and milk.

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  • Place in the microwave at 900 W (high) for 5 minutes  and make sure to track the cooking.  Stir every 2 minutes to ensure a smooth texture. You will see the granular texture and caramelized color appearing after about 3 minutes or so.

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  • Reduce the wattage to 600 W and micro for another  minute or two until the mix looks solid and all fluid is vaporized. Add saffron strands and mix well.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool to room temperature. Garnish with almond slivers.

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Chef’s Note

  • Clarified butter (ghee) is not part of the dish but used to grease the bowl to avoid the grains from coating the wall.
  • Ensure the bowl is twice the size of the quantity made to avoid spill-over while cooking.
  • As the milk has a lovely taste and flavor I do not use cardamom although some may prefer to add the same.
  • Do not transfer immediately after removing from the oven as the color may be lighter. let it wait to cool to get the color.
  • For those who prefer to avoid microwave oven, the same can be done on gas flame in a heavy-bottomed wok over low flame and it may take about 15 to 20 minutes.
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Orange-Lemon Eggless Cake

 

 

 

ornge-lemon cake

 

The simple thought of citrus oil gets one ecstatic and if it were to combine with the juices and go into a cake  it can only be divine!

Ever since the Hall of Fame Contest was held in the Forum “HomeBakers Guild” I have been planning to bake orange cake as I saw some members post lovely eggless versions.  It took me so long to finally act and make my version based on the inputs from other bakers, to mention cookwithpriyankavarma being one such.  Where orange gives flavor the cake tends to be sweet and I wanted  a tangy kick too with the flavor of orange. I decided to added lemon juice and its zest and ended up with a cake that was simply bursting with flavors. While baking the aroma was so wonderful that I could not wait for the cake to rest after baking!!! Despite my haste the cake (though it lost its swelled look) was spongy, nice crust on the outside, and absolutely moist and soft inside.

 

Ingredients

Dry ingredients

All purpose flour  1¼ cups

Baking powder 1 tsp

Baking soda ½ tsp

Table salt 1 pinch

For the wet part

Sugar ¾ cup (preferably powdered)

Condensed milk 1 tbsp

Yogurt ¾ cup

Butter 2 tbsp (at room temperature)

Corn/Sunflower oil ¼ cup

Fresh Orange juice ½ cup

Fresh Lemon juice 2 tbsp

Orange zest ½ tsp

Lemon zest ¼ tsp

 

Method

  •  Sieve together the dry ingredients into a bowl to get a smooth mix, if needed a couple of times.
  • In a small bowl whisk the yogurt and condensed milk to get a smooth consistency. Mix orange and lemon juice as also the zest in another bowl and keep it ready.
  • Whisk the sugar, oil, and butter with a  spatula to get a smooth flowing consistency.  No need for heavy whisking; it is enough till the mix looks smooth. Add the milk-yogurt mix to the mix and blend well.
  • Fold in the dry mix gradually and gently  to get a smooth paste. Add the juice-zest mix  in portions and fold gently to get a smooth batter of flowing consistency.
  • Preheat the oven at 180°C while preparing the cake batter so the oven is ready for baking
  • Transfer the batter to a well greased loaf tin or a cake pan and bake for 30 minutes or till the toothpick comes out clean. Do check the cake after 20 minutes to ensure it is not overdone.
  • Wait for the cake to rest and cool before transferring on to a wire rack even if the aroma is overpowering and irresistible!! 🙂

 

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  • Slice as per your choice and store in airtight container if any slice remains!!

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Chef’s Note

If you like to get a stronger flavor of lemon add another pinch of zest to the juice but do not add add more lemon juice as it is likely to give a sour taste.

A sprinkle of sugar on the baked cake while it is cooling gives it a lovely glaze.

For those who need a tip on collecting zest: wash the orange and lemon before grating the fruit for the zest.. Hold the fruit in your hand and gently grate the orange part of the skin and yellow part of the lemon till you reach the white area. Ensure you do not grate the white part of the skin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basbousa

A traditional Arabic cuisine call it Egyptian, Lebanese (nammoura), or Turkish (revani ),  this dessert with a typical rosewater flavor or orange blossom flavor, is a favorite in Arabic homes. Typically made from semolina and most often with coconut it is soaked in sugar syrup and is savored by all! It is somewhat similar to kesari (sooji ka halwa)  made in Indian homes most often. Unlike our dessert that is cooked over fire (shall soon post a traditional recipe and one that is  made  in microwave mode) this is baked and gives a grainy texture. Baking makes the dish simpler as one does not have to keep stirring strenuously to get a smooth mix as in  cooking over the flame.

Often egg is used in this dessert for softness; this dish being eggless, yogurt was used for the spongy texture. If need be a little milk can also be used. The measure given here makes about 35 to 40 pieces.

Basbousa

Ingredients

Semolina 2½ cups

All purpose flour 1 tbsp

Dessicated coconut 2 tbsp or freshly grated coconut  ½ cup

Caster sugar 1 cup

Melted butter ¼ cup (2 tbsp) + 1 tsp for roasting semolina

Vanilla essence  ¼ tsp

Yogurt 1 cup (thick)

Baking soda  1 tsp

For the syrup

Sugar 1 cup

Water  1 cup

Rose water  1 tsp or rose essence ½ tsp

Lemon juice 1 tsp

Sliced almond 20

Method

  • Roast the semolina in butter in a heavy-bottomed pan till it changes color slightly. Transfer it to a bowl and add the other ingredients viz sugar, yogurt, butter, coconut, baking soda, and essence. Mix well with a spatula to get a smooth mix. If the mix looks very thick loosen it with milk to get a thick batter consistency.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C while working on the mix.
  • Grease a 12″ × 8″ baking tray and layer the tray with the batter. Let the tray have  a ½” space for the mix to rise. Cut squares of 2″ × 2″ with a thick knife and arrange the sliced almonds in the center of each square. Leave the tray in the oven at 200°C  for 30 minutes or  a little longer till the surface turns golden brown.

To enhance the caramelized look, brush the surface with milk half-way through baking.

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Fresh from oven
  • While the mix is getting baked make the sugar syrup by adding water to sugar in a pan and boiling on low flame till the sugar melts. When the syrup starts boiling switch off the flame and add rose water and lemon juice and let the syrup cool.
  • Remove the tray from the oven and pour the syrup over the hot bake so that it gets soaked in the syrup. bake for another 5 minutes and let it cool to room temperature.
  • Leave the cooled tray in the refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes before separating the pieces.
  • Savor the flavor of rose and enjoy!

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Chef’s note

In case you have orange blossom water use the same in place of rose water.

Upside-Down Cornmeal Muffins

Inspired by a post in Home Bakers Guild for a contest and my earlier browse through the blog  from Tadka Pasta I decided to bake this healthy muffin with tweaks to suit my need. The vibrant color from the tomatoes with chillies to contrast and flavored with bell pepper gives it an inviting appearence.

A wholesome and healthy breakfast of two of these muffins baked the previous day, warmed in micro on a particularly busy morning, is good to keep one going till lunch time. Egg substituted by flax seed powder as a binder makes it quite a healthy bake, and for those who are not fond of corn meal or find it difficult to procure it in the market, wheat grit  should serve as a good substitute. As  I used equal measures of corn meal and all purpose flour, the muffins were soft but quite spongy.

cornmeal muffin

Makes 8 large muffins

Ingredients

To line the bottom of the muffin cups 

Finely diced tomatoes  1 cup (2 large tomatoes should work. Ensure they are firm)

Finely diced large green chilies (deseeded)  1 tsp

Dry mix

Corn meal 1 cup

All purpose flour 1 cup

Salt 1 tsp

Red chill powder 1 tsp

Baking powder  1½ tsp

Baking soda ½ tsp

Cumin powder 1 tsp

Black pepper powder ½ tsp (optional)

For the wet mix

Yogurt 1 cup

Cheddar cheese ½ cup

Melted butter  3 tbsp (app ¼ cup)

Fresh Corn kernels  ½ cup (frozen corn can also be thawed and used)

Diced green bell pepper ¼ cup

Flax seed powder in water  1½ tbsp

Water or milk ¼ cup

Method

  • Take the flax seed powder in a in a small bowl or cup and add 3 table spoons of water. Whisk well with a spoon or fork till it starts thickening. Leave the mix in the fridge for cooling for 15 minutes to 30 minutes. This process helps in giving a moist texture to the muffins.
  • Grease the cups of the muffin pan and line them with the diced tomatoes and chilli and keep them ready.
  • Set the oven at 180°C and preheat  for 10 minutes to reach the baking temperature.
  • Transfer the dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix well with a spatula.
  • Take the ingredients mentioned under wet mix in another bowl except the corn and bell pepper. Add the flax mix from the fridge and whisk to get a smooth paste. Pour the mix into the bowl with dry ingredients and fold in gently. Add the corn and bell pepper and fold into the batter.
  • Ladle out the batter into the muffin cups up to two-thirds level and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Do a tooth-pick to ensure it is baked well. Leave in the oven for anther  5 minutes to rest.

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  • Detach the muffins from the tray with a thin wooden spatula (ice cream stick ideal)  and invert on a wire tray to cool down.
  • Eat hot or store in an airtight box for breakfast 🙂

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Chef’s Note

  • If you do not like the granular texture (actually it gives a lovely feel) you can make the corn grit less coarse by blitzing for a few seconds.
  • Ensure that you remove the muffins from the pan before it cools down totally to avoid the tomatoes from getting moist and soggy.
  • You can substitute corn kernels with fresh green peas for variation in taste.
  • Adding fresh coriander leaves will add loads of flavor.  For those who like a bit of experiment try flavoring with kasuri methi!
  • If you like it as bread loaf bake in a bread loaf tin and enjoy!

Bread-Semolina Idly

Bread-rava idli

Idly is certainty not the hot  “favorite” with my family members and they keep reminding me of the ‘abusive’ Mondays where Idly used to be the lunchbox package! One reason why I had never posted idly as one of the dishes in my blog although I love idli anytime and believe that it is one of the healthiest dishes ever  besides being the comfort food during times of health indisposition.
I am also now overcoming my reluctance to post just because “phamily” believes they are anti-idly!! G prefers ravaidli to taditonal idli and often I make the same (Will Post a recipe later). While getting the ingredients ready for rava idli I realised I had a box of breadcrumbs stored in the refrigerator, leftover from the  bread uppuma I made last week and decided to try it in idli …. and it was worth the effort!

Ingredients  (12 idlis)

 

Semolina (chiroti rava)  1 cup

Bread crumbs 1 cup

Yogurt ¾ or 1 cup (as per taste)

Salt ½ tsp or less as bread is salted

Cooking oil 1 tsp

Mustard 1 tsp

Chana dal 1 tbsp

Green chilli 2 (medium) finely diced

Curry leaves 3 sprigs

Asafotida 1 pinch

Eno salt 1 tsp

Water 1 cup

Method

  • Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds to the hot oil. As soon as mustard seeds sputter add chana dal and chilie and saute on low flame. As the color changes add semolina and roast for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Transfer the mix to a bowl and add  the finely blitzed breadcrumbs to the mix in the bowl.
  • Add the finely diced curry leaves, salt and asafotida to the yogurt and whip well and transfer the mix to the bowl.
  • Whisk the batter well to get a thick consistency and let it rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile grease the idli plates and keep them ready.
  • Add eno salt to the batter after 30 minutes and as soon as it froths, transfer the batter to idli plate and steam for 10 minutes to get spongy idlis.
  • Serve with chutney or sambhar as per choice

Chef’s note

A ladle of normal idli batter added to the mix gives bulk to idlis.

Cabbage Moarkootu

 

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Ad  in her earlier days was not particular about kootu and though she loves veggies preferred stir fried veggies or spicy gravy type to kootu.  This time when she was home she loved cabbage moarkootu. Keerai moarkootu and moarkuzambu are her favorites but she hadn’t earlier cared much  for cabbage kootu. This recipe is on her request 🙂

Ingredients (4 servings)

Finely chopped cabbage 3 cups (one medium-sized cabbage)

Yogurt ½ cup

Moong dal  3 tbsp

Salt 1 tsp

Turmeric powder ¼  tsp

Green chillies 4

Coconut (grated) 3 tbsp

Cumin seeds  1tsp

Urad dal 1 tsp

Raw rice ½ tsp

Curry leaves from 3 sprigs

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Oil 1 tsp

Method

  • Wash the diced cabbage well in running water and pressure cook with ½ cup water for one whistle.
  • Add enough water to moong dal in a bowl, add turmeric powder and cook for three whistles
  • While the dal is getting cooked heat oil in a small kadai and add mustard to temper. Add the tempered mustard to the cooked cabbage in a wok .
  • In the residual oil saute the chilies till the color changes. Transfer the chillies to the blender and in the same pan roast the urad dal and rice on a low flame till color changes and you get aroma.,Transfer , the roasted dal/rice to the blender cup and add coconut scrapings, cumin seeds, and curry leaves. Grind the mix to a fine paste adding little water.
  • Place the tempered cabbage on low flame, add salt and the ground paste.  When the mix starts bubbling add the cooked and mashed dal to the mix. As the kootu starts boiling blitz the curd and add to the kootu. Mix well and switch off the flame.
  • If kootu is a side dish to rotis add less water; if meant to go  with rice add a little  more water to make it less thick

Chef’s Note: Chow chow or even a mix of potato/peas/carrot make a good base for moarkootu. Unlike keerai where we use curd generously, other veggies taste good with minimal yogurt.

Vegetable Korma (4 Servings)

Vegetable Korma

Ingredients

Cumin seeds 1 tsp

Medium-sized onions 2

Ginger-garlic paste  1 tbsp

Tomatoes  (medium) 2

French beans cut into 1″ pieces   1 cup

Shelled peas   1 cup

Potatoes cut into 1″ pieces   1 cup

Carrot cut into 1″ pieces   ½ cup

Cauliflower as small florets  1 cup

Yogurt   1 cup (optional)

Oil 2 tbsp

Salt  1 ½ tsp

To grind to a paste

Green chillies 3

Dry red chillies 2

Cinnamon 2″ piece

Cloves 4 or 5

Roasted split gram (pottukadalai)  2 tbsp

Coconut grate   2 tbsp

Fennel seeds  1 tsp

Khus khus (poppy seeds) 1 tsp  (soaked in warm water for 10 minutes)

Cashew 10 to 12  (optional)

Method

Grind the onions to a smooth paste. Similarly puree the tomatoes and keep aside.

Add just enough water to the masala ingredients to grind to a smooth paste.

In a pan pour about ½ cup water, add 1 tsp salt and add all the washed and cut vegetables. Cover with lid and pressure cook for 5 minutes or so till just done.

Place a wok on fire and add the oil to heat it tempering temperature. Add the cumin seeds and as soon as it starts spluttering add the ground onion paste and ginger-garlic paste. Saute well till the raw smell disappears. Add the tomato puree and saute for about 2 or 3 minutes.

Add the masala paste and the remaining salt to the paste. As it starts boiling, lower the flame and add yogurt. After a minute or two add the boiled vegetables, stir well and cook for five minutes.

Serve hot.