Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Holidays! And a short Break...

I'm all set for leaving to India tomorrow for 4 weeks! Will be taking a break from blogging for a few weeks. I will definitely miss you all, but hopefully I'll get some time from there to read all your yummy recipes and posts from there once in a few days. And hoping to learn some new recipes too from mom and sisters...

Before my vacation, I just wanted to quickly post this pineapple cake that my husband made! I usually stay away from oven and hardly bake any cakes, except making chocolate chip cookies once in a while. Somehow, I enjoy the store-bought cakes rather than making my own :) I prefer stove-top cooking rather than baking. Give me a pan and pressure cooker, I will be happily cooking forever :) I get timid about baking cakes perhaps because of so many careful steps involved like pre-heating, pre-coating the pan, timings, batter consistency etc.. and most likely I'm going to mess up atleast one step :) So, I cheer up myself that I'd rather buy the readymade cakes from stores and enjoy it to the fullest, instead of undergoing the hazzle. But this holiday season, I was seriously tempted to try baking some holiday treats in the oven, after seeing many of my blogger friends rocking with super dishes fresh from the oven. Those soft and yummy looking cakes that I see in many blogs are indeed a lure to me, and they often stare at me as if they are challenging me with my cooking skills :)

Fortunately, my husband is interested in experimenting different cake varieties, and thats his only interest in the kitchen :) While I was debating about my baking "kick-off" this year, my hubby came forward to bake his favorite Pineapple Cake for Christmas and I too didn't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen because of my India trip preparation. With that as an excuse, I gave up my baking challenge this time too.. Hopefully someday I'll make it!

We all enjoy his pineapple cake that he makes often and its a hit in our family circle too. This is an easy to bake cake recipe and does not take more that 20 minutes for preparation and about 35 minutes baking time. His American friend once brought it to work and from that time on, it has been one of our favorite cakes. The natural sweetness and juices from the pineapple is what makes it really special.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ( 20 oz. ) can crushed pineapple, un-drained.
  • 1 cup chopped nuts


  • Beat the eggs
  • Combine flour, baking soda, sugar, add beaten eggs, crushed pineapple, and nutsand pour into a greased shallow pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes

His Recommendations:

  • Add another 1/4 cup extra sugar but as mentioned above, sweatness for the cake comes from the pineapple.
  • Do not bake it over 40 minutes. This helps maintain the juicyness for the cake.
  • Use only crushed pineapple un-drained (with the juice in the can) and not chopped.
  • Rest the cake overnight before for the best taste.
  • Use Parchment Paper to lift this off easily.
  • While you make it for the second time, you can get creative and add finely chopped dates, raisns and other nuts if you like them.


Wish you all a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Spicy Egg Masala

I'm going off the grid! Next week, around this time I will be flying to India! My long planned trip is finally around the corner. After booking my tickets what seems like a lifetime ago (actually in June), its now only a week more! I am excited. No matter howmuch ever we blend with the country and life-style here, going to India is always exciting! After all thats where I grew up! I love it when people around me speak the same language I do. That brings a sense of comfort to me. After a long time we all sisters are meeting together and have several things planned during our stay there. Hoping to have some great family time, do lots of shopping, enjoy home-made meals as well as my favorite Street foods!

I've been on my toes this week (shopping and packing) and still have a lot to do before I'm ready to leave. Hence didn't have time to cook anything elaborate in the kitchen and have been managing with some quick meals for dinner this week. Slowly have started emptying the refregirator too. During times like these, eggs are really handy to make a quick meal. A few days before, my sister was asking me for some new spicy egg recipes for a change as she was done trying all the egg recipes from my blog. To be honest, I ran out of egg recipes and I myself have been on the lookout for new recipes already. After my sister's demand, I scoured the internet for recipes, glimpsed through a couple of cookbooks and finally narrowed down a few egg recipes that looked and sounded interesting to me. I have quite a few bookmarked too but finally settled down to make this spicy egg masala that I got from Aayi's recipes, that looked scrumptious and super delicious in the picture. And ofcourse simple too! What I like about this recipe is, the eggs don't require lot of stir-fry because the spice mixture is cooked separately and ground into a paste before it gets stuffed into the eggs. So a quick seasoning and a stir-fry of the stuffed eggs makes it very easy. You can find the original recipe here too.

  • Eggs - 4
  • Onions - 1 medium
  • Ginger-Garlic Paste - 2 tsp
  • Curry leaves - 5
  • Chilli powder - 1 tsp
  • Corriander seeds - 2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon - 1/2 inch
  • Cloves - 2
  • Corriander leaves - hand full.
  • Boil the eggs, remove the shell and set aside.
  • Heat 2 tsp oil in a pan, season with Cumin, cinnamon, cloves. Once they pop, add corriander seeds. Saute for a few seconds.
  • Now add, onions, ginger/garlic paste and fry for a couple of mins. Add chilli powder, salt and fry for a min. Cool and grind the above mixture to a smooth paste.
  • Slit the eggs vertically half-way ( don't cut them fully) and stuff the spice paste in each of the eggs.
  • In the same pan, heat more oil and season with curry leaves and corriander leaves.
  • Now add the eggs and the remaining paste, if any, and saute gently until the eggs are coated with the oil properly.
  • Cover for a few mins in medium to low heat. Then increase heat and stir-fry for a min. Remove from heat.
Serve hot with rice or rotis.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Winter Melon Dosa with Onion-Ginger Chutney

Is the thanksgiving week over already? It seems like just a day ago I was looking forward to the 4 day weekend with lot of things planned and now can't believe it flew off so fast! Though I was looking forward to this holiday, my excitement for the weekend disappeared after hearing the Mumbai horror. It was heartbreaking to see so many innocent people being killed by some crazy bunch of people. To watch it live on TV was even more terrifying. Would we ever be able to defeat the evil and anti-social element called Terrorism once for all? My thoughts and prayers go for all the victims' families affected in this tragedy and hats off to all those commandos who did a terrific job in saving many lives.

I know I've not posted anything for more than a week now. The downside of a holiday weekend is that it makes it so hard to get back to routine after that. We had our friend's family visiting us last weekend and that kept us busy for all 4 days. We were continously out-of-doors moving around the city and had a hectic, but good time. Well, after the weekend, it has taken me a couple of days to recuperate my mood for my usual schedule. Its hard to keep up any kind of routine during holidays and I've been lazing around for a couple of days even after the holiday was over. I am here finally with yet another of my favorite recipe.

I had big plans for cooking while they were here, but nothing really got accomplished. Sometimes, no matter how well I plan my menu ahead, they all end up in vain and I wind up making my own decisions in the last minute. Especially, when we have outdoor plans, nothing gets executed per schedule. This weekend was like that. In spite of having my well-planned menu (atleast thats what I thought), I hardly followed it. But, one good thing is I learnt some new recipes from my good friend who visited us. She is a great cook and I always loved her healthy and authentic recipes! One of the most exciting moments in the kitchen for me is learning new recipes by watching the experts actually do it! I happened to see quite a few recipes like that and can't wait to try each of them on my own.

Have you ever had Poosanikkai Dosai (Ash gourd Dosai)? If you haven’t, don’t worry. I hadn't either until a few days before. And I don't think I'm overstating when I say that its now become one of my favorite dishes! There are several reasons for liking this dish, first of all the batter doesn't require fermentation and can be used immediately. Second, the fact that we're consuming a vegetable too along with dosa. Third and most important, if I have to like a recipe, it has to be simple :) And this is really a simple dish! I learnt this recipe from my friend over the weekend, and today I tried for the first time on my own. My first instinct when I heard about this dish was a bit of surprise that we could combine Poosanikai with Dosa! All I had known to do before with this vegetable was koottu and sambar. But ever since I heard about this recipe, I couldn't wait to try it eventhough I was a little nervous about the dosa batter consistency etc. Fortunately it turned out very good and crispy. A special thanks to my good friend for sharing such a nice recipe!


  • Winter Melon (Vellai Poosani/Ash Gourd) - 2 cups (peeled, deseeded & chopped into 1 inch cubes)
  • Raw rice - 1.5 cups
  • Urad dal - 2 tbsp
  • Methi seeds - 1 tbsp
  • Yogurt - 1/2 cup (if its not sour enough, you need 1 cup)
  • Soak the rice, dal and methi seeds overnight.
  • First grind the winter melon to a smooth paste along with a little salt. Set aside.
  • Then grind the soaked ingredients with some more salt and mix it with the melon paste. You can also add the melon paste to this mixture and give it a round in the blender, so that they are now mixed thoroughly. Transfer to a bowl.
  • Add the yogurt and then sufficient water to make it to a dosa batter consistency. The batter shouldn't be thick nor too thin. You are now ready to start making dosas!
We enjoyed this with a yummy Onion-ginger chutney. I learnt this chutney also from my same friend and the combination was heavenly. Here is the chutney recipe:


  • Onion - 1 medium
  • R.chillies - 4
  • Ginger - 1 inch
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Chana dal - 1 tbsp
  • Tamarind paste - 1/2 tsp
  • Shredded coconut - 1/2 cup


  • Heat 2 tsp oil and add mustard seeds first. Once they pop, add the chana dal and fry until it turns light brown.
  • Add R.chillies, Onions, Ginger, Tamarind paste and Coconut one by one in the specified order and fry each of them for about a min.
  • Grind the mixture along with salt to a thick paste. Yummy Onion-Ginger chutney is ready!

You can also season with mustard seeds before serving, but thats just optional. Goes well with idlis/dosas.