Monday, December 31, 2012

A quick RECAP of 2012 - THE CHEF and HER KITCHEN

As we bid adieu to 2012, let's welcome the new year with a hope that it would bring a more joyful and prosperous year ahead.This is the last post for the year 2012 in this blog and hence I wanted to do a quick recap to refresh my memory with the memorable posts of the year.
When I thought of doing the recap I was initially confused with regards to the criteria I should consider in choosing the posts. I finally decided to base it on two options - reader's choice and also my choice. Reader's choice refers to the posts that received the most hits in that particular month .


Readers Choice:

My Choice: 

Reason - I would choosed Eggless Chocolate Custard as I started my year 2012 with this post.

Fabulous FEBRUARY:

Readers Choice:

My Choice:
CRANEBERRY PULIYOGRE               ZEBRA CAKE                

Reason - I would have preferred in between Cranberry Puliyogre & Zebra Cake as I had prepared them during my visit to London and posted it here.

Marvelous MARCH :

Readers Choice: 

My Choice:  

Reason - I would have undoubtedly chosen Boorelu for the month of March as it is one of my most favorite traditional sweets.

Awesome APRIL:

Readers Choice: 

My Choice: 

Reason - For the month of April I would have preferred Tender Coconut Pudding as you know I have a soft corner for eggless puddings.

Mighty MAY:

Readers Choice: 

My Choice:  

Reason - For me,the month of May can be actually labelled as the month of PICKLES as I had posted various Andhra Mango Pickles in this month.However all the pickles are my favorite,but this particular Avakaya pickle will really steal my heart.A special thanks to my MIL for the pickle series to happen in my blog.

Juicy JUNE:

Readers Choice:  
My Choice:  

Reason - After chosing a raw mango pickle recipe for the month of May it would not be fair if I would not choose anything with the King of fruits-Mango which apparently is my favorite fruit.Hence I would have preferred Mango pound cake for the month of June.

Jolly JULY:

Readers Choice: 

My Choice:  
MANGO FUDGE                    KARIDA KADUBU             
Reason - For the month of July I would have chosen Mango Fudge and Karida kadubu for the same reasons,mango fudge- being prepared by my favorite fruit and Karida Kadubu -as it is again one of my most favorite traditional sweets.

Adorable AUGUST:

Readers Choice and My Choice : 

Reason - I lost  the battle with my readers for the month of August.Marie Biscuit Pudding was definitely the winner for me as well as I already mentioned above that Eggless puddings always win for me.


Readers Choice: 

My Choice:
 ALOO CHANA CHAT              MOIST CHOCOLATE CUP CAKES                                                               
Reason - This month gave me an opportunity to do my first guest post - Aloo Chana Chaat and I also adore my Moist Chocolate Cupcakes post for no reason(Do you think I need a reason to like Chocolate cupcake post??..No right??..)

Overdose OCTOBER:

Readers Choice:
                    INSTANT OATS IDLI                                    KARJIKAI                         

Both the posts got almost same love from the reader.So can't do injustice to the other one by choosing just one of them.
My Choice:  

Reason - While the reader's choice is the healthier Oats Idli for the month of October,my ideal choice would be Halu Holige(Paal Poli) for 2 reasons.reason no-1 its a traditional sweet and my favorite too(I know you are bored of my same reasoning) and reason no-2 ,its a sweet prepared by my MOM for me during my visit to Bangalore(I hope its justified now..)

Nostalgic NOVEMBER:

Readers Choice: 

My Choice: 

Reason - My absolute favorite post for the month of November - Shahi Tukra as I was dreaming to post this from such a long time and finally it happened and it also turned out to be one of those good posts which I can boast- in terms of photography.

Delightful DECEMBER:

Readers Choice:

My Choice:  


Reason - I have chosen Tutti Frutti Cookies as this is the first cookie post in my blog and is special for me and also the Vanilla Pannacotta which is one of my favorite posts of the year which I just loved clicking,eating and sharing.

You can also check the Recap of YEAR - 2011 here.

Before I finish this last post of the year, let me WISH YOU ALL A HAPPY NEW YEAR WELL IN ADVANCE !!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Maagaya Perugu Pacchadi | Side dish for Idli/Dosa

I have posted many Andhra Mango pickle varieties this year and we have finished almost few of them to give room to our new pickle supplies which we will be receiving soon from my MIL.I have mentioned earlier many times that my MIL is an expert in making pickles and this year she promised me to get my favorite North Indian Vegetable Achar with the fresh winter vegetables and few other pickles.
Coming to today's post,this Maagaya perugu pacchadi is prepared using Maagaya pickle(Sun dried Mango Pickle),this recipe is a breeze to prepare if we have maagaya pickle in hand.This pairs nicely with Idli/Dosa or even with rice and many other breakfast varieties.A chutney cannot be simpler than this.If you have Maagaya pickle,do try this chutney for Idli/Dosa for a variation.
Maagaya Perugu Pacchadi | Magaya Chutney Recipe:

1-2 Green chillies*
1/4 cup fresh Curd 
1 small Onion,finely chopped

to temper:
1 tsp Ghee/Oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
a sprig of Curry leaves

  • Grind magaya pickle with curd and green chillies to a smooth chutney.You can mix the pickle in the curd and mash it but I like a smooth chutney.
  • Mix in the finely chopped onion in the chutney and mxi well.
  • In a small pan heat oil and crackle mustard seeds and add curry leaves and fry well and add this tempering to the chutney.
Serve it with Idli/Dosa/Paniyaram and even plain steamed Rice.
  1. Check the taste of maagaya pickle as it turns sour after a long time.If it is sour then add green chillies according to your spice level.If the magaya is spicy you don't need to add green chillies.
  2. You can store this in refrigerator for 2 days,if the onions are not mixed you can even store it for a week and add onions when required.
  3. You can even skip the onions and just mix maagaya with curd if you still want a quicker chutney.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Fresh Green Chickpeas Paneer Gravy | Chholia Paneer Curry

During winters,the Vegetable markets would be flooded with various fresh vegetables and few seasonal ingredients.I usually love to cook with the seasonal ingredients as they are not only tasty they definitely add variety to your regular cooking.Now it is the season for fresh chickpeas,fresh green peas,avarekai(hyacinth beans),methi,sarson,red carrots and many other varieties.The only drawback with all these is they are time consuming to clean and shell them but its really worth for the taste and freshness of those items.
I had bought a kilo of fresh chickpeas recently which I had used in various curries,sabzis,pulaos and even stir fries.Today's recipe is a Chhlia Paneer gravy which I adapted from one of the Nita Mehta's books.The recipe is quite similar to a Matar paneer gravy just that matar is replaced with the fresh chickpeas,the only twist in the recipe is the addition of Tandoori masala at the end which definitely takes the gravy to a different taste level.Now on to the recipe.
Hare Chana Paneer Curry | Fresh Green Garbanzo-Paneer Gravy Recipe:
(Serves 2)
Recipe Source: Nita Mehta

1 1/2 cups fresh green Chickpeas,shelled
3/4 cup Paneer cubes,cut into 1" pieces
2 tsp Coriander powder
3/4 tsp Red Chili powder
3/4 tsp Garam masala
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Tandoori Masala
1/4 tsp Amchur(dried mango) powder
2 tbsp chopped Coriander
2 Black Cardamom
2 Cloves
1" stick Cinnamon
Salt to taste
3-4 tbsp Oil

to grind:
2 large Tomatoes
2 Onions,roughly chopped
1" Ginger
4-5 Garlic pods
  • Grind Onion,tomatoes,ginger and garlic to a fine paste.
  • Heat oil in a kadai and deep fry or shallow fry the paneer cubes to a nice golden brown color and drain them and drop them in a warm water until its usage.
  • In a small pressure cooker pour the remaining oil and add black cardamom,cloves and cinnamon.
  • Add the ground onion-tomato paste and fry until the mixture for 3-4 mins.
  • Add red chili powder,amchur powder,turmeric powder,coriander powder,garam masala and salt and fry over medium flame until the mixture leaves the oil.It takes roughly 6-7 mins.
  • Add shelled and washed  fresh green chickpeas and fry again for 4-5 mins.If the mixture becomes dry in between add a couple of tbsp of  water while frying,otherwise the masalas get burnt.
  • Add 2 cups of water and pressure cook for 2 whistles.
  • Once the pressure drops add the fried paneer cubes (squeeze slightly before adding) and tandoori masala and let it cook on low flame for 3-4 mins.
  • Add chopped coriander and mix well.
Serve it hot with roti/chapati/Naan/Pulao.
  1. You can replace fresh green chickpeas with fresh peas in the recipe and follow the same process for a tasty fresh matar paneer.
  2. One can even replace the paneer with potatoes in the recipe.Both tastes nice in the recipe.

Monday, December 24, 2012


Coconut chutney is the most common and popular side dish for the south Indian breakfast items like Idli,Dosa and many other items.Though it is the most simple recipe,I thought of sharing my recipe for coconut chutney which tastes almost similar to the chutney we get in hotels.Most of us usually use ginger in the coconut chutney and I usually experiment with various additions like coriander,mint and curry leaves and sometimes few combinations of them in the coconut chutney.Even the color and flavor of coconut chutney depends on the ingredients used,I sometimes like to keep it just white and some times green and also you can even make a white chutney with green specs.If you alter the green chillies with red chillies,it will turn to red color chutney.Coconut chutney is really versatile and can be played with lot of ingredients.
Coming to today's post,I mentioned Hotel Style Coconut chutney because the outcome of this chutney tastes almost similar to the chutney which we get in hotels and the key ingredient here is the addition of few garlic pods in the recipe.The addition of few pods of garlic would add a nice flavor to the chutney.I have mentioned few more options in the notes and go through it before you make it.

Hotel Style Coconut Chutney | Kobbari Pacchadi Recipe:

1 cup grated fresh Coconut
1/4 cup Fried gram/Dalia/Roasted gram
2 medium Garlic cloves(pods)
3-4 Green Chillies(adjust according to your spice level)
1/2 tsp Tamarind pulp
Salt to taste

to temper:
2 tsp Ghee/Oil
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Urad dal
a sprig of Curry leaves
a small pinch of Asafoetida

  • Slightly warm the green chillies in an empty pan and also add fresh grated coconut and warm it for a minute.You do not need to fry the coconut or chillies completely.This process of warming up the coconut will make the chutney stay fresh for long even if it is kept outside.However this step is optional and you can skip warming the coconut and green chillies.
  • Grind grated coconut with fried gram,garlic pods,green chillies,tamarind pulp and salt to a coarse powder.
  • Add enough water and grind it to a thick and smooth(but slightly coarsely if you like)chutney.The consistency is completely left to your choice,we like it thick and slightly coarse.
  • Remove the chutney from the jar and collect it into a clean bowl.
  • Heat ghee/oil in a small tempering pan and crackle mustard seeds and add urad dal and fry until they turn slightly red.
  • Add curry leaves and asafoetida and give a swirl immediately and pour the tempering on to the chutney and cover it immediately with the lid.You can mix the tempering immediately or mix it just before serving it,but close the lid immediately to retain the fragrance of the tempering.
Serve it with Idli/Dosa/Pongal/Paniyaram.

  1. As I mentioned in the method the process of warming up the coconut will make the chutney stay fresh for long even if it is kept outside,but it is optional.
  2. We like the chutney to be very thick and slightly coarse instead of a very smooth chutney.So prepare the chutney according to your requirements.
  3. The amount of green chillies depends on the spice level of individual preferences,so adjust it according to your requirements.
  4. Add less amount of tamarind in the chutney otherwise it makes the chutney quite tangy and spoils the taste.
  5. Do not add more cloves of garlic,it should give a hint of flavor of the chutney but should not over power the flavor.If you are using a big garlic pod,use just one.
  6. Tempering with ghee definitely adds nice flavor and taste to the chutney and is highly recommended by me.
  1. You can add 1/2" ginger along with garlic pods while grinding.But I like the flavor of garlic alone in this chutney to get the typical hotel style chutney.
  2. You can replace green chillis with red chillies and also add a 1/2 small onion (or 4-5 shallots) while grinding the chutney which gives a red color hotel style chutney.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Strawberry Milkshake Recipe | Milkshake Recipes

Strawberries are in season and I just love those berries,in fact all berries.When ever I get a pack of them I finish it off eating them as they are before I even think of using them in any recipe.I had saved a box of strawberries this time to use them particularly in recipes and here goes my Strawberry milkshake recipe.
This recipe is no different from any other milk shake recipe and is a very basic one but this is a favorite among every one.One can make it rich by adding ice cream to it.I do not add ice cream to my milkshake on regular basis but I do add when I am in a good mood and not bother about the calories.
Strawberry Milkshake Recipe:
(Serves 2)

8-10 Strawberries
2-3 tbsp Sugar *
2 cups cold Milk *
2 scoops of Vanilla ice cream or Strawberry Ice cream (optional)
few(2-3) Ice Cubes(optional)

  • Wash the strawberries and remove the green leaves and chop them roughly into pieces.
  • In a mixer/blender add strawberries,ice cubes,sugar and 1 cup of milk and blend into a smooth puree.Check the sweetness and if needed add extra sugar.
  • Add remaining milk and vanilla/strawberry ice cream and run again to the desired consistency.Add more milk if you need a thin milkshake and also adjust the sugar accordingly.
  • Strain the milkshake in a strainer to separate the seeds.
Serve the chilled strawberry milk shake immediately.
  1. Sugar should be adjusted according to the sweetness of strawberries and to your desired sweetness.
  2. Milk also is to be adjusted according to your desired thickness.
  3. Addition of ice cream is entirely optional,it adds a nice creamy touch to milkshake.
  4. You can even add milk powder to thicken the milkshake.

Check out my other Strawberry recipes here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tutti Frutti Cookies | Eggless Fruit Cookies | Christmas Cookies

When I started jotting down this cookie recipe, I realized that this is the first cookie recipe in my blog.It does not mean that I do not make cookies at home but to be honest I rarely bake cookies as we both are not very fond of cookies.Moreover the amount of butter that goes in them keeps me from making it quite often.I usually bake Benne biscuit and Khara biscuit which I just love to make when I have those sudden cravings for the typical Iyengar bakery goodies.
I like Tutti frutti  and I love to eat them just like that or any other bakery goodies like cupcakes, dilkush and dilpasand.My dad always used to buy a pack of tutti frutti and candied cherries for me along with the other baked goodies during my childhood and I used to snack.on them happily.
I recently bought a pack of tutti frutti to prepare Christmas fruit cake and I had some left over tutti frutti which tempted me to bake these cookies. I have used my basic eggless cookie recipe and added tutti frutti for preparing these colorful cookies.They are slightly chewy and perfectly crisp just like the way we want,we are not fond of powdered texture cookies.This is also a perfect recipe to bake for Christmas to gift your family and friends.I am sure everyone would love these colorful cookies especially the kids.
Tutti Frutti Cookies | Eggless Candied Fruit Cookies:
(makes 24 cookies)

1 cup All purpose flour
1/2 cup(minus 2 tbsp) Unsalted Butter*
1/2 cup(minus 2 tbsp) Sugar**
1/3 heaped cup Tutti Frutti(candied fruit)
1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence
a pinch of Salt

  • Keep the butter outside until it comes down to room temperature and becomes soft.
  • Powder the sugar in a mixer.
  • Sieve the all purpose flour and keep it ready.
  • Take butter in a big bowl and add powdered sugar to it and beat well with a electric mixer for 3-4 mins until you get a soft and creamy mixture.
  • Add vanilla essence and beat again.
  • Sprinkle all purpose flour in batches and add tutti frutti and mix it to get a soft dough consistency.It will be slightly sticky.If your dough is very crumbly you can add 1-2 tbsp milk to mix the dough.If the dough is very sticky sprinkle some flour to mix the dough.
  • Divide the dough into 2 portions and make each portion into a 2" cylinder log and wrap it in butter paper. Follow the same process for the other portion.If the dough is very sticky sprinkle some flour to roll it into a log.
  • Freeze the packed dough for 40-45 mins or you can refrigerate the dough for 3 hrs.
  • Preheat the oven at 160 deg C(320 F) for 12-15 mins.
  • Remove the dough from freezer and remove the log from the butter paper and cut the log into 1/2" roundels using a sharp knife.If the dough crumbles while cutting into slices,slightly press the dough back to hold the shape of roundel.You can even roll the dough into 1/4" thickness and cut them into your desired shapes using cookie cutter.
  • Place a butter paper or cookie sheet on the baking tray and arrange these cookies leaving 2" gap in between them.
  • Bake them at 160 deg C for 10-12 mins until the edges turn slightly brown.Keep a close eye after 8 mins and remove them once you see the brown patches.If you like them more crispier bake for a minute more.
  • The cookies will be very soft to touch when you remove from oven,but it is ok they would be crisp once they cool down.
  • Leave them in the baking tray for 5 mins and arrange them on the cooling rack to let them cool completely.
  • Once they are cooled down store them in air tight container.You can store them up to 4-5 days.
Serve them as a snack with a glass of milk or dunk them in your tea/coffee and enjoy.

*If you are using unsalted butter add salt in the recipe.I added salted butter hence I skipped the salt in the recipe.
**The cookies are sweet enough for us,if you like them really sweeter then make the sugar quantity in the dough to 1/2 cup.I find it too sweet if I add 1/2 cup sugar in the recipe hence I always reduce 2 tbsp sugar which is perfect for us.
  1. This is a basic eggless cookie which is very versatile and you can add various roasted nuts and dry fruits or chocolate chips instead of tutti frutti in the recipe.
  2. You can even add 1 tsp fresh orange zest in the dough to get flavorful orange cookies.
  3. If you do not get tutti frutti you can even add chopped candied cherries in the recipe.
  4. While mixing the dough if your dough is very crumbly you can add 1-2 tbsp milk to mix the dough.If the dough is very sticky sprinkle some flour to mix the dough.
  5. The cookies are sweet enough for us,if you like them really sweeter then make the sugar quantity in the dough to 1/2 cup.I find it too sweet if I add 1/2cup sugar in the recipe hence I always reduce 2 tbsp sugar which is perfect for us.
Look at the texture inside,they were perfectly crisp on the outside and slightly soft and chewy in the center.Those beautiful specs of tutti frutti is just adorable in these cookies.

Check out my collection of Christmas Cakes recipes here.
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