Wednesday 31 August 2011

Cabbage Santula

It seems like I am only posting for the Blog hop these days! A summer vacation with a 4 yr old almost hyper girl takes its toll. Dont get me wrong, I am enjoying it completely. Trips to the shopping centre (spending most of the time telling her to stay with me and not run, not to touch each & everything in a shop, explaining why we cant buy everything that we want and so on!), lots of drawing, colouring & crafts at home, kids movies (one every week!), play dates with her friends (giving me a chance to catch up with mine!) and just put simply – spending time with her.

But all those activities take time and I have hardly any left for anything else nowadays, so thanks to the Blog Hop this blog at least sees me once in 2 weeks!

This week I was paired with Mugdha who blogs at Cooking Fundas. A quick glance through her space and I realised that hers was a cuisine about which I knew very little apart from the odd Panch Phoron and mustard paste. And even though I know about these things, I hardly use them in my cooking. We are sometimes so set about making something in a specific way that it doesnt even cross our minds that there may be a different way of doing things. This was one of the reason I picked this particular recipe.

I have been making Cabbage Bhaji in a particular way since I care to remember and it was good to find a different way of making the same vegetable.


Cabbage Santula

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  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 1/2 tblsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
  • 1 tsp Panch Phoron (A mixture of Mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, Nigella seeds, Fenugreek seeds in equal quantities)
  • 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1-2 Red Chillies (Depending upon the spice level)
  • salt
  • Fresh Coriander leaves


Mix 1 tsp of Turmeric Powder with water, enough to soak the shredded cabbage. Leave it aside for 5-10 minutes.

Heat the oil and add the Panch Phoron to it. As the seeds start to crackle, add the red chillies and then the chopped onion. Sauté for a minute and add the ginger-garlic paste. Fry this for another minute

Add the chopped tomatoes, salt and Turmeric Powder. Mix well and let it cook till the tomatoes turn mushy.

Drain the cabbage, squeeze out the water and add this to the hot pan. Mix well and cook on a medium flame till the cabbage is cooked.

Mix chopped coriander leaves and turn off the heat. Serve hot with Chapatis or as a side with Rice.

My Notes: This was a very delicious alternative to the cabbage bhaji that we are used to. I did wonder about the colour of the bhaji as the picture on Mugdha’s blog showed it to be almost red in colour but it might have been the quality of the turmeric powder or the quantity of tomato.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Chettinad Potato (Urulai) Roast – Blog Hop

Its blog hop time again and this time I was paired with Kaveri whose blog Palakkad Chamayal, as the name suggests, showcases the Palakkad cuisine. One of those delicious sounding dishes would have been my natural choice but for the fact that I did not have any coconut at home. That is a problem you face if you end up making it at the last minute. I tried to look for a Palakkad dish which doesnt use coconut or a dish in which I could have cheated and left out the coconut, but I soon realised that coconut must be the essence of Palakkad cooking as none of the dishes sounded right without it!

So finally I had to settle for another South Indian cuisine, which is very intriguing for me because of the spices involved. Chettinad cuisine is well know for the hot and spicy food and a combination of that with Potatoes was an instant winner for me. The ‘chettinad’ part also reminded me of an incident some 5 years agao when GM & I had gone out for lunch and had ordered Chettinad Paneer, in spite of being warned off by the waiter that it was going to be very spicy. We had brushed off the waiter’s concern saying, we liked spicy! But when the dish was served both of us had tears in our eyes because it was too hot for us to handle. Since then we have been told that Chettinad cuisine is not only about being spicy & hot but being spicy in the right way so that the dish is not overpowered. I am sure the restaurant had taken the ‘spiciness too seriously and so had always wanted to try out something somewhere else. what better way to sample it than make it yourself?

Another thing that was pleasantly surprising was the minimal amount of ingredients involved. I had always thought that there would be a long list of spices to achieve that chettinad taste but it seems that the peppercorns do all the work here.


Chettinad Potato Roast

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  • 12-15 Baby Potatoes (I cut mine into halves as they were slightly big in size)
  • 1-2 tsps Urad Dal (Split Black gram)
  • 1-2 dry red chillies
  • 4-5 Black Peppercorns
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • a pinch of Hing (Asafoetida)
  • a pinch of Turmeric Powder
  • 5-7 Curry Leaves


Boil & peel the baby potatoes and keep aside. Dry roast the Urad Dal, red chillies and Peppercorns and grind to get a powder.

Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. As they start spluttering, add the curry leaves, hing and turmeric powder.

Add the boiled potatoes to this and toss/sauté for about 4-5 minutes. Now add the ground spices along with salt to taste. Mix well and cook on a medium flame till the potatoes start to brown and turn slightly crisp from the outside.

Serve with Chapatis or as a side for rice.

My Notes: This seemed like a proper Chettinad dish. It was spicy but at the same time delicious. Potato being a favourite was an added advantage.

I am now encouraged to try other Chettinad dishes and will be on the look out for some recipes.

Sunday 7 August 2011

Banana & Strawberry Muffins

Its time for a Sweet Punch and the challenge this time was to make Banana & Strawberry muffins, following a recipe from the blog Joy of Cooking.

This was one of those rare occasions where I had completed the challenge just days after it was announced. Usually I manage to leave it till the last minute and then have to struggle to cook/bake, take pictures, draft the post and publish, all within 2-3 hours. Completing the challenge well in time also enabled me to make it again before the posting.

This challenge also gave me a chance to get adjusted to the new oven in the new house. It is an electric fan oven and I am still trying to get the hang of it. I have realised that I have to reduce the temperature by about 20 deg c than what is mentioned in the recipe for a convection oven. Also it is a good idea to keep checking near the end of the baking time to make sure they dont char. Do you have any experience with this and have tips to share?

The first time I made these muffins, I halved the recipe but still got about 10 small muffins. The second time I made the full batch and got exactly 12 muffins as the recipe says, it must be something to do with the amount of batter you pour into each cup of the pan!

Banana & Strawberry  Muffins

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Makes 12


  • 2 1/4 cups Plain Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon powder
  • 3/4 Cups Sugar (The recipe calls for light brown but I have used Caster sugar)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed well
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, cut into small pieces (the second time I made these muffins, i used mixed berries – strawberries, blackberries & raspberries)


Pre heat the oven to 177 deg C (160 deg C if yours is an electric fan oven like mine!). Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a big bowl, sieve together the plain flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add the sugar and cinnamon powder and mix well. Add the cut berries to this flour mixture and combine well to coat each piece of fruit.

In a different smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla extract and mashed bananas. Add the melted butter to this and mix well.

Add this wet mixture to the flour mixture and combine gently. Do not over mix as the muffins will turn out hard.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan and bake in the pre heated oven for about 20 minutes. Insert a toothpick and check, if the toothpick comes out clean, the muffins are cooked through. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool down.

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My Notes:  The muffins were absolutely delicious both the times.  The second one however had a lot of seeds because of the other berries. I love all the berries but sometimes its too much to handle the seeds. Can something be done about this?

Wednesday 3 August 2011

French Beans Stir Fry

How does it feel to visit some one, look at their house, the way they have decorated & arranged it, admire the beautiful knick-knacks present, and then be offered food (lunch, dinner or even tea!)? Food that is so different from the way you cook the same kind of dish and also get to know the variety of food items that they usually make at home. This is exactly how I felt while taking part in the Blog Hop Wednesdays, an event initiated by Radhika of Tickling Palates.


Its a very simple system. You are paired with a fellow food blogger and all you have to do is cook one dish picked from that blog and write about it on Wednesday. Only it is really not that simple, mainly because there are so many good things to choose from. How do you pick just one?

For the first edition I was paired with Harini of Tamalapaku. This blog has a good mix of traditional and fusion recipes. The Quinoa recipes on her blog had got me totally interested and I have all them bookmarked. But the one I chose to make now was a simple stir fry. The main reason behind choosing this recipe was that I make French Beans in a totally different way (coming soon on the blog!) and this was such a simple sounding recipe. Although I have tastes this kind of stir fry earlier, I had never got around to make it this way.

I made only one change as far as the ingredients are concerned. I have a dry red chilli in the seasoning instead of the green chilli in the original recipe.

French Beans Stir Fry

Serves 2


  • 2 cups French Beans, chopped
  • 1 tblsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Chana Dal
  • 1 tsp Urad Dal
  • 1-2 Dry Red Chillies (Depending upon the spice level)
  • 1 pinch of Turmeric powder
  • 2-3 tblsp Grated fresh coconut
  • 1-2 tblsp Fresh Coriander, finely chopped
  • Salt

Method: Boil the French beans or cook them in the microwave for about 7-8 minutes.

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the Mustard seeds, Chana Dal and Urad Dal. As the mustard seeds start to splutter add the red chilli.

Next, add the cooked beans along with the turmeric powder, grated coconut, salt and the chopped coriander. Mix well and let this cook on medium flame for about 3-4 minutes and its ready.

Serve this along with Roti or as a side for Rice dishes. Since this bhaji does not contain onions or garlic, it can also form a part of the Naivedya thali.

Indian cooking can not get simpler than this!

PS: I am having some problems with the camera so I couldnt take any pictures, but I will update this post as soon as I have, the next time I make this.