Basic Chocolate Sponge Cake| Easy Cake recipe without Oven| Baking Cake in Wonder Pot

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Okay, today’s post is about a cake! Baking is always fun, even if you are a novice. It would take some time and patience to get the basics right before you can start experimenting though. But, if you stick to a recipe, it isn’t a difficult task. Biting into home-made cakes or muffins always leaves me smug as heaven. As a sweet-tooth girl, ever since I learnt whisking up cake batter, I couldn’t stop. Like a kid spoilt for choice, I reach out for recipes with my googly eyes. Greater the variety, greater the excitement of learning something new, right?

Not having oven at home, could never hamper my trials with baking. Initially I was little disheartened with getting limited to cooker cake recipes. But, it’s hard to keep your hands off from the irresistible recipes. So, I reverted to my mom’s stove – top oven. And it never disappointed me. Only recently, I have learnt its name – Wonder pot. It’s an Israeli invention for baking on gas stove. I am not sure if it’s widely available in supermarkets or kitchen utensils shop. So far, I haven’t been successful in finding a second pot from my local market hauls.

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Wonder Pot –  A Stove top Oven

Here is a simple recipe for a chocolate cake. Unlike other chocolate cakes I baked, this one is super light and airy. Cooking in this pot, does gives you a different texture when compared to the conventional oven. It makes the process of waiting for the cake to get baked more interesting. When I saw this recipe up at cookingandme, I had made a fair picture in my mind about what is it going to be like. But, it turned out to be much better than expected! I have substituted butter with cooking oil and followed it. If you don’t eat eggs, you can use flax seed powder instead. The drill is to use mix up 1tbsp of flaxseed meal with 2 tbsp of lukewarm water  for each egg. Let the mixture get to room temperature before mixing it to the batter.

Ingredients:

Dry Mix:

  • ¾ cup of plain flour
  • ¾ tsp of baking soda (soda bi carb)
  • ¼ tsp of salt

Wet Batter:

  • 3 tbsp of cooking oil (flavour less)
  • ½ cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 3 tbsp of cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup of milk
  • ½ tsp of vinegar or lemon juice
  • ½ tsp of vanilla extract

Method:

  • Sift and mix up the ingredients listed under dry mixture and put it aside.
  • Stir up oil, sugar and egg together.
  • Add the water followed by a mixture of cocoa powder and milk.
  • Now, add the lemon juice/vinegar and vanilla extract.
  • Grease the central mould pan of the wonder pot and dust it with some flour. No preheating is required.
  • Put the dome shaped disc with central hole on the stove.
  • Pour in the batter into the bundt-shaped central pan and place it over the disc and close it.
  • Bake it on a high flame for 2 minutes and for 25 – 30 minutes on low flame.
  • Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick or knife into the cake. If they come out clean, switch off the stove.
  • Cool it for ten minutes and invert it onto a wire rack or plate. Cut it once it cools down completely.

This cake tastes best with or without frosting. The texture reminded me exactly of the layers of a black forest cake. As, nags explained on her blog, you can try this recipe in an oven or a pressure cooker too.

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Stuffed Pointed Gourd Curry Recipe| Gram flour masala mix with Potols| How to make stuffed Parwals

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Tug of wars are never easy, especially when they happen inside our brains. Today it was between the eagerness to watch the season finale episode of the HBO’s TV Series, GOT (Game of Thrones) and dishing out Parwals. It’s tough to mute the series buff in the head, but once I got to cooking, I completely forgot about the episode. Restraining from some indulgences, do pay off well at the end of the day. Here, in the form of a tasty curry.

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Let me brief you about Parwals. Also known as, Potols in Andhra region, these are oval shaped summer vegetables from the family of cucumbers. My introduction to this vegetable happened few years back in a vegetable shop near my home in Hyderabad. Each visit to a vegetable shop or farmer’s market or a super mart, my head veers in all directions possible for interesting finds. It’s like a kid’s fetish for a new toy or that of gadgets or clothes as an adult. I found these vegetables in a tray filled with water. At first, I mistook them as an unknown variant of Dondakaya (Tindora). Found out its name and basic recipes using it from a fellow shopper then. I tried my hands to make Potato Parwal fry, which took a lot of time. Their skin is so hard that a simple fry would definitely take more time. Not ideal dish to make when you are short on time. Todays’ recipe is extremely simple in execution. Couldn’t recollect the source of this recipe, but the method is so simple, so went ahead with spices as per my taste. All you have to do is make a simple masala mix, stuff it into the Parwals, shallow fry them! Tying the stuffed parwal is so fun! While you wait for them to cook on stove, enjoy the smell of the roasted parwal in the kitchen, aaha, tempting!

Ingredients:

Parwals – 6 (Medium sized)

1 tbsp – oil

Masala Mix:

½ cup  besan/ gram flour /senagapindi

1 tbsp  ginger garlic paste

1 tsp  fennel powder

½ tbsp coriander powder

½ tsp cumin powder

¼ tsp turmeric powder

½ tbsp chilli powder

2 tbsp oil

Salt as required (I used ½ a tsp)

1 tbsp (approx)   water

Method:

  • Wash and chop the stalks on either side of parwal.
  • Make a longitudinal slit on one side. Remove the pulp if the seeds are too hard.
  • Take all spice powders mentioned in the masala along with the oil and mix well.
  • Stuff the parwals with this masala. Tie the parwals with a thread. This ensures that the masala doesn’t get out of the veggies.

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  • Put oil in a frying pan and once the oil heats up, place the veggies in it.
  • Cook covered in low heat for 5-6 minutes.
  • Now, open the lid of the pan and turn with tongs and cook on low flame for 5 minutes covered.
  • Keep an eye on the pan in between so that it doesn’t get burn.
  • If the skin of veggies is too hard, add a spoon of water.

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With closed lid, the masala inside the vegetable steams up and gets a unique taste. I like to consume these stuffed parwal as it is with rice. You can also make gravy alongside these stuffed veggies. They are delicious to eat as a snack too!

Tempered eggs in Indian style tadka recipe| How to eat boiled eggs|Egg Salad with Indian tempering | Interesting ways to eat boiled egg |Eggs for Breakfast

 

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Today’s post is about my most recent tinkering with eggs. Egg whites have become a constant part of breakfast since the beginning of this year – a habit shaped out from my gym routine. Sticking to a habit gives immense satisfaction and when it’s related to nutritious food, it’s a doubles as an achievement. Whether it’s a quick pancake fix for sweet cravings or a simple omelette to begin the day, eggs always stand as a favourite item in the kitchen. Previously, how much ever I was aware of their nutritional value; I wasn’t regular at eating them.  Few days back, boredom engulfed me as I was staring at cold boiled eggs. The smell of the cold eggs and sight of the usual salt-pepper on the side wasn’t encouraging enough to gobble it down. My olfactory senses voted for the flavours of tadka and I couldn’t get more excited – eggs in desi style! A blissful way to break the monotony!

With a punch from mustard oil, this egg salad (I thought it could be called so [;)]) will be a perfect fit for tasty and easy breakfast.

Serving size: 1

Ingredients:

4 Boiled eggs  

1 tbsp Mustard Oil (Kachi Ghani)

3 -4 tbps Chopped Spinach

5 – 10 nos curry leaves

2 dry red chillies

½ tsp cumin powder

¼ tsp garam masala

Red chilli powder and Salt – as required

Procedure:

  1. Heat the pan and add the mustard oil.
  2. Add curry leaves, cumin powder and dry red chillies and let it roast for about half a minute.
  3. Now put the spinach leaves into the pan.
  4. To this tempering, add all boiled egg whites and a single boiled yolk.
  5. Toss them well and sprinkle some salt and red chilli powder.
  6. Now put in the garam masala for the extra flavour. 

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It fits as a perfect side along with a bread toast or as stuffing for a sandwich or just as it is. Crumbled paneer can be added to this to exemplify taste as well as nutrition. If you don’t like the smell of eggs or if you have just started eating eggs, try eating them this way – it’s hard to notice any kind of repulsive smell.

Note:

  • I have used homemade garam masala. Would suggest using a homemade one over the store bought variety.
  • I prefer mustard oil over others for this recipe for its poignant taste. The sharpness is required to give the eggs a distinct flavour.

Cashew Chicken with Drumstick Curry Recipe| How to make Chicken curry with Fresh Cashews and drumsticks| Pachi Jeedipappu-Mulakaada Kodi Koora

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Fresh seasonal produce always excite me and I think staying away from metro life has brought them closer and easily available than ever. In between simmering summer temperatures and onset of monsoons, unripe cashew fruits make their way into local farmers market. In Andhra region, from where I come, tender cashew nuts are relished with drumsticks and onions curry. Andhra curry recipes always have this subtle sweetish spicy taste, which make me consume more rice. Well, I think delicious food always comes with an invisible tag warning, ‘eat more at your own risk’.

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Unripe Cashew Fruits

Had the cashew fruits bought were ripe; I would have had the chance to know what they taste like. Curiosity doesn’t kill the cat, sometimes at least. Do you know this – what we commonly call as cashew fruit isn’t the actual fruit. As you can see, there are two parts –the kidney shaped part which has seed or nut and the juicy part. Scientifically speaking, the fleshy part is the modified stalk of the flower. The true fruit is the kidney shaped half which has the nut. I learned about it in the eleventh grade botany class. It was one the many fascinating things I learnt while learning botany. Do you know that there are plants which eat insects? Yes, it’s true. Okay, I will talk about the recipe now.

The traditional Andhra ‘Pachi Jeedipappu Kodi curry’ uses the fresh cashew in whole. But, I wanted to have it along with roti, so reserved only handful of them for the crunch and pureed the remaining. Mom already marinated the chicken by the time I woke up. She just used some chilli powder, salt, turmeric and curd. I left it that way without any further add-ons and let the chicken soak it all for about 4 hours. As most of you might have known, the more time you marinate the chicken, the better it would taste. Just remember to refrigerate if your margination time is beyond 6 hours or right way if you are living in hot climate. I didn’t follow any particular recipe (lazy to research actually) so, the measurements are not to the T. Adjust spice and salt levels according to your taste.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken – ½ kg (boneless preferred)
  • Fresh cashew nuts – 1 cup
  • Roughly Chopped Onions – ½ cup
  • Large sized tomatoes – 1
  • Green Chillies – 4
  • Drum sticks – 1 nos ( 6 – 8 nos 2 inch pieces)
  • Shahjeera – 1/2 tsp
  • Green cardamom – 1 nos
  • Dried bay leaf – 1-2 nos
  • Red Chilli Powder – as required (add half into marinade and half into curry)
  • Garam Masala – 1tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1tsp (add half into marinade and half into curry)
  • Ghee – 1tbsp + Oil – 2tbsp
  • Salt – as required

Step –by- step:

Marination:

½ tsp – turmeric powder

1 tbsp – chilli powder

½ tbsp – ginger garlic paste

2 tbsp – Curd

½ tsp – Salt

Clean the chicken pieces with water and take them into a bowl. Add the above ingredients into it and mix well, such that all the pieces are uniformly coated with the marinade.

Cooking:

  • Place the cooking pot/pan on heat. Add the ghee and oil and wait till it gets hot and put in the bay leaves, cardamom and shahjeera.
  • After a minute or half, toss in the slit green chillies, handful of fresh cashew nuts and chopped onions. Sautee the onions for a minute and add the drumsticks. Add the remaining amount of turmeric powder, mix well and put on a lid.
  • As the onions turn translucent, add the marinated chicken into the pot. Mix well, replace the lid and check the pot after ten minutes. The heat level can be from medium to high now.
  • Meanwhile, pulse the fresh cashews and tomato in blender.

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  • The juices from the chicken ooze out. This provides enough water for the chicken to cook. Add the red chilli powder, salt and tomato- cashew paste and mix. Let the lid on for another ten minutes.

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  • Now, add the garam masala and place the lid for another 2 minutes. Check for the spice and salt level. Adjust accordingly.
  • By this time, the gravy comes together. Let the curry stay on heat for some more time, if you want thicker gravy. Serve it with rotis/rice/biryani.

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I stored the left-over curry in the fridge and interestingly, the taste of the curry improved ten times the next day. I never experienced this before with chicken curries. Some post-cooking marination magic!

Notes:

  • Removing the cashew seed is a tedious process. Wear gloves while working with them. If not careful, the resin from the unripe fruit gives a burning sensation to the skin.
  • Garam masala used in the recipe is mom’s recipe. It is a fresh blend of poppy seeds; garlic cloves, cumin, cloves and coriander seeds.
  • Never add spices when the oil is at room temperature. Warm oil allows the spices release their aromatic compounds.
  • This recipe works well with dry cashews too. Just soak them in water overnight or warm water for about half an hour.

Beetroot and Paneer Burger| Interesting Idea for Veggie Burger|How to make a Potato-free Burger recipe

 

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Deciding upon the dish for the first post hasn’t been easy. After much up-do, I decided to pen down on potato free  vegetarian burger. This simple yet appetising recipe easily fits into breakfast, snacks or simple dinners. Such versatile and balanced comfort food it is!

Remember the days when you got introduced to burgers in India? In most of the towns, Mc Donald’s burger had been the only burger known to many, until recent times.  It was the staple go-to lunch option on most of my weekends during college days. Crazy food habits, I agree.  But, now I crave for flavours in every bite of food I eat or prepare at home. The standard potato filling that goes into a vegetarian burger was quite unsettling to my taste buds. So, I decided to recreate a burger with some uncommon, yet healthy vegetarian filling.

In the course of my research, I found this amazing recipe of Beetroot and Feta Burgers on Jamie Oliver’s Foodtube which led me to Stephen and David Flynn’s (@thehappypear). Trust me, if you are one of those like me, crazy and curious about cooking or relishing food, I would suggest you to follow these guys. Their recipes are trouble-free and nourishing as they appear. Beet burger was one of such recipes and I couldn’t wait trying it. I made few adjustments to the original one like substituted freshly prepared paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese) for feta (for feta is not easily available in India). It was one recipe I made for like two batches in the very same week and ate it in rolls, burger buns, rice and as it is too! Trust me; it’s hard to go away with the addiction of mint and beetroots melange! Eating a patty without potato felt awesome on the taste buds and since then beetroots have become my new favourite pick in weekly grocery shopping hauls.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups – grated beetroot
  • ½ – 1 cups – crumbled paneer/Indian cottage cheese
  • 10nos toasted walnuts – coarsely chopped
  • Mint leaves – ½ cup (tightly packed and chopped roughly)
  • Finely chopped onions – 1/3 cup
  • Chopped green chillies – 1 tbsp (Original recipe doesn’t call for them, I like spicy food, so had to add them)
  • Any Oil – as required (1 tbsp for sautéing and little more to roast the patties)
  • Salt – as required
  • Lemon juice – 1to 2 tbsp
  • Breadcrumbs – 1/3 cup (I put in roughly pulverized Britannia rusk/toasts)

Burger Buns:

You can prepare them at home or use the ones readily available in all supermarkets. Pav Buns work just fine for this recipe. Slit them into half and roast them on a medium flame a little before setting up the burger. For those who wish to prepare the pav at home, can try out Dassana’s recipe of ladi pav from the ‘veg recipes of India’.

Pavs are Indian burger buns that go well into making of street food snacks like Pav bhaji, Vada pav, Missal Pav etc. For my recipe, I used the tutti-fruitti buns bought earlier to dunk in tea. Sometimes, laziness to source perfect things brings out the creativity in us. : P After all, jugaad (Indian word for hacks) is quite essential with foodie experiments.

Vegetable filling:

I used what I had at home then. You may use any kind of veggies that suits your liking – Lettuce, capsicum, tomatoes, cucumber, etc.

Procedure:

  1. Heat the pan and add 2tbsp oil.
  2. Add the grated beetroot and onions and chopped green chillies into the pan.
  3. Sautee the beetroot on medium heat till it sweats and gives off sweet smell. This would roughly take 5- 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, take the paneer into a large mixing bowl and add chopped mint leaves into it.
  5. Add the beetroot mixture from the stove top into the bowl.
  6. Now, sprinkle salt and breadcrumbs and walnuts and mix them lightly.
  7. Splash some lemon juice over it, mix. Shape them into balls or patties (flat discs) depending upon where you wish to use them.
  8. The finished patties can be roasted on stove with some oil or baked in a preheated oven at 180 degree C for 25 minutes.
  9. Place them in between bun with your favourite veggies and sauces or have them along with mint chutney or tomato ketchup. You can also roll them into a nice wrap using rotis (Indian flat bread).

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I slided a sunny side-up in the middle to add in some proteins to my meal and ate more tomatoes and cucumbers to fill up on salad portions. Next time in quest for a lunch idea with continental twist, go for it. It would be an interesting mashup for the picky tiny tots too!