Saturday, January 30, 2010

Curried Couscous

A very close friend of mine, had made curried couscous for my baby shower. I have had it before at her place, and I had liked it then too! Its really simple to make and so tasty! It can be stored and eaten the next day as well!

Here is the recipe!

1 1/2 cups couscous
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup small-diced carrots
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
1/4 cup blanched, sliced almonds
2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
1/4 cup small-diced red onion


Place the couscous in a medium bowl. Melt the butter in the boiling water and pour over the couscous. Cover tightly and allow the couscous to soak for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, curry, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Pour over the fluffed couscous, and mix well with a fork. Add the carrots, parsley, currants, almonds, scallions, and red onions, mix well, and season to taste. Serve at room temperature.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Margharita Pizza

So, my first attempt at making pizzas was a success! :) I tried the basic simple margharita pizza, with fresh mozarella cheese and fresh basil on the top. On the pizza dough, I brushed it with olive oil infused with garlic and red pepper flakes, and then added the tomato sauce, fresh mozarella and basil! Heres to more delicious pizzas for the pizza lovers of our home!:)


For the pizza
1 1/4 cups warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
Good olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
Kosher salt
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
5 cups of Pizza Sauce(recipe already on Blog : Italian)
slices of fresh mozzarella
chiffonade of basil leaves(8 leaves)


For the dough, combine the water, yeast, honey, and 3 tablespoons olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups of the flour, then 2 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl. When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the garlic oil. Place 1/2 cup olive oil, the garlic, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't burn. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (Be sure your oven is clean!)

Dump the dough onto a board and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

Press and stretch each ball into an 8-inch circle and place 2 circles on each parchment-lined sheet pan. (If you've chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature.) Brush the pizzas with the garlic oil, and sprinkle each one liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the pizzas evenly with tomato sauce and mozzarella. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon more of the garlic oil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and the cheeses begin to brown. Garnish with the chiffonado of basil leaves on each pizza and serve immediately! :)

Pizza Sauce

I had been wanting to try making pizzas for the longest time! I finally came across a good recipe for pizza dough. And the pizza sauce recipe is really simple! It turned out really good!!

Here it is!


1 28 ounce can of plum tomatoes
1 red onion finely diced
3 garlic cloves finely diced
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
6-8 chiffonade of basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste


In a medium pot, put in the olive oil at medium heat. After a minute add in the onions, garlic and saute it until translucent. Then add in the tomatoes, and the remaining ingredients ie salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano, and basil. Using an electric blender, blend it in the pot itself.

Simmer at low to medium heat for half an hour. Make sure that the pot is covered else it will splatter everywhere.

The pizza sauce is ready after half an hour! :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ginger cookies

We had gone to Napa over the Xmas break with the baby, and there was a bakery near our hotel, that had the most delicious ginger cookies! I love the soft chewy texture of these ginger cookies, and I had been looking for a recipe ever since.

Finally found Ina Garten's Ginger cookie recipe, and they turned out deliciouso!!! I did not put the crystallized ginger, and rolled the cookie in demerara sugar, coz the sugar gives a nice crunch to it as opposed to granulated sugar. Below is the modified recipe.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
Demerara sugar, for rolling the cookies


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt and then combine the mixture with your hands. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar, oil, and molasses on medium speed for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low speed, add the egg, and beat for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat for 1 more minute. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Scoop the dough with 2 spoons or a small ice cream scoop. With your hands, roll each cookie into a 1 3/4-inch ball and then flatten them lightly with your fingers. Press both sides of each cookie in demerara sugar and place them on the sheet pans. Bake for exactly 13 minutes. The cookies will be crackled on the top and soft inside. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Carrot Cake/Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot cake is so versatile, it can be made as cupcakes for dessert, or as a carrot loaf for breakfast! This can also be made as a whole cake with frosting in between 2 round cakes and frosting on the top.

I made this as a loaf, and loved the taste and texture, and it tasted soo good with tea! I would definitely make it again. I added my own touches, of adding walnuts to the loaf. Walnuts go really well with the carrot loaf! Love the nuttiness and crunchiness of the walnuts in the loaf! One could add raisins as well, but I do not like the taste of raisins in the carrot cake.

Here is the recipe!


250g/1 3/4 cup wholewheat flour
25g/8 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon fresly grated nutmeg
125g dessicated coconut(fine coconut)
5 medium eggs
250g/1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
185ml/6 1/2 fl oz. vegetable oil
500g finely grated carrots
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

For the cream cheese frosting:
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 loaf pans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the 2 loafpans with cooking spray and line the base with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg together, then stir in the coconut so it does not clump together. Beat the eggs, oil and sugar in an electric mixer until it becomes pale and has doubled in volume. Gently fold in the dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix and lose volume. Fold in the carrots and walnuts. Pour the mixture equally in both the loaf pans. Bake in the center of the oven for 40 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the loaf, before removing it from the loaf pan.

Cream together cheese and butter until creamy and smooth. Gradually stir in sugar. Amount varies, depending on how sweet you want it to be. Stir in one teaspoon of vanilla.

Divide the cream cheese frosting over both the loaves, and spread evenly on the loaves. Store it in a cool place!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cilanto coconut chutney

This chutney goes soo well with the kanchipuram rava idliis(the previous recipe). Its a MUST try with the idlis! Thanks to my masi again :))

1 whole bunch cilantro
3/4 cup frozen coconut(fresh coconut if you can find it!)
3/4 cup yogurt
salt to taste
1-2 green chillies
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 lemon juice


Add all the ingredients in a blender, and blend it until its fine. It is ready to eat!! :)

Kachipuram Rava Idlis

This is my masi's(mom's sister) recipe, and the first time she made it, hubby and I loved it!! My masi makes the most delicious food ever! She can whip up 10 dishes in an hour! ;) My nani, mom and masis have been my inspiration and I hope I can do justice to them and continue the "good cooking" tradition!:)

Hubby wanted me to make them so I tried it at home, and they turned out really good:) Happy with the end result!! :) I unfortunately did not take a picture!! :( Until next time now!!


1 cup coarse rava
2 cups buttermilk
1 small onion finely chopped
2 garlic finely chopped
1 green chilly finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1 carrot peeled and chopped into tiny pieces
1/4 cup corn
1/4 cup green beans finely chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro finely chopped
1/4 cup broken cashew nut pieces
1/4 cup peas
salt to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
3 teaspoons eno
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4-5 curry leaves
1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Steamer pot
idli maker
oil to coat each idli container


In a medium bowl, mix the rava and the buttermilk, and stir it for a minute or so, till it is well blended. Keep it covered for atleast an hour. It will rise a little bit after an hour.

In the meanwhile, in a medium pot, on medium heat, take the vegetable oil, and let it heat up. Add in the mustard seeds and curry leaves and let it splatter for a few seconds. Add the chopped onions, ginger/garlic/green chilly into the pot and saute it for a few minutes till onions turn translucent.

Add in the green beans, peas, corn, carrots into the mixture, and saute it again for about 5-7 minutes. Add in salt to taste.Add this vegetable mixture to the rava mixture and stir it well. Add in the sugar as well.

To make the rava idlis, First start the steamer pot with water and let it start boiling. Take half of this mixture and add 1 1/2 teaspoons eno, and stir it continuously for a minute until it gets frothy. Now take the idli stand, and then rub little oil on each idli container, and then add enough batter to cover the container. Fill all the containers with the batter and put it in the steamer. Cover the steamer for 12 minutes and let the idlis cook and rise!

The first batch of idlis are ready! Remove it from the steamer, and let it sit for 5 minutes, and then remove each idli carefully with a spoon. Make the second batch of idlis in the same manner. Your idlis are ready to eat!! :))