Butter Croissants and Coffee

One of the most best aromas on a beautiful morning

Samosa Chaat

Snack a little

Seekh Kabab

Try something different!

Decadent Chocolate

Do not forget to indulge once in a while

Steamed goodness

Various cooking methods bring variety in your palette

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Semiya Payasam - Indian Vermicelli Pudding

Vermicelli payasam 

Semiya Payasam used to be the most frequent payasam that my mom used to prepare for us, and we simply love it every time. She also adds sabudana or tapioca pearls to it, which I still call as 'dot-dot' coz they looked so cute like little dots in my payasam. When I was a little kid, I used to search for them to eat them separately.

When I prepared my first semiya payasam too, I made sure I used dot-dots in them. I made it first for the first payasam of the onasadya. One thing I did not realize, is that this paysam gets thicker and thicker as it cools down. So if you prepare it with a thick consistency, by the time it cools down, it sets like a cake! So the next time I made it, I made sure it had a more loose consistency, so that when it cools, it still having a nice creamy consistency. It can be eaten hot or cold. It will get thicker and also tastier when you leave it overnight in the refrigerator.

1/2 cup vermicelli/semiya
1/4 cup Sabudana (Tapioca pearls)
3 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar or to taste
or 1/2 tin sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp ghee
12-15 raisins
10 cashewnuts
2-3 whole cardamom pods

Soak the tapioca pearls in a bowl or warm water.
Heat a wok or heavy bottomed pot with 1tbsp ghee. Roast vermicelli in the ghee till it turns golden brown. If its already roasted vermicelli, then just toast it in the ghee for a minute. Add 3 cups of milk to it and keep stirring for about 5 minutes. Bring it to a boil, and add sugar or sweetened condensed milk to this. Add sabudana to it. Sabudana tends to thicken the payasam as its starchy. So adjust milk accordingly. Stir for a few more minutes until it starts to thicken (remember it should be a little looser than the desired consistency). Crush cardamom pods and pound the seeds and add it to the payasam.
Heat a shallow pan with 1 tbsp ghee in it. Add cashews to it and fry them till they start to brown. Add raisins and wait for it to swell up like plump grapes. Add them to the payasam while still hot. Serve warm or chilled.

Note: In case the payasam cools to a more thicker consistency that desired, just add some hot milk to it and boil it again. Adjust sweetness as well if required.

Semiya Payasam

Dessert Crepes - Nutella and Apple-Cinnamon

Nutella Crepes

Crepes provide a wide spectrum for displaying creativity and variety. They can be both sweet and savoury. I have not tried the savoury version yet. I prepare the sweet ones on some weekends for breakfast. I have tried a variety of fillings such as Nutella - the irresistible Chocolate n Hazelnut spread, Crunchy Peanut butter, Morello Cherry jam, Rasberry or strawberry jam, coconut-cardamom mixture (madakku saan), caramel toffee spread, and most recently, an apple-cinnamon mixture.

Making the crepes is super simple. I've already explained it in my previous post for madakku saan as well.

For the crepes:
  • Flour/Maida - 1 cup
  • Water - enough to make a loose batter
  • 1 egg
  • Sugar - 2 tbsp
  • Salt - a pinch
Mix all ingredients of the batter to get a dosa batter like consistency. Fry them on a non-stick pan (no need of any oil) by placing a dollop of the batter with a steel ladle and spreading it in a spiralling motion from the center. Allow one side to cook, flip using a spatula when air bubbles start to form on one side. If it does stick to the pan, then dab a little oil in a gauze or kitchen towel or tissue and just wipe across the pan. I got a batch of about 8 from this mixture.
To make Nutella crepes:
As simple as spreading the nutella mixture on one side and rolling it!

Nutella Crepe

To Make the Apple-Cinnamon filling:

Apple-Cinnamon Dessert Crepes
Credit: Hungry-Girl (altered as per my liking)

1 tsp. granulated sugar/brown sugar - I used brown sugar as it tastes better
1/4 tsp. corn flour
1 tsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash of salt
1 cup diced Washington apple (about 1 apple)
1/4 tsp. lemon juice (about 5-6 drops)
1 tbsp. cream cheese, or Mascarpone, at room temperature
Maple syrup (optional)

In a small nonstick saucepan on the stove, combine sugar, cornstarch, butter, cinnamon, and salt with 2 tbsp. cold water. Stir to dissolve. Add diced apple and lemon juice and stir. Bring to medium heat and cover. Cook until apple has softened and liquid has thickened, about 5 minutes, uncovering often to stir.

Remove pot from heat and transfer mixture to a bowl. Allow to cool for several minutes. Thoroughly stir in cream cheese or mascarpone. Add maple syrup if desired.

Lay crepes flat on a dry surface. Evenly distribute apple mixture between the crepes. Fold each crepe up envelope-style, first folding the sides in, and then folding/rolling it up from the bottom.

Plate your crepes and drizzle them with caramel dip or maple syrup. If you like, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Try not to pass out as you dig in!

Love Letters / Madakku Saan


Madakku saan is an authentic snack from kerala. Its a wonderful crunchy crepe thats just not too sweet but feels good in the tummy. They're also given the nickname "Love Letters" coz of the lovely sweet coconut mixture rolled up like a letter or packed in an envelope. :) It would make a cute gift to prepare for loved ones.


For the crepe:
Flour/Maida - 1 cup
Water - enough to make a loose batter
1 egg
Sugar - 2 tbsp
Salt - a pinch

For the coconut filling:
Grated coconut - 1 cup
Cardamom powdered - 1 or 2 tsp
Sugar - 4 tbsp


Mix all ingredients of the batter and fry them on a pan (no need of any oil). If it does stick to the pan, then dab a little oil in a gauze or kitchen towel or tissue and just wipe across the pan.
Mix all the coconut filling ingredients in a bowl. Place a tablespoon full of the mixture onto the center of a crepe and roll. Allow the filling to spread towards the ends.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Spicy Corn Fritters


Its become sort of a routine to start the weekend with a "bread n eggs" brunch. We've been making omelettes for a while and decided to go for scrambled eggs for a change. I decided to make use of the sweet corn kernels lying in my freezer as an accompaniment. I did a quick search and found these simple spicy corn fritters.
Its actually meant to be eaten as a snack with a dip. I did not bother using any dip since it was just an accompaniment to the bread n eggs.

Credit: Simplyrecipes

1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon lebanese spice or garam masala
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1 cup of corn kernels (frozen corn, defrost and drain first)
1 small onion finely sliced or chopped small (about a quarter cup)
3 green chillies sliced finely
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
canola, or gingelly oil (a high smoke point oil) for frying

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, ground coriander, and ground cumin, spice, red chilli powder in a medium bowl. Add egg, lemon juice and water. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the corn, onions, green chillies and cilantro. Stir until just combined.
Heat a large frying pan on medium high heat. Add enough oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan. When oil is hot (shimmering not smoking), spoon about 2 heaping tablespoons worth of fritter batter into the pan to form one fritter, patting it down with the back of the spoon as soon as it is in the pan. Work in batches. Leave about 1/2 inch between the fritters in the pan. Let cook about 2-3 minutes on each side, flipping the fritters when they are nicely browned on one side. When browned on the other side, remove the fritters to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess fat.
Add oil as needed to keep the bottom of the pan well coated. Note that the fritters will likely splatter a bit as you are cooking. So, either use a screen splatter guard, or wear long sleeved clothes while you cook.

Serve with a dip

Corn Fritters with sweet chilli sauce

Or use as an accompaniment with bread, eggs and sausages.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Caramelized Apple with Maple Mascarpone


I had brought a few apples too from Riyadh and I was too lazy to eat them as such. I tried to find a more interesting yet simple way of having them, so I searched a bit and found this lovely quick and easy dessert.
It was so tasty we were licking it all off the plate!!

Credit: Closet Cooking


1/2 tablespoon butter
1 apple (peeled, cored, sliced)
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (powdered)
2 tablespoons mascarpone
1 teaspoon maple syrup


1. Melt the butter in a pan.
2. Add the apples, sprinkle on the sugar and cinnamon and saute until golden brown.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together maple syrup and mascarpone. I used the small mixer of my food processor, so it blended perfectly. Just make sure there are no lumps of mascarpone and you get a nice creamy blended texture.
4. Top the apples with the maple mixed into the mascarpone.

You can also use icecream instead of the maple mascarpone.
But since I had mascarpone in my refrigerator that I had to use, this was just lovely.

I made this a second time the next day too, and allowed the apples to caramelize a little longer than the last time. It was delicious either both ways.:)


Falafel Sandwich

Saudi Arabian Falafel Sandwich

Falafel Sandwich

A lot of different ingredients go into Falafel sandwiches.
But I try to keep it as close to the ones I've had in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in the popular shawarma shops such as Yamal Asham, Mama Nourra and Maccoys.


Khubz (Arabic Bread/Pita)
Garlic Sauce or Garlic Tahini Sauce
French Fries
Lebanese pickled cucumber/carrot/radish
Chopped tomato


Spread Garlic Sauce or Garlic Tahini Sauce on the Khubz.
Sprinkle parsley, chopped pickled veggies and tomatoes.
Place falafels. I crumbled mine as it was easier to roll into a sandwich but usually they are placed whole.
Add french fries. I made my own french fries by peeling potatoes and chopping them in my food processor with the french fries blade, fried and sprinkled salt.
Wrap and serve.

You can also add iceberg lettuce in them.


Falafel plate
On some days I miss the food I grew up with in the middle east. Falafels are one of them.
The first time I tried making these, it was a total disaster. I was inexperienced and decided to cook the chickpeas first before making the ground mixture and frying them. The result: As soon as the falafel hits oil, it just kept disentegrating into the oil and whatever is left is not cooked. God what a nightmare. Almost a year later, I tried this again by referring another blog. It was successful, but a bit dry. But definitely tasty. The vegetable and sauces I used to wrap them in my own grilled Khubz helped to cut down the dryness. I've been finding it impossible to find flat leaf parsley in Bangalore so on my trip back from Riyadh, I got a bunch of parsley which costs less than a Saudi Riyal! Its magical flavour is what gives falafels and many other middle eastern foods a unique taste.
Credit: Homemade-recipes blog


For Falafels:
500 gms dried chick peas (kabuli chana)
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh coriander, chopped (cilantro)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1 teaspoon ground red chili pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons plain flour or gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon ground dried coriander
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
Note: When I made the mix using the above ingredients, I did find that it was still a bit difficult to make firm balls, so I added about 2 tbsp of breadcrumbs into the mix. Also I did not use paprika, used extra red chilli powder instead. I did not use the bicarbonate of soda because I did not have it with me. Will use next time to see if it has a difference. I also used only 2 tsp of baking powder. Maybe it will be more airy and lighter (less dense).

For Deep Frying
Vegetable oil


  • Soak chickpeas in water for 24 hours, then drain well.
  • Mix together the chick peas, chopped parsley, coriander/cilantro, crushed garlic and chopped onions 
  • Grind in a food processor.
  • Add all remaining falafel ingredients and process again.
  • Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  • Knead the falafel mix.
  • Form spoonfuls of the falafel mixture into balls and flatten slightly. Flattening ensures the insides are cooked.

Falafel balls for frying
  • Heat oil in deep pan over high heat, then fry till browned and cooked through.

Frying Falafel 2 Frying Falafel

Falafel closeup 

Serve with Garlic Sauce or Garlic Tahini Sauce or Hummus.

Falafel and garlic tahini sauce

Or make a Falafel Sandwich
Falafel Sandwich 

Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Shawarma Sandwich

Chicken Shawarma is the most loved and craved for snack that we get in Saudi Arabia. Brands like Yamal Asham and Mama Nourra have become so famous, they've become large chains. Maccoys for some reason seems to operate from the same old shop, though still so popular. The shawarmas that you get in Riyadh are the Lebanese style. When I went to Riyadh this time, I got a bottle of shawarma spice.
Its just a spice mix and its contents are as follows:
  • Turmeric
  • Red Chilly
  • Coriander
  • Black Pepper
  • Cloves
  • Cardamom
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
 Credit: Lebanese Recipes


For Chicken Shawarma:
  • 1/2 kilo chicken thighs or breasts, skin removed, bones removed and pounded to even thickness
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Shawarma spice
  • 1 tablespoon allspice toasted and ground
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seed toasted and ground
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped summer savory - I did not use this
  • 1 onion, grated
  • Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
For Assembly:
  • 6 thick pitas or Khubz
  • 1 large tomato, thinly sliced
  • 6 leaves Boston lettuce/Iceberg Lettuce
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley (optional)
  • Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Cucumber and Carrot Pickle
  • French Fries
  • Garlic Sauce (Thoom) / Garlic Tahini Sauce / Hummous

Combine the lime juice, olive oil, spices, garlic, summer savory and grated onion in a medium bowl.
Add the chicken thighs and toss to coat.
Cover with plastic and marinate in the refrigerator for four hours.
Preheat the barbecue on medium.
Remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking off any excess.
Skewer the thighs on a long metal skewer, stacking them flat on top of each other.
Season the chicken thighs and put them on the grill.
Cover and cook the chicken, turning the skewer every few minutes for even cooking, 25 to 30 minutes or until charred on the outside and chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.

Note: I did not use any skewers. I just heated a frying pan and placed the chicken pieces on it to grill on each side. You may drizzle a little olive oil over it to avoid it from sticking to the pan.

Spread garlic sauce or hummous on pita/khubz.
Slice chicken off the skewer in thin shavings and serve it wrapped in pita bread along with the tomato slices, lettuce, french fries and pickles. You can also add chopped parsley to it.

Note: I used home-made french fries as they felt more authentic. Just peeled a potato and ran it through the french fries blade of my food processor, and deep fried them. Drain on tissue towels. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over it.

The Authentic Saudi shawarma contains:
  • Khubz
  • Chicken
  • Cucumber pickle
  • Garlic Thoom
  • French Fries

Chena Mezhukkupuratti - Stir fried Elephant Yam

Chena Mezhukkupuratti is a very tasty mezhukkupuratti which is easy to prepare and can be served with rice.


Chena (Elephant Yam) : 1/4 kg
Shallots  - 10 no
Green Chillies - 2 nos (Cut legth wise at the bottom only)
Coconut Oil - 4 tbsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Red Chilly Powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - as required


Cut the yam into cube pieces. Slice the onions thin.
Cook chena with salt, turmeric powder and chilly powder (Do not overcook, as mezhukkupuratti will not come out well with mashed chena. I learnt this the hard way. Also cutting them into very small pieces can also lead to mashing up).
Pour oil into a hard bottomed pan and add green chilly and Onion slices.
When the onion turns golden brown, add the cooked vegetable.
Fry for some time until all the water disappears and the mezhukkupuratti appears dry.
Mezhukkupuratti is ready to be served with Rice.

An earlier one I prepared in India:

Monday, January 16, 2012

Better-Than-Pita Grill Bread

Grilled pita bread - Khubz

Khubz is the Arabic bread known as pita in other parts of the world.
Usually this is made in the traditional wood burning oven. It can also be made in the modern oven.
Since I dont have either, I tried this lovely grilled bread from Epicurious

Credit: Epicurious


2 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fast-acting yeast from 1 (1/4-oz) package such as Fleischmann's Rapid Rise yeast
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water (105-115°F)
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon beaten egg

Special equipment: a lightly oiled ridged grill pan, cast-iron skillet, or griddle


Whisk together flour (2 cups), sugar, salt, and yeast in a bowl until combined. Whisk together water, oil, and egg in another bowl until combined well, then stir into flour mixture until a shaggy dough forms. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead, working in just enough additional flour to keep dough from sticking, about 2 minutes (dough will not be smooth). Form dough into a ball and put in an oiled bowl, turning to coat, then let rest in bowl, uncovered, in a warm draft-free place 10 minutes.
Note: I required almost 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup oil to get a dough. To be safe and to get the required consistency, first add 1/4 cup each and then add little by little as you go.

Khubz dough

Cut dough into 10 pieces and form each into a ball. Working with 1 piece at a time, flatten balls, then roll out into 6-inch rounds (less than 1/8 inch thick) on lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin.

Rolling out Khubz

Mine of course turned in shapes other than rounds. To ensure that you get a pocket in the middle, fold it in half as shown below, and roll out again.

Folding Khubz

Preheat grill pan or skillet over moderately high heat just until smoking, then reduce heat to moderate and grill bread rounds, 1 at a time, turning once, until marks appear and bread is cooked through, about 2 minutes. It will puff up on the hot pan and deflate once taken off the pan. Keep breads warm, wrapped in a cloth napkin.

Cooks' notes: If you have a 2-burner grill pan, you can grill 2 bread rounds at a time.
Bread can be made 1 day ahead and cooled completely, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature. Reheat bread, loosely wrapped in foil, in a 350°F oven until heated through.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Chicken pie Sambousek (Chicken Samosas)


I just came back from probably my last visit to the country where I was brought up, Saudi Arabia. I will surely miss that country for the abundant ingredients and the mind boggling varieties available in the numerous hypermarkets. One would simply get spoilt for choice. And the vegetables, I dont know how they keep it so clean and beautiful. The best hypermarket in Bangalore is put to shame!
So I bought these Switz Sambosa leaves which my mom used to make samosas with when we were little. They're lovely for making samosas and I dont know why its so darn hard to find such things here in India! Rarely do I see the spring roll pastry available in their deep freezer.
Being brought up in Saudi Arabia, I loved the ramadan season for the iftaar parties. Being non-muslim I never fasted, but we used to get invited to various muslim families' houses for iftaar. A common item on the menu would be meat samosas or sambousek as Arabs would call it.
I made these simple chicken samosa last year for Eid and tonight again as a snack.
I bought chicken breasts (skinless and fatless) from the supermarket and minced them in my food processor. Much better and leaner than the minced chicken they have in the stores. You can use and ground mince (chicken, beef or mutton) for these. There's also another lovely vegetarian variety called the spinach and feta sambousek which I will post some other day.


Sambosa leaves
Vegetable oil for frying

For filling:
Chicken mince - 250 grams
Onions minced - 1 large
Black Pepper - 2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Lebanese seasoning - 1 tsp (optional)
Shawarma seasoning - 1 tsp (optional)
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Frozen green peas - 2 tbsp (optional)
Salt to taste
Olive oil - 1 tbsp (you can use any oil of your choice)

For paste:
All purpose flour (maida) - 1 tbsp
Corn flour 1 tsp
Water - 2 tbsp


Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan. Add onions, black pepper and cumin powder. When onions turn translucent, add lebanese seasoning, shawarma seasoning and minced chicken. Stir and cook till the chicken changes colour completely and starts to brown. Add frozen green peas if using and toss for another 2-3 minutes.
Allow to cool.

Mix all ingredients to make the paste and keep aside. This will be used to glue the edges of the samosas.
Take out a sambosa leaf. Prepare samosas easily using this video posted below.
Place 1 tablespoon of meat filling and seal.

Deep fry until golden brown turning once - about 6-8 minutes.
Drain on paper towel and serve with any sauce you like.

By the way... I have completed a year since I started this blog. Yayy! Its been quite an eventful year for me and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Hope better things are yet to come. :-)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Potato Thoran - Potato stir-fried with coconut

2nd January 2012
Happy New Year!
Just got back from the place where I grew up - Riyadh. Its probably the last time I would visit this country, so feeling a bit sad and homesick.
I made sure I jotted down most of the recipes of what my mom cooked during my stay :)
Will post em when I make it on my own and take a picture of it.
Had an annoying journey back, with a 5 hour long wait in Mumbai.
Reached home and a serious jet lag set in. So I just logged in to work from home and set my status as 'Away. Call if urgent' and went to sleep.
Woke up 4 hours later but still feeling tired. I had brought some of my mom's fried prawns and beef cutlets. So dinner was almost set. I cooked some rice, made some kerala dal and wanted a thoran too. As there was no vegetable available in the fridge, I saw a few potatoes lying in my vegetable rack. I had no idea if a potato thoran even existed. But what the hell, I just googled it and apparently it does exist lol.
So I gave it a try since its really no effort if you have some grated coconut lying around in the freezer.



Potato - 1 large
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Shallots - 2-3
Garliic - 1 large clove
Green chillies - 2-3
Mustard seeds
Turmeric powder
Curry Leaves


Peel potato and cut into long thin slices. Put in a bowl of water to avoid discoloration.
Chop shallots, green chillies and mince garlic.
Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds to splutter. Add shallots, green chillies and garlic. Stir for 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
Add potatoes and mix. Then add grated coconut, turmeric powder and curry leaves. Stir, and bring everything to center of the pan. Pour about 2-3 tablespoons of water into the pan, cover and allow to cook for about 5-8 minutes. Wait till water almost dries up and mix again. Serve with rice.