Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Spicy Indian Pancakes (Uttapam)

Breakfast - the most important meal of the day and one that also proves to be both interesting and frustrating for me. Its not because of the lack of options - trust me, there are way too many options for breakfast where I come from. I just don't fancy spending a lot of time in the kitchen in the mornings. The easy part though if you are making a south Indian breakfast is that since almost everything requires a  batter that can either be made a day before or can be bought from an Indian store. Most stores carry freshly made Dosa/Idli/Uttapam batter. You could also use the same batter to prepare all 3 dishes - the difference being the consistency of the batter.

Many of you would be more familiar with 'Dosa' which is a thin Indian crepe. 'Uttapam' is more like a big pancake and you can add an assortment of veggies to it that's cooked right in the batter. You use the same batter that is used to make Dosas, just don't thin it out too much. The batter needs to be runny but thick. 

For the Batter:

3 cups dosa/idli rice
1 cup urad dal (white split lentils)
salt to taste

Soak the rice and dal separately first thing in the morning. Grind the rice and dal into a smooth paste adding little water. Let the batter sit in a warm place to ferment. I would normally prepare the batter late in the evening and let it stand in a warm place over night. Once the batter is ready thin it out a little with water if it is too thick. You don't want it to be too thick or too thin. 


1 small onion
3-4 green chili
coriander leaves
small piece of ginger
1 small tomato
red chili powder for garnish
vegetable or olive oil 

Finely chop all the veggies and mix them well in a bowl. Heat up a flat griddle on medium heat and dot it with some oil - a few drops spread around will do. Spoon a bid ladle of the batter on to the pan and spread it out a little. Be careful not to spread them too thin. While it cooks on one side, add the chopped veggies on top and add few drops of oil on top. Let it cook for a minute. If you lift the pancake up a little you will see that the underside has turned to a light brown. Carefully turn the pancake over and cook the side with the veggies - about another minute.

Transfer on to a plate, sprinkle with red chili powder and serve warm with coconut and/or tomato chutney.

Coconut Chutney:

1 cup shredded fresh coconut
2-3 curry leaves
2 green chili
less than a handful of channa dal (lentils) - optional
salt to taste

Grind all of the above adding very little water. You can add more water and have a smooth consistency or add little water to get a chunky thick chutney.

Tomato Chutney:

3 ripe tomatoes roughly chopped
1/2 red onion roughly chopped
2-3 red chillies
2 Tbs Urad dal (lentils)
3-4 whole black pepper
a pinch of cumin seeds
1/2 tsp tamarind paste
1 Tbs grated coconut - optional

Dry roast red chilies, lentils, black pepper, cumin seeds and set aside. Heat oil in a pan and saute the onions for about 2 minutes. Add the the tomatoes and tamarind to this cook for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and once the tomato mix is cooled a bit add them to a blender along with the roasted ingredients and grind into a smooth paste adding water as needed.

Note: Use any leftover batter to make Dosa or try another batch of the pancakes with different veggies.

bon appetit !!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pineapple Upside Down Cake


Having experimented with chocolate cakes, I was on a mission to find something different that satisfied my very picky palate. That's when I stumbled upon the pineapple upside down cake. It is simple enough to put together specially since there is no icing involved. It is best served warm and that makes it the perfect dessert for the winters and as it turns out for the dinner I had for a friend over the weekend.
The cake itself is very moist and the sweetness from the pineapple and the caramel kicked it up a notch. It has now found a place into one of my most favorite things to bake.


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 can pineapple slices

Place the butter and sugar in a saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted and the sugar is caramelized. This should take less than a minute else the topping will harden. Remove from heat and pour it into a 9 inch greased cake pan. Arrange the pineapple slices on top of the sugar mixture. I was able to fit in about 7 slices. I also cut a pineapple slice into smaller pieces to fill in the gaps in the center of the the slices and in between. I wanted as much pineapple as I could fit in here :)

Cake Batter:

3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

In a large bowl, with a hand mixer beat the butter and sugar until it is creamy. Now add the egg yolks and beat further until it is light and fluffy. Now add the baking powder, salt, vanilla extract and beat until its mixed. Alternately add the flour and milk to this mixture while beating at a medium speed.
In a separate bowl whisk together the egg whites and the cream of tartar. Add this to the above cake batter and beat well until mixed. The batter will look like liquid silk by now..atleast that's how it seemed to me - smooth and silky :)

Pour the cake batter over the the pineapple slices and spread them evenly. Bake in the preheated oven ( 350 degree F ) for about 40 - 45 minutes. Once the top of the cake has browned check the cake to see if a toothpick through the center comes out clean. If it does then remove from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes.
Place a serving plate over the cake and carefully invert the cake. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Note: top with cherries for added colour

bon appetit !!!

Pineapple Upsidedown Cake

Friday, December 10, 2010

Coconut Macaroons

The day called for something tropical and I couldn't think of anything better to try than baking up a batch of coconut macaroons to munch on. I have been meaning to try them out since I always buy them from the bakery down the road. This time around I simply stuck with the directions behind the package. The directions were simple and the results were even better. You could also try dipping a few of them in chocolate.


1 (14 ounce) package sweetened coconut flakes
2/3 cup sugar
6 Tbs flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 egg whites, slightly beaten
1 tsp almond extract


Preheat the oven to 325 F. Mix the coconut, sugar, flour and salt in a bowl. Stir in the egg whites and almond extract until well blended. Drop about a tablespoon of the mixture on to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 
Bake for 20 minutes or until edges of cookies turn golden brown. Remove the baking sheet and cook completely before serving.

Tip: If you like chocolate, dip a few of the macaroons in thick melted chocolate and enjoy.

bon appetit !!!

Coconut Macaroons on FoodistaCoconut Macaroons

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

I am back from a long break from blogging with a healthy breakfast snack. Spending a lot of my evenings and weekends working over the last 2 months, the last thing I needed was to sit in front of another laptop. Of course the long work hours did not keep me away from my kitchen though. Its one of those things that keeps me sane amid dealing with deadlines.

Breakfast is a meal that I find both interesting and boring. Boring for most part because it requires me to actually do something first thing in the morning instead of lazying around. That's why I am so fond of things that I can make the day before. I am not a big fan of oatmeal and definitely not when warm milk is involved. Since I had some bananas that were ripe and crying out to me to do something with them instead of letting them rot, I thought of trying out these cookies that I once saw on the allrecipes app.

They seemed simple and easy to put together and without any butter or sugar sounded healthy to me. They turned out pretty good and it isn't very sweet. You will notice that the only sweetness is from the bananas and the dates. So if you are somebody who absolutely needs a sugar rush then go ahead and add some. I prefer mine without any added sugar. You could also try adding some chopped nuts along with the dates.

These cookies do not keep well for long. So make smaller batches and be sure to refrigerate them once cooled.


3 ripe bananas
2 cups oats
1 cup chopped dates
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.
Mash the bananas in a bowl and add the other ingredients to it and mix well.
You could also add walnuts/almonds or anything else you like if you want some bite to these cookies. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and drop 12 scoops of the prepared mix on to the sheet. Shape the cookies to the size and shape you want, these will bake just as they are without spreading.

Bake the cookies for about 25 -30 minutes. At the 20 minute mark, watch them and once the tops turn slightly brown turn off the oven and remove the cookies. Let it cool for about 10 minutes.

Note: The above proportions makes about 12 good sized cookies.

bon appetit !!!
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