Sep 26, 2015

Sunday style Chicken Curry...a taste of the Past!

Food and nostalgia go hand in hand together.Just the smell wafting from the kitchen is transporting me to those childhood Sundays when my Bappa ( father) would religiously leave the house early in the morning with a bag to the fresh produce market to grab the best,fleshy,tender chicken and to avoid the long queue at the butchers.In his opinion the more the crowd at the butchers the less wasthe chance to get good quality meat.

With the Mahabharata blaring in the TV set in the drawing room my mom would marinate it with curd and spices, to be cooked in an hour. It's funny how nostalgia clouds the mind.The mere sight of the spicy, colourful,bubbling chicken curry on the stove is all that's needed to recall positive, childhood associations you would rather hold on to.Every Odiya household had a chicken or mutton curry sizzling in their pots on Sundays for their larger than life Sunday lunch....infact I call it Sunday style Chicken Curry.

The nostalgia inducing chicken curry or Kukuda Jhola in Odiya is a rich, spicy gravy with big chunks of potatoes and curry cut chicken.It tastes best when pre marinated and the authentic taste comes from the mustard oil used for preparation.Back in our household in Odisha our house help grinds the spices and masalas on a heavy grinding stone called Sila Bata or Sila Pua.I have always felt that 
traditional ways of preparation of recipes imparts much better flavours and taste to the dishes.This 
Jhola goes very well with steamed rice and an Indian salad of cucumber, tomato, onion rings sprinkled with rock salt, pepper and lemon juice.What beautiful, chicken filled, delicious memories!!

You require
1kg Curry cut Chicken
02  Potatoes,cut in big cubes
03 big Onions ,grated or ground
02 tomatoes,chopped
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp cumin seeds or jeera
2 slit green chillies or according to your taste
1 tsp each cumin,coriander and garam masala powder
2 tbsp chopped coriander
2 tbsp mustard oil
3-4 green cardamom or choti elaichi
1 inch pc cinnamon stick or dalchini
3-4 cloves  or laung
2 bay leaves or tej patta
1 1/2 C hot water
For the marinade
3/4 C curd
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp mustard oil
Salt to taste


  • Marinate the chicken with the marinade for at least 1-2 hours before cooking.
  • Heat the mustard oil in a wok till smoking point and lessen the flame.
  • Fry the potatoes in the oil till light brown and keep it aside.
  • Fry the cumin seeds and the whole garam masalas in the remaining oil till it splutters,add the sugar and let it brown.This gives a nice caramelised colour to the curry.
  • Add the grated onion,fry till transparent.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes away.
  • Now add the chopped tomatoes and cook till the oil separates or till the masala attains a nice dark brown colour.
  • Add the marinated chicken to the masala and cook on medium heat for 3-4 mins and then add the potatoes and fry for 1-2 mins more.
  • Sprinkle the coriander and cumin powder and mix thoroughly.
  • Add the hot water to the chicken and potato and cover the wok and cook for 5-7 mins more.
  • Lastly sprinkle the garam masala and give one nice boil to the curry.
  • Turn off the flame and garnish with chopped coriander.
  • Serve with steamed rice and enjoy.

Sep 22, 2015

Carrot Cake with a Cream Cheese Frosting

I have been baking cakes since my college days and those days vanilla cakes were a hit and that too in a basic round electric oven which was ubiquitous to every baking household .I stuck to vanilla and chocolate till I got married and all the time thinking of myself as a baking queen. When I entered into the baking arena with a hand mixer and OTG and few sophisticated foreign author cake books I discovered that there was a world of cakes that I had never ventured into.Since then I haven't looked back,baked cakes after cakes  and have carved a place for myself as an expert baker baking from simple pound cakes to towering layer cakes.My passion for baking has made me bake at 1 in the night too and savouring a warm ,fluffy piece before retiring to bed.There is nothing like the taste of a cake you make in your own kitchen.Measure your ingredients properly, mix it with lots of love and bake it with utmost care ...that's my secret to a perfect cake.Here is my favourite Carrot Cake recipe with a hint of walnuts and cinnamon and a tangy cream cheese frosting.Simple,Sweet,Moist and Flavourful...adapted from Joy of baking.

You Require:-

For the Cake
1 C All purpose flour
1 1/4 C grated raw carrots
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 C fine sugar
1/2 C refine oil( vegetable,canola or safflower)
1/2 C coarsely crushed walnuts
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

For the frosting
2 ounces unsalted butter
4 ounces cream cheese
1 C icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest.


  • Preheat the oven to 180 deg C
  • Line a round 9 inch pan with parchment paper.
  • Whisk flour baking powder,baking soda,cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
  • In a separate bowl with a electric mixer whisk eggs till frothy and then add sugar gradually  till the batter is pale and thick and then beat in the vanilla.
  • Add the flour mix to the batter and mix till incorporated.

  • Add the grated carrots and walnuts and fold in with a spatula.
  • Bake for 25-30 mins or till a toothpick in the centre comes out clean.
  • For the frosting beat the butter with cream cheese with electric beater just until blended.
  • Gradually add sifted icing sugar to the mix and beat on low speed until smooth.
  • Lastly add the vanilla and lemon zest and beat.
  • Spread the frosting on the cool cake and decorate with walnuts and refrigerate the leftovers.

P.S. Always ensure to sift your flour before measuring.

I am sending my entry to Bake of the week held by Helen of Casa Costello.

Casa Costello

Sep 20, 2015

Homemade Apple Sauce

With an abundance of apples in the house and after innumerable batches of Apple Pies and Apple Crumbles finally decided to freeze the apples in the form of sauce so that it can be used later when apples are not in season.Apple Sauce in my household gets used in the form of cakes or in tarts ,a tasty accompaniment with meat dishes or just like that in a bowl with a dollop of Icecream or fresh cream.Apple sauce can be stored in airtight containers in the fridge for 7-8 days and in the freezer for nearly 2 months.Apple cider or Apple juice in the recipe gives a stronger apple flavour to the sauce but it's optional.Once stored the apple sauce has a tendency to settle down with a layer of liquid on top.It just needs a stir before using it.

You Require
6 medium sized Apples ( for 3 cups of Sauce)
3/4C water or Apple cider or Apple juice
2 tbsp Granulated Sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
Ground cinnamon or grated nutmeg


  • Peel and core all the apples and cut them into dices.
  • In a saucepan add the cider or juice or water to the apples and put it on the fire for 15-20 mins on medium heat till the apples are stewed soft and mushy.
  • Check the liquid level in the pot and add more if it's dry and sticking to the sides.
  • Add the sugar and lemon juice and zest and cinnamon( optional) and remove from heat.
  • Purée in a grinder for a smoother texture or mash it with a wooden spoon if you like little chunks of apples in the sauce.
  • Cool,store in bottles and refrigerate.

Sep 16, 2015

A Zebra Cake for my little one

What is the best part about being a mom?The love I receive from my daughters, the hugs and kisses, watching them grow, the giggles and the ring of laughter in the house, the unconditional love, the I love yous and the list is endless.For me cooking their favourite dish or baking a cake for them gives me immense pleasure...seeing the twinkle in their eyes when they gorge on it makes me super happy and satisfied.

And this Zebra pattern cake was baked as a reward for my younger one. A surprise for her in the lunch box was my plan and so it was baked in the night after dinner, after tucking her into the bed.I felt that the swirls could have been more neat nevertheless the pattern in the baked cake was perfect, exactly how I wanted. A eye catching stripy cake and super easy once you know the trick.For this cake I used my marble cake recipe which I follow from Donna Hay ' s Cook Book.
You require

All purpose plain flour   2 1/4 C
Baking powder  2 1/4 tsp
Cocoa powder(sifted)  1/4 C
Castor (superfine) Sugar  1 1/4 C (2 tbsp extra)
Butter (unsalted)   250 g(8 oz)
Eggs  4
Vanilla extract 1 tsp
Milk 1 C(8 fl oz)(1 tbsp extra)


  • Preheat the oven to 170 deg C
  • Place the butter ,sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy.
  • Gradually add the eggs one by one and beat well.Sift the flour and the baking powder over the butter mixture and fold through with the milk alternately.
  • Divide the mixture into two and stir the cocoa powder,extra milk and sugar through one of the mixtures.Make sure both the mixtures consistency should be the same.
  • Grease and line a 10 inch round baking tin with parchment paper  and drop alternate spoonfuls of both the mixtures and you will see concentric circles forming like this.

Bake in a preheated oven for 40-45 mins or till a wooden skewer comes out clean.

This lovely, light, spongy,stripy cake disappeared from my cake platter within minutes and was a hit with my little one and her friends.Enjoyed watching my loved ones devour the labor of my love.

Sep 2, 2015

A peanut butter chocolate mousse pie and a comeback post!

  We all call him DD,the star of our school group.  One and a half years back we all school friends who were miles apart from each other are back together in a whatsapp group and the camaraderie and bonding we share with each other is incredible.Not a single day goes by when we all don't chat with each other sharing our joys and sorrows.Its like as if we all are back in the same old  classroom ...the faces which come to my mind are those teenage faces with the school uniform on...the classroom chatter goes on the whole day...and all credit goes to our star DD who took initiative of getting all the phone nos and binding us back into one crazy bunch after years of  staying apart and not knowing about each other's whereabouts. It's strange how we all manage to take out a little time for each other every single day from our fast paced lives sharing our work routine,spouse management,milestones of our next generation, jokes and some major leg pulling, the nitty gritties of everyday life and kitchen stories too. At the end of a tiring day just  two lines with's like a stress-buster.

And when DD called up to announce his arrival in Goa with family,I took the opportunity to host a dinner for the star himself .It had to be special because DD is special  and every friend would vouch for it.Desserts are his weakness and I still remember the way his eyes lit up when he saw the platter.This decadent ,creamy,chocolaty pie was in my to do list since ages but the calorie measuring streak in me was not allowing me to make it.And this occasion was a perfect excuse to create the chocolate wonder. The pie crust is of chocolate biscuits, the second layer is peanut butter mousse, the third layer is chocolate mousse and finally a glaze of chocolate ganache.

This is a comeback post after a long hiatus ,enjoying the feeling of blogging again.Thanks to all who coaxed me back into the blogging world .

.For the chocolate pie crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (I used Oreos, with the filling scraped out)
  • 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
For The Peanut Butter Mousse: 
  • 2.5 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
For the chocolate Mouse:
  • 2.5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 oz. milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp whole milk 
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
For The Chocolate Glaze:
  • 3 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract  

To make the chocolate pie crust:   In a medium bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs and the melted butter. Stir until well combined. Pat the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Refrigerate the crust while you make the peanut butter mousse. 

To Make The Peanut Butter Mousse:   In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar and mix until well blended. Add the peanut butter and salt and mix until well blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Set bowl aside while whipping the cream.

In a large clean bowl, beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Gently fold 1/2 cup of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture until almost blended. Fold in another 3/4 cup of the whipped cream until completely blended and no white streaks appear. 

Scrape the peanut butter mousse into the prepared pie pan and spread it into an even layer. Refrigerate while you make the chocolate mousse. Cover the remaining whipped cream and refrigerate ready to use. 

To Make The Chocolate Mousse: Place both chocolates in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground. Leave the chocolate in the food processor. 

In a small saucepan, combine the milk and sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves. With the food processor running, pour the hot milk through the feed tube, and process until the chocolate is completely melted. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla extract, and process until well blended. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold 1/4 of the reserved whipped cream into the mousse. Fold in the remaining cream until completely blended. Scrape the mousse onto the peanut butter mousse layer and smooth the top using an offset spatula. Refrigerate the pie while making the chocolate glaze

To Make The Chocolate Glaze: Place finely chopped chocolate into a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil.  Pour cream over the chocolate and let sit for a few minutes. Add the vanilla, then gently stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the glaze is smooth. Do not over mix or you'll incorporate air bubbles. Let the mixture cool at room temperature for 10 minutes before using. 

Pour the cooled glaze over the chocolate mousse layer. Using a small metal spatula, spread the glaze evenly over the top of the pie. Sprinkle the top with peanuts if desired, for garnish, before the glaze sets. 

Chill the pie for at least 2-3 hours before serving. Loosely cover pie and store any leftovers for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. This recipe has been adapted from the book Lick the bowl good by Monica Holland.

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