Saturday, September 25, 2010

Chocolate Bundt Cake

Chocolate Cakes have a special place in everyone's heart. When I think of chocolate cakes, I think of Ambrosia (a Bakery in Trivandrum) whom I think has one of the best chocolate cakes and one of my friend's mom, who used to make awesome chocolate cakes. This is the kind of chocolate cake that is not too sweet with a coffee flavor and is best eaten with the plain vanilla ice cream. I have been looking for the perfect recipe for a long time and happened to see one in Bharathy's blog - Spicy Chilly. The picture looked awesome and decided to try it out. That was a wise decision and I have been making this for sometime now in different forms - cup cakes, round cakes, etc. 

This time I decided to try it out with the Bundt pan that I got from CSN stores as part of a review for them.  As mentioned in my prior CSN Store review, if you are looking for a specific cooking tool/gadget that you cannot find anywhere else, try CSN stores as they offer a wide range of products from twin beds to cookwares

Now moving on to the Chocolate Bundt Cake recipe, I have made very slight changes to the measurement and here is my version:

Makes a 12" Bundt Cake
All Purpose Flour (Maida)- 1 cup
Milk Powder- 1 tbsp (heaped)
Cocoa Powder- 4 tbsp (heaped)
Baking Soda- 1/2 tsp
Butter- 11 tbsp (145 gms)
Sugar- 1 cup
Egg- 4
Coffee Powder- 1 tbsp (heaped)
Yogurt- 4 tbsp
Vanilla Essence- 1 tsp
Salt- 1/4 tsp

1. Sieve the Flour, Cocoa Powder, Baking Soda, Milk Powder and Salt at least 4 times to make sure that the dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed well. I used Hershey's Cocoa powder. Avoid salt if using salted butter.
2. Beat the sugar and butter well until they become smooth.
3. Add the eggs to the butter and beat well for 2-3 minutes.
4. To this, add vanilla essence and coffee powder (make sure that you are using fine coffee powder; if they are in the crystal form, powder it before you add it) and mix well.
5. Now add the yogurt to the batter and blend well. When adding the yogurt, make sure there are no lumps.
6. Now slowly fold in the flour mixture to the batter and mix well.
7. Grease a 12" bundt pan with butter and pour in the batter.
8. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degree F for 30-35 minutes.

This cake is best eaten with a scoop of plain vanilla ice cream - yum! It is great on its own as well! Thanks Bharathy for sharing this recipe.

Sending this to "Virtual Party - Chocolaty Dreams" Event hosted by Shabitha.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Kinnathappam - A Traditional Dessert

Kinnathappam is another one of the Eid specials and is a traditional dessert made especially during special occasions. It is a soft, slightly wiggly but firm, all white with specks of cumin, cardamom flavored, melt in your mouth kinda dessert. The history of Kinnathappam is similar to Paalaada, with a South Tamil Nadu Origin and mostly made by Muslim population in South Tamil Nadu/Trivandrum regions. The name Kinnathappam is because it is made in a "Kinnam" meaning plate. As a kid, I used to drink the batter for the Kinnathappam as much as or even a little more than I actually ate the Kinnathappam. It is one of the best desserts ever!

Makes two 9" Plates
Sona Masoori Rice- 1 cup (or any good variety of raw rice)
Water- 2 cups
Eggs- 2
Coconut Milk- 2 cups (thick)
Salt- 1/4 tsp
Sugar- 1 cup
Cardamom- 4 pods (powdered)
Ghee- 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds- 1/2 tsp

1. Soak the rice for at least 3 hours.
2. Grind the rice into a fine paste with water as needed using a grinder. When grinding is done, add the remaining water as mentioned in the recipe. Total quantity of water used should be 2 cups.
3. Now using a muslin cloth/cheese cloth or a fine mesh strainer, strain the batter.
4. In a mixer beat the eggs, sugar, salt and coconut milk and blend everything together.
5. Add this to the rice batter together with the powdered cardamom. The consistency of the batter would be watery.
6. Heat water in a steamer and place a Steel Plate or Cake Pan in the steamer. I used a 9" cake pan, as I didn't have a steel plate, which is traditionally used.
7. When the steam starts to come, add 1/2 tsp of ghee to the pan.
8. Add 1/4 tsp of cumin to the pan, when the ghee starts to melt. Leave the pan in the steamer for a minute for the cumin to slightly coat with the ghee.
9. Take the Pan out of the steamer and pour half of the thoroughly mixed batter to the pan, filling around 1 1/4 inch height.
10. Close the pan with an aluminium foil and transfer it back to the steamer and close the steamer.
11. Let it steam for 25-30 minutes.
12. Take the pan out of the steamer and let it cool a bit. Cut into desired shapes and serve. Repeat the same with the remaining batter to make another plate of Kinnathappam.

Note:- It would be ideal to grind in a grinder than a mixie/mixer, if you want the Kinnathappam to be soft. My first attempt was using a mixer and did not come out that soft. So this time I used the grinder. If you do not have a grinder, try using cold water to grind in a mixer (that's a tip from my mom).

The taste is enhanced when Kinnathappam is served chilled. You could avoid the cumin, if you do not like its taste in a dessert.  And when making this, do not forget to taste the batter before steaming it up! You do not want to miss the taste of the batter either :-)

Update:- This recipe was featured as one of the "30 Best Recipes of 2010":

Monday, September 13, 2010

Paalaada - Yummy Rice Crepes

Paalaada is one of the specialty dishes that is made back home during Eid and other special occasions. It is as thin as a crepe paper and just melts in your mouth. Paalaada is so thin that it is folded to some special shape that makes it easy to handle. The name may be cause it is as thin as the skin that forms on heated milk which is called "Paal - Aada" in Tamil/Malayalam. Paalaada is basically a South Tamil Nadu Muslim recipe and being nearer to the border is also made by Muslims in Trivandrum area as well - that is the history that I know of.

Back home, we would not even let Mom fold that first Paalaada that comes out of the pan, as it is definitely for tasting. I still follow that tradition :-) and eat the first one that comes out sharing with my son. But the only thing is that you find it hard to stop with that first one!

Makes 40 - 45 (Serves 5-6 people)
Basmati Rice- 2 cups (or any variety of raw rice)
Water- 2-3/4 cups
Eggs- 2
Coconut Milk- 1-1/2 cup (thick)
Salt- to taste

1. Soak the rice for at least 3 hours.
2. Grind the rice into a fine paste with water as needed. Do not exceed the total quantity of water mentioned in the recipe.
3. Add eggs and coconut milk also to the mixer and blend everything together.
4. Add any remaining water to the batter. The consistency that you need is really very watery.
5. Add Salt as needed. Your batter is now ready to be prepared.
6. Heat a 10" or 12" skillet at slightly higher than medium flame.
7. When the skillet is hot, pour a ladle full of batter (a little less than 1/4 cup) into the skillet and immediately rotate the ladle to spread the batter. Watch attached video (My first attempt at the video, rather R's!).

8. Wait for 30-40 seconds until the sides of the paalaada start to come off the pan. You could either use your hands to take it out or turn the skillet upside down on an aluminium foil or a plate to take the paalaada off the skillet.
9. Paalaada is now ready to be folded in any shape you need. I have shown one method in the video or you could fold it into 4.

This goes perfect with any spicy naadan preparations like Mutton Curry, Beef Curry, Chicken Roast, or any vegetable curries. Or as mentioned in the start of the post, eat it without any curries! It is definitely a treat for your taste buds and a must try!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chicken Kurma

Kurma or Korma is told to have its origin from Mughalai cuisine. It consists of a creamy sauce which is made using either milk cream, coconut milk, a paste of ground nuts or a varying combination of these. This curry is highly flavored with a mixture of spices that you cannot just keep away from it because of its aroma. Kurma is usually not very spicy, especially due to the ingredients that gets added to make it creamy. There are a lot of versions of Korma available all over and the one I have here is a Malabar Muslim version which I came across in the book "The Suriani Kitchen" by Lathika George.

Serves around 10-12 people
Oil- 2 tbsp
Onion- 2 (1 lbs - Chopped)
Ginger Paste- 1 tbsp
Garlic Paste- 2 tbsp
Tomato- 2 (0.4lbs - Chopped)
Turmeric Powder- 1 tsp
Chicken - 3 lbs
Curry Leaves- 1 twig
Salt- to taste
Water- 3 cups

For Coconut paste
Cashew- 1/2 cup (chopped)
Grated Coconut- 1 cup
Green Chilly- 5
Poppy Seed- 1 tbsp
Water- 3/4 cup

For Spice Powder
Cardamom- 4
Cloves- 5
Cinnamon- 1 - 2" stick
Fennel- 1 tsp

1. Dry roast the spices in a pan and grind to make the spice powder.
2. Make the coconut paste by grinding all the mentioned ingredients into a fine paste.
3. Heat the oil (I used coconut oil to give it that traditional Kerala taste and flavor) and saute the onions until transparent.
4. Add the ginger and garlic paste and saute until the raw smell is gone.
5. Add the tomato and turmeric powder and saute for 2-3 minutes.
6. Add the ground coconut paste and saute for 3-4 minutes.
7. Add the spice powder and mix well.
8. Add the chicken and salt and mix well to make sure that the chicken pieces are coated with the gravy.
9. Add water and let it cook in a slow fire until the chicken is done.
10. Garnish with curry leaves and serve.

This is a perfect accompaniment with Kerala Parotta, Appam and Chappathi.
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