Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chocolate Marble Cake

Chocolate Marble Cake

Welcome back my friends, after a long gap. I am now in the middle of something.  So my blogging time has very much come down. Many of my dishes' picture sit idle in my camera. I don't know when they will see some light.  I had a couple of request from my  Facebook friends for the birthday cake's recipe which I posted on FB. This cake I made for my eldest son's 5th  Birthday. This time I was double-minded about baking a cake. Because his Birthday was on a weekday and I had to drop and pick him and my husband at school & office and besides he wanted his favorite "Pineapple Payasam" and as I told you before, I am in the middle of something. So my mind was like " To bake or not to bake". 

Many of my friends and family asked me which cake am I going to bake this time. And my neighbor was telling me that her kids started discussing the theme of this years Birthday cake that I am going to bake for the Bday party. And I told her this time it is  Baskin Robins Spiderman Ice cream cake and no baking on my part. But, On the Birthday morning he woke up, he sat on the bed and started recalling his last year's  Thomas Train birthday cake I made for him. My heart began to feel guilty. 

And I ended up baking this cake. This is an easy cake and I didn't spend time for frosting it, though I made a chocolate spread to pour over top of the cake. I began to scratch my brains for an easy theme that  I can make it last minute. Then I saw his ball lying down. " Eureka !!!". Coincidentally this year his school bag and his pajama day's pajama also was of this same theme. I made the birthday banner, Soccer ball and American football with fondant Icing and my son wanted to try his hands also in decoration. He made the 2 red balls and white ball with Fondant Icing.

Prep: 20 min
Baking time: 40-45 min

1) All purpose flour (Maida) - 1 3/4 cups
2) Baking powder - 2 Tsp
3) Salt - 1/4 Tsp
4) Whole Milk Yogurt  - 2/3 cup
5) Whole Milk - 2 Tbsp
6) Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp
7) Unsalted Butter ( At room temp) - 1 stick (8 tbsp)
8) Sugar - 3/4 cup
9) Eggs - 3 large ( At room temp)
10)Hershey's cocoa powder (or any  Unsweetened cocoa powder) - 1/4 cup
11) Instant coffee powder - 1 Tsp
12) Boiling water - 1/4 cup


  • Pre-heat oven to 325 F. Butter a 9" cake pan. 
  • In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In another bowl whisk yogurt, milk and vanilla extract.
  • In a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat well after each addition and scrape the sides. Reduce the speed to low. Add half of the flour mixture and then yogurt mixture, then remaining flour mixture. Beat well after each addition. Remove about 1 cup of batter ( 1/3 of batter) to a bowl.
  • Pour 1/4 cup boiling water into a small bowl. Mix Cocoa and coffee powder until smooth. Cool it slightly. Stir it to the 'one cup' batter set aside.
  • Alternate spoonful of vanilla and chocolate batters in the cake pan. Draw a knife through batters for the marbled effect. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40-45 min. Cool on wire rack.

For Chocolate Spread:
   1) Semi-sweet chocolate chips- 1/2 cup
   2)  Heavy Cream -1/4 cup

  • Place Heavy cream in a microwavable bowl. Microwave until hot, about 20-25 sec. Melt chocolate chips either in a microwave or by double boiling. Add it to heavy cream and stir until smooth. Let it cool to warm room temp. (Icing should still be pourable. ) You can drizzle this over the cake if you desire and add some sprinkles. Let the cake stand until icing has set.
Source: All You Magazine

Friday, August 24, 2012

Chicken Hearts Fry

Chicken Hearts ..... As a kid it was something I used to search in chicken curries. When my parents finds one they used to give that to me. Now I follow the same tradition. My son loves it and asks me while I cook. "Amma, did you get it?.

While I was visiting my brother- in-law, my Co-sister made a curry with "Chicken hearts"with Puttu for breakfast. It was so delicious. We all loved it. We had lots and lots of chicken heart without searching it in chicken curry. I told my husband that we should buy it from there and take it home. Till then I was not aware that it was available in our local store too. So the next time we saw "Chicken Hearts" sitting in our store we brought it. And my son kept on reminding me about making it. He even took care of his younger brother while I made this dish. I heard him telling his little brother, "Chettan (Big brother in malayalam) is really hungry and Amma is making curry. So don't disturb her."

Well, here goes the recipe.


1)Chicken Heart - 2 Lb

2) Big Onions - 3 (Sliced)
3)Garlic - 10-12 cloves (Chopped)
4) Ginger - 1 piece (Chopped)
5) Green Chilly - 2
6) Curry leaves

7)Chilly powder - 2 Tsp
8) Coriander powder - 3 Tsp
9) Turmeric powder - 1 Tsp
10) Perinjeerakam Powder(Fennel Seeds Powder ) - 1 tsp
11) Garam Masala - 3 Tsp


  • Add oil to a pan. When it is hot add the Onions. Ginger, Garlic and Green Chillies. Saute. 
  • When  onions turns brown add curry leaves. Saute. Add the masalas - Chilly powder, Coriander Powder, Turmeric Powder, Perinjeerakam Powder, Garam Masala Powder. Saute well.
  • When the aroma of masalas roasted comes, add the chicken hearts and salt. Saute and cover the pan with lid.
  • Remove the lid when the heart is cooked. And stir occasionally till the water dries up.

Source: My own recipe

Monday, August 13, 2012

Uppu Manga (Green Mango in Brine)

UPPUMANGA ( Tender Mango in brine)

Uppumanga and Kanji (cooked rice without draining the water) is one of my favorite combinations. It gives me immense satisfaction to come back home after a trip and have some kanji and uppumanga after eating all the fast food during the journey. A typical Keralite can understand what I meant here. I love to try varieties of food and restaurants. But some of our old favorites will always remain somewhere .

Some dishes bring back to us the memories of some people and places. I called my mom to ask about the procedure of "making uppumanga " when I got some mangoes from our local Indian stores. It reminded her of her father who passed away recently. Last year he gave her mangoes for her 'uppumanga'. He brought mangoes for her too while he made it for him. (Her mother is no more. Even when my grandmother was there, he used to help around the kitchen.) She told me that after his death when they had food there at his place the 'uppumanga' he made was still there. While I had my uppumanga I also remembered him and the last trip we had with him during my last visit to India. We visited my mother's sister and my late grand mother's brothers and went to a historical church and he was talking a lot throughout the journey.  He was a person who never disturb others for his needs and traveled in bus and used to walk while he can easily afford a car. My dad was always ready to help him but he tried his best to not to disturb him. How can people be so simple? His father was somebody who owned 2 boats at a time when owning  even one boat was a luxury in that area. For us the young generation walking even 1 mile is not easy. We drive a car or catch a bus or auto to the nearest  office or college and jog in the evenings to burn calories. Salute the old generation !

1)Green Mango - 28 mangoes ( 4 Lb)
2)Salt -   9 tbsp + 3 tbsp+ 3tbsp+ extra if you need
3)Boiled and cooled water (brought to room temp) - Enough to cover mangoes

Note: Salt measurement are mine. I couldn't understand my mothers 'kg' measurement of salt and I didn't have a kitchen scale to measure salt. I had only spoons and cups to measure. But it came out well.)



  • Boil water and keep it aside to cool and come to room temperature.
  • Rinse well the mangoes and wipe off the water with a  clean towel. 
  • Add Mangoes in a clean jar or bharani.
  • Add salt. ( I added 3 tbsp salt after every 10 mangoes)
  • Add water enough to cover the mangoes.
  • Cover the jar with a clean cotton cloth and tie it securely with kitchen twine.
  • Close with the lid.
  • Keep it in a dry and dark area. (I kept it in my lower cupboard in the kitchen. Traditionally it is kept in Arra or nilavara. My mom keeps it in Arra.) 
Optional step:
         After one week I opened the jar and added 3 tbsp of salt. Again I tied it securely with cotton cloth. Then 2 weeks after that I again added 3 more tbsp. Then after two week I checked the salt in the water and added some more. You can add the salt all at once or follow this step.

I stored it for 3 months and opened and used after the 3rd month. The amount of time depends on quantity, quality and tenderness of mangoes. It can vary from one months to 3-4 months.

Arra- It is a room common in old ancestral houses in Kerala and is used to store surplus food , wine , pickles and other things. The room has no windows and is made of wood. It is dark inside without light.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Looking Forward to Lunch: Frugal Brown Bag Recipes

Guest post from Kate Sorenson of Coupon Cravings

Looking Forward to Lunch: Frugal Brown Bag Recipes

Brown bagging it for lunch, instead of getting take-out or eating at a restaurant, is one of the easiest ways to save thousands of dollars per year. Packing your own lunch means getting to control the price of your meals. You can watch out for sales at the grocery stores and pay attention to coupons for different ingredients. If there’s a special on ham, you can save money by planning to bring ham sandwiches for lunch that week.

Zen Habits calculates that bringing your own lunch from home costs only $1.00-$3.00 per meal, while eating at a restaurant can cost $10-$15 per meal. This adds up to over $3,000 a year of unnecessary spending!

Here are many of the other benefits of brown bagging:

  • Homemade lunches are healthier than high-calorie, over-processed restaurant meals.
  • Homemade lunches can often be tastier than those from restaurants.
  • By staying in and working through lunch, you may get to leave early at the end of the day.

For some great inspiration for making brown bag lunches more exciting, easy, and low-cost consider some of the following ideas:

Freeze Your Food
An interesting and timesaving idea is to freeze sandwiches in large batches that will keep for 1-3 months in the freezer. The benefits of freezing sandwiches include: saving money, saving time by making large batches at once, using leftovers, and ensuring healthy food by controlling the ingredients. Just be sure when freezing sandwiches to keep in mind the types of ingredients that freeze well:
·   Peanut butter
·   Tuna fish or salmon
·   Most meats such as roast beef, chicken and turkey
·   Hard and semi-hard cheeses, such as Swiss or Cheddar

Lunch Ideas
Try some of these meal ideas time you’re packing your lunch:
·   Burritos – use simple ingredients such canned beans, cooked chicken, lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa, onions and/or peppers. Then roll them into whole wheat tortillas.
·   Subs - use sub rolls or pita and fill them with tuna, hummus, peanut butter, or sandwich meats. Try adding interesting crunchy ingredients like celery, shredded carrots, cucumber, or lettuce.
·   Pizza – use pre-made crust, sauce and cheese. To make it a little healthier, don’t forget to add veggies.
·   Remember to bring your own beverages from home for extra savings.

Harness Your Leftovers
For super easy and frugal lunches, Food and Fitness suggests using leftovers from dinner for your lunch. Some suggestions for using leftovers wisely include:
·   Using leftover chili to top a baked potato or put in a “sloppy Joe” sandwich.
·   Adding leftover vegetables to make a salad, soup or even omelet.
·   Cook a whole chicken and freeze leftovers in single portion sizes.
·   Use cereal crumbs as a yogurt or oatmeal topping or in place of flour in muffins and cookies.

Using these frugal and tasty tips for brown bag lunches will make overspending during your lunch hour a thing of the past.

This is a guest post from Kate Sorenson of Coupon Cravings, a site with 30k+ Facebook Fans and over 12,000 Twitter followers. Thanks, Kate Sorenson and Elizabeth Baker for contributing this article to my blog. visit

Monday, June 18, 2012

Avocado Shake

Hi Guys! Since it is summer here I thought that I will share a nutritious stomach filling and yummy 'Shake' with you.... I was not a big fan of Avocado but this 'shake' shaked my attitude towards it. Now I try different varieties of avocado dishes. 

Avocado's nutritional value is numerous. It helps to raise the "good" cholesterol level in the blood. It also helps in the treatment of Hypertension and diabetics.Avocado is rich in Vitamins B, K and E and are a good source of monounsaturated fat. 

Total Time - 5 min    To serve- 2 glass


Avocado - 1
Vanilla Ice- cream - 2 scoop
Cold Milk- 1 cup
Sugar- 2-3 Tbsp
Vanilla essence- 1-2 drops

  • Peel off the skin and remove the seed of Avocado.
  • Take a Blender/ Mixie and blend all the ingredients.
  • Add vanilla essence and Serve IMMEDIATELY .
Source: Lekhachechi

Monday, April 23, 2012

Puttu (Steamed Cake)

Puttu (Steamed Cake)- A South Indian Main Breakfast dish with steamed ground rice layered with grated coconut. It is served with any one of the following- Chickpea Curry (Kadala Curry), Banana, Beef Ullathiyathu, Meen peera pattichathu (Fish in grated coconut and kukum).... etc

Total Time taken: 15 mins           Serve- 1-2 persons

Puttu powder/ Puttu Podi (Rice powder) - 1 cup
Water - approximately or below 1/2 cup
Grated coconut - approxi 1/2 cup
Salt- to taste


  • In a mixing bowl, take puttu powder/ podi. Add one handful of grated coconut. Add salt. Mix well with hands. Add water little by little till the puttu podi is wet. Mix well with hands. Make a disc/ ball ( see the step by step pic below) with hands. If the disc/ ball didn't break and holds by itself then that means puttu podi is wet enough.
  • Keep it aside for 5-10 min. ( I usually skip this step)
  • Take some water in Puttu Maker's bottom part (Puttu Kudam). And let it boil. Fix Puttu Kutti (the Cylinderical Pipe) over that.
  • When the boiling sound comes, take the Puttu Kutti (the cylinderical Pipe). Check whether the lower lid is secured properly. 
  • Add 2 tbsp of grated coconut. Add puttu podi on the top of it. When it reaches about the middle of Puttu Kutti , add 2 tbsp of grated coconut again. Add puttu podi till it reaches the top of Puttu Kutti. Add 2 tbsp of grated coconut. Close with top lid.
  • Steam it in Puttu Maker for 5-7 minutes. Take the 'Puttu Kutti' out from' puttu kudam'.
  • Take a long stick or handle of long spoon and take out the puttu by pressing it slowly on the lower lid.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Almond Milk Pudding - Easy & Yummy !

When I made this pudding for the first time, it was hard as a rock. I was at my husband's place and we were having some guest. Any way the other two dishes that I made that day (Duck roast, Pressure cooked sardine) came out well. So the embarrassment caused by this pudding was somewhat balanced.  I got this recipe from a magazine. In that magazine they were asking to add 100 gm of china grass. I thought it was too much and added 20 gm. Even 20 gm was too much. So this time I made with approximately  5gm- 10gm (see the 2nd pic). I just took little bit 'china grass' in my hand and soaked it in water. The Almond Milk pudding came out perfectly well this time. I made it for my son's play-date. His friends' mothers as well as my kids loved it.So here goes a super easy pudding recipe. And it is Yummy, Yummy, Yummy ! Excellent blend of richness of condensed milk and almonds... 

Total Time Taken- 30 min + Chilling Time
Serve - 16 squares

1)Grind Almond - 1/4-1/2 Cup
2) China grass / Agar Agar - Approx 5-10 gm
3) Milk - 1 litre
4) Condensed Milk (Milkmaid) - 1 tin (14 0z)
4) Sugar - 5 tbsp
5) Saffron- 1 pinch

  • Soak china grass in water for 10 min.
  • Meanwhile boil the milk. When the milk comes to boil, add the drained china grass. Stir it occasionally. When the china grass melts completely add milkmaid, almond and sugar. Stir it occasionally until it is thick.
  • Add saffron at the end. Stir for 1 minute and switch off the flame.
  • Pour it into a glass dish and when it cools down, refrigerate.
  • When it is set, decorate with almonds. Cut it into squares and serve.
Adapted from a recipe published in Vanitha Magazine.