Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Fruit peel Cake (non-alcoholic version)

Hello readers :-)

This cake has been my favorite out of all the cakes I have eaten. It has a lot of childhood attachments as I mentioned in one of my older post about Fruit Cake. I have adapted the recipe from the same blog as I did in the previous post, but this time I changed things up a little bit, by avoiding alcohol altogether as I have a very interested little one too :-) I soaked the store bought fruit peels in apple cider (what better says "winter" and "holidays" than a warm cup of apple cider eh? :-)
And since fruit juice is not a preservative unlike alcohol (that's why it's used in fruit cakes, to preserve it, and add shelf life to it), I soaked the fruits overnight at room temperature, and then refrigerated for another day. By then the mixture was well soaked and the apple cider  didn't really even smell like apple cider, it smelled almost the way it smells when the fruits were soaked in alcohol. So I was relieved.

Also I used up the extra caramel sauce as a glaze so that the cake soaks it up and gets even more tasty. (I believe a good caramel sauce is the key to this cake`s "oomph" factor :-)

So here is the recipe with the slight modifications I made:
Recipe adapted: Mishmash

For the batter:

1 ½ cups All-purpose flour/Maida (measure & sift)
¾ cup butter at room temperature ( 1 ½ sticks)
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
3 large egg yolks at room temperature
3 large egg whites at room temperature
1 tsp baking powder
2tbsp wine
1 tsp vanilla extract/essence

To soak :

2 cups candied fruit peels (I used the store bought variety)
Note: the original recipe calls for nuts, but I haven't used any.
1 ½ -2 cups apple cider, or enough to soak all the fruits

For making caramel:

½ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp water + ½ cup water

Spice powders to be added:

¼ tsp powdered nutmeg
¼ tsp powdered cinnamon
¼ tsp powdered cloves
¼ tsp powdered cardamom

How I made it:

Soaking: The fruit peels needs to be soaked in apple cider overnight, and then refrigerated for a day so that it gets soaked for two days.

Step 1: Preparing caramel

Add sugar and 1 tablespoon water to a pan on medium high heat. Swirl, but not stir the pan , until all sugar dissolves, then bubbles, and slowly changes color to amber brown. This process might take around 15 minutes.Take it off fire and keeping the pan in a sink, slowly add 1/2 cup water. Be very careful as the bubbling caramel can cause serious burns if not handled well. The caramel should be completly cooled before it's added to the cake batter.

Step 2 : For the cake batter

Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
Sift the flour, baking powder, spice powder, and keep it aside.
Mix the butter and sugar well until well incorporated. Beat the eggs and vanilla together until it's just well mixed, don't beat the egg told hvg lest it loses it's airiness. Gold this egg mixture with butter sugar mixture. Fold in half cup of caramel. Then gradually fold in the flour mix, little by little.

Step 3: Adding the fruits

Drain the fruit peels. Reserve 1/2 cup of fruit peels, and fold in the rest to the batter. Pour the batter into greased and floured parchment paper lined cake pan (I am not good with cake pan measurements, dimensions.. So please excuse my words when I say, "make a eyeball estimate of the batter and determine whether your cake pan would be good enough to hold batter , in a way that it leaves sufficient space for the batter to rise "). Toss the remaining fruits in two tablespoona of flour lightly and add it to the top of the batter in the pan. Gently level it with the flat end of spoon.

Step 4: Bake cake in oven for one hour or until toothpick comes clean. Take out the cake from oven . Let it cool a bit before inverting it onto another plate. Drizzle the remaining caramel over the warm cake. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and let it remain on kitchen counter overnight. Since this cake has a shelf life of two or three days (ie, if it's lucky enough to be spared by oggling family/friends ;-) )
it needs to be consumed within a short time, which would not be an issue with :-P

I was so glad this non alcoholic version came out great, that Iam planning on making another one shortly !

Wish you all a merry Christmas :-)


Monday, December 3, 2012

Carrot thoran (Carrottache sukke)

Hello reader :-)

How are you doing? :-) I am trying to incorporate as much veggies into our diet for the sake of our toddler :-) , who by the way is not that picky, but it's just certain days every month he goes on a food strike against almost everything ! :-) ....until he feels a real hunger pang and then nothing can stop him from eating :-D

Anyways, this dish Carrot thoran (aka `Carrot sukke` in Konkani ) is a favorite of everyone :-) , and since "somebody" in our house really loves carrot juice :-) , I decided to experiment with doing something different with carrots. Here is the recipe :

Carrots chopped finely (I used my food processor) : 2 cups
Garlic crushed lightly and minced : 5 cloves
Grated coconut : 3/4 cup
Cumin : 1 tablespoon
Chilli powder : 1/2 teaspoon
Hing (asafoetida) : 1/4 teaspoon
Turmeric powder : 1/4 teaspoon
Coconut oil : 2 tablespoons
Mustard seeds: 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves : 4, 5
Urad dal : 1 teaspoon

How it's done :
Mix everything except oil, mustard seeds, urad dal, and curry leaves until
everything is mixed and coated well. Make sure to mix everything as if you are kneading a dough, but not too much, just enough to get everything a bit softer, maybe "knead" for a minute :-) . This is my mother`s tip. She tells that this way is to get the coconut all mellow, so that it releases it's flavors when cooked. Now add salt and mix it well again. Hear the oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds followed by urad dal , hing, and curry leaves. Add the carrot coconut mix, stir well, reduce flame, and keep it covered to cook, until carrot softens. Switch off flame. Serve as a accompaniment with steaming hot rice, and dal :-)

Happy holidays

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thai Basil Fried Rice

Hello readers :-)

How are you all doing with your Christmas preparation? Being in US, I always look forward to the holiday season, not just for the obvious reasons, but also because I like the atmosphere it creates among people,
 and the constant Christmas carols that you get to hear almost everywhere .

I am excited about the decision made by our nearest grocery store to include more Asian food produce in their produce isle :-)  especially ever since I saw the big bundle of Curry Leaves :-) though they cost a bit more, it's nothing compared to the long distance tedious monthly trips we make with a cranky toddler to the "nearest" (Not) Indian grocery store.

So needless to say, I was excited to find a bunch of Thai Basil leaves in the same store, ..... I was searching for these leaves from a long time , and to pay $ 3.00 for an 'ok' amount didn't make me think twice, as I had always seen them not any less than $5.00 for a scanty amount of wilted leaves.
We love Thai food which we usually do a take out from the nearest Thai restaurant, but were disappointed when the menu and quality and quantity of food changed along with their management. Hence I have been on a mission to recreate some of our favorite dishes from that restaurant. Thai Basil Fried Rice is one of many and though we usually order the Thai Basil Chicken Fried rice, here I have made the non-meat version.

I was searching through various recipes online and finally landed upon this blog, I followed it and omitted certain ingredients as it was too spicy for my son's palette . Here goes the recipe:


1 cup cooked Basmati/Jasmine rice
1/2 cup Onions Sliced
1/2 cup Carrot strips
1/2 cup Sliced Green Pepper (I did not have it in my pantry, hence I skipped it)
1/4 cup frozen peas
5 cloves Garlic slightly crushed and then minced
1 tablespoon thinly sliced Ginger
1/4 cup Olive oil + 2 tablespoons Chilli oil

3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon Brown sugar
Salt: a pinch to flavor the oil initially
Thai Basil leaves: 1 cup

How I made it:

  1. Heat a frying pan with oil
  2. Saute the garlic and ginger for a few seconds until it gives a nice aroma
  3. Next saute the onions, carrots, and Pepper and saute until veggies are tender
  4. Add a pinch of salt and saute it again for a few seconds
  5. Next add the frozen peas and saute for 2-3 minutes until peas are cooked
  6. Follow it with the cooked rice, the soy sauce, Sriracha hot sauce and stir well to combine and coat everything
  7. Then add the Brown sugar which according to the blog I referred , is the ingredient that adds the slightly sweet lingering taste. You do not want to substitute it or skip it , I tell you :)
  8. Stir for 2 minutes and then towards the end add the Basil leaves and stir well again until the leaves wilt in the pan along with everything. 
There you go: Almost close to the restaurant style Thai Basil Fried Rice ready :-)

Have a great day :-)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pal Payasam made with Payasam rice


Hello dear readers :-)

How are you all??...Here I have been very busy with my busy body son what  can be better
ry keen to blog along with me ;-) , and by 'along with me I meant, i have to share the same keyboard with him, so pardon me if this post would have quite a few word errors or spelling errors :p

Since the festive season of Diwali is approaching, I thought about starting with a sweet dish andwhat canned better than  can be better than "Pal Payasam" ("Milk-Rice Pudding" :-) ? So without further delay, here is the recipe:

This is the time consuming method (but the more delicious way of doing it):

I used the following ingredients:

3/4 cup Payasam rice soaked in enough water for atleast 10 hours (you can find this in any Indian store, its mostly a distant cousin of Rose Matta rice)- I recommend using this rice instead of the basmati/regular white rice as it indeed brngs out a delicious rosy hue and an authentic taste that white rice might lack in. But if you can't find ,white rice would indeed be a good substitute)

2 cups whole milk

2 cups water

3/4 cup sugar

As garnish:

Whole cashews


Cardomom pods crushed lightly

Pinch of grated Nutmeg


How I made it:

In a deep bottom vessel (I made it in a claypot we recently bought back from our India trip), add the drained rice, milk, water, and the cardomom. Bring it to a boil, then let it simmer until the rice is cooked thoroughly. Keep an eye on the milk, and stir it to prevent boiling over or getting burnt. Let the heat do its job of making the rice absorb all the liquid. Now mash the cooked rice a bit. lower the heat and add the sugar. It will make the dried up cooked rice watery again, so dont add any extra liquid at this point. You may add a bit of milk if you prefer the pudding a bit runnier. Add a pinch of grated nutmeg.Add a tablespoon of ghee (clarified butter) to a small pan and add the raisins and on a very low fire, saute until all the raisins have plumped up. Pour this into the payasam. Serve cold or hot

Have a Happy and Safe Diwali everyone !! :-)


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