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Whole Wheat Carrot Cake with Garam Masala

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IMG_20160328_121406.jpgPS: This post has been in the writing since Easter………Yes it has taken me that long! And it isn’t even a spectacular post!

The long weekend of Easter was spent mostly in sloth. Even baths were taken only when I was threatened by the presence of people other than K. Wait….. that’s not true. We went out for a party on Friday night, so I had the said bath and dressed up, even wore lipstick to draw the attention away from my overgrown brows, Saturday I finished class and got home at 3 p.m. Which only left Sunday for sloth, which I think is acceptable.

But my brain works in mysterious ways and told me it was Easter, in another life I would have been up at 4 a.m to attend sunrise service. We’ve come a long way from it and I woke up well after 8 a.m. After realising the day would not have any tedious activities, I started to feel guilty for not doing anything. Chatting back and forth with a new friend, I was prompted to make a carrot cake that she sent me the recipe for. I thought I’ll make it eggless since we were contemplating an evening visit to the in laws who don’t eat eggs, but I was out of yogurt and surprisingly well stocked with eggs. So egg wala cake it was!

I more or less used the blueprint of the Banana Loaf I posted here. This works well with whole wheat flour and gives it a beautiful crust. You can use all refined flour if that’s all you have. Indian kitchens/ pantries have whole wheat flour that is used to make rotis and the commercial ones are very good for baking. If you are using a home made / freshly ground flour which contains more bran, then the recipe may need some more moisture and a little extra pinch of baking powder for aeration.

The cake turned out very good. I was happy with the texture and the mild sweetness. We had it with a scoop of vanilla icecream to celebrate Easter! The flavours intensified the next day. I love nutmeg in bakes and really think cinnamon is so overrated as a spice/ flavour.

Here’s the recipe for this simple carrot cake.

1 cup Whole wheat flour

1 cup Maida (all purpose flour)

1.5 teaspoons Baking powder

1 teaspoon Baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional but substitute with cinnamon powder if you prefer)

1/4 teaspoon Garam masala (yes! I know. Trust me on this!)

2/3 cup sugar ( a mix of brown and white gives it a deeper colour – can add upto 1 cup)

2 medium Eggs at room temperature

1.5 cups Grated carrots

1/2 cup Milk

1/4 cup Vegetable oil or melted butter (I used sunflower oil)

1 teaspoon Vanilla essence

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, line a 7 inch loaf Pan or a 7 inch square cake pan and brush with oil or melted butter and set aside.

Into a bowl, add the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, garam masala and nutmeg, whisk to mix well and set aside. This can also be sifted a couple of times. 

In a blender jar (or another bowl, whisk by hand), add the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, oil and pulse till it resembles a thick milkshake. Make sure the sugar has dissolved.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and gently whisk till there are no lumps. Add the grated carrot and mix gently again. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, place on the middle rack of the oven and bake at 180 degrees C for 40-45 minutes, depending on the oven, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean. 

This is a rustic style cake and will crack in the middle a bit. If you do not want it to crack, add 3-4 tablespoons extra melted butter / oil and bake it at 170 C.

When done, leave in the pan to cool for 15 minutes, remove from the pan and peel off the paper lining, slice and serve.

Keeps well in an airtight box for 1 day at room temperature or in the fridge for upto a week.

 

Creamy Curried Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

Creamy Curried Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

Creamy Curried Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

I have been severely neglecting my own marathon and I beg your pardon. If you have followed me on my FB Page, you will know that I have been keeping busy, very very busy. Onto some yummy soup now.

Winter in Hyderabad is pleasantly chill and the perfect time to whet the appetite with a bowl of soup. The array of winter vegetables makes soup making an enjoyable chore. Add a bunch of aromatics like fresh ginger, garlic or lemon grass, a dash of warming spices like nutmeg and bay leaves and you have a robust soup. 

Carrots and Sweet Potato are an excellent combination for a soup. They have a natural sweetness which gets enhanced while cooking and the addition of garam masala imparts a nice kick to warm it up. Perfect for the winter months with the subtle sweetness of sweet potato and carrot, this delicious thick soup is nutritious and a great meal in itself. Serve with toasted bread and dinner is done!

Creamy Curried Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

Time Taken (30 minutes including cooling time)

Ingredients (Serves 2)

Carrots 2 medium, peeled and cut into chunks

Sweet Potato 3 medium, peeled and cut into chunks

Onion 1 small, finely chopped

Celery Sticks 1, about 4-5 inches, chopped

Cumin Powder ½ teaspoon

Garam Masala ½ teaspoon

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Stock Cube 1

Water 3 cups

Olive oil 2 teaspoon

  • In a pressure cooker, warm the olive oil, saute the onion till translucent.

  • Add the cumin powder half the garam masala and fry for a minute,stirring.

  • Add the celery, cubed potato and carrot and saute till they are beginning to get a few golden edges.

  • Add the water and the stock cube, half the salt and close the lid of the cooker.

  • Cook for 2 whistles on high heat, reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to release.

  • Open the cooker, drain the vegetables out with a strainer, add to a blender and blend till creamy.

  • Now add the pureed vegetables to the broth, simmer on a low flame, taste for salt and adjust. Add freshly ground pepper and the rest of the garam masala. Serve hot with toasted bread.

{Vegan MoFo 2013} ~ Semia/ Vermicelli Pulav Recipe

Vermicelli Pulav

Vermicelli Pulav

I am attempting something very brave this month, cooking and posting Vegan recipes all this month for the Vegan Month of Food where bloggers around the world will post vegan recipes all this month. Wish me luck dear readers as I do not fare very well with rules and schedules. the only other time I attempted to do something like this was when I joined Nupur in the blogging marathon. I was very rewarded although it was exhausting to post daily.

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So to begin this marathon, I am posting a simple yet filling Indian breakfast / all day recipe of Semia Pulav. Semia is vermicelli which is extensively used in Indian cooking to make sweet and savoury preparations. On one occasion when Siri who is also doing this marathon visited me at home, I asked if she would have something to eat (it was past lunch time) and she said yes. I offered to make this Semia Pulav about 10 times. She must have thought that is the only dish I know how to make! She finally said “looks like you are determined to make me eat this, so yeah make it!”

Anyway, onto the recipe which is fairly simple. I like to add a dash of ready-made masala for a nice spice kick and lots of vegetables. A lot of people do not like to eat Vermicelli because it tends to have a sticky pasty consistency once cooked. This is due to the starch content in it. One way to combat this is to add a precise amount of water to cook it. Another way is to dry roast the vermicelli till golden to prevent it from turning mushy. I take the easy route out and buy pre roasted vermicelli. What? that’s 10 minutes off your active cooking time when you plan to make this!

Vermicelli Pulav Recipe

(time taken – 20 minutes, Serves – 2)

Vermicelli / Semia                   1 cup, pre roasted preferred, else dry roast in a medium hot pan, stirring gently till golden

Vegetables of Choice              1 cup (I used red capsicum, peas, carrot and carrot)

Onion                                        1 medium, sliced fine

Vegetable Oil                           1 tablespoon

Salt                                             to taste

Green Chilli                              1, slit

Fresh Ginger                           ½ inch piece, grated

Curry Leaves                           a few

Mustard Seeds                       1 teaspoon

Ready Masala Powder    1 teaspoon (I used Everest Pav Bhaji Masala, can substitute with ½ teaspoon garam masala + ½ teaspoon coriander powder)

Hot Water                                11/2 cups

Method

In a medium pan, heat the oil and splutter the mustard. Add the curry leaves and green chilli along with the onions and fry till translucent, add the grated ginger, the chopped vegetables and half the salt.

Fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the pav bhaji masala (or garam masala) and fry for half a minute.

Now add the hot water and taste for salt, adjust with the remaining, when the water comes to a boil, slowly add the vermicelli and stir till the water is above the vermicelli. Cover with a loose lid and cook for 5-6 minutes or till the water has been absorbed, but it is still moist.

Turn off the heat and leave to rest for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork and serving with some raitha and pickle.

Dosa Spring Roll

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Dosa Spring Roll

Dosa Spring Roll

A few weeks ago, I was browsing for recipes that use Dosa batter and found Dosa Spring Rolls. I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to giving food a Chinese makeover. For too many “items” including Chaat have gotten a Chinese makeover with disastrous results (according to me). I prefer mixing wheat or oat flour into leftover dosa batter and making dosas, or making appams with chopped vegetables and seasoning. The spring rolls looked easy enough to make and I am not one of those people who will talk without trying out something at least once. I had to try it. The fact that it made it to the blog means it got a thumbs up, for variety and ease of preparation.

I saw this on Nag’s blog and from what I see a lot of people have made and liked it. So if you are looking for a way to glam up your dosa, add vegetables and sneak them into the diets of unsuspecting or fussy eaters in your family, or just a nice light dinner option, make this.

Dosa Spring Roll

Ingredients (Serves 4)

Dosa Batter                             2 cups

Oil                                            2 teaspoons

Cabbage                                  ½ Cup, shredded fine

Green Capsicum                     ½ cup, cut into juliennes

Carrot                                      1, chopped fine

Onion                                       1 medium, sliced finely

Salt and Pepper to taste

Ginger Garlic paste                  ½ teaspoon (optional)

On a hot pan, add ½ teaspoon of oil and add the ginger garlic paste (if using) and sauté for a minute.

Add the rest of the vegetables and sauté on medium heat till the cabbage is just wilting. The vegetables should be crisp and retain their colour. Remove from the heat.

On a dosa pan, add one ladle of batter and spread as thin as possible to make a 6 inch dosa. Drizzle oil and fry till golden brown.

In the centre add 2 tablespoons of sautéed vegetables and roll like a spring roll. Remove onto a plate, cut using a sharp knife into 2-3 pieces.

Repeat with the rest of the ingredients. Serve hot with sauce or chutney

Dondakaya (Tindora/ Ivy gourd) Masala Rice

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Dondakaya Masala Rice

Dondakaya Masala Rice

Years ago, I ate Dondakaya Biryani at a friend’s place. It is one of those things that lingers for a long long time. Mostly because one doesn’t expect Dondakaya to be made into a biryani, while it intrigues, it also is very very well made and feels so in place! My favourite way to eat dondakaya (tendli, tindora, gilloda as it is also called) is stir fried with red chilli powder, salt and curry leaves. No tadka, masala, no fuss and goes well with rice and dal / sambhar or rotis. My mother hardly made dondakaya as we were growing up, mainly because to fry it one needs to add a lot of oil, and it used to be a very cheap vegetable, so she always felt it was not worth the time or effort involved in making it. Also, the vegetable is real small, the size of your thumb, so for a family of 5, it was a pain to top, tail and slice the damn things.

All this meant, when someone makes it in a different way, I love eating it. One of my favourite ways to make this vegetable is Gutti Dondakaya. Using Sailu’s fool proof recipe for stuffed brinjals, it always turns out great. But it was time to try making that biryani. To see if I could replicate the flavours. I didn’t ofcourse actually ‘make’ it as a biryani, rather, used my trusty pressure cooker to make a one pot masala rice of sorts. It turned out very well. We had it with raitha on the side. This is a good way to use this vegetable, make a quick one pot meal for a packed lunch or a lazy lunch on a weekend.

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Dondakaya Masala Rice (Serves 2-3)

Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cooking Time: 15 Minutes

Rice  – 1 cup, washed and drained

Dondakaya (Coccinea) – 12-15, washed, tops and tails removed and slit lengthwise

Green Chilli – 2, slit

Onion – 1, Sliced into semi circles

Tomato – 1, chopped

Ginger garlic paste – 2 teaspoons

Coriander powder – 2 teaspoons

Garam Masala Powder – 1 teaspoon

Red Chilli Powder – 1 teaspoon

Any Ready Made Masala Powder such as kitchen king, pav bhaji or even chicken or meat masala – 1 teaspoon

Salt to taste

Oil – 1 tablespoon

Curry leaves – 6-8

Mint Leaves – ¼ cup

  1. In a pressure cooker, heat the oil and add the onions and slit green chillies. Fry for a few minutes till the onions are translucent and add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute.
  2. Add the curry leaves and the slit dondakaya and fry till they are beginning to wilt.
  3. Add the tomato, coriander powder, red chilli powder, garam masala, kitchen king masala powder, mint leaves and toss to coat it well. Cook this for 3-4 minutes, stirring so that the powders do not burn.
  4. Add the washed and drained rice; add salt to taste and 11/2 cup of water. Close the lid of the cooker let it cook for exactly one whistle.
  5. Turn off the flame and allow the pressure to release. Once the cooker is open, fluff with a fork, garnish with fresh coriander before packing into a lunch box or serve hot with Raitha

Carrot Raitha

Plain Curd / Yogurt – 1 cup

Salt to taste

Carrot – 1, peeled and grated

Green Chilli – 1, finely chopped

Coriander Leaves – 1 sprig

Whisk the yogurt with the salt till no lumps remain. Add the grated carrot, green chilli and coriander. Chill till served

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