Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls

When visiting my friend Latha during the Christmas Holidays, we wanted to try out a few new recipes and she had picked this rather popular 'Clone of a Cinnabon' recipe from the Allrecipes website. Since she has a bread machine this was so easy to put together.. we just had to dump everything into it and watched while it worked it's way around the dough and we had a smooth and perfect looking dough when it was all done - pretty neat. We then filled, rolled, put in pans and when risen, refrigerated it.... We pulled them out the next morning, thawed for a bit and then baked them off for a glorious breakfast!

We halved the recipe and made a few modifications along the way.. For tips on how to do this without a bread machine, please refer to the the original recipe which has several detailed user comments that explain this.

CINNAMON ROLLS (Like Cinnabon)

Warm Milk (110 degrees F) - 1/2 cup
Egg - 1, at room temperature
Margarine - 2 tbsp + 2 tsp, melted
Bread Flour - 2 and quarter cups
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Bread Machine Yeast - 1 and quarter tsp

For the Filling
Brown Sugar - 1/2 cup, packed
Ground Cinnamon - 1 tbsp
Butter - 2 tbsp, softened

For the Glazed Topping
Light Cream cheese - 2 to 3 oz, softened
Butter - 1 tbsp, softened
Confectioners' sugar - 1/2 cup or to taste
Vanilla extract - 1/4 tsp
Salt - a tiny pinch

1) Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.

2) After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

3) Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.

4) Roll dough into a 15x12 inch rectangle. Spread dough with melted butter (reserved for filling) and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 1.5 inch rolls.

5) Place rolls in a lightly greased baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. We actually covered it with clear wrap & refrigerated it at this point since we made this the previous evening and finished the rest of the process the following morning so we'd have fresh baked rolls with hardly any effort.

6) When ready, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

7) While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Anniversary Click

It's our wedding anniversary today and it's been 7 years now since we tied the knot... :) I found this photo of red bell peppers that I took to be quite cute & lovey-dovey and thought it would be apt to adorn this anniversary post. It will also be my entry to this month's Click - Red

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Vegetable Cutlets

Bajjis & vadais made regular appearances at home.. but my mom rarely ventured to making cutlets which were more time consuming but my athai (aunt) was pretty good at making these and would make pretty heart shaped cutlets and yummy samosas that delighted my palate. I'm a big fan of vegetable cutlets and watched my neighbour make these delicious cutlets one evening during my school holidays and made it a point to duplicate them the next day at home.

I've always pan-fried them similar to these Aloo Tikkis but this time I decided to bake them first so they would be more uniform and develop a better crust... To give the appearance a boost (the just baked ones had a pale look) and increase the crispness of the coating, I then pan fried them on a tawa with just a tsp of oil. Very satisfying and tasty. The recipe below is what I remember of my neighbour (Radha) aunty's recipe with a few tweaks from my end.


Potatoes - 2, boiled, peeled & mashed
Peas - half cup, microwaved for 4-5 mins with water, coarsely mashed
Carrots - 2, peeled & grated
Beetroot - 1, peeled & grated
Onion - 1, minced
Ginger - half inch piece, minced
Garlic - 2 to 3 cloves, minced
Mint & Coriander leaves - 1 handful each, washed and chopped
Chilli powder - about 1 tsp
Shakthi Curry Masala Powder - 1 to 2 tsp (or to taste)
Bread Crumbs - about half cup (optional, used as required)
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp + 2 tsp

For coating
All purpose flour (maida) - half cup
Milk - half cup
Bread crumbs - about 1.5 cups

1) Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan, and toss in the onion, ginger & garlic. Fry this till transparent and softened.

2) Now add the grated carrots, beetroot with a bit of salt and stir for a few minutes before covering it and reducing the flame so the veggies sweat it out and soften a bit. Keep stirring every once in a while until the veggies are tender.

3) Add the chilli powder, curry masala powder & salt and after a few minutes, the mint & coriander leaves are tossed in as well.

4) Next the mashed potatoes & peas are stirred in and cooked until the mass combines and the flavours are mixed in uniformly. If you feel that the mixture is not firm enough, please stir in upto half a cup of breadcrumbs to lend more texture.

5) Allow this to cool a bit before making equal sized balls out of the mixture... these can then be shaped to your desire.. i made heart shaped patties reminiscent of my athai's cutlets which I enjoyed as a kid.

6) For the coating, put separate bowls of milk, flour & a plate of bread crumbs (I ran several slices of whole wheat bread in a mixie to get soft bread crumbs).

7) Preheat oven to 350F, coat a cookie sheet/baking pan with some oil and keep aside.

8) Dip each cutlet first in milk and then in flour, followed by a quick dip in milk again and then rolled into bread crumbs. Lay these carefully on the baking sheet, repeat till done.

9) Cook these in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping over once in between.

10) Just before serving, heat a tava and spread a tsp of oil or so evenly, place the cutlets and let them cook on both sides (i had to do this in 2 batches - hence the 2 tsp of oil in the ingredient list)... till golden brown and crisp. Enjoy with ketchup.

I would like to send this as my entry to Cook & Create with luv for luv event hosted at Asankhana. Thank you Asha & notyet100 for the suggestions.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Kadhi Pakodi

As much as I love tangy kadhis i hardly make them because from what I understood my husband wasn't a big fan so I just stuck to the morkuzhambu recipe that he loves. However, I recentry tried making kadhi with pakodis cooked in the kuzhipaniyaram/appe pan instead of deep frying them so I could satisfy my cravings and found to my immense delight that my husband really liked the dish as well. Well, that was a win-win for me.


For the Pakodas:
Besan - 2/3 cup
Chopped Frozen Spinach - 1/4 cup, thawed
Onion - half, chopped
Green bell pepper - 1/4 cup, chopped
G. chillies - 3, chopped
Chilli powder - half tsp
Salt - to taste
Baking Soda - 1/4 tsp

For the Kadhi:
Sour Yogurt - 2 cups
Besan - 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup
Water - 1 cup
Chilli powder - 1.5 tsp
Turmeric Powder - quarter tsp
Salt - 1.5 tsp, or to taste
Ginger - quarter inch piece, minced
Garlic - 1 clove, minced
Jeera seeds - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Curry leaves - few
Dried Red Chilli - 1
Oil - 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves - for garnish


For the Pakodas:
Mix all the ingredients listed under the pakodas list and add water little by little to make a batter that's not too thick or thin... mine was almost like bajji batter, maybe a tad thicker. This consistency works great when using a kuzhipaniyaram/abeskiever pan to make the pakados. If you are deep frying them instead, sprinkle water and make it really thick so it doesn't absorb too much oil.

2) Heat a drop of oil in each depression of the kuzhi paniyaram pan and drop teaspoonfuls of the batter in each. Cover and let cook on a medium flame till light brown, flip over and cook uncovered till done. Keep these aside.

For the kadhi:
1) Blend the besan with the cup of water to a smooth paste. Whisk this in with the sour yogurt, chilli powder, salt & turmeric.

2) Heat the oil in a pan and the tempering ingredients - mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida (hing), curry leaves, red chilli broken in two, followed by the minced ginger and garlic.

3) It will brown pretty fast so watch out... immediately add the blended besan-yogurt mixture. Keep whisking this mixture so it doesn't separate for the first 5 minutes or so... When it's hot enough.. allow to simmer for a about 10 minutes or so till smooth and thickens lightly.

4) Add the cooked pakodas at this point and allow to simmer for 2 more mins.. before switching off the stove and adding coriander leaves. Tasty and easy kadhi is now ready to serve. Keep in mind that it will thicken a bit more upon standing.

I would like to send this to FIC - Yellow event hosted by Sunshinemom.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Masala Curry

I normally make mild stews (ishtus) to go with aapam or have sweetened coconut milk but my periamma and my MIL (who hail from the same city) make this spicy gravy as well... This is just as creamy but it has some garam masala flavour in addition as well and is sure to please.

The following recipe is one that I got from my SIL during the very early days... My periamma makes a slightly different version where she grinds freshly roasted coriander seeds and red chillies but this one uses readymade powders instead.. so you can determine your preferred method based on availability & convenience.

MASALA CURRY (with Potatoes)

Potatoes - 3, medium, pressure cooked & peeled
Onion - 1 big, chopped
Tomato - 1 small to medium, chopped
Green Peas - 1/3 cup (optional), microwaved with little water for 4 mins
Thick Coconut milk - 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Clove - 1
Cinnamon stick - half inch piece
Curry leaves - few
Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp, chopped for garnish


1) Cut 2 potatoes into small pieces (about half to 1 inch), mash the other one coarsely.

2) In a pan, heat oil and season with mustard seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick and curry leaves.

3) Add the onions and cook till they are transparent and a soft

4) Add the tomatoes, salt and turmeric powder and cook till they turn mushy

5) Add the chilli powder, coriander powder and stir for a couple of minutes.

6) Add the microwaved peas with the water (if using) followed by 2 cups of water and both, the chopped and mashed potatoes. Adjust salt and spice as required. Bring to a boil, cover and allow to cook on medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes.

7) When the masala has been absorbed by the potatoes and the raw flavour is gone. Stir in the garam masala and the thickened coconut milk.

8) Allow this to heat through on low so the coconut milk doesn't separate. Switch off the stove, sprinkle in the coriander leaves and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving with aapam /dosais/ idiyaapams.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Poondu Keerai Masiyal

My apologies for the long, unexplained absence from the blogging world. What started out as a week-long break during the holidays got extended and I had some trouble getting back on track but here I am now :) I've missed several interesting posts and I hope to catch up soon.
This is rather belated but I'd like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!

Coming to the post du jour, this is just one of the many yummy meals we had over the holidays... since I had more time to cook something more elaborate. We also visited a friend who pampered us with such delicious meals every day of our stay... more about that and the baking episodes in a later post.

Keerai masiyal is something very close to my heart and even now, my mom makes it a point to make this atleast twice or thrice a week when I visit home. She normally uses something called 'Mulai keerai' (amaranth) to make this but since spinach is what is more widely available here, that's what I use most of the time. I remember helping my grandma smush it down using a rounded mathu and a wide vessel made of stone.... At my home, this is always paired with a vathal kuzhambu/puli kuzhambu and we would always end the meal with some yogurt rice paired with a combination of this keerai masiyal & puli kuzhambu - simply divine.

This is a rather simple & quick recipe and know that a bunch of spinach will cook down to just about 4 oz when done... I like the texture to be a bit coarse but if you want it to be really smooth, you could run it through a mixie before seasoning. This is also great with some ghee and rice.

POONDU KEERAI MASIYAL (Mashed spinach w/ garlic & seasonings)

Spinach - 1 bunch
Garlic Cloves - 4 or 5 (more if you like), peeled and cut into flakes
Green Chilli - 1
Salt - a small pinch

Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - quarter tsp
Urad Dhal - quarter tsp
Red Chilli - 1, broken in two.

1) Clean spinach leaves thoroughly and chop them.

2) Add the spinach leaves, garlic flakes & g. chilli in a pot, put on medium flame and cover. No need to add water since spinach will have enough.

3) When most of the water has dried up and the spinach has wilted down and cooked, add salt to taste (be careful not to overdo it) and keep stirring and smashing the spinach mixture until dry. If you want it smoother, run it through the mixie.

4) In a small pan, heat the oil and add the seasoning ingredients. When they splutter, add to the mashed spinach and mix in.

Here's a picture of our lunch: Rice, paruppu, ghee, vazhakai roast, vathal kuzhambu, poondu keerai masiyal, broccoli kootu, microwaved appalam & a cup of curd/yogurt (not in the picture).