Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Collard Greens Thanni Saaru

'Thanni Saaru' is a soup like curry, made predominantly with greens and coconut milk. The slightly bitter tasting greens like drumstick leaves, Manathakali keerai, or Agathi keerai are used for this saaru.
 I experimented this dish with the fresh bunch of collard greens. Traditionally it is made with freshly made coconut milk (thin and the thicker version), but I used the coconut milk from the can. This is a great way to use collard greens apart from the porial/stir fry.

3 cups chopped collard greens
1 cup coconut milk from the can
1 cup water
2 green chillies(slit) / red chillies
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
1 medium onion chopped
1 medium tomato chopped
1 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp fenugreek/methi seeds(optional)
1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds.


Wash the Collard greens and remove the center stalk from the leaf. Roll the leaf and chop finely.
Add 2 tsp of oil in a sauce pan.
When the oil is hot add mustard seeds, methi and jeera.
When the mustard pops, add the onion, garlic green chillies and fry till translucent.
Now add the tomatoes and cook till mushy Add the collard greens, and salt.
Add the water, cover and cook in medium heat for atleast 10 minutes. 
Once the greens are cooked, add the coconut milk and give it a stir.
Bring it just to a boil. Switch off just when it becomes frothy. 
Do not over boil or it will become curdled.

Enjoy with hot steamed rice.

A Baby Shower Cake | Buggy Cake

I made a baby shower cake for a friend of mine past weekend. This cake has a long story to share. I baked the cake the day before the get together and decided to decorate it late night after the kid goes to sleep. So as per plan started decorating the cake and it came pretty good . When its all done, I tried to lift it up to place the cake in the fridge, and all of a sudden I dropped it. :(  . My heart was broken completely that I could'nt think of anything else for the next half an hour. After that I did some clean up, luckily the cake was not broken, just the icing got messed up, and the wheels in the cake were broken. I manage to make two more wheels from the left over cake and somehow finished the cake again by 5.30 in the morning with  whatever left over Icing I had.

So what do u think of this Cake which got a complete makeover:(..believe me the first version came out really good..:)..But I am glad I could pull it through :)

How I made the Cake:

I baked   1 - 9 inch round  vanilla cake , and 2 -  8 inch chocolate cakes.
Cut out the shape of the buggy from the 9 inch vanilla cake. I carved the handle out of the cut out piece.
Cut two 3 inch circles out of the  8 inch chocolate cakes.

Icing used - Betty Crocker  whipped vanilla Icing for the buggy, chocolate frosting for the wheels and handle.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie

I know what you are thinking on seeing the title. No, this is not the infamous Neiman Marcus cookie recipe  which is associated with an urban legend that a lady was mistakenly charged  $250 for this recipe back in the 40's. But this one is from a little cookie book named  '500 Cookies', which claims that this is the original Neiman Marcus recipe which is also published in the store's website. The recipe calls for a tsp of instant coffee powder which gives it a unique taste and stands apart from the regular chocolate chip cookies.


1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
3 tblsp granulated sugar(optional)
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2  cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp.instant coffee powder
1 1/2 cups(8 oz) semisweet chocolate chips.

Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).
Sift together the dry ingredients including the coffee powder.
Beat the butter and sugar together till creamy.
Add in the egg and vanilla extract.Beat well to combine.
Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and mix in chocolate chips.
Roll into balls. Flatten it slightly using your fingers onto a non stick baking dish 2 in apart.
Bake for 8 to 10 mins. Cool for 10 mins.
Store in an airtight container.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Red Swiss Chard Greens Stir Fry/Porial.

I have tried a variety of greens like turnip, collard, mustard  that are available in the US to make stir fry /porial. Each of these tasted good in its own way, but didnt get close to the authentic South Indian keerai porial (stir fry). That includes spinach too as I make only dal with spinach, the porial either turns up a little bitter or gets soggy. Recently I tried a bunch of these Red Swiss Chard for a simple stir fry with shredded coconut and am hooked to the taste ever since. It tastes more like 'Ponnanganni Keerai' that we get in back home in Chennai. (I am a great fan of that one)
 Do try this porial when you get a chance to grab a bunch of these Chard, it has such delicate taste and flavor.

1 bunch of Red Swiss Chard
1 small onion finely chopped
2 green chillies/red chillies(optional)
2 tblsp shredded coconut (optional)

for tempering:
1 tsp mustard
2 tsp urad dhal
1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds


Wash the Greens well. Remove the thick part of the center stalk and then chop the greens finely
In a pan add 2 tsp of oil. When the oil is hot add the mustard, urad dhal and jeera seeds. (If using red chilli add it at this stage).
When the mustard pops, add the chopped onion, and slit green chilies
Fry till translucent .Now add the chopped greens and stir to wilt. Add salt to taste.
Reduce the flame to low, cover and cook for about 10 mins. ( no need to add water.)
Add 2 tblsp of shredded coconut , mix and switch of the stove.

Reduce the flame to 'low' after wilting.
Do not discard the stems. Store it in a ziplog bag and use them when making sambhar or dhal, tastes delicious.
Coconut is completely optional. I did not use in this picture.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Fish Fry

Fish fry is one of the simplest method or way to cook fish. My Mom always fries fish in the dosa pan(kal) with generous amount of oil. I have chosen the less greasy version of using a nonstick pan with 1 to 2 tsps of oil, works fine for me. The trick to get a good fish fry without being dried out on the inside is to fry the fish in medium to medium high heat. If fried for a long time in low heat, the fish tends to become dry.
Baking is another option, but it depends on the variety of fish, I do that for salmon as here.

Fish steaks or fillets(8 pieces)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp fennel /sombu powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp chopped garlic
salt as required


Clean and wash the fish fillets. 
Add the chilli powder, fenel powder, turmeric, garlic, and salt and mix well to coat.
Marinate for atleast 15 mins.
Take non stick pan, add about 2 -3 tsps of oil.
Fry the fish in batches under medium heat until crisp and brown on both sides.
Remove and place in the paper towel to drain excess oil.

Enjoy with white rice and rasam my favorite combination.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Eggless Pineapple Bread

I opened a large can of chopped pineapple while experimenting with different toppings for my English muffin pizza. Apparently I used about two table spoon of it and the rest went into the refrigerator. Every time I opened the fridge I kept thinking of how to use the left over fruit.With new job and all I didn't have any time to browse for a new baking recipe with pineapple and finally decided to bake my favorite pineapple bread, which I have already blogged here. On a Sunday evening when I was all set to bake I realized that I ran out of butter and hence went ahead with oil and made it eggless too, nevertheless the bread turned out moist and soft.

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup oil
1 cup sugar
1 tin chopped pineapple (approx 2 cups)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt
1 tblsp flax meal(powder) mixed with 3 tblsp warm water

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
Butter  or line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
Mix the flax seed powder with 3 tblsp of warm water  and set aside for 10 mins.
In a bowl add the dry ingredients flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, mix well to combine.
In a large bowl  mix in the oil, sugar, flax meal and vanilla extract. Beat well to combine.
To this add the dry ingredients and gently mix to incorporate. Do not beat or over mix.
Now add the chopped pineapple along with the liquid and stir to combine.

Transfer the batter to the loaf tin and bake for 45 - 50 mins.
The time can vary depending on the oven.So check periodically after 40 min's,a knife or toothpick inserted in the middle should come clean.

Note: If you want a mildly sweet bread reduce the sugar to 3/4th of a cup.
Replace the flax meal and water with 1 egg if you want to try with egg.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

English Muffin Pizza

This recipe immediately caught my attention when I came across this in the food network channel a few weeks ago. I prefer to have english muffins over bread for breakfast everyday whereas its the reverse with the rest of the family, but making pizza with these bread seemed to be a great idea for a weekend dinner. So without any second thought I grabbed a pack of my favorite brand of english muffins during my grocery shopping and am so glad I did that. 
I experimented with a variety of veggies for the toppings right from eggplant to zucchini and each mini pizza's turned out absolutely delicious.

6 English muffins
2 cups Pizza/ pasta sauce
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Your choice of sliced vegetables.
(I used Onions, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, olives)
Preheat the oven to 425F
Split open the Muffin using a fork. Do not use a knife.
Place the muffins on a baking tray.
Spread about 2 tablespoon of sauce over the base. 
Spread some mozerrella cheese, and the add your toppings.

Bake for 10- 12 minutes or until the cheese melts and spread evenly.

If using eggplant, add 1/4 tsp of salt and some lemon juice to the slices and allow it to rest for atleast 10 mins. Squeeze and drain the water before adding to the pizza.


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