Mithai Muffins, the easiest cake recipe ever!

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Three years back, I started off as a reluctant baker. And I still am always on the look out for simple recipes. Separating eggs, beating whites till stiff peaks etc is not for me.

So, I was super excited to see this recipe on my friend Rhea’s blog. Such an easy peasy one, almost too good to be true!! And I can play with it any number of ways. And play, I did!

Here is the magical basic recipe on Euphorhea. And here is how I made these delightful Mithai Muffins. Call them Kesar Pista Cupcakes or Gulab Jamun Muffins or whatever you fancy, I kinda like Mithai Muffins. So here goes

100 grams Maida (plain flour/ All purpose flour)
100 grams powdered sugar
100 grams butter, at room temperature
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract (I use Nilesen Massey, get the best one you can)
A fat pinch of good quality saffron
1/4 cup slightly warm milk
1/4 cup pistachios chopped coarse
1 tsp cardamom powder
(can add other nuts also if desired)
I had about 50 grams of mawa leftover in the fridge and I used that too. ( You may skip if you don’t have it)

Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
Rub the saffron in a mortar and pestle with 1 tbsp of warm milk so it releases the flavour and colour. Add the 1/4 cup of milk and leave it to steep.
Whisk the flour with the baking powder in a bowl.
Whisk the butter, mawa ( if using) and sugar for 3-4 mins. I just used my hand whisk.  Add the eggs and whisk a little more till smooth and slightly fluffed up. Add the cardamom powder, saffron milk and mix well.
Leave the whisk and using a spatula, mix in the flour. Add the pistachios, saving some for topping the muffins. Can add a little more milk if the batter looks too thick. I didn’t need to.
Scoop the batter into lined cupcake pans, sprinkle the tops with pistachios and bake at 180C for 15-18 mins. The tops should brown and a toothpick inserted should come out clean.
This makes 12 medium muffins.
I have a feeling I am going to use this basic recipe a lot! Thanks Rhea ❤


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Coffee Cake

Coffee Cake

I simply love coffee flavoured cakes and cannot seem to find a prominent coffee flavour in the ones available in the market. This recipe from Amrita’s  blog makes the best coffee cake ever!

Makes 12 cupcakes or two small loaf cakes
120 grams Maida/ All purpose Flour
170 grams powdered sugar
2 Eggs
80 grams butter, at room temperature
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
2 Tbsp Coffee Powder (Nescafe or any other)
2 Tbsp Boiling water
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
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Mix the coffee in water and leave to cool.
Pre-heat the oven at 200C.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
Mix butter and sugar till creamy and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition. Add vanilla extract and mix well.
Now using a spatula add the dry ingredients in three lots, mixing in till the flour mixture disappears. Add the coffee and mix in.
Pour to a prepared pan or the lined muffin pan.
Bake at 180C for 20-25 mins for cupcakes and 30-35 mins for loaf cakes.

 

Ragi Unniyappam/ Ragi Jaggery Banana Pancakes

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Breakfast is a very important meal, in general. It marks a good, healthy ( or otherwise) start to a day. I attack my breakfast which gusto as it is right after my workouts. I try and make it wholesome and filling and am always looking for interesting options.
This Unniyappam recipe was recently shared by a dear friend and a fitness co-enthusiast Shruti Shehnaaz Khan. Made some minor tweaks and made pancakes also with the same recipe.

Here goes

1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup ragi flour ( can use any other of choice)
1 large banana mashed
1/3 cup jaggery, chopped into small chunks  ( can use less or more as per taste)
2 cardamoms, shelled and pounded fine
10 almonds, chopped coarse
2 tbsp fresh coconut small cubes
1/4 tsp baking soda
Some ghee for brushing the appe/paniyaram pan

Method:
Take 1 cup of water and add jaggery to it. Heat it till the jaggery melts. Switch off flame and cool for few minutes. Now pour this jaggery syrup through filter to remove any impurities from it.
Next in a wide bowl, add all ingredients and mix well. If needed, add water slowly and make a smooth batter, it should not be too thick or too thin. Set the batter aside for an hour.
Brush each cavity of paniyaram pan with ghee. Pour the batter into cavities once it’s hot. Pour a spoonful of batter into each mould until 3/4 full and cook covered, over medium flame until the bottoms of the unniyappams become crisp. Brush the tops with ghee. Then flip and cook on other side, uncovered this time.
Unniyappam is ready to be serve.
Originally raw rice is soaked and then dried and ground to make rice flour. Using rice flour shortens the process.
For variation replace 1/2 cup rice flour with any flour of you choice and increase or decrease water for the batter consistency.

To make pancakes, spread ladlefuls on a non stick pan. Cook. Flip. Cook and serve! 

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Buckwheat Pancakes

I had these first at a breakfast place called Suzette and quite liked the idea of these earthy tasting pancaked served with hummus and salad.
Now I keep trying them with various flour combinations and toppings.
The recipe is simplicity itself.
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You need
A fantastic quality non-stick pan
1/2 cup buckwheat flour ( or a mix of buckwheat, amaranth and rice flour, just amaranth, just play with flour combos!)
Salt to taste
Water to get a runny batter

On a hot pan, pour the batter with a ladle. Cover and cook. Flip after one side is done. Cook uncovered. Can brush with butter or oil if desired. If the pan is good, it won’t stick at all.
Serve with Hummus and some salad.

Buckwheat pancakes

Or serve with any sides of your choice!
Buckwheat Pancake

Dahi Idli

This is so good on the palate in the hot summer! A power packed way to begin the day
Dahi Idli
You need
A cupful fresh curd
2-3 idlis
1 tsp mustard seeds (Rai)
1/2 tsp oil
2-3 curry leaves
2 tsp chana daal

Make sure the curd is fresh and sweet, else strain and add some milk and a tsp of powdered sugar.
Dip the idlis in. Heat oil and add mustard seeds, curry leaves and chana daal, Spread on the curd soaked idlis and enjoy! 

Sprouts Filled Dosa

I was looking for ways to make sprouts more interesting, so coarse-ground a cupful of them and added to a cupful of dosa batter.
It translated into two beautifully textured and super yum dosas.
Sprouts Filled Dosa
A sprinkle of molgapodi and breakfast sorted
So basically that’s all to this recipe.
One cup idli batter
One cup coarse ground mixed sprouts ( I used moong, moth and chana)
Hint of salt

Mix well. Spread on non-stick pan, Make dosas. Sprinkle gun powder/ molgapodi and enjoy!
These will be thicker than regular dosas but so beautifully textured and yum that you just won’t notice 😀

Shakshuka- An Israeli breakfast recipe

Want to make a meal out of eggs? Try Shakshuka/Shakshouka(What fun saying it na!! Shaak-shookaa! 😛 ) This Israeli (Egyptian/Tunisian) dish of eggs poached over a hearty tomato sauce is excellent with some naan,roti or bread. This will appeal to the Indian palate because of its proximity to our cuisine. It uses coriander and cumin spices in the garlicky tomato base. I served it with a caramelized onion and spring onion flatbread.
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Recipe adapted from NY Times

You need
2 tbsp  vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 large red chilli pepper, chopped fine
6 large tomatoes, blanched and chopped fine ( you could puree and strain them alternatively for a quick fix)
4-5 cloves of garlic, sliced
¾  tsp salt
½ tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
1 cup of assorted chopped vegetables may be added  (mushrooms, broccoli,peas,capsicum)
¼ tsp coriander podwer
½ tsp cumin powder ( I always keep some roasted cumin powder at hand for raitas and used the same)
Some chilli flakes (optional)
4 eggs
Some cheese, if desired
A handful of coriander leaves, chopped fine
Some salt and pepper to season the eggs

Heat oil in a pan and add onions. Fry them till translucent and add the red pepper, assorted and garlic. Cook till the pepper is done and them add the tomatoes, assorted vegetables salt, coriander powder, cumin powder and chilli flakes. Cook covered till the tomatoes are done.
Preheat the oven to 200C for ten minutes while the sauce cooks.
Stir in the cheese chunks (if using)
Transfer the sauce to a skillet or baking dish and gently break the eggs on the sauce. Season the eggs with salt and black pepper.
Bake for 7-10 minutes till the eggs are set.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with bread. I used my Caramelised onion and green onion bread recipe to bake flatbread and served alongside to swipe the sauce with!
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Enjoy a Shakshuka brunch this weekend.
Cheers!

Garima

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Mathura ke Dubki waale Aloo and Bedmi Poori

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Bombay finally feels the whiff of winter and it is the ideal time to brunch on this cracker of a meal from the Brij region; Mathura ke Dubki Waale Aloo, Bedmi Poori and halwa. Potatoes are cooked in a spicy, aromatic curry and served with crisp, kacori-style poori, and just a smidgeon of halwa. I first had it in Agra many many years back and the memory is as fresh as the visit to the Taj, well almost 😛
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Mathura ke Dubki waale Aloo
5-6 medium potatoes, hard boiled
½ tsp heeng/asafoetida
½ tsp jeera/cumin seeds
¾  tsp salt (or to taste)
¼ tsp kala namak/black salt/rock salt
½ tsp red chilli powder
¼ tsp haldi/turmeric powder
¾ tsp dhaniya/coriander powder
1 green chilli chopped fine
1 tsp grated ginger
2 Tbsp oil
2 glasses of water
½ tsp aamchoor/mango powder
¼ tsp garam masala powder ( I use home-made)
A handful of fresh coriander, chopped fine

Whole spices
(can add whole or grind into a powder and add)
1 tejpat/ bay leaf
1 inch piece of dalcheeni/cinnamon
2 badi ilaichi/black cardamom
3 choti ilaichi/green cardamom
3-4 laung/cloves
5-6 sabut kali mirch/ peppercorns

Peel and cube the hard boiled potatoes.
Heat oil in a kadhai/heavy bottomed pan and add heeng and jeera. Once the jeera crackles, lower the heat and add the whole spices (add the powder, if using that)
Stir for a few seconds and then add chopped green chilli and grated ginger. Stir for 30 seconds and add red chilli powder, dhaniya powder and haldi powder stirring continuously.Keep the heat LOW all along!
Add the potatoes and stir so that that they are coated with the masala mixture. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes, checking in between.
Add a glass full of water and increase the heat till the curry reaches a rolling boil.
Lower the heat and let the potatoes simmer in the gravy till they are cooked through. Keep adding water as required to get the consistency of your choice. Take off the heat and stir in the aamchoor powder and garam masala powder.
Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with Bedmi Poori or plain poori.


 Bedmi/Bedvi Poori
2 ½  cups of aata/whole wheat flour
1 cup of moong dal , soaked for an hour
1 tsp Salt
½ tsp red chilli powder ( or less as per taste)
½ tsp Heeng/asafetida
½ tsp Saunf/fennel , ground coarse
½ tsp Sabut Dhaniya/ coriander seeds, ground coarse
2 green chillies, chopped fine
2 tbsp oil
Oil- to fry the bedmi pooris

Coarsely, grind the dal in the mixer. Mix it along with all the listed ingredients and knead into a firm dough adding water only as required.
Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
Make lemon size balls, roll out and fry in hot oil.


Serve with Dubki waale aloo and halwa!
Enjoy the meal over a winter weekend and a relaxed siesta thereafter.There is no other way really 😀

Love
Garima
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Dora Cake or Dorayaki or Fulffy Golden Pancake Sandwich from Japan

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Celebrating success with a childhood memory….
My elder turned 18 this January. He secured admission to the college of his dreams in the City of Dreams this week, and on the first merit list too!!
As the birdie gets ready to fly the nest, we relive some sweet childhood memories with this ‘Dora Cake’ or Dorayaki.
Dorayaki ((どら焼き) are silky, golden, fluffy pancake sandwiches from Japan. My boys, when they were little, loved watching a Japanese cartoon series called Doraemon. The protagonist, a super cat-robot (who is petrified of mice :P), is completely in love with this sweet treat and would do absolutely anything for them!
(Image Source – http://understandinganimation.blogspot.in/)
doraemon_dorayakisThe fluffy pancakes are sandwiched with red bean paste, which is difficult to come by where I live. So I replaced it with thick homemade strawberry preserve in some and good old Nutella in the others. My younger exclaimed ‘ Aha Mom! Now I know why Doraemon is crazy about these! ‘
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The recipe is from Namiko Chen’s blog Just One Cook Book. Her site has some lovely Japanese recipes.
Recipe
This yields 12 pancakes and 6 pancake sandwiches.

You need
4 eggs
140 g (2/3 cup) powdered sugar
2 tbsp honey
160 g (1⅓ cup) all-purpose flour/Maida (How to measure- Fluff  the flour and scoop into a cup to measure. Then level it with a knife)
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp water
A few drops of oil or butter
A cup of red bean paste/strawberry preserve/Nutella chocolate spread

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, powdered sugar and honey till well mixed and fluffy.
IMG_9158Sift flour over the egg mix, add baking powder and mix well till the mixture is smooth.
IMG_9159IMG_9161Add two tbsp water and mix well.
Heat a non stick pan on medium heat.
Drop 2-3 drops of oil and spread all over with a tissue.
With another tissue, wipe completely. The dry oil free surface of the pan ensures the characteristic evenly browned surface of the Dorayaki pancakes.
IMG_9163Pour ¼ cup of batter in the pan and cook on medium till bubbles form. It takes about a minute and a half. Flip and cook for thirty seconds.
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IMG_9167Keep the heat on medium and medium low throughout. They go from brown to black real quick!
Make all the pancakes like this.
IMG_9226To serve, liberally spread the filling of your choice on one pancake, keeping the bottom side up. Top with the other pancake and serve.
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This is my entry to the Japanese cuisine challenge by Shaheen of Spoon Fork and Food at Chefs Across Boundaries. Thanks Shaheen, this was fun!

I am also taking these yummy Dora Cakes to Angie’s Fiesta Friday, fun treats for a fun party!

Hassleback Potatoes

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Potatoes, we love in all forms, roasted, fried, boiled, mashed, as a filling in parathas  etc etc
And then there is the baked potato. With some beans and cheese. And crisp buttered toast. Need I say more!

A play on the baked potato is this Hassleback version, which gets its name from the Swedish Restaurant Hasselbacken, where it was first served sometime in the 1950s.  I wanted to make these since I first laid my eyes on them.  The other day my greengrocer delivered some king sized tubers and Hasslebacks just had to be made!
I served them with baby Focaccia and creamy coleslaw. And a tall glass of Minty Orange Spritzer. This is the stuff dream summery meals are made of.
IMG_9012Ridiculously simple to make too. Hardly a recipe, so to say. Butter them, cover them, stick them into the oven. Herb them, butter ttem, stick them in again. And done 😀
Tra la la! That simple, really 😀

So you need 4-5 (or as many as you like) large, oblong potatoes

And then for the brushing and filling you need
Some butter or olive oil. I used olive oil for the first drizzle and then butter and herbs for the halfway stuffing and brushing.
For 5 large potatoes, I used 3 Tbsp olive oil and about 4-5 tbsp butter. I added some fine chopped fresh parsley, basil and a tbsp of minced garlic to the butter and mixed well. If exotic fresh herbs are difficult to come by, fresh coriander works beautifully.
This part is as-you-like-it kinds. Flavour them with just salt, butter and pepper and a sprinkle of cheese towards the end of the baking period. Or fill them with fresh herbs.
And yeah that’s about it!

Start with washing and drying the potatoes.
Preheat the oven at 250 C with the rack in the middle and both the heating elements on.
Slice the potatoes stopping an inch before you reach the base, so that they are sliced thin but joined at the bottom. Slice them as thin as you can , say about a cm thick.(I need more practice and need to slice them thinner 😛 )
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Cover the baking tray with aluminium foil and brush the potatoes all over with olive oil.
IMG_9029The slices won’t show yet but they will when the potatoes are half done. Drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper over the potatoes and cover them with foil, leaving some gaps for letting the steam escape.
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Bake for 30-40 minutes, checking in between for them being a little more than half done. The baking time will vary depending on the size and type of potatoes.
Once half done, the layers will easily spread out. Remove the baking tray from the oven
IMG_9036Now melt the butter and add minced garlic , finely chopped herbs, salt and pepper to it. Spread the butter mix over the potatoes making sure some butter does make its way into all the potato slices. Brush the top with the butter mix and bake the potatoes for another 15-20 minutes till the tops are brown and crisp.
IMG_9038Serve immediately.
Garlicky and creamy on the inside and brown and crisp on the outside, this is a stunner of a potato! Use baby potatoes to serve as appetizers.
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