Friday, 24 July 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies

Hi Friends, Hope you all are doing good there. Before I go I thought of sharing this wonderful recipe with you all. You should be thinking all of a sudden, where am I off to...Yeah, I just forgot to mention that in my previous post ;only after posting it struck my mind. We are shifting to a new place by the end of this month and so I got soooooooo much of packing to do (while my son unpacks......grrrr). Since my little one keeps me busy full time, I just couldn't do much packing. I try packing things, he just pulls the stuffs out of the box and drag them away and then try to sit inside the box!!!.I don't know what he is up to, but I then thought I will stay up late tonight and do some packing...... At present we are in the southern tip of UK which is comparatively warmer and sunnier than anywhere in the UK. And now we are moving to the north, 7 hours drive from here...We will be moving again after two months from there to another place. We should be there for few years. Its so cold there in the North, I am just not very happy going there thinking of the chilling weather up north and have been moaning since the time my husband got his new job there. Probably once I settle down there, I will be fine.....Don't think I am trying to be a bit British here. Anyone who live in the UK, will just wish for some streak of sunlight after the long nasty winter which is always cloudy and raining and sometimes snowing. If it is up north always snowing in winter. God!!! I remember, when I was in UAE, where most of the year is warm, sorry, smoking HOT, how crazy everyone including me used to go crazy when it rains. I used to wave my hands outside the window to get hold of few drops of rain in my hand. It just rains once or twice in a year and may be not even that. It is such a bright country and always sunny. It is really really hot during the summer in UAE....It always hits 50 degrees Celsius during July-August!!! But the winter is really cool. When I used to be in UAE, I felt the winter was terribly cold. I used to wear 2 sweaters and sit under the blanket and still shivering. After coming here, I really came to know what real winter is....

Anyways all I wanted to say is that, I don't really know how long it will take to get the Internet connection in the new place, so I might not be able to blog for sometime. Sometimes, we might get the connection in a weeks time, may be less or more. This will be my last post before leaving, But I surely will be checking on my blogger buddies' updates and new posts until I leave.

About the Peanut butter cookies, I came across these wonderfully crunchy and crumbly cookies from Divya’s blog. The look of the cookies itself was was so inviting and tempting. So I baked it a couple of days back and it was really good. I love peanuts and I love peanut butter, so for me these cookies were a slice of heaven. So if you are someone like me who loves peanuts, you will love these cookies. As usual, I have the habit of playing with the dough through out baking. I keep adding different ingredients to see how it tastes. I wanted to add some chopped peanuts, but dint have any but used few other ingredients to seee how well it pairs with the peanut cookies. With these amount of ingredients and if you are using a teaspoonful of dough you should get 3 dozen cookies! Isn't that a huge amount? I made it in three batches. The 1 st batch, I just made plain cookies, without making any changes. The second batch, I rolled the cookie balls in a mixture of cinnamon powder and sugar, then pressed it and baked it. It tasted heavenly. And the third batch, After the cookie was baked and cooled, I melted some bitter sweet chocolate and drizzled on top......For me the winner is the Chocolate drizzled peanut butter cookies. You can see all the three types I made in the picture provided. The chocolate and the peanut butter cookies works so well. If you want to be bit more 'Chefy', you can place Hershey's kisses in the centre of cookie. It tastes sooooooooooooo good. Talking about this fabulous cookie, it's the recipe of Betty Crocker and I followed the ingredients as such.

Here is the recipe:
1/2 cup castor sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar (I used demerara sugar)
1/2 cup Peanut butter
1/4 cup Shortening (I used vegetable oil)
1/4 cup Butter (room temperature)
1 Ex-large Egg
1 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour/Maida
3/4 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt


1. In a large bowl, combine together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter, butter, shortening, egg and mix well. In another bowl, whisk well the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Slowly add the flour mixture to the first prepared mixture and knead slowly to form a soft dough.
2. Place the dough in the refrigerator for two hours or until firm. Line 2 cookie sheets with baking paper. Then take a heaped teaspoonful of the dough, form into ball shape by rolling it in your palm, Place it in the cookie sheet then press in crisscross pattern to flatten them using a fork dipped into sugar. make sure you leave at least 2" between each cookie because they really expand while baking.
3. Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius. Place the cookies in the middle rack and bake for about 13-14 minutes until it turns golden. (The original recipe asks to make a 1 1/4 inch ball and bake at 375 degree Fahrenheit (190 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 9-10 minutes. I thought 375 was 180 degrees, only realised it wasn't after my cookies took longer time than mentioned in the recipe. But don't worry, they turned out perfect. I normally do almost all baking at this temperature, cos that's the safest temperature for many cakes and cookies.)
4. Cool for 5 minutes; remove from cookie sheet and Cool on wire rack. This cooling on wire rack is essential, because this allows the steam to escape, which otherwise will get absorbed and make your cookies soaky. After it is completely cooled, store in airtight containers.

N.B: Don't attempt to remove the cookie from the sheet as soon as they come out of the oven, because they will be very soft and will crumble.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Malabar Chemmeen Biriyani (Malabar Prawn Biriyani)

Do you know what's the best thing in preparing a Malabar Biriyani?The taste always gets better the next day and you can prepare it in bulk so you can take a break from any major cooking the next day..:)...I made this Biriyani last week and again this week, so thought I would share this fabulous recipe here with you all. The aroma of the seafood Biryani itself is very appetising, unlike the raw fish smell, that makes you run away. My favorite Biriyani would be Malabar style prawn and fish biriyani. Both are prepared almost the same way. But tastes very different. I remember my mom telling me about squid biriyani. Somebody told her that squid biriyani is the best tasting biriyani it seems. I would love to try that, but I think that's going to be very challenging. Since squid gets tough and rubbery when over-cooked, it has to be cooked gently and carefully, and don't know how they are gonna taste.
I love the prawn and fish biriyani that my mom makes, they really tastes so delicious. I always tell my dad how lucky he is to get mom as wife. He gets tasty food everyday; even the simplest of the meals tasted so yummy when it is prepared by her. When it comes to saving her recipes, it was always difficult for me to note down her recipes exactly since she uses approximate('Sumaar' as she says:)) measurements. Whenever she cooks, I will grab a pen and paper, stand by her side and start noting down the ingredients that she uses, gradually she keeps adding things in between and I won't be able to measure them out. Other day she was making my favourite Muslim paayasam called 'musara varakiyathu' or 'kaaykkari', that's made of mainly channa dal, Wheat,coconut milk and sugar. I desperately wanted that recipe, so soon I grabbed a paper and pen and stood by her side to note down the amount of ingredients she was using. Noted the amount of dal and wheat and somehow managed to get the amount of coconut milk approximately. When it came to adding sugar, she tipped the sugar directly from the large sugar tin that we had, and I am standing there with my jaw opened telling her I couldn't note down the amount of sugar....That's what happened many a time when I went to note down the recipe. So after coming back to UK, I keep trying her incomplete recipes by adding and subtracting things to get the right taste. This is my dad's favorite biriyani, and making my dad's favorite dishes always make me miss him so much that I can't express. My dad and husband loves to explore new dishes and new taste. But my mom is just opposite. She is very reluctant when it comes to new food and new taste. So we always had trouble when we go to the restaurants with her, she would hardly eat anything. She would be very happy if she is served with a bowl of steaming hot rice and a good spicy sardine curry.....Nalla choodu chorum mathi curry yum...

For making this Biriyani, you can also use shrimps or prawns of any kind. It tastes the best when served with the coconut chammanthi (at least), that I have already put in the blog.

For prawn masala:
500 gm (40-42 pieces) Peeled Jumbo King Prawns.
To marinate the prawns:
2 tsp Kashmiri Chilly powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 tsp salt
8 tbs vegetable oil for frying prawns.
For the gravy:
2 large onions chopped(2 3/4 cups, 380 gm)
2 1/2 medium size tomatoes chopped (1 1/4 cup, 290 gm)
12 cloves of garlic, grated (3 tbs)
5 green Chillies, chopped fine
3" piece ginger, grated (60gm, 2 tbs)
1 tsp pepper powder
1 tbs lime juice
1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
10 mint leaves,chopped
1 tsp salt, or as reqd
1 tsp garam masala.
For the Ghee rice:
3 cups Basmati rice
6 cups boiling water
salt-as required - (I used 3/4 Tbs salt)
3 tbs Clarified butter/ghee
4 tbs vegetable oil
1 large onion sliced
1 bay leaf
5 cardamom
7 cloves
4 small pieces of cinnamon sticks
1/2 Tbs cumin seeds
1/2 tbs lime/lemon juice
1/2 tsp extra garam masala to sprinkle while layering rice


First prepare the prawn masala:

1. Wash the prawns, drain and marinate them in kashmiri Chilli powder, Coriander powder turmeric powder and salt for half an hour.
2. Heat a large non-stick saucepan, and add the oil. When hot, shallow fry the prawns briefly, stirring then frequently for 3-4 minutes and fish them out.
3. In the same oil add the chopped onion,ginger,garlic and chillies along with salt and cook until the onions have become soft for about 15 minutes.
4. Add in the chopped tomatoes and pepper powder. Cover and cook until the tomatoes becomes soft and you get a thick gravy.
5. Add in the half fried prawns and cook on low flame for about 20 minutes so that the flavour of the prawn diffuse in the gravy and the gravy is thick.
6. At this point of time, add the chopped mint leaves, chopped coriander leaves, garam masala and lime juice. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes. remove from the fire and keep them aside.

For preparing the Ghee Rice:
1.Wash rice and strain off all the excess water by placing the rice in colander.
2. Boil water in the kettle or a large cooking vessel.
3. Heat another large pan to high heat and add ghee and oil. When the ghee gets hot add onions and sauté until the onions turns soft. At this stage add cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon and cumin seeds and sauté for a couple of minutes until the aroma of the spices starts coming out. Add boiling water, lemon juice and salt to this.
4. When the water starts bubbling, tip in the rice slowly and cook on high heat by keeping the lid open. At this stage, you will be able to see water an inch or two above the rice.
5. As soon as you see that water has gone below the rice, reduce the flame to low, and cook it covered until all the rice is cooked evenly. In between you may toss the bottom part of rice and bring to top once, so that the rice gets cooked evenly. Let it cool down a bit. Then do the layering.

Apart from the above method, You can also cook rice in different way. That's quite similar to the above, but a small difference....i.e.Follow the first three steps as above. Then add rice to boiling water. When bubbles start appearing on the surface again, reduce the heat to medium, cover the saucepan tightly and let it cook till done. it takes around 20 minutes, but it will depend on the rice. First time I made by the first way and second time, this second way. I think I will follow the second way from now on...that's much easier.

For layering the biryani and final cooking:
1. Divide the rice in 2 parts.
2. Take a large heavy based vessel and rub it with oil or ghee. Layer the bottom of the vessel with the first part of the rice. Sprinkle a 1/4 tsp of garam masala all over and pour prawn masala all over the rice. Tip in the second part of rice and sprinkle a good pinch of garam masala (1/4 tsp) all over again.
3. Cover the entire vessel with foil (to ensure that full steam stays in), then close the lid tightly. Place a weight (you can also use any vessel filled with water for this) over this vessels and cook on hob top for about 20-30 minutes at very low heat. This is to infuse the flavour of the biryani masala into the rice and this process of cooking is called ‘Dum’. At this point of time u can see that all rice on top has curved up.
4. You can also do the layering in an ovenproof vessel and place it in a preheated oven at a very low temperature for about 20-30 minutes for the final cooking. I never tried this, but my friends do it this way.Just before serving, garnish with fried onions, cashews and raisins. Enjoy with Cucumber Raita, tomato and onion salad, thenga chammanthi, pickle and pappadams!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Meat Kibbeh Akras/ Kubbeh

Kibbeh or kubbeh is a meat and bulgur mixture stuffed with cooked meat and then deep fried in oil. This is one of the most famous Labanese dish that is normally served as a starter or an appetizer. I first came across this dish during one of many Iftar (breaking of fast during the month of Ramadan) feasts that was held in our University. I fell in love with it at the first bite itself. I still remember being shocked to see a meatball which has its outer cover and inner stuffing both made of minced meat. After that I had this a couple of times when we went to Lebanese Restaurants. Kibbeh used to be on top of my list. The university Iftar used to be really grand. We used to have a buffet with loads and loads of dishes, mostly Arabic.....The buffet had different kinds of Arabic salads such as tabbouleh, fatoush and many dips such as hummus, Muthabbal, Baba ghannouj; appetizers such as kibbeh, dolma (stuffed cabbage leaves, stuffed with a mixture of minced meat, rice, herbs and spices), Warak al einab (thats stuffed grape leaves), different kind of rices like kabsa, makboos, and not to mention : the heavenly desserts and pastries that includes Baklava and many many others. I never thought of making kibbeh at home, mainly because it was a new kind of dish and I never dealt with such a cooking process before. But it came out really good, the real taste that I was expecting and had in my memories and we loved it. We had it for dinner along with Pitta bread, salad and hummus and it was great. All courtesy goes to That's where I adapted this recipe from. The next day we were going out for a short break to Isle of Wight, so I packed the rest for the Brunch to take away with us. But I halved the amount mentioned in the original recipe, since I was experimenting. Here I have made it in the shape of rugby ball/oval, but you can make it into small patties or balls as you wish.

3/4 cup,150g Bulgur wheat/cracked wheat, fine
250g minced meat
50g onion (1/2 of a medium onion)
12 mint leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Balck pepper powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
For the Stuffing:
2 tbs vegetable/olive oil
100g, 1 medium size onion,chopped
250g minced meat
1/2 of maggi stock cube, crumbled
1/4 tsp garam masala
10 mint leaves
1 1/2 tbs almonds (blanched, peeled, chopped and toasted until golden), can use toasted pine nuts as well
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
2 green chilli chopped (Optional)
Vegetable oil for deep frying


1. Wash bulgar and drain then cover and set it aside for 1 hour.
2. Combine in a mixing bowl the prepared bulgar, minced beef, onion, mint, salt and spices. Place this mixture in a processor and process by adding just enough water (I added 10 tablespoons of water) to allow the mixture to come together and form into a coarse dough that can be shaped into balls.Cover and set in the fridge.
3. Meanwhile prepare the stuffing. For that, heat oil in a pan, add onion and cook until tender. Add the minced lamb and stir until cooked and brown in color. Add the crumbled MAGGI® chicken Bouillon cube, garam masala, almonds, mint and spices and stir to combine well and cook for a couple of minutes.
4. Divide the kibbeh dough into 12-13 balls.. With wet hands take a ball and form it into an oval shape, Just like the shape of an egg. Make a space (hole) in the center by pushing your finger through from one end.. Make a hole big enough so that a teaspoon can be inserted into it. this can be done by pushing the finger into the dough several times to make the space bigger.
5. Add a teaspoonful of stuffing (cooked mixture), close by pressing firmly.
6. Fry the kibbeh in hot deep oil until golden brown.
7. Serve hot with green salad and fresh yogurt.
Recipe Courtesy:

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Spaghetti and Meatballs.

I always like to experiment on dishes that looks tempting, complicated and very challenging. I really have to put lot of courage in to doing some experiments like that. While doing such experiments, I always make sure that there is something (some food) for the backup if at all the new dish turns out uneatable:). Not always does the experiments come out successful. But this is something that came out really good so I thought I would share with you all.. I think after cooking this spaghetti and meatballs I became overconfident. I tried two new dishes after this, one was a total disaster and other one had some flavour here and there but I am just not happy with the result.....ha!But I am not going to give up, after all that's how you learn cooking.

Here is a simple and healthy way of cooking meatballs and Spaghetti. Normally the meatballs are deep fried in oil, but here, I baked them, and they gave me perfect results with juicy meatball. I had kept two meatballs aside to try frying them, but forgot to fry them!!. So I will let you know if these meatballs can be fried next time I make them. And surely I will make them soon. I have added more paprika or kashmiri Chilli powder to suit my family's taste, but you can totally avoid them and use black pepper powder instead or reduce the amount of paprika than mentioned in the recipe.

For the Meatballs:
1/2 kilo minced Beef/lamb
1/2 cup freshly ground bread (Bread crumbs), I used two slices of bread, crust removed and processed it in processor to get crumbs.
1/4 cup grated parmesan (parmigiano Reggiano)
4 tbs (1/4 cup) milk
2 tbs chopped parsley
1 small onion, finely chopped (1/3 cup firmly packed)
3 cloves garlic minced or finely chopped
1/2 - 1 tsp paprika depending upon the taste
1 large egg
3/4tsp - 1 tsp salt
For the sauce:
2 large tomatoes chopped (400 gms, 2 cups)
70 g tomato paste/puree ( I used a small 70g tin of tomato paste)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic,chopped
1-2 tbs chopped parsley
1/2 tsp Paprika powder
1 stock cube (I used maggi chicken stock cube)
2 - 21/4 cups (450mls-500mls) water
1 tsp Dried basil leaves
2 tsp sugar
1-2 tbs olive oil/vegetable oil
salt- as required
300g-350g Spaghetti to serve
For the sauce:1. Heat a saucepan to medium and add oil. Add the chopped onions and cook for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the chopped garlic and saute for a couple of minutes.
2. Add the chopped tomatoes, paprika powder, stock cube and water and cook on medium heat for about 35-40 minutes until the tomatoes are well cooked, soft and mushy.
3. Add these to a blender and give a quick whiz for a couple of seconds until you get a thick chunky puree, not a smooth sauce.
4. Put it back to the pan and add the cooked meatballs to it and cook on low heat for about 25-30 minutes until the meatballs are completely cooked and juicy.
For the meatballs:
1. Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs thoroughly using hand to distribute all ingredients uniformly. Make about 28 golf ball sized/lime sized balls and place in on a greased baking sheet.
2. Place it in a oven preheated to 200 degrees Celsius and bake for about 25 minutes or until the meat balls turn slightly brown all over. Add this meatballs to the tomato sauce prepared earlier along with the juices in the sheet. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 25-30 minutes; stirring from time to time. If you find it too thick, you can add some water accordingly. But for me the above amount was perfect. Again it depends on the heat and vessel used for preparing the sauce.
For serving:
1. Prepare the spaghetti according to the packet instructions;drain.
2. Serve spaghetti topped with meatballs in sauce; sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and serve warm. Serves 4.

1. The tomato sauce really keeps well. You can freeze them in jars and then use for later use,making the work easier.
2. Similarly, You can make make meatballs,place them in a tray, and freeze them until hard, then transfer them to freezer bags and freeze until needed. Cook directly from freezer as mentioned above, but it will take longer,once frozen. Cook until lightly browned all over. Enjoy this classic Italian Dinner with your loved ones.....

Wednesday, 15 July 2009


Hummus is one of the most famous Middle Eastern dip that is well known all across the world now. Hummus in Arabic means Chickpeas. The dip made using chickpeas is also known as hummus.The unique flavour of the hummus comes from the tahini sauce that's simply toasted sesame seeds ground along with olive oil to get a thick smooth paste. It is mainly eaten with Pitta bread, Arabic bread or Khubz, with shawarma etc. It can also be used as dip for many steam cooked vegetables like carrot, as a healthy spread for bread etc. Below given is the basic recipe of hummus. Here, I have used dried peas, You can also substitute it with canned chickpeas and make the work even more easier. Season it with cumin powder, paprika powder etc if you like some variations to the basic hummus. This stays fresh in refrigerator for up to three days.
I normally make Hummus when I roast or grill chicken and have it with Qubz and any salad.

1 cup dry Chick peas
6 garlic pods
2 tbs lime/lemon juice
2 1/2 tbs Tahini/Tahina (sesame seed paste)
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup water or Just enough water to grind the peas to a smooth thick paste

1. Wash and soak the peas for 6-8 hours or overnight.
2. Pressure cook peas along with water and garlic until peas are thoroughly cooked and is soft.
3. Grind it into smooth paste along with garlic and tahini sauce by adding enough water from the cooked peas or tap water.
4. Add lemon juice and salt to taste. Drizzle with olive oil while serving.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Roasted Tandoori Chicken

Here is a roasted version of Tandoori Chicken. I made this for dinner a couple of days back when I was not much in the mood to cook. Even though I wasn't in mood, I had to cook something delicious for my little picky eater and a Meataholic husband. I wanted to prepare something that's easy and doesn't require stirring and chopping. I thought this was a perfect dish for my mood. Just marinating the chicken and roasting it. I dint even bother chopping the chicken. Made it for the first time and it was too good. It's not my opinion but my hubby's. My little one just had this chicken for his dinner. He didn't even have a piece of bread or salad!!!The chicken was really soft and succulent. I am adding this recipe to my favourite list....a real heart winner and will make this to bribe my husband every time I need something...:). One more thing that I wanted to mention is that I am not sure how well the chicken will turn out if at all if you are frying it in oil, because I had tried one recipe for chicken tikka long back that was to be grilled but I fried in oil instead and it was a disaster.

1 kg whole chicken
For the marinade:
6 tbs thick curd
2 tbs lime juice
3/4 Tbs Cumin powder
1 1/2 - 2 tsp salt
1/2 - 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
1/2 tsp black pepper powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp cloves powder
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
5-6 large cloves of garlic, minced
2" piece ginger,minced
4 tbs vegetable oil
Few drops of orange food colour to get the required orange colour
1. Wash and skin the chicken. Make shallow slits or prick the chicken all over with the fork especially the fleshier part like the breast, legs and thighs to let the marinade permeate through.
2. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade. Marinate the chicken inside and utside and refrigerate it for a minumum of 6 hours or leave it in the fridge overnight.
3. Bring the chicken to room temperature half hour prior to Roasting.
4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Place the chicken in an oven proof dish, having atleast 2" depth, with the breast side facing upwards. Bake for 30 minutes. Then turn it over using a tongs pouring all the juices in the tray over the chicken. Bake for another 20 minutes until it starts to get browne at the tail tip. Turn it over again; the breast being the top part and again pour all the juices in the tray over the chicken.Bake for another 15- 20 minutes, until the chicken is well cooked. It may take anywhere from 1hr-1 hr 15 minutes for a Kilo of chicken at this given temperature.
We had this Roasted chicken with vegatble salad, curd and Qubz.You can also have it along with Chappathi,poori,naan etc.
1. I have used 1 tsp of Kashmiri Chilli powder cos we like it lightly spicy. You can reduce it to 1/2 tsp as per your taste.
2. You can add a mixture of red&yellow food colour if you dont have the orange colour.
Recipe Courtesy :

Friday, 10 July 2009

Asabia el Aroos (Brides Fingers)

Filo based pastries are very common in the middle eastern countries. The very common ones are the 'Baklawa' . These are simply filo dough filled with nuts, sometimes with cooked cream,then baked and soaked in a lovely sweet sugar syrup, sometimes flavoured with rose water or orange blossom water. They look quite complicated, but believe me,they are so simple to make if you have the ready-made filo dough. The only difficult part might be handling the filo, since they are so thin;much thinner than a paper. Asabia el Aroos are lovely slender crisps of filo filled with sweetened nuts are as heavenly as baklava, much easier to prepare and to eat, and lower in calories and fat.

It always happens while watching the cookery show that I see certain food being prepared, I get tempted and shop all the ingredients needed for that recipe. But as the time goes by, I forget about whole stuff, the ingredients of that particular recipe gets used in my other everyday cooking and some of it just stays there forever without being noticed. Such was this Filo dough that was resting in the freezer for many many months or may be a year. Just made sure that they weren't out dated:) I bought it the other day when I saw one of the chefs preparing my very favourite middle eastern sweet Baklawa on TV. I got so excited and I bought the filo dough and nuts. But since my husband hates baklava (can you believe) I was a bit reluctant to make it because I was sure I will end up eating the whole stuff all by myself. Yet I bought it as I just couldn't resist my temptation to make it. Even though I was tempted, I was very much intimidated to work with the filo reading its fragility from many places. Yes, it is very fragile, but if handled gently and carefully, it is not as difficult as you think.

After making this, I thought it was a bit time consuming. Rolling the filo took me ages. So if you are planning to make this, make sure you get a helping hand. In Baklawa, more and more butter is basted in each layer where as in Brides fingers, I lightly brushed just the top layer with little butter. I would love to make these and present it to someone when I make them next. What a lovely gift that would make, Isn't it?

Sweet Syrup:
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water
1 tsp lime juice
4 tbs honey
1 cup almonds or pistachios, pulverized in food processor with
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp Cinnamom powder
1 egg, beaten
1 tbs water
400g frozen filo dough 18" * 12" , completely defrosted
70g unsalted butter, melted

1.For making the syrup: Place a saucepan on moderate heat and add in sugar and water. Bring to boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes until you get a thick syrup. Add lemon juice and turn the flame off. Once the syrup is cooled a bit, add honey and stir well. If desired, you can add 1/2 tsp of rose water to this. Prepare this syrup in advance and chill in the refrigerator.
2.Combine the filling ingredients.

3. Cut the filo in half crosswise making it 9" * 12" and again halve them and make it into 4.5 " * 12. Stack them up and cover them with a damp towel as soon as possible to prevent the dough from drying out.
4. Lay 2 rectangles on your work surface with the shorter sides facing you, and brush lightly with melted butter. (Just brush the top layer. No need to brush the bottom layer).
5. Place a rounded tablespoon of the filling in a line across the shorter side of filo that faces you. Fold the longer edges of the pastry inward, sealing in the sides of the filling, and roll the pastry up from the short side, forming a fat cigar shape. Place on the baking sheet with the cut edge down. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover all the prepared cigars with another wet towel as soon as they are being made.

6.Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Grease 1 or 2 baking sheets.
7. Brush the tops of the pastries lightly with a bit of beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
9. Arrange the warm finger on a serving tray and pour the syrup all over. This way the pastry will absorb all the syrup and will taste almost like Baklawa. If this sounds too sweet for you, just dip the filo fingers in syrup and arrange in a tray. Serve at room temperature.
Recipe Courtesy:

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Italian Bean and Pasta Soup

I made this soup to go with garlic bread for dinner last night and we loved it so much that I thought I would share with you all. The soup was light and quite filling. And do you want to know where I got the recipe from? The wrap of willow Butter!!Yeah, I have the habit of collecting the recipes from anywhere and everywhere. I always take the grocery booklets from the groceries everytime because they contain many recipes and I thought they were nice. Now my collection has become so big, and I really dont know what to do! My husband sometimes comment that I'm like a mouse bringing all the mess and waste to home......Aaaah....but I am sure there are many ladies out there like me, crazy about collecting recipes, and keep flipping them over again and again and still never get bored of it, isn't it?!!!

1 tbs butter
2 medium carrots thinly sliced (1 cup)
1 medium onion sliced thin (1/2 cup)
2 large cloves garlic,chopped
1/2 large tomato (1/3 cup)
1 tsp tomato puree
400 can Red Kidney Beans drained and washed (1 1/3 cup)
3/4 cup frozen green peas
2 chicken Stock cube (I used Maggi)
1500 mls water
75 gms pasta shapes, I used fusilli (1 cup)
salt and pepper to season (I dint add salt, since stock cube is quite salty)

1. Heat a sauce pan, melt butter and add onions, garlic and carrots. Stir and cook gently for about 5 minutes and add tomato and tomato puree and saute until tomato is soft.
2. Add beans, peas and stock cube and boiled water and cook for 10 minutes.
3. Add the pasta shapes and cook for another 7 minutes or until the pasta is cooked. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.

Kalathappam/ kalthappam (Unsweetened)

Kalathappam is a rice cake and is one of the famous speciality of Muslim cuisines in Kerala. There are two kinds of Kalthappam. One is sweet version which uses sugar or jaggery to sweeten, and the other one is unsweetened one which is normally eaten with curries. It is commonly made in Malabar regions (Im not sure about other regions of Kerala,sorry) as an evening snack (sweet one) or for dinner or breakfast with any spicy curries. I was googling for the recipe of kalthappam without sugar and I found none!!! The other day I soaked some rice to make Neypathal or neypathiri which are fried rice pan cakes which requires quite lot of time and effort. And since my little one was sick, I prepared this kalthapam which just takes few minutes to prepare. We just have to pour the whole batter in the sauce pan and cook them. The cooking time may differ depending on the saucepan and the heat used. Anyways, here is a tasty recipe for the Kalthappam(unsweetened one), that would make an easy dinner or breakfast.

2 cups long grain rice (pachari)
1 cup Cooked rice (same rice as above)
2 cups water
1/2 tbs salt
1 tsp Fennel seeds (perumjeerakam)
1/2 cup freshly grated coconut
1 large onion, cut in chunks
2 tbs thinly sliced and chopped onion
1/2 medium size onion chopped
4 tbs oil

1. Soak rice for about 4-6 hours.
2. Grind it along with cooked rice, fennel seeds and 1 large onion by adding 2 cups of water into a smooth grainless batter.You might need to do this in two batches.
3. Add salt,coconut,1/2 chopped onion and mix well using a spatula until well combined.
4. Heat a medium size saucepan (I used a nonstick sauce pan of 9" Diameter, you can use one with 10" as well) to a medium low heat. Add oil and add in the 2 tbs chopped onion. When the onions starts turning golden, add the batter prepared earlier to this slowly. You can see all the oil and onions has moved to the top.
5.COVER and cook the kalthappam until the batter is set completely. It will take about 45 minutes-1 hour depending on the heat and the kind of saucepan used. Let it cool slightly. Flip the kalthappam over. For that, place any plate on top of the dish and holding the plate firmly, tip the kalthappam on it. Slide it back into the saucepan with the upper white part of the kalthappam to go facing down and the lower golden part facing up. Cook for another 10-15 minutes until you get a golden and crispy coating . This flipping is just done to get a golden crispy layer all over the kalthappam. You don't have to flip it over,if you dont want the crispy layer. It will be cooked if the batter is set completely.
This can be had along with or Malabar fish curry, Chemmeen Muringavaal curry, Malabar chicken curry etc for dinner or even with sugar. Some times we have it for brunch along with the above said curries or sugar.
The addition of chopped onions and coconut is really optional. It really enhances the taste, But you dont have to add, if you dont like them.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009


This recipe was sent to me by one of my relatives and it just tempted me so much especially becaue it was just a 3 minutes dessert!!!A 3 minute cake!!Can you imagine? In the beginning I had a doubt if it would come out good mainly I have never made a cake that contains plain flour and has no baking powder or baking soda in it. But since the dessert had small amount of ingredients, I just went ahead and tried the next moment I got this recipe and it was so yummy. Guys, I couldnt just believe it. I forwarded the recipe to all my friends. And now Im sharing with this recipe with my readers here. And what most tempted me was the quote that was written at the end of the mail- " And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night! Let me know who got tempted like me, went ahead and made it....This is an ideal sweet to serve to guests who come home with late notice, or even as snack!

4 tablespoons plain flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 medium egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional) (I used Chocolate cut into chunks)
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug (MicroSafe)

1. Rub cold butter inside the Mug completely to prevent the cake from sticking to the mug. Add dry ingredients to a dish, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
2. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again. Pour it in the mug prepared earlier.
3. Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. (Since my Microwave was 700W, I cooked it for 4 minutes).
4. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed! (It really did rise about 3 inches on top of the mug, And I though it would spill all over the microwave, but it dint, So go ahead,Dont be alarmed ).
5.Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired. Serve with vanilla ice cream, whip cream, toffee sauce, caramel or simply icing sugar.
6. I used icing sugar for garnishing. For that, use 3 tbs icing sugar mixed with few drops of water/milk to make a paste of dropping consistency. Drizzle it all over. Serve warm.
Isn't that So simple?
Update: One of my friends tried this cake and she told me it wasn't sweet enough. Please Increase the amount of sugar as per taste. As I had it with Icing sugar drizzled, I dint realise that.
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