Friday, 30 July 2010

A Cake with Scent - Lemon Cake

Lemon cake is one of the regular cakes that I bake even before I started blogging. It is one of those cakes that always turned out perfect with no flaws to talk about. It is simple to prepare, nothing fancy and it is loaded with refreshing lemony flavour - just perfect for a tea or even dessert. That being said, I am not a tart or tang loving person myself, but I love indulging myself a little when it comes to lemon cake. It’s not really tang, and the cake has perfect balance of sweetness and the whole lot of citrusy flavour to get you hooked to it. This is my better half’s favourite cake; now you know why it makes a regular visit in my kitchen. I normally bake lemon cake from Joyofbaking and that is one recipe that had never failed me. I made this version of lemon cake for the ongoing photography event @ Leites Culinaria and I was so thrilled and exited and got carried away with photography and stuffs apart from the regular chores. I love any food photography contests since that opens way for me to research a bit on photography and styling. This is one of my entries for the contest.

This recipe is taken from Leites Culinaria and the amount given was for two loaves and for a micro family like mine, one loaf was more than enough. So I easily halved the recipe to suit our need and it just worked fine and came out perfect. The cake was super soft and moist and if you love citrusy flavours, you will get hooked to this one, I bet. Meanwhile make your way to Leitus Culinaria and see their wonderful creations. I should tell you, I came to know about the contest from a fellow blogger and I had to rush myself into choosing recipes. Since they had plenty of collections I felt like a lost kid. I had tough time choosing the recipes and spend major chunk of two days on choosing recipes. You can view the original recipe at Leitus Culinaria.

113g slightly salted butter at room temperature
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
3 medium eggs at room temperature
2 ½ TBSP grated lemon zest
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
5 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 TBSP water
6 TBSP buttermilk, at room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla essence

For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar (Icing sugar)
1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the lemon curd:
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp sugar
½ Tbsp lemon juice + ½ TBSP water (Use 1 tbsp lemon juice if you like it srong)
½ tsp lemon zest
30g butter


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease one 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-by-2 1/2-inch loaf pan. (I used a 1 liter pan)

2. Cream the butter and 1 cup granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, and the lemon zest.

3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 2 TBSP lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Pour the batter into the pan, smooth the top, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

4. Combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar with the remaining 3 TBSP lemon juice and 1 Tbsp water in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves and makes a syrup. When the cakes are done, let them cool for 10 minutes, then invert them onto a rack set over a tray. Prick the cake all over with a skewer and spoon the lemon syrup over the cake. Allow the cake to cool completely.

5. For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the top of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

6. For the lemon curd: Mix egg yolk, sugar, zest, water and lemon juice and cook on low flame for 5-6 minutes stirring continuously. Strain the mixture, add butter to it and heat until butter has melted completely, by continuous stirring. Pour it in a small bowl, cover and chill until required. I used this just to drizzle on the cake. It is just optional.

I also granished the cake with sugar frosted flowers. For that,  brush the petals with egg whites using a paint brush and sprinkle with castor sugar. Let them dry by placing them on greaseproof paper for few hours until it is completely dry. I placed it in the warm oven (30 degrees) for 1 hour. This frosted flowers stores indefinitely in an air tight container.


1. If you like it more lemony, substitute add 4 tbsp of lemon juice instead of 1 tbsp water plus 3 tbsp of juice.

2. The recipe also calls for unsalted butter and then adding on salt later on. But since I used salted butter, I have omitted salt in the recipe.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Chicken Fry Masala

Chicken fry masala is a semi-dry preparation, with soft and juicy chicken bursting with flavours and is one of my favourite chicken preparations. Since chicken is cooked initially with water, it becomes really tender absorbing all the moisture and frying them later on gives it a completely different flavour. Adding curry leaves and green chillies at the end boosts the flavour of this dish and that heavenly aroma retains even after you dish out the chicken. This recipe is a modified version of special fried chicken that I posted a while ago. I simply gave it a twist by cooking the chicken further in an onion based sauce. It is simple to prepare and tastes too good. It pairs well with almost anything you can think of – rice, paratta, any roti/bread varities, biriyanis etc.

Note: You may adjust the spiciness by increasing or cutting down amount of chilli powder. These days I use a mixture of paprika and Kashmiri chilli to cut down the heat of my dish. I sometimes add just paprika to include green chillies in the dish. Adding green chillies along with curry leaves at the end boosts the flavour of this dish.


800g Chicken cut into medium size pieces
6 large garlic cloves finely chopped (2 ½ TBSP)
1” thick piece of ginger finely chopped (1 TBSP)
1 Tbsp chopped curry leaves
3 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
½ cup water

For the Masala:
4 tbsp coconut oil/vegetable oil
2 large onions thinly sliced
1 large tomato sliced
1 twig curry leaves chopped
2 green chillies (slit lengthwise) - optional
¼ tsp garam masala
A pinch of salt
Coriander leaves to garnish.
Little ginger and garlic reserved from the marinade


1. Clean chicken and marinate it with Chilli powder, paprika, turmeric, chopped curry leaves, salt, chopped garlic (reserve ½ TBSP for masala) and chopped Ginger (reserve 1 tsp for masala). Cover the bowl using a cling film and refrigerate for a minimum of half hour.

2. Cook this marinated chicken along with ½ a cup of water until chicken is cooked, and smothered in spicy sauce. If there is more liquid, boil it off keeping the lid open until 2-3 tablespoon of cooking liquid is left in the pan.

3. Tip the cooked chicken with sauce into another bowl. Keep the sauce pan back on heat and add oil.

4. When oil is hot enough, add sliced onions with a pinch of salt (Addition of salt cooks the onions faster). Sauté until it starts to turn golden. Add the reserved ginger and garlic and sauté all until onion turns golden. Add sliced tomato and stir. Tip in chicken along with cooking liquid and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the tomatoes go just soft. If the dish goes really dry here, add few dashes of water.

5. Add in chopped curry leaves, chillies and garam masala. Mix well and cook for further 2-3 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot along with chappthis, pooris, parattas, rice, biriyani etc.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Ari Murukku - All the Way from Scratch

Ari Murukku is a famous crunchy snack made from lentils and rice and is very popular with kids as well as adults. There are many versions of it and Ari murukku is the most common one amongst them. Made of Urad dals and rice, these are served along with tea as snacks or just to munch. Back home it is always found in small street side shops where they sell it in huge jars. They have a characteristic odour that it attains from the roasted Urad dals and the whole spices added into it. Special equipment called ‘Sev Nazhi’ is used for preparing murukku, at least at homes. It is a cylindrical shaped kit with room to stuff the dough, a handle and several template discs to squeeze out the dough into desired shapes. Dough is stuffed inside the ‘Sev nazhi’ which is fitted with template discs, and then handle is rotated to squeeze out the dough. It is similar to a pastry bag function wise, where different nozzles are fitted to the bag to pipe out different patterns. Check out the picture below.

These are normally not prepared at homes probably because they are very cheap to buy and if preparing in huge batches, they consume a bit of time and effort. I just wanted to try to make them at home since my family love them and these are not readily available here. My first two attempts were not really good. Even though the taste and flavour was perfect, there was something wrong in the mixture. It was brittle rather than crunchy. It took me yet another trial which gave me the same result as the previous one to make out where it had gone wrong! I had written the recipe slightly wrong and hence ended up using wrong kind of rice. In my first two attempts, I used parboiled rice (Puzhukkalari) instead of raw rice (Pachari) and it was too hard to grind it with the given amount of water mentioned. I ended up adding so much of water to keep my motor running and then ended up adding so much or urad flour and other ingredients as well. Took long time to get cook and I lost my patience. But it kept me wondering where it had gone wrong and all I could think of was changing rice. Tried it for the third time without much hope and just by switching to a different rice and there you go! Perfectly made Murukku, crispy and crunchy, just the way I wanted it to be.


¾ cup Raw Long grain rice (Pachari)
¼ cup Urad dal (Black Lentils)
2 Tbsp Coconut Milk Powder
½ cup hot water
Almost 1 tsp salt or slightly less (Add according to taste)
2 tsp soft butter
½ tsp crushed black pepper (optional)
½ tsp cumin seeds
¾ tsp black sesame seeds


1. Soak rice in normal tap water for 3-4 hours.

2. Make coconut milk by mixing hot water to coconut milk powder. Stir well to get smooth milk.

3. Drain rice and grind it to smooth paste by adding the prepared coconut milk.

4. Dry roast urad dal on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally until it turns golden. Let it cool down and then grind it to fine powder.

5. In a bowl, tip in the ground rice and add salt, black pepper, cumin seeds, sesame seeds and butter. Stir well. Add in ground urad dal, mix it and knead to form a soft dough that is neither too tight nor too runny.

6. Fill ‘Seva Nazhi’ with the dough. In an oiled polythene sheet/baking paper/banana leaves, press out the dough in spiral motion to make it in shape of Murukku. Tuck two ends by pressing it slightly to the sides so that it does not open free while frying.

7. Heat a frying pan or kadai to medium and add oil up to 2- 3 inches high. When the oil is hot enough, slide the prepared murrukku in the oil and fry these murukkus until it turns golden by flipping once or twice in between (about 3 minutes). When it is cooked through, it will stop sizzling or sizzle very minimally.

8. Drain on kitchen towel and store in air tight containers. This can be stored infinitely.


1. One thing I would like to put into notice is that, if the dough is too tight, you may end up with a hard Murukku and if it is too soft, you will end up with murukku that is less crunchy. So feel free to add little water to loosen it up and urad flour to tighten up the dough. I roast an extra Tablespoon of urad dal to add in if necessary

2. Make sure the oil is heated to medium. High heat burns the murukku. For checking the temperature of oil, drop a small ball or murukku dough and drop it in oil. If it pops up sizzling after 40seconds, oil should be heated to the right extend.

3. You can add several murukku to the oil at a time depending on the size of the pan and kadai used.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Super Moist Chocolate Cake

Did that name tempt you? What about the picture? This recipe and the picture in my book had been tempting me for few years now. The picture was so attractive that it left me drooling every time I skimmed through them and finally I decided to give it a shot last week. What an eye catchy picture do to a recipe is just amazing. This cake is adapted from a cookbook that I got along with my food processor which I bought some 3 years ago. I guess I wouldn’t have tried it if there wasn’t a picture along with it. The book quotes “It would be an ultimate in desserts and is some what a cross between a cake and a mousse” and it exactly is. The cake is made with the best quality chocolate to get the optimum result and has a moist and squidgy centre with a light crust on top as you get in brownies. The use of minimal flour and almonds gives the ultimate softness to this cake and this is the softest cake I have ever eaten. I liked it better the second day. Don’t you believe it yet? Have a look at the second picture then! I served this cake along with strawberries and custard since I dint have any cream in stock at the time. You can also serve by simply dusting it with icing sugar or cocoa.

I have to confess, the crust was all eaten by myself and my son after we had a long tiring day at the park. My son also dug out a big chunk of it from the centre of the cake when I was away. So to cover the hideousness, I had to top it up with some fresh strawberries. The cake was baked the previous evening and I was too busy to shoot a picture. The next day was even busier that I lost my patience by evening and started kind of nicking the cake from here and there after eating the whole of crust.

On a different note, before going to the recipe, I would like to inform you all that I have uploaded my Index Tab menu on the top left of the blog for easier browsing. Please feel free to use them. Any suggestions are welcome. Other Tabs are not yet completed. I would be doing them slowly as time permits. Now to the recipe:


4 medium size eggs
220g (1 cup, 8 oz) Castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
25g (3 ½ TBSP appx, 1 oz) plain flour
50g (2 oz, 1/3 cup packed) ground almonds
50 ml water (2 ½ fl oz, ¼ cup)
150g (5 ½ oz) dark chocolate, preferably 70% cocoa
125g (4 ½ oz) unsalted Butter
Whipped cream or custard to serve
Stawberries to garnish
Icing sugar or cooca powder to dust


1.Pre heat oven to 170 degrees Celsius 10 minutes prior to baking. Grease and line a 7” loose bottomed cake tin.

2. Using an electric whisk, whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla on high speed for 3 minutes until very light and fluffy.

3. Meanwhile, put chocolate, butter and water in a large bowl and heat over a bowl of simmering water, but do not stir. When they are all melted, stir gently together.

4. Using a metal spoon, gently but thoroughly fold the creamed mixture into the chocolate mixture. Stir in the almonds and the flour. Pour into the tin and bake for about 50 mins – 1 hour. For checking the doneness, insert a skewer into the centre of the cake and the skewer should come out with few moist crumbs, but not a gooey sticky mixture. If you get gooey batter clinging on to the skewer put the cake back in and check after another 10 minutes. When completely done, remove from the tin and cool on wire rack. Dust with icing sugar or cocoa and serve along with strawberries and whipped cream or custard.


1.The timing for the cake was given as 20 minutes but it took me an hour to bake this to perfection. So please check accordingly based on your oven. Check for doneness as given in point 4.

2. The cake will sink as it comes out of oven, it quotes in the book. It is meant to be slightly gooey in the middle and crunchy crust on the outside, quite like a good chocolate brownie.

3. This cake is freezable.

4. The recipe was given in metric measurements, I just measured in cups for the ease of use. Use just one kind of measurement at a time and do not mix both.
5. The cake tasted best the next day. It was difficult to get a sneat slice when it was warm.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Plain Dosa (Lentil Pancakes)

Dosas (Singular - Dosa) or Dosha are thin and crispy lentil pancakes mainly prepared using a lentil or a combinations of few lentils and rice. The most popular one is this plain dosa which is prepared using Urad (Black) lentils and rice and is almost always served along with sambar, potato masala and a chutney or few chutneys- a favorite South Indian breakfast and sometimes a tea time treat. Sambar is one of the most popular south Indian curry which is a medley of assorted vegetables and have its own distinct and characteristic taste. Dosa served along with potato masala well known as ‘Masala Dosa’ is a world famous South Indian breakfast that you would come across any south Indian restaurant. Chutneys of different flavours are also a favourite accompaniment to these dosas and are usually served alongside. They are mainly coconut based dips, flavoured with different ingredients like chillies, coriander, mint, curry leaves etc. and are seasoned and tempered in different ways. Some of the chutneys can be really hot even for the Indian taste buds, so you might need to be a bit cautious if you are sensitive to heat.

If anyone have’nt had Dosa yet, I strongly recommend that you should. Because these pancakes are not only enjoyed by Indians but by people all across the globe. That reminds me the rush that used to occur at a stall in One of Abu dhabi’ s popular shopping centre where they used to sell Indian street foods like Vada pavs, Vada, pav Bhaji, panoi puri and Dosa. Their food is finger licking good and their queue is as big as their fame. During my university my friends hailing from Oman and UAE had dosas from there and they had told me how much they loved them and they wanted to learn how to make them. Well, that was the time when I didn’t know even the basic of cooking.

Every time I prepare dosa at home, my hubby would ask me if I had posted the recipe of dosa yet. He normally doesn’t bother about me posting a recipe but whenever I prepare dosa’s he used to ask me to post the recipe and give hints on how to shoot pics. I didn’t bother about it because almost anyone would know how to make this dosa and you would find numerous recipes on net as well all of them which are similar or almost same. But since he kept asking, I thought why not post it now? This is my mothers recipe and her ratio is 3:1:1 that is Raw rice: Urad dal: cooked Rice. Fermentation may differ depending on particular region’s temperature. It is very easy to prepare. There are number of recipes that you can make with this dosa batter like egg dosa, vegetable Oothappam, onion oothappam etc. Last weekend I prepared Egg dosa and it came out real good. I would try to post them if it interests anyone probably later. Now to the recipe:

Plain dosa
Serves 3


1 cup Raw rice (Pachari)

1 cup Cooked rice

1/3 cup Urad Dal

½ - ¾ tsp Fenugreek seeds

Salt to taste

Ghee- as required


1. Wash rice and soak it for about 3 - 4 hours along with fenugreek seeds.

2. Wash urad dal and soak it separately in another bowl for equal amount of time.

3. Grind rice + fenugreek using ¾ cup of water until the mixture is smooth.

4. Separately grind urad dal in ¾ cup of water until smooth as well.

5. Combine both batters, add salt and mix well. Cover and keep in a warm place (for eg: Kitchen counter) for about 8-10 hours or overnight to ferment. This time may increase or decrease depending on the temperature and climate of the place.

6. Once the batter has fermented, give it a good stir.

7. To cook dosa, slightly dip a kitchen paper or a muslin cloth or even a coconut husk in coconut oil or ghee and lightly grease the dosa pan by rubbing the pan with oiled kitchen paper.

8. Pour a ladleful of batter onto the centre of the pan. Lightly spread the batter using back of the ladle in a spiral motion starting from the centre and ending outside. The heat should be set to low while pouring and spreading the batter and then increase to medium to cook dosa. Spreading dosa at medium or high heat will be difficult and cooking them on high heat will burn them. So adjust the flame accordingly.

9. Cover and cook till it turns golden or golden brown on the edges. Lightly apply ghee all over if you prefer and serve along with Chutney, Sambar or potato Masala. Leftover batter is said be stored in fridge for upto a week.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Spicy Grilled Chicken

Last weekend sun was shining with all its glory, so we ended up having BBQ at our friends place. We had loads of fun with guys grilling meat, veggies and bun and ladies gossiping and eating them. Kids were just running around and playing without wasting their time eating. After all that grilling was done men sat down to watch the footie. Apart from all that hungama, food was just amazing. We had some kebabs and burgers; lamb chops and chicken wings marinated in a spicy marinade as mains. We very much loved the meal and among them, the lamb chops were outstanding. Here is the re-created version of that one in my kitchen, but using chicken instead of lamb. I would love to try it with lamb, but I am not sure if lamb would come out well in the oven. Well, has anyone tried grilling lamb pieces in the oven? Does it cook well? And how long would it take to get cooked, without using any tenderizer? Any suggestions are much appreciated. Let's get on the recipe, now. It's quite simple to prepare and tastes quite good as well.

Spicy Grilled Chicken
Serves 4

2 Large leg portions (around 700g)

½ Tbsp fresh ginger puree
½ Tbsp fresh garlic puree
4 Tsp Kashmiri Chilli powder *
1-2 tsp Lime juice
½ tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Few teaspoons of water
1-2 Tablespoon of oil
Lemon slices to serve.


1.Wash chicken thoroughly and drain in a colander to remove excess water. Make deep gashes on to fleshy parts of leg and thigh portions of chicken to penetrate the marinade through.

2. Mix all ingredients for the marinade with just enough water to make a smooth paste. Rub the marinade thoroughly all over the chicken and deep down the gashes. Sprinkle oil all over the chicken and lightly rub in.

3. Transfer it into a bowl, cover using a cling film or foil and chill it over night or for a minimum of 2 hours.

4. Bring the marinated chicken to room temperature before cooking and Preheat the oven 10 minutes prior to grilling. Place the chicken on foiled tray and grill on medium heat for around 35-40 minutes turning once or twice in between. I Grilled (at 3) one side for 15 minutes, flipped the chicken over and cooked the other side for another 15 minutes and flipped again to cook for some more time. To ensure that chicken is fully cooked, poke the chicken on several parts until you see clear juice oozing through the poked area. If not, cook it for some more time. Make sure you don’t over cook your chicken as it can become really dry. Chicken prepared can be baked or even fried in oil. But the results may vary slightly depending on how you do it. Grilling gives it a slight smoky flavour.

Squeeze plenty of lime juice while serving if preferred. This can be used as a side dish fo rchappathis, Indian naan breads or rice dishes.


Instead of using chilli powder aby itself, you can use a mixture of paprika and Kashmiri chilli powder. Or if you want it real hot, use the regular chilli powder. Paprika gives it a real good colour and a milder heat. I used 3 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder and a teaspoon of paprika powder here.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Pineapple Jam

Pineapple jam is one of my favourite Jams. Simplest of it can be made without any spices, just sugar, lime juice and pineapple. But to add an extra depth you may opt for some spices of your choice. I have used whole cinnamon and cloves which was inspired by Shn of Mishmash. Long back she had posted a stunning pineapple jam recipe and the drool worthy pictures were stuck in my brain. Making of jam was in my mind ever since. Recently I spotted some huge pineapples on offer and they smelt heavenly. I just grabbed one didn’t think anything else other than this pineapple jam. I love pineapple flavour, may it be in juice, desserts, cake, jam or even curries. But like many other fruits, I am not keen on eating pineapple as it is. Adding a bit of sin to the fruit makes it more appealing and tempting!
You may add or reduce sugar depending on the sweetness of the fruit. My pineapple was quite sweet, and I added the amount of sugar as given in the recipe below. It was perfect for our taste. But I have come across recipe that calls for equal amount of sugar as the fruit, so if your pineapple is not sweet enough, feel free to use more. You may also puree your pineapple to get a spreadable jam or leave it slightly chunky by chopping it fine to get a chunky jam, however you may prefer your jam to be. Here the picture of jam displayed on the ramekin is the chunky pineapple jam and on the toast is the finer version of it which is prepared from pureed pineapple. I preferred the latter one better because it had a spreadable consistency.

Pineapple Jam
Almost Fills a 1/2 litre Jar

750 g very finely chopped pineapple (3 cups)
500g (2 1/3 cups) regular white sugar
2 tsp (10 mls) lime juice
4 cloves (optional)
4 small pieces of cinnamon stick (optional)
Few drops of yellow food colour

1. Mince the pineapple finely or puree in a processor depending on the texture you want your jam to be. You can also leave it slightly chunky if you like your jam that way.

2. Tip the minced/pureed pineapple in a cooking saucepan. Add in sugar, lime juice, cinnamon and cloves. Leave it aside for 3-4 hours or until the sugar has completely dissolved.

3. Place the saucepan on heat, bring to gentle boil and simmer for around 35-50 minutes until it is thick and syrupy; depending on the pan and mode of heat used. Make sure you stir every while because the sugar can easily burn. Add few drops of yellow colour and stir.

4. Meanwhile sterilize the jar and lid in boiling water for 8 -10 minutes.

5. To check the doneness of jam, spread a tablespoon of jam on a cold plate and return the plate to the freezer and chill for a minute. Run your finger through the jam and if you see it wrinkling as you pull, then the jam is ready. If not continue cooking until you reach that ‘wrinkle’ stage. Jam will get thicker and stiffer as it cools down, so make sure you don’t make it really thick. Wait until the jam is completely cooled. Once it is completely cooled it will be easier to judge the consistency of jam you require. (Read notes on how to fix if you overcooked or undercooked your jam). Fish out the whole spices and discard them using a sterilized fork or spoon.

6. Let the jam cool down completely before transferring into a sterilized jam jars. You can use this jam on jam drop cookies, toasts, puddings etc.


1. Take care not to include the central stalk of pineapple.

2. If at all your jam gets cooked beyond the required time, and you ended up in candy like jam or very stiff jam that is difficult to spread, don’t panic. Just Pour 4 - 8 Tablespoon (1/4 cup – ½ cup) of water to the jam and bring to gentle boil. Stir well and simmer for 3-4 minutes until the jam reaches a ‘jammy’ consistency.

3. Unlike soft fruits like strawberries and raspberries, pineapple does not break down considerably on mashing. So you may need to mince it to your suitable preference before you prepare it. Well, I pureed it half through cooking when I realized that it doesn’t get mashed on mashing. The texture will be fine and of spreadable consistency on pureeing.

4. Some people likes the flavour of Star anise. You may add half of whole start anise along with other spices. It gives a strong flavour, so be cautious.

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