Saturday, April 25, 2015

Kerala Parotta Recipe - கேரளா பரோட்டா - Step by Step

      Parotta is an Indian flat bread, which is made using maida or all purpose flour. I have tried different recipes for a perfect parotta, but this recipe is a winner in my home. The parottas are soft and flaky.I have a habit of noting down interesting recipes, which come in my life. Like the others,noted down in NDTV food . It is a foolproof recipe. The recipe gives the trick to get flaky parotta. By sprinkling flour on top of the rotis. This the roti non sticky. The dough has to be rested before we roll them.The longer it  rests, the softer it becomes. Since we are adding egg, it has that cream colour, if not it would have been white. Serve parottas with any one of these side dishes.

Preparation time : 10 mins
Resting time : 1 hr
Cooking time : 10 mins
Source : NDTV Food

  • cups Maida + 1/2 cup extra for dusting
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2-3 tsp Sugar
  • 1 Egg 
  • 1 tsp Salt
  •  Oil - to grease, shape and cook with
  • Water - as needed

* Take a mixing bowl, add flour,salt,sugar and mix. Mix the bowl ,let the flour incorporate the salt and sugar.

* Make a well in the centre and drop the egg in the middle. Mix the egg well and let it get crumbled with the flour. Since we are adding egg, the parotta will not be pure white. If you didn't want egg, then skip it and add a fat pinch of baking soda. The baking soda will make the parotta flaky.

* Now pour 1/2 cup of milk and mix . Now add needed water to the dough and make it pilable. Initially, the dough was sticky. Now pour oil over the dough and cover it. Let it sit on the counter for atleast 30 mins. The longer the dough sits, the softer the parotta will be.

* After 30 mins, dust the working area with flour. Start working on the dough for atleast 10 mins and knead it , till the dough becomes soft . The longer you knead the dough, the softer your parotta will be. By now, gluten would have reacted with the dough and when you spread the dough, there will be thin layer formed and then it results in to  a hole. This is called window pane test.

* Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and roll them again into soft and smooth balls. Drizzle oil over the balls.Again cover the dough and let it sit for atleast 10 mins. This resting time,will make the balls to absorb the oil and turn them into soft dough.

* After 10 mins, again knead the dough. ( I know, it sounds crazy to tell you again and again to knead. Because ,kneading will make the parotta soft. Grease the work area with oil. Roll the dough into thin roti. The size doesn't want to be even. It can tear also, don't worry, our motto is to get the roti thin as possible.

* Here is the trick for the parotta to get the flaky texture. Grease the roti with oil. Now sprinkle flour on top of the roti. This flour will make the layers to stand non sticky. That is the layers will not stick with each other.That is the trick here. The parotta when cooked, will come out flaky. So don't forget to sprinkle flour on top of the roti. That is the key for a flaky parotta.

* Now fold the roti into a fan like structure. And stretch the fan like structure into thin roll.

* Roll the roti into a circle .Similarly ,prepare all the dough balls into  this kind of disc. Let it rest for 5 mins.

* Heat the tawa, Meanwhile, roll the discs into thin parotta. If our parotta is thick, then it will not cook evenly. So roll the disc into parotta. Now cook the parotta in medium hot tawa. The tawa should not be smoking hot. The parotta has to be cooked in medium flame throughout. 

* Drizzle oil generously. Flip the parotta and cook till it has golden brown spots on the parotta. Once the parotta is cooked completely, take the parotta and crush it with our hands. This will make the parotta soft and flaky. You can see in the picture, the parotta has come out ,while crushing it with my hands.

Serve the parotta with salna. Enjoy this super soft and flaky parotta with your guests. See the below pic, it shows the layers of the parotta .

Problem areas:
* The dough for the parotta has to be kneaded well.If not you will not get soft and smooth parotta.
* Resting the dough will make it absorb the oil and turn into super soft parotta.
* Cook the parotta in medium flame, if not the parotta will not cook evenly.
* While cooking parotta, drizzle oil generously, if not it will not be perfect.
* The egg and milk are star ingredients in the recipe, so try to use them.
* Roll the parotta into thin roti, this is very important.
* Sprinkling flour on the parotta ,while rolling will make the folds non sticky, resulting in flaky parotta.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tomato Kurma for Idiyappam - Tomato Salna - Step by step

It was 10 days of rain here in Charlotte. It was fully drenched with water .Now it started to sun shine slowly. I started preparing recipes for"Summer Series". Have started with ice cream, kulfi and vathal. I had a friend named P in Irving. She was very good friend of mine. She cooks very good and she hails from Southern part of Tamilnadu. She gave me some ofher favourite recipes. I have noted it down. This kuruma is one of it .This is a creamy side dish for idiyappam. Loved this very much. But I felt it should have been bit thin. This kuruma ,asks for blanching the tomatoes. A unique ingredient is adding ginger along with coconut and cashews. Its something new to me and it worked very good.Try this different kuruma for your idiyappam .

Preparation Time : 15 mins
Cooking time : 15 mins
Serves : 5

To Grind:
1.Coconut pieces - 3
2.Roasted chana dal- 2 tbsp
3.Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
4.Ginger - 1/4 inch
5.Cashews - 4 pieces

For the Salna:
1.Tomatoes - 3 (big)
2.Onion - 2 (big)
3.Green Chillies - 3
4.Sambar Powder - 1 tsp
5.Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
6.Curry Leaves - few
7.Cilantro - few
8.Oil - 2 tbsp
9.Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
10.Cinnamon sticks -1/2 inch
11.Salt - as needed
12.Water - as needed


* Boil a pan of water . Turn the stove off. Drop the tomatoes, and cover the pan. The tomatoes would have blanched and the skin would have peeled. Remove the skin and blend it in to a fine puree.
* Take the grinding ingredients coconut,cashews,roasted chana dal,ginger and coriander seeds. Alwaysadd less ginger , it should not dominate the kuruma. Don't add too much roasted chana dal, if not the kurma will become too thick.
* Slice the onion and green chillies. Finely mince the cilantro .
* Take a pan, add oil and temper with fennel seeds,cinnamon and cloves.
* Now, throw the finely chopped onion and slit green chillies. Let them turn translucent.Sprinkle salt to the onion. Add the sambar powder and saute. It will give a good colour to the kuruma. Don't add too much sambar powder, then it will not taste good.

* Now add the tomato puree to the pan. Let the puree blend with the onion. 
*Once the tomatogetsblended with the onion, addthe grinded paste to the pan. Now add desired amount of water to the pan and bringit to boil.
* The kuruma will thicken quickly as it has cashews,coconut and coriander seeds. So adjust the water according to the consistancy you need. I felt, that I should have added more water to the kuruma, because, it thickened .

* At last, add garam masala and chopped coriander leaves to the kuruma. Adjust salt to taste. Turn the flame to low and cover the kuruma. Let it sit in low flame for atleast 5 mins. Then turn off.

                  Serve this with idiyappam, idli or dosai. We can serve this with chapathi or roti too.

* Blanching the tomatoes will make sure it blends with the kuruma or salna.
* Adjust the consistancy according to your wish.
* We can also add yogurt or fresh cream to the kuruma for a richer taste.
* Add less ginger, if not it will domiante the flavour of the kuruma.
* While  sauting onion, we can also add some crushed garlic for a good aroma.
* For a less calorie, we can skip cashew too.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Chocolate Truffle Cake - Baking Partner's Challenge

For this month's "Baking Partner's"challenge, Swathi gave "Chocolate Truffles with chocolate cake". Initially, I thought to make it as cupcake, but changed my mind and made it into a normal cake. Topped the cake with chocolate truffles.One of my friend gave me thisorchid plant. I wasvery much attracted by its purple colour. Loved it. So used to garnish the cake with the flowers.The purple colour complemented the cake very much.The cake is not like our basic chocolate cake.Its moist but dense like the brownie. This recipe was suggested by Suja of "Kitchen Corner".
Recipe Source :
Death by Chocolate Cakes: An Astonishing Array of Chocolate Enchantments  By  Marcel Desaulniers

For the Truffle :
  • Whipping Cream - 1/2 cup
  • Semi Sweet Chocolate - 8 oz
For the Chocolate Cake:
  • Butter - 5 ounce cut into pieces 2 tsp melted
  • All purpose flour - 2/3 cup
  • Unsweetened cocoa - 1/2 cup
  • Semi sweet baking chocolate - 8 ounce
  • Egg-3 large
  • Egg yolk- 2
  • Granulated sugar- 1/2
  • Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
  • Salt - 1/4 tsp
For Chocolate Ganache:
* Semi Sweet Chocolate - 8 oz
* Whipping Cream - 1 cup


Preparing the Chocolate truffle:
* Take a pan, add the whipping cream. Bring it to boil. Pour the cream to the mixing bowl. Close the lid and mix it properly.Freeze the chocolate mixture, for atleast 15 mins. Take them out, roll them into small balls and dust with cocoa powder.Freeze them ,till we need .

Preparing the Cake :
 Melt the chocolate and butter in double boiler. We can melt the chocolate and butter in microwave. Let the mixture cool . Preheat the oven at 325 degree F.

* Sift the cocoa powder,salt and flour. Mix them well. Try to sieve the dry ingredients, atleast twice, this will incorporate air to the mixture.

* Take eggs in a bowl and whisk it till it is frothy.

 * Now slowly add sugar and mix the egg mixture. The sugar should have dissolved into the egg mixture.

* Slowly dump the melted chocolate mixture to the bowl and beat. The egg should have been incorporated into the chocolate mixture.Now slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl . Scrape the mixture in equal intervals.

*Butter a 8 inch tin and place  a round parchment into the pan. Butter the parchment too.
* Slowly pour the chocolate mixture to the pan and levelthe mixture using a spoon. Drop the tin 3 times to get rid of the air bubbles.
* Bake the Cake for at least 30 minutes or untill the skewers comes out clean. Place the tin on a wire rack for atleast 10 mins. Loosen the sides of the cake, by running a knife.Now turn the cake upside down and let it cool. The cake is soft and dense. It appears like a mud cake. Torte the cake .

Preparing the ganache:
* Bring the whipping cream to boil and add it to the chocolate chips. Let it sit for 10 mins.Now mix the chocolates, till turns into a silky smooth ganache. Let it sit in the counter for atleast 30 minsor untill it is thick . Now frost the cake using the ganache. Chill the cake. While serving, take the chocolate truffles out of the freezer and top the cake with the truffles.

* Freeze the truffles till we need them.
*  The cake will not rise like our normal cake.ITs kind of mud cake.
* We can melt the chocolates with butter in microwave too.
* Refrigerate the cake ,as it is frosted with ganache.
* We can also keep the truffles in refrigerator. But it will take time to firm.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Easy Caramel Rice Kheer - கேரமல் பாயசம் - Tamil New Year / Vishu Special - Step by Step

       Wishing all my readers, a very happy "Tamil New Year "and "Vishu". No festival is fulfilled without kheers. Its an easy dessert and everyone's favourite too. I have made many kheers, but this stays very close to my heart. When we were in MN, for a New Year potluck,we planned for a "Kheer Competition". We got almost 6 participants who prepared Sago- mango kheer, Bottle guard kheer,coconut kheer,sago kheer,vermicelli kheer and caramel kheer.We made the kheer secretly, that is our husbands didn't know what kheer ,we are cooking. The judges were our Husbands. It was fun to be part of a competition. Bottle Guard kheer won the first prize,Sago mango kheer got the second place and my caramel kheer got third prize.  Winning doesn't matter, but the competition was full of fun. We had a blast. We got cute little cups as gifts .Most memorble new year party ever. Everyone was sportive and cool.Will post the kheer recipes,which participated on that day soon.
     Coming to the kheer, the kheer is pretty easy,but tricky too. If you don't get the caramel right, then the kheer will not be good. If the caramel burns it will become bitter and will have a bad colour. When we make caramel, at first it will become hard, but it will dissolve, so don't panick. Adjust the sweetness of the kheer to your taste. The kheer will thicken quickly ,so cook it accordingly. Add little rice, if not the kheer will not have pouring consistancy. It will become like a pudding.

Check my other kheer recipes

Preparation time : 10 mins
Cooking time : 25 mins
Serves : 2

For the Caramel :
1.Sugar - 2 tbsp
2.Water - 1 tbsp

For the kheer:
1.Basmati rice - 2 tbsp
2.Whole milk - 2 cups
3.Sugar - 2 tbsp
4.Cardamom powder - a pinch
5.Salt - a pinch
6.Ghee - 2 tsp
7.Cashews - 1 tsp (chopped)
8.Raisins - 2 tsp
9.Water - as needed


* Soak basmati rice in water for atleast 10 mins. The rice when cooked , will double in volume. So use less rice for the kheer. If not the kheer will thicken and will  be in pudding consistancy. Soaking the rice, will prevent it from breaking down.

* Lets make the caramel. Heat a pressure pan to high. 

* Add the sugar to the hot pressure pan. Let it get caramalised to golden brown. Don't use spoon to mix the carmel.Make sure it doesn't turn dark.

* When the sugar is carmalised, add the 1 tbsp of water and swirl. The caramel will sieze and turn hard. But don't worry, it will get dissolved in the water. Mix well, without any lumps. Alternatively, we can add sugar and water together and wait till it turns golden brown. This way, the caramel will not turn hard and sieze.

* Now dump the soaked rice and 1/4 cup water to the pan. The amount of water can be altered ,accoding to your wish. If you want the kheer to be bit thick,add less water. If you want to be bit thin,add more water. But don't forget to add water. Because,we are adding rice ,it will thicken the kheer. 

* Now dump the milk to the pressure pan and close the lid. Cook in medium flame for about 2 whistle.

* While the kheer is pressure cooking, fry raisins in ghee. The raisins will blow like balloons. Strain them .

* Fry the broken cashews in ghee and keep it aside. We are going to use the same ghee for kheer.

* When the whistle subsides, the rice would have cooked and the kheer would have turned to light pink or golden brown. 

* Now turn the flame on and add sugar. The sugar will melt . Keep the flame low and cook the kheer,till the consistancy you need. Beware after cooling, the kheer will thicken . So cook the kheer accordingly. At last add salt and cardamom powder and mix.

* Dump the fried cashews,raisins and ghee to the kheer and serve.

* Always use less rice, if not the kheer will not have right consistancy. It will thicken.
* Using whole milk will give a good taste.
* Adjust the amount of sugar according tou your taste.
* While cooking the caramel, make sure we don't blacken them, if not it will have bitter taste.
* Adding salt will balance the sweetness of the kheer.
* Don't overcook the rice, if not it will turn mushy.
* The kheer will thicken, after it is cooled, so adjust the consistancy according to your wish.
* If the kheer becomes thick, add boiled milk and cook. If it is thin, then cook the kheer for few more minutes.

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