Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mexican wedding cakes


Lets start off with a history on wedding cookies. A wedding cake is an essential element to celebrate and share your joy with others. If the couple has a connection in Mexico or loves Mexican cakes then they can serve them during weddings. Mexican wedding cakes have a very old tradition. They are traditionally prepared with help of butter, vanilla and nuts. These cakes are baked in the form of cookies. The finest quality of butter, vanilla and nuts will give the best quality Mexican cake. These cookies are white in color and served in a multi tier tray after the dinner. This cake has various names and versions. Some people add chocolate to this cake to give flavor.
These cakes became popular in 1950's and 1960's. They are part of all the celebrations like wedding, Christmas, etc. These cakes have roots in the Ancient Arab culture. They traveled to Europe and found variations in Spanish, Russian and Mexican civilization. These cookies are usually round or oval in shape. The variations are mixing fruits, chocolate, food color to the original six ingredients of the cake. The ingredients of this cookies are fine quality butter, vanilla, nuts, salt, powdered sugar and flour. The recipe of this type of cake is simple and easy to make.
Pastelitos de boda (literally,"wedding cookies") are a traditional dessert at Mexican weddings, made with walnuts, pecans, or almonds, they're a sweet way to thank guests for sharing the day.

Mexican Wedding Cakes are a melt-in-your mouth shortbread-like cookie that are also known as Russian Tea Cake, an Italian Butter Nut, a Southern Pecan Butterball, a Snowdrop, a Viennese Sugar Ball and a Snowball. They are very popular, not only at weddings but also during the Christmas season, and other festive occasions. Looking at these cookies you could mistake them for Melting Moments, as the only difference between the two is that Mexican Wedding Cakes contain ground nuts (either ground pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, or walnuts).
The secret to great tasting Mexican Wedding Cakes is to use a high quality butter and pure vanilla extract.


Ingredients : 
2/3 cup nuts (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts)
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Topping:
1 cup powdered (icing or confectioners) sugar, sifted
Directions : 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.
2. Toast Nuts: Place nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes, or until lightly brown and fragrant. Cool.
3. Once the nuts have cooled completely place them, along with 2 tablespoons of the flour from the recipe, into your food processor, fitted with a metal blade, or a spice grinder and process until they are finely ground (but not a paste). 

4. In a mixing bowl, with a electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the remaining flour and salt and beat until combined. Stir in the nuts. Cover and refrigerate the dough for about one hour or until firm.  
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
6. Form the chilled dough into 1 inch balls and place them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. 
7. Bake for about 12 - 15 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies start to brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, place the 1/2 cup sifted confectioners sugar in a bowl. Take the still hot cookies and roll them in the sugar, one at a time. Place on a wire rack to cool. 
9. Let cookies cool 15 minutes, and roll again in remaining sifted confectioners sugar.Or you can simply place the confectioners sugar in a strainer and sift the sugar over the tops of the cookies.
10. Let cool completely before storing. Can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks. Can roll or sift the cookies in more confectioners sugar before serving.
11. Store cookies, putting waxed paper between layers, in tightly sealed container at room temperature up to 1 week or in freezer up to 3 months.





Note : I used pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts but you can use any nuts of your choice.


Vamu Anam / Ajwain Rice


Ajwain, also known as carom seeds contains thymol as the main essential oil which gives the seed a strong, dominant flavor and bitter taste which numbs the tongue when bitten. Ajwain is also used in vegetable dishes (for its distinctive taste) and pickles (for its preservative qualities). It also aids in digestion.
Ajwain rice is very simple and easy to make dish. This can be made with left over rice also. This is a very comforting food in case of cold, cough or acidity.
My Mom used to make this at home for breakfast usually with leftover rice. My sister likes this a lot that she cannot stop at one serving. I dont eat this rice much because of its strong pungent flavour.
Ajwain also has many medicinal properties. Below are a few home remedies using ajwain :
•As a digestive. Chew by itself or with a little sugar/salt to make it more palatable in its raw form.
•As a cure for diarrhoea, dysentry and indigestion. Boil a cup of water with 1 tbsp of Ajwain till the water is reduced to half its original volume. Drink this water.
•To relieve symptoms (like blocked nose, etc) of a cold. Add 1 tbsp of Ajwain to a bowl of boiling water and inhale the steam.





Ingredients : 
2 cups cooked rice
6 garlic cloves peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
4-5 dry red chilli
1 teaspoon urad dal
1 teaspoon chana dal
Few curry leaves
2 tablespoon carrom seeds (ajwain or vaamu)
Few fried cashews (optional)
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon oil
salt to taste


Directions :
1. Add 1/4 teaspoon oil and little salt to cooked rice amd mix well with a fork. This prevents rice from sticking to each other.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan on medium heat.
3. Add garlic cloves and let them fry till golden brown.
4. Now, add urad dal and chana dal. Fry till urad gets slight colour. Then add cumin seeds, dry red chillis and curry leaves and fry for a minute.
5. Now add carrom seeds and fry for another minute.
6. Add little salt to oil and then add the rice and mix well. Mix slowly so that the rice does not break.
7. Check for salt and add more of required.
8. Let the rice fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
9. Remove from heat and serve hot.





Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Moong Dal Murukulu ( Chakli )


Ingredients:
2 cups - Cooked moong dal paste (Add 2 cups of water to moong dal and cook into a paste in a pressure cooker. Let it cook until 2 to 3 whistles) 
2 1/2 cups - Rice flour
1 ts - ajwain/carom seeds ( Vaamu )
1 tbs- sesame seeds ( Roasted for 2 min )
2 ts- salt 
1 tbs- red chilli powder
1/2 tbs - oil
Oil for deep frying


Directions :
1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Now add the moong dal paste and 1/2 tbs oil and mix thoroughly into a muruku dough.
You can adjust the quantity of rice flour to get a muruku dough consistency. 
3. Using a muruku maker, put muruku into the oil and deep fry until golden brown. 




Tuesday, June 21, 2011

SHRIMP BIRYANI




Ingredients :
15 to 20 medium sized prawns 
2 cups Basmati rice
1 cup onion, chopped
4 to 5 green chillies, slit lengthwise
2 to 3 cloves of garlic
1, 1" cinnamon stick
1 Bay leaf
1 tsp poppy seeds 
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp Black Cumin seeds (Shahi Jeera)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp of red chilli powder
1/2 cup of grated coconut
1 tsp Ginger-garlic paste
1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup mint, chopped
Salt to taste
2 tbsp Oil/Butter

Directions:
1. Cut and devein the shrimp. Marinate them with 1 tsp red chilli powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and salt for about 20 minutes.
2. In the meantime ,soak the basmati rice in water for about 10 minutes. 
3. Dry roast the poppy seeds and coriander seeds for couple of minutes or until you get a nice aroma. 
4. In a blender , add the grated coconut, green chillies, garlic cloves , chopped  cilantro, chopped mint, poppy seeds and coriander seeds with 2 tbsp of water and blend into a fine paste.
5. Heat Oil/Butter in a non stick skillet, add black cumin seeds, once it starts to sputter, add the cinnamon stick, bay leaf with chopped onions.
6. Once the onions are fried, add ginger-garlic paste and fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
7. Next add the shrimp and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes.
8. Then add the green paste , mix well and let cook covered on medium low heat for another 3 to 4 minutes or until the raw smell of coconut goes away. 
9. Next add the basmati rice and fry for a minute or so (Do not mix the rice too much, as the rice grains may break) , add 3 cups of water ( add 1 and 1/2 cups water for every cup of basmati rice used ), add salt ( add 1/2 tsp more salt than what is sufficient) and let cook covered on low flame for 12 to 14 minutes. 
7. Remove the skillet from the heat and add a tsp butter on top.
8. Let it sit undisturbed with the lid on for at least 5 minutes . Remove the lid and fluff the rice gently with a spatula.  




Note :  You can variate this recipe with vegetables( potatoes, carrots, peas etc..) instead of shrimp. I have used both vegetables and shrimp. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Palli Patti ( Chikki )

Ingredients:
1 cups peanuts
1 cups jaggery
2 tbs sesame seeds
1/2 cup water
1 tbs ghee
a pinch cardamom powder

Directions:
1. Dry roast the peanuts, deskin and keep a side(Slighty crush them in a mortor).
2. Dry roast the sesame seeds and keep a side.
3. In a pan, mix the jaggery and water ( Water should be half the quantity of jaggery ).
4. Boil the syrup to thicken. ( Take a bowl with water and put a drop of syrup. It should solidify immediately) 
5. Remove from the heat and add cardamom powder, peanuts and sesame to the syrup.
6. Mix well and spread it on a flat plate which is greased with the ghee.
7. Cut into squares and let it cool. ( Or you can make round balls )


Friday, May 13, 2011

BADUSHA( Balushahi )



Ingredients :
1 cup maida ( 250 gm)
a pinch of baking soda 
1/3 teaspoon  baking powder
1/3 cup fresh curd (100 gm)
2 table spoons ghee ( 50 gm )
Oil for frying badushas


Sugar syrup :
1  cup sugar
1  water


Directions :
1. In a mixing bowl , add maida, baking soda,baking powder and add ghee. Mix well so that the ghee is incorporated nicely. Add curd and mix . The dough should be flaky and not soft.
( Need not add all the curd at once. Add until u get a flaky texture of the dough) 


2. Cover and let it rest for 20mins.
3. Make small balls and slightly press in the center with thumb finger.
4. Fry them on medium to medium high heat till golden brown.


5. Fry all the balls. Meanwhile make sugar syrup.
6. In a sauce pan add sugar and water and bring to boil. Boil till one string consistency. Then add 2 drops of lemon juice to prevent from crystallizing. 
7. Add the badushas to the syrup while the syrup is hot. Let them soak for 5mins.
8. Remove them from the syrup and store. Do not refrigerate. 

Caramel Filled Apple Pie


Ingredients :
1 Green Apple
2 table spoons 
caramel
1 table spoon crushed nuts ( walnuts, peacons, almonds)
1 puff pastry sheet.( Remove from the freezer 45 min prior to use)

Directions :
1.  Take a Medium size green Apple.
2.  Make a hollow hole from the top of the apple with the help of a scoop or a spoon. Should look like a bowl. ( Do not make too wide opening. Can be of 1 inch wide).
3.  Mix the caramel and nuts.
4.  Fill the apple with the caremel.( Do not let it overflow).
5.  Take the puff-pastry sheets and cut it to 1 inch wide strips. You can roll them with chapati roller to make it long. 
6.  Wrap the apple with the pastry strips. You can stick two strips by touching some water at the ends. 
7.  Once you cover the whole apple, take a small square piece of pastry sheet and stick it on the top the apple( where you have the caramel).
8.  Then you can cut a small piece of pastry sheet to make a leaf shape and then stick it on the top. 
9.  Now Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake it for 15 - 20 min. ( Until it gets lite brown)
10. After baking, take it out from the oven and cool it for 5 mins. 
11. Then cut from the top and enjoy the essence of the taste. 

Note : You can replace anything in place of nuts. ( Like brown sugar, corn flakes...) 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

BM # 4 DAY 4 : Moong Dal Vada

The ingredients and procedure of this recipe sound like a regular moong dal pakoda, but is so delicious that no one can eat just one :) The way this vada is made makes the difference, its very crunchy and crispy, makes a very good company with evening tea. Kids will love eating this snack. Also, it absorbs very less oil ...


Ingredients :

1 cup moong dal
5 green chillis or to taste
salt to taste
1 teaspoon cumin seeds 
1" piece ginger
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
Few curry leaves
oil for deep frying

Directions :



1. Soak moong dal for atleast 4 hrs.
2. In a blender add green chillis, cumin seeds,ginger,cilantro,curry leaves and blend into a coarse paste.
3. After the moong dal is soaked, spread the dal on a paper towel and let it dry for sometime(about 15-20mins).
4. Add the dried moong dal to a blender and blend into a coarse paste without adding water.
5. In a mixing bowl add the moong dal paste and the green chilli paste and mix well. Adjust salt to your taste.
6. Heat oil in a pan on medium high to high.
7. Wet your fingers and take a small portion of the batter and shape into a round ball. Place it on a dry cotton cloth and flatten the batter ball. Make a hole in the flattened batter with the thumb. Making hole in the flattened batter and frying gives evenly fried vada.





8. Drop the prepared vada carefully in the hot oil. Fry on medium heat. After few seconds the vada floats on oil carefully turn them and fry. Drop few more vada's sufficient for the oil taken. Do not over crowd the oil.




9. Fry vada on medium high to high till they are golden brown and crispy.
10. Repeat the procedure for rest of the batter.
11. Serve the vada's hot with ketch up or you can eat them just like that.





Note : 
The cloth you use to make the vada's should be a cotton cloth and should be dry for every vada .


Do not forget to dry the soaked moong dal, otherwise the vada's will not be crispy.




Wednesday, April 20, 2011

BM # 4 DAY 3 : Chandrakanthalu (Moong Dal Sweet)

I got this recipe from my mom. Chandrakanathalu are sweet moong dal diamond cuts, i used to love these as a kid. My sister and me.. we used wait for my mom to make these but this was usually made during festival times. While my mom used to fry these we used to enjoy eating the dough because its sweet and tastes very good and of course kid friendly . Rather than eating them hot or on a same day, i used eat them the next day. They taste great at room temperature.
I was so nostalgic while making these...hmmm .... memories of childhood just rushed through me .... i always ate these made by my mom but today i was making chandrakanthalu all by myself ..... hope you all like it :)


Ingredients :
1 cup moong dal
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 tablespoons freshly grated coconut
A pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
Measure sugar, water and moong dal with same cup.


Directions :
1. Soak moong dal for atleast 4 -5 hours.
2. After its soaked, blend the moong dal into a paste without adding water. The paste should not be very smooth or very coarse.
3. Heat a heavy bottom pan on medium high, add sugar, water, grated coconut, salt. Mix well and let it come to a boil.
4. Once the sugar dissolves add cardamom powder.
5. Reduce the heat to low and by continuous stirring add the moong dal paste. Mix well.
6. Let it cook on low flame till it reaches halwa texture. You should be able to form a ball with the dough and also it should not be sticking to your fingers. When it reaches this consistency, remove from heat.
7. Soak a cotton cloth or a cotton towel in water and squeeze out all the excess water from it. 
8. Transfer all the moong dal dough on to the wet towel and spread the dough to 1/2 an inch thickness. Its a bit difficult to spread the dough as its hot, so what i do is, i put the batter in one end of the towel and cover it with other end. I wet my hand and spread the dough or you can also use a rolling pin. Let it cool down completely.
9. Once it cools down, cut into desired shapes.
10. Heat oil on medium high heat and fry the pieces till golden brown.
11. You can serve them warm or at room temperature.
Note : Do not over crowd the oil while frying otherwise they will stick to each other.
They taste best when they are a day old. You need not refrigerate them, they have a shelf life of 4 to 5 days without refrigeration.


Check out whats cooking in my fellow bloggers kitchen today ....

Diabetes Diet/Management: KamalikaSmithaSuma  






Kid Friendly Recipes: AnushaCool Lassi(e)
Seven Days of Soup: Priya Suresh
Seven Days of Indian Bread: JayasreePavani
Seven Days of Cakes:  Priya Vasu  
Seven Days of PreservesGayathri KumarVaishali 
30 Minutes Meals: Priya MahadevanSrivalli  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

BM # 4 DAY 2 : Baked Chicken Strips




I never had these as a kid but the first time i ever ate chicken strips was in KFC in India a couple of years ago. But i have seen my friends kids drooling over chicken tenders. I din't want to fry them because its going to take a lot of oil which i am not going to reuse. So i baked them and they tasted yummy !!!!



Ingredients :

1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs, or plain bread crumbs
2 egg whites, beaten until frothy
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp.pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup flour
1/2 pound chicken breasts, or chicken tenders (thawed,if frozen)


Directions :
1. Place bread crumbs, oregano leaves, Italian seasoning, a pinch of salt in a bowl and mix. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. In a plate, add flour, salt, paprika, mix and keep aside.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Line a baking sheet will foil and spray it with cooking oil or brush it with oil. This makes clean up easier.
3. If using chicken breasts, cut them diagonally into about 3-4 slices. Dry the chicken with paper towels.
4. Dip each chicken strip into flour mixture and then shake to get rid of excess. Then dip into egg whites, and then into the seasoned bread crumbs. Press crumbs into the chicken.
5. Lay each strip onto the greased baking sheet.
6. Before placing in the oven, spary chicken lightly with cooking oil, or drizzle with about 1 teaspoon oil. 

7. Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes.

8. Flip them over and increase the temperature to 500 degree F. Bake for 10 more minutes.
9. Let them rest for 3-5 mins and there you have some really crunchy and delicious chicken strips! Or, you can cut them into nugget size, if desired. 
10. Serve hot with any dipping sauce of your choice or just ketch up.

Note : You can mix regular bread crumbs with the Panko, about half and half, and still get tasty chicken.


And, if you have the time, soaking the strips or tenders in buttermilk for an hour or two before cooking, really makes for moist chicken. Just be sure to dry them off well before dredging in the flour! You can also use additional spices, if desired. Try these on your family some evening. They are perfect for week night meals. I like to serve them with oven roasted vegetables for a truly healthy meal.


Check out whats cooking in my fellow bloggers kitchen today ....

Diabetes Diet/Management: KamalikaSmithaSuma  
Kid Friendly Recipes: AnushaCool Lassi(e)
Seven Days of Soup: Priya Suresh
Seven Days of Indian Bread: JayasreePavani
Seven Days of Cakes:  Priya Vasu  
Seven Days of PreservesGayathri KumarVaishali 
30 Minutes Meals: Priya MahadevanSrivalli  


Sunday, April 17, 2011

BM # 4 DAY 1 : Chola Tikki

Kids love to snack on street food!!! as a kid .. i did :) . When i was a kid, my mom always always stopped me eating street food, instead made some lip smacking yummy dishes at home. I do not have kids, but will try to post the recipes i relished as a kid. What could be better than having delicious homemade street food !!!!!!


Ingredients :
1 cup of boiled chickpeas (kabuli chana/garbanzo beans)
2 medium potatoes, boiled and mashed
1 tablespoon shredded ginger(optional)
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 chopped green chillis (deseeded)
1 medium onion finely chopped
Few curry leaves
1 teaspoon red chilli powder or to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon chat masala
1/2 teaspoon amchur powder
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Oil to shallow fry

Directions :
1. Drain the water out of the boiled chickpeas and dry the chickpeas using paper towel making sure there is no access water.
2. Mash the chickpeas coarsely. 
3. To a large mixing bowl, add the mashed chickpeas and potatoes. To this add shredded ginger, chopped cilantro, chopped green chillis, chopped onion, chopped curry leaves, red chilli powder, chat masala, amchur powder and lemon juice. 
4. Mix all the ingredients together, adjust salt and pepper to your taste.
5. With oiled hands, divide the mixture into 8 to 10 equal portions or according to desired size.
6. Make them into the shape of patties keeping them about a half inch thick.
7. Heat oil in a flat bottom saucepan on medium high heat (oil should cover the surface of the pan generously). To check if the oil is hot enough, place a little piece of tikki in the oil, this should make the oil sizzle.
8. Place the tikkis in the pan and shallow fry them on both sides until both sides are golden brown. If the Tikki is very dry use more oil as needed without making them too greasy.
9. You may have to adjust the heat while cooking as needed.
10. Serve Tikki hot with yogurt, tamarind chutney and hari chutney(mint/cilantro chutney) over the Tikki, or simply with ketch up.
Note :
You can increase or decrease the amount of green chillis and red chilli powder according to your taste.


Check out whats cooking in my fellow bloggers kitchen today ....

Diabetes Diet/Management: Kamalika, Smitha, Suma  
Kid Friendly Recipes: Anusha, Cool Lassi(e)
Seven Days of Soup: Priya Suresh
Seven Days of Indian Bread: Jayasree, Pavani
Seven Days of Cakes:  Priya Vasu  
Seven Days of Preserves: Gayathri Kumar, Vaishali 
30 Minutes Meals: Priya Mahadevan, Srivalli  

Tomato Dal

Ingredients :
1 cup of toor dal
2 medium tomatoes(do not cut them)
5 green chillis slit lengthwise
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
A pinch of turmeric powder
2 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon urad dal
4 dry red chillis
A few curry leaves
chilli powder to taste
Salt to taste
A pinch of Asafoetida
1 teaspoon oil
Few sprigs of cilantro 


Directions :
1. Wash toor dal and keep aside.
2. In a pressure cooker, add the toor dal, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, green chillis, garlic cloves and turmeric powder. Place the 2 tomatoes on top. Add water till it covers half of the tomato.
3. Cook on high heat till you get one whistle. Then lower the heat to medium and cook for 20mins ( or 3 more whistles). Remove from heat and keep aside to cool.
4. After the pressure cooker cools down, we have to season the dal.
5. Heat a pan on medium and add oil. Once the oil is hot, add urad dal, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, mustard seeds, dry red chillis and curry leaves. 
6. Once they are fried, add asafoetida. Now remove pressure cooker cap and with the help of a spoon remove the tomatoes and add it to the seasoning. Increase the heat and cook the tomatoes till water evaporates.
7. Add the cooked dal to the seasoning. Mix well and if required add some water to get the right consistency.
8. Add salt and red chilli powder. Bring dal to boil and add some finely chopped cilantro.
9. Transfer dal to serving bowl and server plain rice or roti.