Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Plum Cake

In India I couldn't think of a x-mas without plum cake or the so called Christmas cake. In my grandmas house, where the visitors were abundant during Xmas time, I remember the stacked up store bought plum cakes guests used to bring for Ammachi. Here plum cake doesn't have much importance for Xmas as in my home. Anyways I wanted to try plum cake beforehand and amazingly it came out so well.

For me Christmas is not complete without the cake and wine and along comes the nostalgic memories of bright stars lightened up by the bulbs, the Xmas trees we made in our sit out,  the gifts we keep under them so that we can exchange it on Xmas eve ( and the way daddy tells us to clear it out when the leaves start shedding). In fact Christmas is a magical season with  many many many sweet memories.

The usual recipes has more sugar and I have reduced it a bit here as My husband and me are not very fond of too much sugar. Now Sabu insists on making this plum cake every now and then and its a hit in my family.


Fruits:Dates, Raisin, Nuts, almonds, cherries, tutti fruity  - 2.5 cups
Caraway seeds, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, cardamom (powdered) - half tsp

All purpose flour - 2 cups
sugar - 2 (1 for caramelising
and the other for batter)
Butter - 200 gms
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Eggs - 5 nos
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
salt - half tsp
orange juice - 2 tbsp
wine - 2 tbsp

FRUITS: * soak the chopped fruits and nuts in rum and preserve for a week or two in an airtight container.Make sure all the fruits are soaked in rum.
* Drain the fruits and keep it aside.
* When fruits are added to the cake batter, toss them in some flour. This prevents fruits settling to the cake bottom.

* Melt 1 cup sugar with 1 tbsp water by stirring until sugar melts and eventually turns dark brown.  Now add half cup water and stir before the sugar recrystallises.
 * Make sure you do this step at a safe distance because adding water to molten sugar can cause splash and lead to serious burns if you are not careful.

* Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.
* Sift the all purpose flour and baking powder.
* In another bowl beat butter and powdered sugar till light and fluffy.
* Add the eggs one at a time to the beaten sugar butter mixture
* Add caramel, vanilla essence, Orange juice,wine and salt. beat it.
* Add the flour and baking powder to the in parts and mix well. fold in the fruits mix to this.
* Bake for 45 minutes and use it the next day.Serve it with wine to make it the perfect x-mas combo. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Grape Wine

This is an easy recipe for homemade wine.

Grapes (black, purple, or red)-0.5 kg
The skin decides the color of the wine
sugar-1 kg
Yeast- 1 tsp
wheat kernels/Godhambu
water (boiled and cooled)- 2 liters

*In a  ceramic jar mix thoroughly crushed grapes with sugar, yeast and wheat kernels.
*Add the water and close the container airtight.
*Stir the contents every other day with a wooden spoon. you will notice the floating graped getting settled by third week.
*On 21st day, strain them into another container and close it airtight.
*After 3 days strain them again into a clean glass bottle from which you can serve.
*If the wine is light, add little caramel to get the dark red shade

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tomato Rice

During my four-year B.pharm college In Tamilnadu I got acquainted with different variety rices, that are made in the hostel as well the ones I tasted from my Day scholar friends tiffin boxes. Out of all the variety rice, tomato rice and coconut rice are my all time favorite of all variety rice dishes. Tomato rice is a Pleasure to the eyes and is fulfilling to the taste buds.

2 cups Rice
5 to 6 Tomatoes (cut into pieces) 
2 medium Onion (cut into pieces)
6 to 8 Green chilies (slit)
1 tsp Chilly powder
half tsp Turmeric
half tsp Ginger & Garlic (grated)
4 Cloves
1 piece Cinnamon 
3 tbsp Oil/ghee


* Wash the rice and drain water and keep it aside. 
*In a frying pan, add cloves, cinnamon and fry for a minute. 
*Add ginger & garlic, green chilies and onions and fry them till onion turns light brown.
*Add tomato pieces,chilly powder,turmeric and salt to it. 
*After tomatoes are cooked and becomes dark reddish brown, add in rice to it and stir. 
*Now pour down 3 to 3 1/2 cups of water and cook properly.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Pulissery is a traditional dish of Kerala and Tamilnadu. Pulissery/Moru kachiyathu/Mor Kulambu. It is a simple yogurt based dish that can made with just the curd or with different vegetables and fruits.
Today I made Kumbalanga Pulissery and  Kumbalanga (Ashguard) can be substituted with ethakka (plantain), pineapple, pappaya, Mango etc.
Though I am not very fond of it, anyone who like yogurt based food will absolutely love it. usually I see this being made with coconut.
When I buy this yogurt from store I see that its really thick and most of the times I omit the coconut and it doesn't make much difference with or without coconut.
Semi Ripe papaya diced – 1/4 kg(around 2 cups)
Green chillies – 5-6
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red Chilly powder – 1/2 tsp
Grated coconut – 1 cup (only if your yogurt is not thick enough)
Jeera seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 2 sprig
Sour curd (beaten)- 3 cups
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
For Seasoning:-
Coconut oil – 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Jeera seeds – a pinch
Curry leaves – a sprig

*Cook Kumbalanga pieces adding salt, till it becomes soft.
*Grind grated coconut and green chillies and jeera seeds into a smooth silky paste and keep it aside.
*Heat coconut oil in another pan,and allow mustard seeds to splutter.Add turmeric powder and red chilly powder (don't let it burn) and followed by the beaten curd and mix well.
*Add in the kumbalanga-coconut mix into the curd.Do not let it boil.Switch off the stove,once it is heated.

Pinnal Samosa

Samosas are perhaps the most popular vegetarian  street food in south India esp Tamilnadu. When I was making the ordinary Samosa, somehow I was taken to my college days in Tamilnadu where we made Samosa for all our friends in Hostel. There was an active girl named Rahmath Bee, who showed me this different kind of samosa wherein you cut the sides of the flattened chappathi
and braid them like you do a small girls hair. Of course mine did not come as perfect as Rahmath Bees samosa, but I think its all about the practise.

2 cups Wheat Flour
2 Potatoes
1 cup Garden peas
1 cup Chopped Onion
1 cup Chopped Carrot
2 Chopped Green Chilies (de-seeded & finely chopped)
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds(Jeerakam)
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Cayenne powder - 1/2 tsp
Oil to fry
Salt to taste

*Boil potatoes, peel and slightly mash.
*Cook peas and carrot with some salt.
*In heated oil, saute the cumin seeds until they crackle.Add fry chopped onions until they become light brown. Add turmeric, coriander and pepper powder.
 Add chillies and the boiled peas, carrot and mashed potatoes and Stir well.
*Mix flour and salt, and make dough by adding water carefully.Leave it for 30 minutes, covered with a damp cloth.
Divide the dough into small balls and flatten each ball to form a circle.
*Make several cuts on the sides of the flattened flour and Place sufficient amount of vegetable stuffing in the middle. Braid them as you would braid a hair making sure all there are no open sides. Seal the edges carefully.
*Heat oil and deep fry them till they become golden brown.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kadala Curry

Kadala - 2 cups
Mustard seeds  - 1/4 tsp
Onion - 1
Ginger - a small piece (1 inch length)
Garlic - 6 cloves
Chilli Powder - 1tsp
Coriander powder - 3 tbs
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Tomato chopped - 1
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Salt to taste
Optional ( small

*Soak kadala for few hours. Pressure cook with little turmeric powder, green chilly and Onion (cut into lengthwise) and salt.
*Heat oil in a pan, fry  onions till golden brown. Add ginger, garlic, chilli powder, coriander powder,chopped tomatoes.
*Grind them into a fine paste when cooled and add them to the cooked kadala in cooker. 
*Heat oil  in a pan , splutter the mustard and pour over the Kadala Curry made
*For extra taste add half cup of coconut milk and masala powder.