Saturday, April 20, 2013

Pineapple Crunch Cake
This is a very simple yet very satisfying dessert you can make in minutes. You can bake this cake using any fruit of your choice, somehow pineapple tastes really good. You can use blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or any fruit that is soft and juicy. You will love this cake because of its unique combination of buttery cake layers filled with fresh fruit and a crunchy top full of nuts. I tried this recipe from an old cake book given to me by my neighbor, Here is the recipe.
Ingredients:- (All ingredients must be at room temperature)
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup flaked coconut (sweet or unsweetened)
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup crushed pineapple . Drain the juice and reserve in 1/2 cup.
1/3 cup butter- softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 tblsp butter melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg. Grease and flour an 8x8x2 inch pan
  2. Put nuts in a blender until coarsely chopped. Empty into a bowl and combine with brown sugar and coconut. Set aside.
  3. Take 1/2 cup of pineapple juice you get from crushing the pineapples. Add the juice, 1/3 cup butter, egg and vanilla in a blender and run on a high speed for 10 seconds.
  4. Then add 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt and then run again on a high speed for 10 seconds.
  5. Meanwhile sift flour in a bowl and add mixture from the blender container, stir and mix properly. Pour half the batter in a prepared pan, spread crushed pineapple over the batter.
  6. Pour the remaining batter over the pineapple. Top with coconut mixture and drizzle with 3 tblsp melted butter.
  7. Bake 35 minutes or until done. You can serve it with whipped cream or eat it plain.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Marble Cake

My husband regularly shops at the Whole Foods Market. Sometimes when we don't have any cake at home he gets this extremely tasty marble iced cake loaf from there. This time I thought of trying it at home. Everything about this cake is right – the delicate texture, the flavor, the beautiful swirls of light and dark. I googled various recipes for a marble cake and I finally tried this marble cake recipe by Martha Stewart. The filling of marble cake is a blend of vanilla and chocolate. It is light and fluffy, moist and rich. The cake turned out delicious. This recipe is like the best marble cake recipe ever!! I totally fell in love with it. However I did not get the perfect swirls because my batter was runny and the chocolate and vanilla batter kept running into each other. I don't know where I went wrong since I followed the steps correctly. I don't really care about the swirls as long as the taste and the texture of the cake is right and it was. This is a sure winner and you must try it. I frosted the cake with chocolate frosting and glazed it with confectioner's sugar exactly the way its made at whole foods. Enjoy! 


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mother's Best Fudge Cake


This is not my mother's best fudge cake, the name of the recipe says so. I have a very old book of cake recipes given to me by my friend. The book has very unique and had age old cake recipes passed on from one generation to another. Plus, I love making chocolate cakes so I keep looking for different ways to make chocolate cakes. Here is a recipe of mother's best fudge cake from the book. The cake turned out super yummy, moist and very fudgy. You can use any frosting for this cake, butter cream, cream cheese or even cover the cake with chocolate ganache or glaze. Depends on what kind of combination you like. I frosted the whole cake with chocolate frosting, drizzled confectioners sugar glaze on top of the cake and added a few M&Ms in the center.
3(1 ounces squares unsweetened chocolate)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
  1. Combine chocolate, 2/3 cup sugar, 1/2 cup milk and beaten egg in a saucepan.
  2. Cook and stir over a low heat till the chocolate melts and the mixture thickens, then let it cool.
  3. Stir in the butter to soften it and then add 1 cup sugar, creaming the mixture till light and fluffy.
  4. Add vanilla extract, slowly add the 2 eggs, one egg at a time beating well after each.
  5. Sift together flour, soda and salt. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with 2/3 cup milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  6. Beat after each addition. Blend the chocolate mixture completely. Bake in 2 paper-lined 9x11/2 inch round pans at 350 degrees approximately for about 30 mins. Cool the cakes completely before you apply frosting.

 Here is the chocolate frosting recipe.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2/3 cup  Cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. Makes about 2 cups frosting.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Fruit and Nut Cake


It was our wedding anniversary and I wanted to bake a cake. However I was out of eggs, fruits, cream cheese and cocoa. So I knew I cannot make any fancy cake without these ingredients. I was wondering what to do and how to make a cake without any of these. The only fruit I had at home was a pineapple. I thought of making a pineapple cake but it would need eggs and cream cheese for frosting. My neighbour had given me an old cake recipe book and while flipping through the pages I came across this fruit and nut cake recipe. I had all the ingredients mentioned in that recipe and I decided to give it a try. The result was awesome. Its the best fruit and nut cake we've ever had. The cake was super delicious, super healthy, nutty, extremely moist and flavourful. With a few ingredients at hand you can easily bake this cake and it will be an instant hit amongst your guests. My lil girl and hubby both enjoyed this cake. Here is the recipe.
Water – 2 cups
Dried Apricots – 1/4 cup, chopped
Dried Plums - 1/4 cup
Dried Cranberries - 1/4 cup
Tutti frutti - 1/4 cup
Fresh pineapple - 1/4 cup, chopped (you can add any fresh fruit of your choice)
Grated coconut or coconut flakes - 1/4 cup (sweet or unsweetened)
Walnuts – 1/4 cup, chopped
Pecans – 1/4 cup, chopped
Cashews – 1/4 cup, chopped
Raisins – 1/4 cup
Butter – 1 stick (1/2 cup)
Almond Extract – 1 1/2 tsp
All-Purpose Flour – 1 3/4 cup
Sugar – 1 cup
Baking Soda – 1 tsp
Baking Powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon Powder – 1/2 tsp
All spice powder – 1/2 tsp
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. In a small sauce pan, add 2 cups water, cranberries, raisins, plums and apricots. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on medium heat for 7 minutes or you can microwave it for 3 mins.
  3. Pour water with fruits into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add butter and mix until the butter melts. Allow the mixture to cool and then add the almond extract.
  5.  In a separate bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, baking Soda, baking powder, cinnamon Powder and all spice powder.
  6.  Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.
  7. Then add the coconut, pineapple, tutti frutti, nuts and pour mixture into a greased bundt pan.
  8.  Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until toothpick comes out clean from the center.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Achari Chicken

Chicken in Pickle spices
I cook chicken almost every week. After a while it does get boring eating the same style of chicken. I am always looking for new and tasty recipes to cook chicken and I tried Achari chicken last week. Its chicken cooked in same spices you use to make punjabi mango achaar/pickle. Punjabi achaar is very simple yet very tasty and is made using very few spices. These spices give an achaari or tangy  taste and aroma to any meat or vegetable you cook using them. Here is the achaari chicken recipe. You can use this recipe to make achaari gosht, vegetables or simple achaari aloo or potatoes.   
Half a pound chicken washed and cut. (You can use boneless or with bones)
1/2 cup- yogurt
1 tbsp- ginger garlic paste
5 -red chillies (You can use less if you don't want too spicy)
1 tsp- cumin seeds
1 tbsp- fennel seeds
1 tsp-fenugreek seeds 
1 1/2 tsp-nigella seeds
1 tsp-mustard seeds
3 small sticks of cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp-kashmiri red chilli powder
1 large onion sliced
1 large tomato sliced
1 1/2 tsp-turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Juice of half a lemon
Mustard oil for cooking
Chopped cilantro for garnishing
  1. Marinate the chicken with turmeric and yogurt and keep aside for an hour.
  2. Heat about 4 tbsp mustard oil in a pan and add the sliced onions. Let it cook on a low heat until they are slightly brown in color.
  3. Meanwhile dry roast all the seeds (cumin, mustard, fenugreek, fennel and nigella) along with the cinnamon and red chillies. Make sure you do this on a very low flame stirring it continuously. Then grind them coarsely using a dry grinder. You can also pound these spices if you like using a pestle.
  4. Once the onions are nice and brown add ginger garlic paste and tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are tender. Add the marinated chicken and cook on a high flame stirring it continuously until the oil separates.
  5. Now add the ground spices, salt and kashmiri red chilli powder. Add little water and cook until the chicken is done and oil floats on top.
  6. Garnish with fresh cilantro, lime juice and serve hot with rice or rotis.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Sarson ka Saag with Makki ki Roti

Mustard greens with corn flat bread
A very traditional and most loved dish of every Punjabi. Sarson ka Saag with Makki ki roti. Its a must dish during winters in every house in Punjab. Saag is made with mustard leaves (its slightly bitter in taste) along with a bunch of other green leaves like, Bathua (lamb's-quarter) , Methi (Fenugreek leaves) and Palak (Spinach) simmered with spices. This dish is cooked with lots of patience. Starting from the first step of picking, washing and cutting the best leaves till the point of slowly simmering the saag on a flame with the right amount of spices, everything has to be done with utter care and patience. Ask any Punjabi and he or she would say "my mom makes the best saag" or "my naani/daadi makes the best saag". And of course I will say the same thing, my mom makes the best saag. I never liked saag anywhere else. After I got married and came to the US, I missed having my mom's saag the most. I never tried the recipe on my own knowing that it won't be even close to what she makes. However when my neighbour got a bunch of mustard leaves from his friend's farm I was tempted to make saag. I had a bunch of "Mooli" or radish at home and fresh maize (cornmeal) flour. I did not have bathua that gives a very distinct flavor to the saag, I put broccoli instead. (I know, its American version of the authentic saag). But if you can manage bathua leaves here in the US, it would be perfect.
4 bunches of fresh mustard leaves
1 bunch of fresh palak or spinach
1 bunch of bathua
1/4 cup Ginger and garlic sliced
5 green chillies - chopped
Salt to taste
Maize flour/cornmeal - 1/2 cup
Tadka/ Tempering:
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1″ piece of ginger, finely chopped
1 cup chopped onion
3 tbsp Desi ghee
2 green chillies finely chopped
1 tomato finely chopped
  1. Thoroughly wash and cut all the greens. Take a big pot of boiling water and add salt and put all the leaves along with 2 tbsp ginger garlic and green chillies. Let this simmer on a slow heat for almost an hour till the greens are tender. Turn off the heat and let it cool down a bit. Then mash the cooked greens.
  2. Now, traditionally in Punjab saag is pressed or mashed using a "Madhani" ( wooden hand blender), but you can use an electric hand blender to mash up all the greens. Just make sure you do not overdo it and make a paste. It has to be coarse. Turn on the heat.
  3. Add the maize flour slowly one spoon at a time to the greens and keep on stirring and mashing it continuously so that there are no lumps. Maize flour is used to thicken the saag. Cook this mixture for almost 10 minutes on a very slow flame.
  4. Meanwhile in a small pan heat oil/ butter or ghee. Add chopped ginger, garlic and green chillies along with the onions and cook till it starts to brown. Add the chopped tomatoes until they are tender.  
  5. Add the tadka to the cooked saag and adjust the salt as per your taste. Serve hot with a dollop of butter, Makki ki roti, radish and whole green chillies.

Makki ki roti

    1 cup maize flour
    1/2 cup hot water to knead.  
    The traditional way of making makki ki roti is to flatten and shape the roti using little water on the center of your palms of both the hands, the roti becomes round and it keeps on expanding as it goes to and fro between both the palms and then its cooked on a hot tava. I could never make it this way. My mom makes it so fast and it seems so easy when she makes it. I use a plastic sheet to spread and make the rotis.
  1. Boil the water and slowly add to the flour. Keep mixing it enough to form a firm dough. You will have to use your own judgement about the amount of water required.
  2. Because maize flour has no gluten in it, its very hard to bind it. So its important to use hot boiling water to bind the flour together. This helps the flour to settle down and makes smoother rotis.
  3.  Let it cool down for sometime. Then make small balls. Place it on a lightly greased plastic sheet and keep on pressing/flattening the dough using your palms to make a round roti. You can use water or little oil to grease your palms. Don't worry, it does not have to be a perfect round roti.
  4. Transfer on a hot griddle/tava and cook till both the sides are brown and fully cooked.
  5. Spread ghee or butter on the rotis and serve hot with the saag.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Aloo Ka Paratha

Indian bread stuffed with spicy potato filling
I am back after a lovely family vacation in England. I missed posting recipes on my blog. The weather has been quite chilly here in South Florida, but thank god, its a million times better than England. We had to endure 6 degree temperature and it was horrible. Imagine the condition of a Floridian in any cold weather. We love our warm and sunny Florida weather and its hard for us to survive in cold winters. But otherwise the trip was so much fun. Good food and good company made the trip totally worthwhile. After I came back I made delicious aloo paranthas with mint chutney. A regular breakfast dish in every Punjabi household, aloo waale paranthe with dahi/yogurt is a must at least once a week. These paranthas serve as a delicious and a satisfying hearty meal at the beginning of your day. Here is the recipe.
2 cups- whole wheat flour or atta plus more for rolling
4- medium sized potatoes boiled, peeled and mashed
3- green chillies ground in a paste
1 tsp- ajwain or bishop's weed
1 1/2 tsp- punjabi garam masala
1 tsp- amchur powder
1 tsp- anardana powder
Salt to taste
1- cup Cilantro finely chopped
Ghee/oil for cooking
  1. Add water, salt and a tablespoon of chopped cilantro to the wheat flour. knead it to make a soft dough(similar to a roti dough but not too soft). (Add salt to the atta as per your taste, the dough should taste of a bit of salt but not too salty)
  2. Mash the boiled potatoes and add ajwain, salt, green chilli paste, garam masala, amchur powder, anardana powder, rest of the chopped cilantro and mix properly.
  3. Take small balls out of the dough. Roll it in a small circular shape like a puri.
  4. Fill the center of the rolled puri with a generous amount of the potato filling and close it from all the sides tightly sealing it with your hands.
  5. Add a little bit of dry flour on the rolling mat , press the dough slightly, dust the dough with the flour and roll it into a round or square roti. Make sure you do it with care so that the filling doesn't come out.
  6. Place it on a hot tava or griddle, apply ghee/oil on both the sides and cook until the paranthas are nice and brown and fully cooked.
  7. Serve with yogurt and mint chutney.

Mint chutney recipe.

Mint Chutney is very tasty and tangy. It can be served as a dip with appetizers for samosas, kebabs, pakodes,etc. or it can be used as a spread in sandwiches with cucumber, onions and tomatoes. Mint chutney along with date chutney makes an excellent combination for all kinds of chaats.
1 cup mint leaves firmly packed (washed)
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 green chillies chopped
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp-sugar
1 tsp- cumin seeds
Salt to taste
  1. Combine all the ingredients and puree it in a blender till the mixture is smooth and everything has blended well. You can add a bit of water while grinding.
  2. Serve with the paranthas.