Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

So how was your Christmas? Mine was great filled with loads of fun, lots of gifts and cartloads of happiness and love and we are all set to receive the new year with the same spirit. Last two weeks were super busy with pappu's holiday party and Christmas baking and then followed by his Christmas holidays. This week has been a rollercoaster ride, first it was pappu down with the flu and then it came down to me. Boy O Boy, how I wish I was resistant to the cold.
Its been simple rasam saadam for the past one week and only today did I make something yummy, something simple and something that reminded me of my mom, childhood and nagercoil.

Coming to this recipe, I made these for my son's Chirstmas party. The kids enjoyed these totally diving in head first into the frosting. I don't know what but there is something about carrot cupcakes and cream cheese frosting that makes it totally divine and irresistible. This recipe is a keeper and it makes the softest of the soft cupcakes and the smoothest frosting that pairs perfectly with these cupcakes.

Adapted from here
~*What U Need*~
All purpose flour - 1 1/4 cups
Baking powder - 1/2 + 1/8 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Ground cinnamon - 1/2 + 1/8 tsp
Nutmeg - 1/4 tsp
Ground cloves - a pinch
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Carrots - 1/2 lb, peeled and grated
Granulated sugar - 3/4 cups
Light brown sugar - 1/4 cup
Large eggs - 2
Vegetable oil - 3/4 cup

For the frosting:
Cream cheese - 6 oz, not softened
Unsalted butter - 4 tbsp, room temperatue
Vanilla extract - 1/2 tbsp
Confectioners' sugar - 2 cups

How I Made it:
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line one cupcake pan with paper liners. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt; whisk together and set aside. Add the carrots to the bowl with the dry ingredients and set aside. In a stand mixer, whip the sugar and eggs until light and frothy. Add the oil with the mixer at medium speed. Beat till the mixture is light. Stir in the carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Scoop evenly into the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for about 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan at least 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. To make the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, add milk to bring to the desired consistency and then beat until smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

Serve with love!!!

So thats it Folks... With Love,
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Monday, September 26, 2016

Caramel Cashew Icecream | Icecream recipes period. Open my freezer and you can find a tub of icecream anytime of the year, be it summer or spring or fall or even during the peaks of winter. Sometimes I make it at home and sometimes I buy it from the store.
The huss is a big fan of nuts in icecream. The likes like butter pecan and caramel cashew from Kopps make him go bonkers and we end up buying a scoop or two whenever it is the flavor of the day at Kopps. Few days back there was a sale for cashews in one of our local stores and I picked 2 packets to stock up. I then felt it was way too much (thats how I roll, guys) and so wanted to use up atleast one packet. Half of it went into making this yummilicious caramel icecream. Well, dont ask about the rest.

~What U Need*~
Granulated sugar - 1 cup
Heavy cream - 2 cups, 1+1
Rosated salted cashew - 1 cup
Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp
Whole milk - 1 1/4 cup
Egg yolks - 5, large

How I Made it:
Bring 1 cup cream to a gentle boil. Heat 1 cup sugar in a thick bottomed vessel with 4 tbsp water swirling occasionally to melt the sugar evenly. Melt the sugar till it turns dark amber. Add the cream to the caramel and stir gently until it forms a homogeneous mixture. Be careful the caramel will splutter a lot as soon as you add the cream to it. Remove from the flame. Meanwhile, bring milk, remaining cup cream, to boil in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally.

Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Add the milk mixture in a thin stream into the yolk whisking all the time. Pour back into saucepan and cook over medium heat, until custard coats back of spoon and registers 170°F on an instant-read thermometer. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, and then stir in cooled caramel. Chill custard, stirring occasionally, until very cold overnight. When you are ready to make ice cream, add chopped salted roasted cashew to the custard mixture and make ice cream according to your manufacturer’s instructions.
If you don’t have ice cream maker, freeze the mixture for 45 minutes. Take it out, break up frozen bits with whisk. Repeat this process at 30 minute intervals for 2-3 hours. Freeze until ready to serve.

Yummy ice-cream is ready...

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

(Amma Cooks) Vadakari.. And I am back!!!

Well I know that the blog has been silent for quiet sometime or let me be honest and say quite a longtime. This time it was not the writer's block all through the way. It started off with the writer's block but then it extended to laziness and finally settled down on bloggers stats. There were days when there were 40+ comments on a single post and then there were days when there were 0 comments. The latter kept on extending which kinda demotivated me. Then came summer and days moved on like minutes.

It was only a few days back that I opened up my blog. As I read through it, I realized how much I had enjoyed writing, editing and posting up a recipe here. I decided to come back and what better way than my mom's traditional recipe. I clicked this picture way back in 2012 when I was an amateur photographer. Well I am no great now, I am still an amateur photographer but atleast I know something about lighting and natural light now. Back to the point, this is my mom's recipe, cooked by her and eaten by us. Good old days, huh!!!

~*What U Need*~
For the vadas
Channa dhal - 1/2 cup
Green chilli - 1
Red Chilli - 1
Shallots - 6-7
Hing powder - a pinch
Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Oil - to fry

For the Curry:
Onions(large) - 2
Tomato(large) - 1
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tbsp
Coriander leaves - a handful

To Temper:
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Cinnamon - 1" pinch
Cloves - 2
Cardamom pods - 2
Bayleaf - 1

To grind:
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Green chilli - 1
Grated Coconut - 1/4 cup
Poppy seeds - 1/2 tbsp

How I Made it:

Lets prepare the vadas first. Soak the chana dhal overnight. Chop the onions, green chillies and curry leaves finely. In a blender, add the chana dhal, red chilli and fennel seeds. Pulse it 2 - 3 times. You should have some whole chana dhal here and there. Put this mixture in a bowl, add chopped onions, green chillies, curry leaves, hing and salt and mix well. Pinch lemon sized balls. Heat oil and deep fry till evenly brown. Break these into 2 and set aside.

Chop the onions. Blend the tomatoes into a smooth paste. Heat oil in a kadai, add the ingredients under to temper. Add the onions and saute till soft. Now add in the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes off. Add turmeric powder and fry.

Add the blended tomato to the onions and fry till oil separates. Blend all the ingredients under to grind to a smooth paste. Add this paste to the cooked onion-tomato mixture.

Fry till oil separates. Add the broken vada pieces, garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

** My Notes:
** Add water to bring to the desired consistency.
** When thick this makes a perfect side dish for chapathis or dosas and when thin, would be great with hot rice. However, we always prefer this with dosas.

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Kerala Kadala curry / Kadala curry

There are a few dishes which are etched in my mind mainly because those dishes frequented our dinner tables quite often when I was a kid. We are not from Kerala but the influence of Kerala is a bit more in my place. We cook a lot with coconut oil and kappa puzhukku with meen kuzhambu is still my favorite. And then there is kadala curry and puttu, an all time favorite. Though I don't make the duo a lot, I make kadala curry often to go with our chapathis.

~*What U Need*~
Black chenna/Chickpeas - 3/4 cup, soaked overnight

For grinding:
Coconut - 1/2 cup
Water - 1/4 cup to grind to a smooth paste

For the masala:
Onions - 1, medium chopped
Tomato - 1/2 medium, chopped
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tsp
Green chilli - 1
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Corinder powder - 1 tsp
Coconut oil - 2 tbsp
Water, salt

How I Made it:
Grind the coconut to a smooth paste and set aside. Heat 2 tbsp coconut oil in a pan. Temper with mustard seeds and half the amount of curry leaves. Add the chilli and saute for a min. Add the onions and saute till golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw smell leaves. Add the tomatoes and saute till soft. Add the soaked chenna, enough water and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles or till soft. Once done. Add the spice powders and mix and cook for 3-4 mins. Add the ground coconut paste. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes on a low flame. Add enough water to bring to the desired consistency. Season with salt. Let the curry come to a boil and you see oil separate from the curry. Add the curry leaves and remove from the flame.

Serve kadala curry hot with puttu or appam or steamed rice or rotis.
So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Friday, June 5, 2015

Thinai Thayir saadam / Millet Curd Rice | Healthy recipes

I try to include something healthy in our diet atleast once a week. It might be in the form of adding wheat or oat bran to our daily bread or using whole grains to make pongal or some snack like kozhukattai. Last month when we went to Chicago to visit a few friends I visited the Whole Foods market with an interest to buy some whole grains. My first buy was a big bag of millet and I have been replacing most of our rice with millet these days. I made sweet pongal with it and it was a hit with the boys. My latest experiment is this thinai thayir saadam - a healthy and filling alternative to your regular rice.

~*What U Need*~
Millet - 1/2 cup
Yogurt - 1/2 cup
Milk - 1/4 cup
Carrot - 2 tbsp, grated (optional)
Ginger - 1/2 tsp, finely chopped
Coriander - 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Hing - a pinch
Curry leaves - few

How I Made it:
Wash millet in running water using strainer. Take this in a pressure cooker, add 2 cups of water and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles or till done. Let it cool for sometime. In a pan, heat oil, add mustard seeds and allow to splutter, add urad dal fry till golden brown and then add curry leaves, hing. Add this to the millet, add carrot, finely chopped ginger and cilantro and mix well. Add the yogurt, milk and bring to the desired consistency. Season with salt.
Serve with potato for a winning combo!!!

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Methi Murgh / Methi Chicken

Its not spring yet here. It was but not now. The temperature has been varying constantly for the past month. One day we cannot survive without the cooler on and the next day you need to pull out your socks and sweater. With inconsistent temperatures comes cold and flu and the cycle has started in our house with pappu being infected the most.
Methi is one green that we buy frequently these days. Its mostly methi theplas with spicy thakkali thokku for dinner but sometimes I try something different and this methi murgh has become a favorite. Packed with tons of flavor, its the perfect side dish for rotis or parathas or pulaos.

~*What U Need*~
Chicken - 1 lb, washed & cut into medium sized pieces
Methi leaves - 1 cup cleaned and packed
Onions - 1, chopped finely
Green chilli - 1
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Tomato - 1, pureed
Yogurt - 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Red chilli pdr - 1/2 tsp
Coriander pdr - 1 tsp
Cumin pdr - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala pdr - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp
Cream - 1 tbsp

How I Made it:
In a bowl whisk the cream and yogurt and set aside. Heat 2 tsp oil in a kadai, add the methi leaves and saute for some time, remove and set aside. In a kadai, heat the oil, add the chilli and saute for a min. Add the onions and cook till brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw smell leaves. Add the pureed tomato add saute till it forms a masala. Add the masala powders and saute for some time. Add the chicken pieces and combine well. Cook on medium high flame for 3-4 mts. Reduce flame, place lid and let the chicken cook till three fourth done. Add the garam masala, methi leaves and cook till the chicken is done and you get the consistency of your choice. Reduce the flame to low, add the cream mixture and mix well. Cook in low flame for 2-3 mins. Add chopped coriander leaves, remove from flame.

Serve hot with white rice, biryani, flavored rice or rotis.

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Life takes a turn at times. That which interested you becomes distant and that hobby which you thought would never peak into your mind becomes a favorite passtime. I am in that phase right now. I have been blogging for 4 years now and I would never want to give that up just like that. And so I am taking my time to settle my mind and start blogging again. I was pretty busy for the past few weeks with pappu's birthday celebrations. I will write a separate post on that soon. But as for now lets talk about this easy to make cajun chicken pasta.

Pasta is one thing that I make when I am pressed for time or when we need a quick fix meal. Pappu is a sucker for mac and cheese and so I make it atleast once a month. As for pasta, I try a different recipe and that is how this cajun pasta happened. It happened and it is now a favorite.

~*What U Need*~
Boneless skinless chicken thighs - 1/2 cup, cut into bite size pieces
Linguine - 6 oz
Onion - 1/2, sliced
Mushrooms - 1 cup, sliced
Red bell pepper - 1/2, sliced, I didnt have this so skipped
Garlic - 2, chopped
Cajun seasoning - 1 tbsp
Chicken stock - 1/2 cup
Heavy cream - 2 tbsp
Coriander - 1 tbsp, chopped
Butter - 1 tbsp
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Salt, pepper - to season

How I Made it:
Cook the pasta as per package instructions. Season the chicken thighs with the cajun seasoning and set aside. In a large skillet add the butter and cook the chick thighs for 4-5 mins. Remove to a plate. Add the olive oil, add the onions, mushrooms, garlic and peppers and cook for 5-6 mins. Add the chicken stock, reduce the heat to medium low and cook for about 10 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by half. Add the cream and season lightly with salt and pepper, toss in the cooked pasta and cook everything together for about a minute or until the sauce thickens. Add the coriander and remove.
Serve warm!!!

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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