Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

Welcome back ! Well that was more of a shout out to self. It certainly has been ages since I ventured back to this special place. And I bring to you one of the finest creations to grace this page to begin my re-entry back into blogging. Not that I ever stopped making goodies. It was just the photography and recipe and all..

How would you like a wonderful vanilla pound cake with fine tender crumb? The fragrance entices you so wonderfully ( my lab , Maya refused to leave the oven unattended while it was baking )  and then you have these rivers of cinnamon swirl around in them. Fantastic. Moist, tender and heavenly.

 An absolute autumn’s delight  of a cake this one. A gorgeous tender crumb vanilla pound cake with ribbons of sweet spice cinnamon sugar and cream cheese glaze. This was such a hit a dinner party that I decided to make it again – this time just for my hungry kids !

Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

Serve this warm with a dollop of ice cream if you must. But, I say a steaming cup of coffee , espresso or tea is the best accompaniment for this. A warm inviting slice of heaven and  a steaming cup of energy accompanying can take on a motley crew of teenagers, room parent work, PTA, gymnastic classes, robotics, slightly neurotic dog  and a full house at home and more. Bring it on !

Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

 

Ingredients:

Cinnamon sugar :

  • Granulated sugar : 2/3 cup
  • Fine ground cinnamon : 3 Tbsp.
  • Fine ground nutmeg : A pinch

Cream Cheese Glaze :

  • Cream cheese : 4 Tbsp. ( at room temperature )
  • Confectioner’s sugar : 1 -1.5 cups(depending on how sweet you like your icing)
  • Pure vanilla extract : 1 Tbsp.
  • Milk or Cream : 2 Tbsp.+ as required to thin the glaze or icing.

Vanilla Pound cake:

  • Unbleached All purpose flour : 3 cups
  • Unsalted butter at room temperature : 2 sticks/ 1 cup/ 16 Tbsp.
  • Salt : 1 tsp.
  • Baking soda : 1/2 tsp
  • Eggs, large, room temperature : 6
  • Granulated sugar : 2.5 cup
  • Heavy cream or whole milk : 4 Tbsp.
  • Sour cream  : 1 cup
  • Pure Vanilla Extract : 2 Tbsp.

Instructions

Oven and Bundt pan preparation:

  • Preheat your oven to 350° F.
  • Generously grease with softened butter and then dust with flour your 10 cup Bundt pan and set aside. Please do take your time to grease and flour the pan. (If you are using an intricate Bundt pan, then please ensure that all nooks and crevices are well accounted for. There is nothing worse than baking a wonderful cake which stubbornly sticks to the pan.)

Making the cinnamon sugar:

  • To make the cinnamon sugar, whisk all the ingredients listed in a small separate bowl and keep aside until ready to be used

Baking the pound cake:

  • In a large mixing bowl whisk the  all purpose flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  • In a bowl your stand mixer, fit in the paddle attachment and cream the sugar and butter. This process will take about 4-5 minutes. Stop intermittently and scrape the sides of the bowl so all the side splatter butter and sugar get creamed as well. I used the medium-high speed setting on my mixer.
  • Add the cup of room temperature sour cream and mix well.
  • Add in the vanilla extract and milk / cream and mix well.
  • Turn the speed of the mixer to low-medium and add in the eggs 1 at a time. Please ensure the eggs are at a room temperature. And add them one at a time. Take the time to make sure each egg is mixed well. Do not worry if you think there a slight split in the batter. It will all come together when you add the flour. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl as required to make sure you have a homogeneous mix.
  • Once the eggs are all added , add in the flour and mix until just combined. It should just take you a minute or so . DO NOT OVER MIX. Fold the batter by hand gently once or twice to ensure the flour at the bottom is mixed well. This is a heavy batter, so make sure you get to the bottom of the  bowl.

Layering and baking the swirl pound cake :

  • Scoop in about 1/3 of the total batter into your Bundt pan. Layer about 1/2 of the cinnamon sugar mix and pat gently if needed.
  • Next add in the other 1/3 of the batter. I always found that scooping out tiny dollops of the batter , thereby covering the entire cinnamon sugar layer is a better option than trying to layer large amounts of batter. You can always sort of ” join the dots of tiny blobs of batter” to give an even layer as much as possible. Gently tap the pan on the counter to even out. Do not go crazy out banging , then you will have a “cinnamon dispersed” cake and not a “swirl” one.
  • Add in the other 1/2 of the sugar and layer with the remaining 1/3 batter similarly.
  • Gently tap the Bundt pan.
  • Bake at 350 F/ 50-65 minutes. Check with a bamboo skewer (the inserted skewer comes out clean) to ensure cake is baked through.

Unmolding the cake.

  • Remove the Bundt pan with cake from oven and cool it in pan for about 10 minutes. Gently run a knife along the edges to loosen the cake. Be very gentle as you do not want to go slicing the cake at the ends.
  • Cool another 10 minutes or so in the pan itself. Rushing the process can sometimes ruin your labor love and you might have a partial cake unmolded.
  • Then gently invert it out on a wire rack over a stand and cool completely.

Glaze/ icing the cake:

  • Using your mixer cream the sugar cream cheese heavy cream or milk, and vanilla extract on high using a whisk attachment. Thin it out more if you would like to pour out the glaze or keep it thick to pipe it out in pastry bag.
  • Glaze when very slightly warm or you can wait until it is completely cool to pipe out the cream as well.( Mine was attempted by an eager elementary school kid )

Slice and enjoy heaven on earth !

Strawberry, Orange & Banana Popsicle : 4 ingredients. No sugar added, super healthy

Totally easy peasy vegan smoothie bar into a popsicle.. No added sugar of any kind but so smooth without any ice crystals either .. Magic ?? Nah…

Scorcher of a day : check
You need a popsicle : check
Don’t want extra sugar in it : check
Don’t want to spend extra time on it : check
Smoothie in a popsicle:: How did you do that??

Would you like a techie geek’s popsicle or the simple plain kind?

Aaaah…. the glorious days of summer vacation has begun! Kids love it naturally. Where else can you just chill out in hot blazing sun. And also because they know  they would be loaded with treats and so many of them. While we do occasionally enjoy and indulge in fancier preps, a fresh juicy fruit in a smoothie or popsicle is always welcome as  this kind is the super healthy and super quick to make .Just 4 ingredients. No added sugar and just perfect for a hot summer day. 

Strawberry, Orange & Banana Popsicle : 4 ingredients. No sugar added, super healthy
Pretty colors of the strawberry and vivid oranges and creamy bananas..

I had spied a neat set of  Robot popsicle mold or casing  in Home goods.. And had to have it. My youngest one is currently on that phase and would totally enjoys decimating robots. Go figure !

Strawberry, Orange & Banana Popsicle : 4 ingredients. No sugar added, super healthy
I spy with my little eye the robot molds in the background

 

So while we chug along in the prep for Father’s day this weekend.. We made this quick and easy one, loaded with the fresh fruits of summer and gorgeous !

Strawberry, Orange & Banana Popsicle : 4 ingredients. No sugar added, super healthy
A dash of no sugar added natural orange juice to aid in the blending
Strawberry, Orange & Banana Popsicle : 4 ingredients. No sugar added, super healthy
We are a techie family.. need robots in popsicle too..

Without much ado here is the recipe. I sure hope you enjoy it as well..

  • Prep time :  5-8 minutes chopping + 15 minutes initial freezing + 5 minutes of blending time
  • Freezing time : 6 hrs. – overnight
  • No. of  Popsicles : 6-12 depending on the size

Ingredients

  • Banana : 1 ( sliced)
  • Strawberries : 8-10 ( sliced)
  • Orange : 1 ( quartered)
  • Orange juice / Water : 1/4 cup
  • If using orange juice, please do consider the no added sugar kind
  • Honey : 1 Tbsp. ( optional)

Method:

Initial prep:

  • Prep the fruits and freeze them  for about 15 minutes. This will aid in smooth blending.

Blending, popsicle molds and freezing:

  • Add the prepped fruits and a 1/4 cup of water or sugar-free orange juice to help in the blending process.
  • Blend super smooth. In my Nutri Bullet it took about a couple of minutes or so.
  • Taste the mix before freezing please . If you end up with super tart strawberries or oranges,  a Tbsp. of honey or so will definitely help to balance it out.
  • Pour out into the casings or molds of choice and freeze .
  • To unmold, run it under hot water and you should  get it put fairly easy.
  • Enjoy guilt free Popsicle!
Strawberry, Orange & Banana Popsicle : 4 ingredients. No sugar added, super healthy
Smooth and easy on you
Strawberry, Orange & Banana Popsicle : 4 ingredients. No sugar added, super healthy
Could not resist a bite !

Pistachio Pudding Bundt Cake with White Chocolate Chips – Moist, Tender, Fabulous!

Disclaimer: This is not a bake it from scratch post.This is a use up the stuff at home kind of thing. More of a transformation, if you  would like it!

You go shopping, you see the cake mix. You know you bake at home.. Well you do bake at home. But somehow something  struck you and you came home with  2 boxes pf pudding and white cake mix. Don’t ask why!  I had been wanting to experiment a bit with pistachio pudding and the cake was meant so my kiddo could bake it all on her own. At least A2 has professed to doing something unlike 1 and 2 who declare the food yummy and proceed to gobble it up!

Pistachio Pudding Bundt cake with white chocolate chips

Been wanting to experiment to convert the cake mix into a pound cake as well.. Lemon being our favorite. Well let’s just say the weather was fine and Sunday being a lazy day, my brain did go off on to a hiatus and a bit of goof up later , pistachio pudding that was to be turned into kulfi  and ice cream ended up here as I wanted to experiment and pound cake became light and fluffy Bundt cake as well…

Unglazed bundt
Unglazed bundt

 

So here we go. A semi homemade version that truly was exceptional in taste and texture and brought forth the flavor and color of pistachio. The drizzled icing just took it another whole level.. It was truly fabulous.. .. And looked like a million bucks when I spent a few pennies on it. I love the minimal effort and maximum mileage this one delivers. This is definitely a recipe to go to when you are short on time or you do not want to go the long route way..

glazing
glazing

 

A melt in your mouth pistachio Bundt cake that’s  light and fluffy in texture taken to greater heights by the lemon drizzle! A sure winner !

Pistachio Pudding Bundt cake with white chocolate chips

Prep time : 15-20 minutes   Baking time : 38-45 min 

Ingredients:

For the Bundt cake:

  • White cake mix box : I used DH, white cake mix – 16.5 oz.
  • Pistachio pudding : Jell-O Pistachio pudding mix pack : 1.5 packs ( each pack is 3.4 oz. / 4.5 servings)
  • Milk 2% : 11/2 cup +2 Tbsp.
  • Butter : 4 tbsp.  At RT
  • Eggs : 4
  • White chocolate chips : 1/2 cup
  • Almond extract : 2 tsp.
  • Food Color green : 3 drops ( optional, but recommended)

For the Glaze/ Icing

  • Confectioner’s sugar : 1 cup
  • Heavy cream/ milk : 2 Tbsp. or just as required to thin
  • Fine chopped raw pistachios : 1/4 cup
  • Lemon Extract : 1 tsp.

Procedure:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 deg F.
  • Spray your  Bundt pan with oil of your choice and dust it with flour as well. Tap to remove excess and set aside. Make sure the nooks and crannies are completed greased and floured.
  • In a mixing bowl, add the cake mix and pudding mix and whisk it well. Add in the melted butter or RT butter and 4 eggs. Add the eggs one by one, stirring in after each one.
  • Add the milk, almond extract and three drops of food color and whisk it in until the mix is a soft fluffy batter. About 5 minutes or so in your stand mixer.
  • Stir in the white chocolate chips / fold it in gently.
  • Distribute the batter evenly in the Bundt pan( I used my 10 cup Bundt pan for this).
  • Bake it for about 38 to 45 min until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Take it out and do let it cool down in the Bundt pan itself for about 15 minutes. Do not rush this please!
  • After 15 minutes, invert it and the cake should simply slide out without any sticking if the pan has been properly greased.
  • Let it cool well for a couple of hours at least before you glaze it.

Pistachio Pudding Bundt cake with white chocolate chips

Glazing:

  • Option one : you can just dust it with confectioners sugar and it will be awesome!
  • Option two: whip up heavy whipping cream with left over pudding mix and serve the cake topped with it.
  • Option three : Mix everything listed under the glaze / icing tab listed above . Make a smooth thick and slightly runny past. Too much runny and it will simply slide off . Pour it over the cake, top with pistachios, let it set for about 20 min. Cut and serve.

White chocolate covered Strawberries – Delectable!

Strawberries – so lush and vibrant and gorgeous. Spring is an awesome time to indulge in these berries and these sweet juicy ones never disappoint you.  I could never understand why these were relegated to the month of love ( February ) . My little rule book says, use them when they are in season.  Eat them, add them in smoothies, make a nice jam out of these, freeze them .. They are so versatile! While They are amazing as such, add a dash of whipped cream and they  are so delectable. Want to take it tp another whole new level ? Dip them in melted chocolate wafers .. OOOH yes ! While my personal preference is dark chocolate, these white dippers were my choice for a spring chilling out party. The clincher –  it took about 15 -20 minutes for a whole big box of strawberries. Chilled it for an hour and it lasted just a few minutes as part of the dessert entourage ! That good  if I may say so myself!

 White chocolate covered Strawberries - Delectable!

Luscious sweet berries dipped in white chocolate and drizzled with some milk chocolate drizzlers.. Celebrations anytime!

 Ingredients:

  • Ghirardelli Candy Making & Dipping White Melting Wafers : 1/2 – 3/4 cup
  • Strawberries :  25-30 pieces
  • Toothpicks : 25-30
  • Milk chocolate : 6-10 wafers

 Equipment:

  • Microwave safe bowl
  • Large baking tray lined with parchment paper

 Method:

  • Wash the strawberries very well, pat dry to remove as much moisture as possible. ( Water droplets and chocolates are not a good combination)
  • Trim the leaves of the strawberries if that is your preference. I left it in to add the visual of green pop of color and also because I knew we would be finishing it in a few hours.
  • Skewer the strawberries with a tooth pick ( use a strong one ) vertically. Line them all ready for dipping.
  • In  a microwave safe bowl, add a portion of the candy chips and melt on medium power with intermittent stirring. *This step is very crucial. Intermittent stirring is essential  if not you will burn the chocolate and will have a lump. You need a smooth creamy mix.
  • Using the toothpick, dip the strawberries one by one, swirl to cover the are desired. Remove and lay it gently on the lined baking tray.  Repeat for the rest , melting chocolate wafers as required.
  • Cool at room temperature initially. Because we use candy dipping wafers , these will cool very fast.
  • Drizzle melted milk chocolate or dark chocolate to add contrast.
  •  Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
Gorgeous
Gorgeous
Just for you
Just for you
Wafers of choice
Wafers of choice

White chocolate covered Strawberries - Delectable! White chocolate covered Strawberries - Delectable! White chocolate covered Strawberries - Delectable! 

Indulge!

Kadai Paneer – Indian cottage cheese in tangy, spicy tomato gravy

My oldest tyke turned 15. A year shy of the quintessential mark of a rebel.. But hey I don’t think a particular year turns the page.

I sometimes think this boy was born as an old soul in a young body. Sigh !

Or maybe just maybe the single liners or the dry remarks are just a genetic influence that has been passed on … Ahem Ahem !

 But this child still has the glint in his eyes when looks forward to certain favorites. This being one of those on his list.. Happy Birthday A1 and may you be blessed with the best of health and happiness always ..

An awesome spicy and tangy gravy of Paneer and bell peppers and onions served with flat bread  ( rotis or Naans) or fried puffed breads ( Pooris) and piping hot Jeera rice.

Kadai Paneer - Indian cottage cheese in tangy, spicy tomato gravy

Cooking time : 30-40 min  Serves : 6

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz paneer : Cut in 1.5 inches lengthwise
  • Bell peppers  ( green , colored mix) : 3-4 cut in thick strips
  • Red onion : 1 big, cut in big fat strips
  • Ginger garlic paste : 1 tsp.
  • Roma tomatoes : 8-9 , pureed
  • Cumin (Jeera seeds) : 1 tsp.
  • Garam Masala : 1 tsp.
  • Kasuri methi leaves (dry) : 1 tsp, crushed
  • Melted butter : 3 Tbsp.
  • 2 to 3 tbsp oil or ghee or butter
  • Fresh Coriander leaves : chopped fine , 1/4 cup
  • Salt : 1 tsp + to taste

 Kadai masala: Dry roast, cool and fine grind

  • Coriander seeds : 1/4 cup
  • Dry red Kashmiri chilies ( low – medium heat) : 6

Optional :

  • Kashmiri chili powder : 1 tsp.

Method:

  • In a big wok or Kadai and add 3 Tbsp. of butter or ghee ( clarified butter ) if using and heat it.
  • Add in the Cumin seeds and let it sputter.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste , fry it for a minute or two.
  • Now add in the cut onions and sauté till translucent.
  • Add the Garam masala, fine ground Kadai masala and Kashmiri chili powder ( if using) and stir for a min or two. Essentially cooking the masala combination.
  • Now add in the pureed tomatoes , stir well , cover and let it boil for about 7-10 min. By now the gravy will acquire  deep red hue from the combination of Kashmiri chilies and the chili powder if using and the tomato puree. That is the color you would typically look out for.
  • The butter would separate and you would see it glistening on the sides, plus there would be a reduction in the gravy volume as well.
  • Add in 1 tsp. or so of salt and about half a cup of water only if you think the gravy is too thick.
  • Add in the chopped bell peppers  and simmer in this for another 5 minutes or so.
  • Add in the crushed Kasuri Methi leaves and the Paneer strips and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.

 Notes :

  • Adding the red Kashmiri Chili powder is not necessary but it gives the beautiful hue to the gravy.
  • Don’t feel like making the Kadhai masala fresh?  Go ahead and  substitute with just Kashmiri Chili powder  and 3 -4 tsp of dry dhania powder and adjust the masala to taste. It should be close enough, but if you could take an extra 5 to make the masala fresh.
  • The bell peppers need to retain the part crunch , hence they are added a bit later in the prep.
  • This recipe uses a lot of tomatoes. Don’t have any on hand? Just substitute with canned as per the directions on it.

Kadai Paneer - Indian cottage cheese in tangy, spicy tomato gravy

 This was a part of the lovely birthday dinner served along with pooris , Peas and Carrot simple Pulav , Mixed  Masala Dal and Baingan Bartha.

Enjoy!

And dessert of course was the super delish Guava Ice cream!

Sprouted Kala Channa ( Black Chickpeas) Pakora – with Flax seeds and Cauliflower

An utterly delectable and finger licking snack made with sprouted Kala Channa or black chickpeas…. I had a whole bowl of sprouted Kala Channa and was a bit bored of creating salads out if it .. I know …Gasp! Sacrilege !

Alright, I know technically you are not supposed to be tired of it. What with the detox mania hitting everywhere , I feel guilty when I add in an extra drop of oil!

Sprouted Kala Channa ( Black Chickpeas) Pakora - with Flax seeds and Cauliflower

 Tsk! Tsk! what kind of responsible human being am I? Where did “My body is a temple” adage disappear? How could I be irresponsible enough to turn a bunch of sprouted Kala channa into this this this…. Utterly delectable delicacy.

Yes, it is deep-fried!

Yes, you can do it the appe / kuzhipaniram pan.

Yes, you can make cutlets out of this.

Yes, you can add a whole bunch of grated veggies to this.

Yes, you can grind Jalapeños in this to make it spicier.

I chose to opt for deep-frying this. It is an occasional thing at home and such an indulgence on a rainy day is best enjoyed with a hot cup of tea!

 Sprouted Kala Channa with brown rice and a mystery health ingredient ( Nah! No guessing games – flax seeds)! Heaped in with Onion and shredded Cauliflower! Add a dash of this and a dash of that.. And you have wonderful pakoras!.. A cup of tea and you have a winsome combination!

Sprouted Kala Channa ( Black Chickpeas) Pakora - with Flax seeds and Cauliflower

Ingredients:

Legumes/ beans:

  • 1.5 cups of sprouted kala channa (Can be substituted for a mixed legume bunch or simply well soaked and rehydrated kala channa)
  • 0.5 cup of flax seeds , soaked for about 30 min or so . Alternatively you can simply grind it as a powder and add.
  • 0.5 cups of Sooji or Semolina or Rava – Medium kind
  • 0.5 cups of brown rice – soaked in warm water for about 30 minutes. ( Can be substituted for rice flour – 1/2 cup)

Vegetables/Herbs

  • 1 cup of grated cauliflower- steamed for about 5 min in the microwave. You can add it raw too.
  • 0.5 cups of diced onions – finer the better.
  • 4-6 green chillies, fine diced
  • 1 Tbsp. of ginger garlic paste
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro – chopped fine
  • 2-3 Tbsp. of Mint  chopped fine ( optional)

Spices: ( Individual preference can dictate the kind of spices added)

  • 1 tsp of Garam masala powder
  • 0.5 tsp of Red chili powder ( optional to kick up the spice level)
  • 1 tsp of Chaat masala powder
  • 1 tsp of salt + adjusted to taste

 Frying:

  • Deep frying in peanut/ canola/vegetable /saffola oil of your choice.

 Method:

  • Grind to a thick consistency the ingredients listed under legumes or beans except the rava and rice flour of using. If using the soaked brown rice, please do grind it well. The batter should not be extra fine or smooth but be ground enough not to have any big pieces but have enough rough edges to have dimensions.
  • Add the sooji ( and rice flour if using) and mix it well.
  • Add in all the ingredients listed in spices and mix well.
  • Add in the ingredients listed in vegetables an herbs and mix well.
  • Let the batter rest for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile heat the oil on medium high heat.
  • Test the temperature of oil by putting in a tiny dropfuls of batter. If it floats immediately to the top and is sizzling, you can drop the rest batter in batches. Just keep enough room for these to flip around.
  • Fry these in medium- high heat to a nice even brown. Do not fry in very high heat. If you do so, the outer layer will get cooked faster than the inner one and it is not something you will relish!

Enjoy with a hot cup of tea and some great music !

Sprouted Kala Channa ( Black Chickpeas) Pakora - with Flax seeds and Cauliflower

 

Chili Tofu Pepper Stir Fry and Rice

Ever heard this song from the movie ” Howrah Bridge”?

Mera Naam Chin-Chin-Chu

Chin-Chin-Chu, Baaba Chin-Chin-Chu

Raat Chaandani, Main Aur Tu

“Hello, Mister, How Do You Do?”

 I love Geeta Dutt’s vocals in this and the lovely Helen gyrating to this peppy number. But this is as authentic representation of the land of Confucius as the cuisine from my birthland espousing the Indo – Chinese fare. Authenticity apart, if we do not innovate then we probably would never have anything new to go by at all.

This weekend, I found myself in of those health stores and I spotted a pack of sprouted, non GMO,organic tofu – extra firm. I wanted to make something that would appeal to all 3 A’s but would appeal more to A1 if I dump some hot sauce in it.

So here we go, Tofu Chili Stir Fry served with hot steaming rice. C’mon , it would be hard to resist this fare. The best part is it takes only a few min to cook.

Active prep : 15 min  

Marination & resting: 30-60 min  

Cook time : 15 min

Serves: 4

Ingredients for Tofu Pepper Chili Stir fry:

  • Tofu : 1 big log/block – extra firm.
  • Bell peppers: Mixed colors , cut in big pieces : 2 cups
  • Onion : Medium size, red, Cut in strips
  • Ginger garlic paste: 1 tsp.
  • Veg Oil : 2 Tbsp.
  • Stir fry/ Soy sauce : 1 tsp.
  • Hot chili ketchup : 1 tsp.
  • Red chili flakes/ powder : 1/2 tsp. (Optional)
  • Corn flour : 1 tsp + 2 Tbsp. water
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh Cilantro : Chopped : 1/4 cup.

 Marinade :

  • Ginger garlic paste : 1 tsp.
  • Honey : 1/2 tsp.
  • Cornflour :  2 tsp.
  • Soy sauce/ Stir fry sauce : 1 Tbsp.
  • Salt : A pinch

 Method:

Prep the tofu first :

  • Wrap the tofu block in paper towels, and express out the moisture. It helps, if you place something of a heavy nature on it and drain it out if required through the colander. Take care to not to smush it. We need to cut it in cubes. This could take anywhere from 15 – 30 minutes depending on the nature of your tofu.
  • Once drained, cut the tofu  into big cubes.
  • Mix everything listed in the marinade to make a thick paste of sorts. Toss the cubes of tofu in it. Let it marinate for about 15 minutes. If you can wait a bit longer, you can let it sit for about an hour.
  • In a big wok or skillet, add in 1 tbsp. of oil and when heated, add in the pieces of tofu to sauté/ brown it evenly on all sides. Remove and set aside.

Stir fry:

  • Add in one more tbsp. of oil in the same skillet and add in the ginger-garlic paste, red chili flakes /powder and thin strips of onion. Cook the onion till it is translucent and then add in the  mixed peppers and a bit of salt. Cook the peppers till it retains a bit of a bite in it.You want the peppers nearly cooked but not completely cooked, so you will have a bit of crunch to it.
  • Add in the sauces, ketchup and the cornflour paste and the cubes of sautéed tofu.
  • Stir, check for salt  and garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot with steaming cup of rice.

Chili Tofu Pepper Stir Fry and Rice

Accompaniment:

Quick Veg Tossed Rice:

Chili Tofu Pepper Stir Fry and Rice

Prep time : 10 min  Cook time : 15 min        Serves : 4

Ingredients:

  • Frozen peas and Carrots mix : 1/2 cup
  • Onions: thin strips : 1/4 cup
  • Butter : unsalted : 1 Tbsp.
  • Oil : 1 tsp.
  • Cumin seeds: 1 tsp.
  • Black peppercorns: 1/4 tsp.
  • Bay leaves: 2
  • Green Cardamom: 1
  • Salt : 1 tsp./ to taste
  • Basmati Rice: 1.5 cups
  • Water : 3 cups

 Method:

  • In a big non stick sauce pan ( this needs to have a lid) , add in the tbsp. of butter and oil and warm it.
  • Once it heats, add in the cumin seeds. Add in the whole spices as well.
  • Add in the thin strips of onions and saute till well cooked.
  • Now add in the peas and carrots and stir for about a couple of minutes.
  • Add in the washed rice and stir it too along with the spices and veggies for another minute or two.
  • Salt it with about a tsp of salt. Mix well.
  • Add about 3 cups of water , give it a stir and cover and cook for about 15 minutes in medium to high heat.
  • You should have perfectly cooked rice in that time.
  • Turn off the flame and then gently toss it with a fork and serve.

 Chili Tofu Pepper Stir Fry and Rice

An awesome winning combination up your sleeve!

Chocolate Nut and Berry Clusters

Cleaning up the pantry sometimes yields surprise finds. So take this for instance.. I had a couple of bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Honestly when I did find these , my thought was to fall back into baking a nice banana chocolate bread. But then again, surprise…surprise .. You  really cannot do the banana bread without bananas.. Ahem! Okay so off they went on the counter while I foraged more. The search yielded cashews, almonds, walnuts and then some dried berries. You see where I am going with this right? Aha.. Not really a tough one is it? Out of the finds of the pantry, I give thee .. Absolutely amazing choco berry nut clusters! Ta-Da!

Measured out choco chips
Measured out choco chips

Decadent melt in the mouth, chocolate nut and berry clusters! All you need is a microwave safe bowl and this is ready in  minutes. 3-4 minutes to melt the chocolate and a few to chop the nuts if desired. Takes about an hour or two for the clusters to set at the room temperature. Now that I think about this , I feel this is a throwback to the Cadbury’s dairy milk fruit and nut – a luxurious treat of the yonder years when I grew up in India. And also incidentally the only kind DH would indulge in. I on the other hand love dark chocolates. I would to love to make this in the dark chocolate combination. But that again is the beauty and versatility of this particular nibble. Your mind is the only recipe book you need to refer to..

You really cannot go wrong with this of course!

Nuts and Berries of your choice
Nuts and Berries of your choice

INGREDIENTS

  1. 2 cups of semi sweet white and dark choco chips mixed.
  2. 2 cups of raw almonds, walnuts, cashews and dried cranberries and blueberries. Measure and chop roughly if desired or you can make it with whole nuts too.
  3. A pinch of salt to bring out the chocolate. Sea salt is better of course. 

METHOD

  1. Take a couple of cookie sheets or baking trays and line it with parchment paper or baking sheet.
  2. In a pyrex glass bowl or any microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate chips and melt it in high for 3 minutes in 1 minute intervals. Stir it in after each 1 minute interval. The end result is a creamy smooth mass of melted chocolate.
  3. Add the chopped nuts and dried berries to the melted chocolate and stir it in. Add the pinch of salt and stir it in. Give it one more stir to ensure there is as much even distribution of the nut berry mix with melted chocolate.
  4. Using a tablespoon, measure out scoops of these on the parchment paper lined trays.
  5. Cool these completely before storing them ( about 1-2 hrs. depending on the room temperature). Need it in a rush? Stick these in the freezer or chiller tray of your fridge.
  6. Serve these with decadent mounds of vanilla ice cream or just eat them plain.
  7. Best stored in the refrigerator.
Pick me!
Pick me!

Veggies and Cheese stuffed Pinwheels – Spiced,Eggless,Whole wheat and Irresistible!

 This should have been one of those soul inspiring or a post with a deep message or something thereof. Truth be told, I was one heck of a distracted soul yesterday and goofed up on a couple of things including the prep on what I needed to do . But hey all is well that ends well right?? Plus it’s the weekend and we can all afford to go a wee bit crazy after a week of 5.30 AM alarming alarms..  Keeping it short and simple.. Just so you know while this was happening, I think Mrs. Doubtfire would have been awfully proud of me. Disaster not withstanding and leaky taps not holding me back , no sir I do not know what you are talking about the orange cup. I think Mr. Bean was channeled and changed genders in my kitchen today 🙂  So did feel like some sort of metaphysical channeling happened right there and I survived and saved the day ! Excuse me while I try and pat my back 🙂

 

So here it goes.. This one is awesome and the recipe is a sure shot keeper. Pinwheels of somewhat flaky and slightly crispy, tender, baked bread encasing spicy veg filling tempered with cheese. Absolutely sinful ( on a diet, well not really ) and so worth it ! An absolute crowd pleaser and kid certified recipe ! Perfect for starter and evening snack. Make it a winner with a cup of hot steaming ginger chai – Cure all for all times !

Truth behind...
Truth behind…

Prep time : 30 minutes    Dough rising time : 110 minutes   Baking time : 20 min  Serves 4-6

 Ingredients (Makes 12-14 pinwheels)

 For the Dough:-

  • 1.5 cup white whole wheat flour (I used KA)
  • 1/2  cup of APF  + 1/2  more cup  as needed
  • 1/2 tsp Jeera or cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Ajwain  or carom seeds
  • 1 tsp Kasuri methi or dry fenugreek leaves fine crushed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. of granulated sugar
  • 2.25 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup + 2-3 Tbsp. cup of warm water- as needed for the dough
  • Flour for dusting if required

For the filling :- (Makes about 2 cups)

  1. 1/2 cup of grated cauliflower
  2. 1/4 cup colored bell peppers of choice, finely chopped
  3. 1/4 cup of Broccoli slaw
  4. 1/4 cup of carrots and green peas
  5. 1/2 cup of onion finely chopped
  6. 1 tsp. of ginger garlic paste
  7. 1 tsp of Pav Bhaji masala 
  8. 1/2 Tsp of Red Chili powder
  9. 1 tsp. of salt and more if required adjusted to taste
  10. 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  11. 1/2 cup shredded cheese blend

Topping

  • 1/4 cup of shredded cheese blend

Method :

First Rise and Dough:

  • Proofing the yeast : Dissolve sugar in warm milk, add yeast and set aside till frothy. This shows the yeast is active and proofing is especially necessary because we are using active dry yeast. If you do not see the frothing in about 5 minute, re do this step. No happy yeast, no bread rise!
  • Mixing the flours: In a  mixing bowl of your stand mixer (if using) or simply any large mixing bowl, add 1.5 cups of white whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup of APF and whisk it to ensure that they thoroughly mixed . Reserve  the second 1/2 cup of all purpose flour to add as needed. This is especially useful when we do not weigh out the flours and use volumetric measurement.
  • Add Ajwain, Jeera and  crushed Kasuri methi ( fine crushed between the palms of your hands) to the sifted flour . Whisk once again to aerate and thoroughly distribute the spices.
  • In the mixer/  large bowl now add the salt. Add in the oil and whisk it once

Kneading and first rise: 

  • Now add in the yeast mix and 1/4 cup of  warm water to the flour mix.
  • Mix it thoroughly and knead well till everything comes together. Note :- Start with 1/4 cup of water to begin with. Once a loose dough ball starts to come together continue kneading for 5-8 minutes till you get a soft, elastic dough. Adjust the water or flour level to ensure the dough is not dry or too sticky. With so much whole wheat in this mix, the pliability will not be comparable to the one using APF exclusively.
  • In a well oiled pan or the same mixing bowl rest the dough ( cover with a damp cloth and keep it in a warm, dry, dark place) for at least 90 minutes until it is doubled in size.

 For the filling : ( while the dough is rising )

  • In a pan, heat the oil and add in the onion and sauté them very well. Now add in the ginger garlic paste, bell pepper , grated cauliflower, peas and carrots and broccoli slaw in succession.
  • Salt it to ensure it cooks well , but retains its crunchiness.
  • Add in the masalas and chili powder and toss it well so it all comes together and let it cook for another 10 minutes or so,
  • Turn off the heat and stir it well .

For the Pinwheels / Second Rise:

  • Line a large rectangular baking pan or two if desired with parchment paper or baking liner.
  • Once the dough has risen, gently deflate it and knead it well for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Roll it out on a floured surface or a lightly greased surface  to make a rectangle .
  • Spread out the cooled filling on it .
  • Top it off with 1/2 cup of cheese that has been shredded. I used the 4 cheese Mexican cheese blend here.
  • Make a jelly roll by rolling from the short end first.
  • Pinch the end of the seams to seal it.
  • Using a very sharp knife , slice it into 1/4 -1/2 inch slices.
  • You should now see concentric rings of dough and filling.
  • Lift them carefully and place it on the baking pan about 3-4 inches part. Absolutely no touching each other !
  • Cover again with the damp cloth and let it rise for another 15-20 minutes.

Baking:

  • When the second rise is happening, preheat the oven to 375 deg F.
  • Once the second rise is done ( there is an obvious increase in size , but it will not double or so), top with some cheese.
  • Bake for about 18 -20 minutes , until golden brown. 

Once baked, carefully remove them from the tray and let cool on a rack.

Make a steaming hot cup of tea/ coffee/ anything else and Enjoy!

 

[yumprint-recipe id=’25’]

Cornflakes, Poha and Nuts Chivda – Low fat and easy !

Cornflakes and Poha( Flattened rice ) Crunchy toasted mix – Low fat with added goodness of nuts and spices to make it more interesting! Happy munching !

The first of the festivities begin with a bang!!!

DH twisted his ankle and hobbled away chauffeuring A1 for his weekly robotics meeting . You know how you think you end up having this one day of the week without classes or any social commitments ….? And just like that, that day gets picked for this weekly activity. In any case , with DH away and A2 diligently working on her myriad of school projects and A3 generally clowning away, I had this itch to do something. Quick, easy and perfect!

Usually this is the time when I head to the  “baking center of my brain” and subsequently raid the pantry and fridge in the hopes of creating something new. But now is as good a time as any to begin on the Diwali list. Ideally, I would have loved to begin with the creation of a sweet or Mithai. Kind of like beginning on a sweet note kind of thing , tradition and all,so to speak.

Well in this case, this conflakes chivda has a bit of everything – sugar and spice and everything nice.

Happy Diwali folks !

Diwali DIya
Diwali Diya

Cornflakes and Poha( Flattened rice ) Crunchy toasted mix 

Cooking time : 20-25 minutes            Prep time : 5 -8 min                    Serves : 8-10

Ingredients:

  • Unsweetened Cornflakes : 3 cups
  • Thick or thin flattened rice or Poha of your choice : 2 cups
  • Cashews : 1/4 cup
  • Roasted Channa Dal or Dhalia : 1/3 cup
  • Peanuts ( skinned or unskinned ) : 1/2 cup
  • Safflower or any oil of your choice : 6 Tsp.
  • Haldi or Turmeric powder : 1/4 Tsp.

Spice Mix:

  • Paprika or Chili powder : 1- 1.5 Tsp. (Depending on your spice tolerance)
  • Hing or Asafoetida : fine ground : 1/4 tsp.
  • Chaat masala : 1.5 tsp
  • Kari powder ( optional) : 1 tsp.
  • Coriander – Jeera powder : 1/4 tsp.
    Salt : 1- 1.25 tsp.
  • Sugar : 1-1.5 Tsp.

Procedure:

  1. In a big wok or Kadai, heat 2 Tsp. of oil and roast the nuts sequentially and set aside. Do not rush this step. They do need to get roasted to a nice brown color. Hastening this step would result in semi crunchy nuts.. Not what you need definitely! (Remove the contents and let it cool!)
  2. Add another teaspoon oil and fry the roasted Channa dal or dhalia and curry leaves ( washed and dried please!) to crisp.( Remove the contents and let it cool! )
  3. Add another teaspoon of oil and add in half of the haldi powder and add in the 2 cups of flattened rice or Poha. Slow roast this on medium flame. High flame heat will burn the Poha and leave you with an inedible mess! Roast this until all the flakes are nicely toasted and super crunchy. Should take you anywhere from 7-12 min depending on the type of the flakes and heat maintained. (Remove the contents and let it cool!)
  4. Add in the remaining oil and toss in the cornflakes with the other half of haldi powder and slow roast it again. This should take about 10-15 min. They become really crunchy and are more brown in color than the untoasted one. Again do not rush this process and ensure you are tossing the contents thoroughly to distribute the heat. (Remove the contents and let it cool!)
  5. In a separate bowl dry mix all the ingredients listed under spice mix.
  6. Once the contents of the mix have sufficiently cooled down , layer it out in big wide bowl.
  7. Add in the spice mix and gently toss it with a fork or a spoon so it coats the crunchy mix.
  8. Adding in the spice mix when it is hot, will result in sweating of the flakes and you will lose the crunchiness 🙁
  9. Make sure the contents are absolutely cool before storing in an airtight container.
  10. Should stay fresh if properly stored for about 10 days.