Saturday, 22 August 2009

American Style Pancakes - made with Whole Wheat Flour

Pancakes. Every country has its own variation. In India we have Dosa, Cheela, Uttapam, Pesarattu and what not!
The first time I had “American Pancakes” was when I was on business travel to Chennai. The hotel I was staying in had a luxurious breakfast spread. I don’t think I have ever been so motivated in my life to wake up early only for breakfast. A standard item on the breakfast menu was “American Pancakes” – served with melted butter and honey. They were absolutely divine – soft, fluffy and moist.
After that, I have visited the city multiple times, but never had the opportunity to stay at that place.
I finally decided that it can’t be too difficult to make pancakes at home. Google helped me in my endeavour, and after going thru numerous sites and recipes, I finally zeroed in on this one at The primary reason was that the recipe seemed simple to make, and more importantly, I had the ingredients readily available. The only difference was that I used whole wheat flour instead of plain flour. The result was fabulous.

Sharing the recipe with you as well.


Whole Wheat Flour / Atta: 1 cup
Milk: 1 cup
Oil: 1/8 cup
Sugar: 1 tbsp
Egg: 1
Vanilla Essence: 1 tsp
Baking Powder: 1 tsp
Salt: a pinch


- Seive the flour, baking powder and salt together
- Add the sugar, oil, milk and egg
- Mix it to form a batter. It’s ok to have a few lumps. I let the batter stay for around 10 minutes before using it
- Heat a non stick pan, and grease it lightly with oil
- Pour a ladle or 2 of the batter when the pan is hot, but not very hot. I like my pancakes to be thicker and slightly large so I poured a bit more than required.
- When the top is filled with air bubbles and the sides begin to firm up, its time to flip the pancake. This should take around a minute
- The other side takes less time to cook. Lift it a bit to check whether it has achieved a golden texture
- Transfer onto a plate, and serve hot or cold. I served mine with melted butter and honey on top

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Quick Fruit Dessert

A quick dessert. I made it today to celebrate India’s 62nd anniversary of Independence. Okay, the colors are not the customary saffron, white and green. But nonetheless, it’s something special to celebrate this very special day! The idea (for the dessert) is again my Mom’s.

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

Custard (Made by using 350 ml milk, 2 tbsp sugar, and 1 ½ tbsp vanilla custard powder)

Arrowroot Biscuits, crushed in a blender: 8

Sponge Cake, crushed: 1 cup

Bananas: 2, sliced

Apple: 1, peeled and cut in small cubes

Pomegranate: 1


- Take a bowl, and spread half the biscuit powder. Then top it with half the cake

- Arrange half of the banana slices, apple cubes, and pomegranate

- Pour the rest of the biscuit mixture, and then the cake

- Pour the custard

- Arrange the rest of the fruit on the top

- Set in the refrigerator for atleast 2 hours before serving

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Baked Malai Kofta (Dumplings baked with Gravy and Cream)

Let me clarify at the outset – this is not my recipe and has not been prepared by me. It has been prepared by my Mom – and she sourced it years ago from the Recipe Booklet which she received along with the purchase of “Nicky Tasha Kitchenette”. The Kitchenette is not there now, nor is the Recipe Booklet. But this preparation continues to be one of my favorites, as well as my brother’s.
Like I had mentioned in my earlier post, my husband and I visited my parents last month, and my Mom had prepared an elaborate meal. This dish was prepared on my special request and I thank my Mom for it. The photographs have been taken by me, and the dish was enjoyed by the entire family.

For the Kofta (Dumplings)
Potatoes – boiled, peeled and grated: 4
Boiled vegetables – peas, chopped carrots, French beans: 1 cup
Bread slices: 2
Green chilies, chopped
Salt, Pepper: as per taste
Oil: To deep fry

For the gravy
Onion – peeled and blended to a pulp: 2
Tomato – pureed: 1
Cumin Seeds: ½ tsp
Turmeric: ½ tsp
Coriander powder: 1 tsp
Garam Masala: ½ tsp
Red Chili Powder: ½ tsp
Cornflour: 1 tsp
Oil: 2 tbps
Salt –to taste

For the garnish
Full Cream / Malai – whipped to remove lumps: ½ cup
Coriander, chopped


For the Koftas (Dumplings)
- Mix the potatoes, vegetables, green chilies, salt and pepper. Keep the salt low since the gravy also contains salt
- Mash the bread slices with your hands and add it to the potato mixture. Mix well
- Grease your hands with 2 – 3 drops of oil, and take a small portion of the mixture. Flatten it on your palm and place 1 – 2 raisins in the middle. Gather the edges to make small ball, about 1 inch in diameter. Similarly prepare the rest of the koftas
- Heat sufficient oil in a kadhai / heavy bottomed pan
- When the oil is sufficiently hot, gently lower the kofta in the oil, and fry it on high heat till golden brown.
- If the kofta “opens up” on frying, it means that either your mixture lacks “binding” or the oil is not sufficiently hot. In the former case, add another slice of bread to the mixture. On a practical note, it helps to first fry one kofta and “test” the results before proceeding to make koftas out of the rest of the mixture
- Ensure that you do not fry more than 2 koftas at a time or else the oil loses temperature
- Once all the koftas are fried, arrange them on a baking dish

For the gravy
- Heat oil in a kadhai / heavy bottomed pan, and add the cumin seeds.
- Once they begin to splutter, add the onions and sauté them on medium heat till they are golden brown
- Add the tomatoes and the spices and sauté till the oil leaves the sides
- Add around 2 cups water, salt and cook on high heat till the water comes to a boil. Let it cook for 2 – 3 minutes
- Mix the corn flour in ¼ cup water and add to the gravy
- Heat it till the gravy is slightly thick

The Baking Part

- Pour the gravy over the koftas
- Pour the cream, and garnish with chopped coriander (As shown in picture)
- Bake it in a pre heated oven at 180 degree centigrade for 15 – 20 minutes
- Serve hot with chapatis / parathas / pulao or steamed rice

Friday, 7 August 2009

Onions and Tomatoes

In India, the average meal is accompanied by pickle, and salad. And when I say Salad, it usually refers to sliced or chopped raw vegetables such as cucumber, onion, tomatoes and beetroot, and seasoned with salt pepper and lime juice. That’s it.

Sharing a photograph taken of an Onion and Tomato “Salad”. The vegetables were sliced by my Mom, to accompany an elaborate meal which she had prepared for us – my husband and I, when we had visited her this July. More on the meal later.

Right now, I would like to send this pic to Click - the monthy event hosted by Jugalbandi, where the theme this month is Allium – the onion genus.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Lauki Ka Halwa (Dessert made from Bottle-gourd)

July – August is usually the time in the time of the year when my husband and I visit our hometown. Both his parents as well as mine reside in the same city, and hence one visit suffices the purpose. This year, the visit was more special since I met my grandmother (paternal) after a gap of 1 ½ years. Usually she stays with my Uncle in a different city, and her health does not permit her to travel very often.
Post marriage, my interest in cooking has increased and whenever I meet my Mom, I always request her to prepare some of the recipes she specializes in, and which my brother and I loved as kids. Even now, when my brother and I get together, we reminisce those days when every Sunday was made special by my Mom’s culinary skills. And not just my Mom, my Dad as well. Yes, he is a great cook, and some of the recipes are still made usually by him – this halwa for instance.
Lauki (or Dudhi / Doodhi / Ghiya /Bottle gourd) halwa is popular in some parts of India. But I have met very few people who have heard of the same. The more popular use of Lauki is as a vegetable – whether in a curry or when added to dal / legumes.
At my parents’ place, the Lauki halwa is prepared usually in summers when the more popular Gajar ka Halwa cannot be prepared due to seasonal constraints – the red juicy carrots are available only in winters. And like I mentioned earlier, it is prepared by my Dad. I was reminded of it during this visit (he had saved some especially for me!), and I made it yesterday for post dinner dessert.

1 small Lauki / Bottle gourd, peeled and grated (will yield approx 4 cups)
Milk – ½ litre
Sugar – ¾ cups (can be increased / decreased as per taste)
Ghee (Clarified Butter) – approx 2 -3 tbsp (can be increased as per taste. But will result in more calories!)

- Add the milk and the grated lauki and heat it in a kadhai / heavy bottomed pan. Keep stirring in between to ensure that it doesnot stick to the bottom.
- Reduce the heat when the milk has dried up (this should take approx 20 minutes), and the mixture reduces to a lump.
- Add the ghee and the sugar. The mixture will become slightly fluid once the sugar melts
- Stir it till the mixture changes color, and all the moisture has dried
- Garnish with almonds, and serve hot.

This is my entry to the August's Family Recipes Event hosted by the Spiced Life.