May 12, 2012

Broccoli Bell Pepper Zunka

After finding the perfect tri-color bell pepper zunka recipe and making it a couple of times, I got this idea suddenly! To give it a shot with broccoli, the veggie that I never brought home before :) One day, I made it just for myself for lunch, when the husband is not around (I don't want to make him suffer if it did not turn out palatable :)) I instantly loved it, absolutely. The recipe remains the same as bell pepper zunka, just add the bite-sized florets of broccoli along with the bell pepper cubes. Follow the procedure as it is, and you will have the crunchy yummy Broccoli Bell Pepper Zunka in no time!


Bell Pepper Zunka

I associate this dish with my little girl Anjali's first birthday party. It was the hit dish of the day..!
I made this dish especially for the vegan friends in the guest list for the dinner, as they cannot enjoy my chicken delicacy :) But it had been quite a pleasant surprise that everyone, literally everyone, liked this dish and were asking for the recipe there itself  :) I promised to post the recipe sooner than this, I know, I am late :P

I also have another story to tell here.. I simply love the paprika mix pack that greets me with three bright colored bell peppers. I get tempted to grab it, every time I am at the store. Earlier, my problem was the lack of right recipe that uses all three of them. I tried once to make potato with three bell peppers curry, but it did not appeal our taste. So, for a long time I restrained myself from buying them on a regular basis.



It all changed when I found the perfect recipe that suits all my needs- super quick and simple and of course tasted yummy to please our palate. Also I realized that the bell peppers should not be over cooked. They taste their best when they are sauteed while retaining their crunch. I have taken the recipe from Aarthi's food blog and adjusted few measures that suit my taste.

Ingredients:
Bell peppers - cut into cubes of 1/2 inch 
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
green chillies - 2 or 3 
Chick pea flour (besan) - 3 tbsp
salt to taste
red chilli powder - 1 tsp
garam masala - 1/2 tsp
oil - 2 tbsp

Procedure:
1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a non stick pan, add green chillies, mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
2. When the seeds crackle, add the bell pepper cubes and saute them on high flame for 2 -3 minutes.
3. Add salt (caution: very little will be sufficient), red chilli powder and saute for another minute.
4. When the pepper is fork tender, sprinkle the chick pea flour over the veggies and pour the remaining oil evenly all over and toss well such that all the pieces are covered with the flour, fry on a medium flame for a couple of minutes and garnish with the garam masala.

This dish goes well with both rotis and rice.



May 11, 2012

The Spongy Orange Cake


After my plain vanilla cake and easy chocolate cake became a routine, I wanted to make something new this time. Aarush has been asking to bake a cake again for so many days already, not that he want to eat the cake but just that he enjoys the whole baking process. So, this time I chose the spongy orange cake :)

It is so much fun to bake a cake these days, more because the kid makes it all the more interesting. He knows where my recipe book is ( it's just an old n battered note pad, coated with flour and stained with butter, where I scribble down the recipe from the web pages.!) and fetches it for me. He makes trips along with me between the kitchen and the pantry to put together all the required ingredients - the flour, sugar, baking powder, essence etc. He reminds me that I forgot to take the eggs from the refrigerator or butter or the whisk. He watches wide eyed when I whisk together all the ingredients. He also warns me that oven is hot when I am placing the baking tray in it :D Trust me when I say that I look forward to bake just because he enjoys the whole experience of it! Last but not least, the way he licks off the bowl, too good :D

Now coming to the recipe part of it, I was looking everywhere in the food blog world and finally I came out with this version after trying a couple of them and changing them to my taste and convenience. This is very easy and quick cake, talking in terms of preparation before actual baking time.

Ingredients:

  • All purpose Flour - 1 1/4 cups
  • Powdered sugar - 1 cup
  • Baking powder - 1 tsp
  • Refined Sunflower Oil - 1/3 cup
  • Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice - 1/2 cup
  • Fresh Orange Zest - 1 tsp 
  • Eggs - 1 (large)
  • Vanilla or Orange essence (I used vanilla) - 1 tsp
  • Butter - to grease the bake tin
  • Flour - to dust the bake tin

How to zest an orange : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_haXA3G1p0

Procedure:
1. Preheat the oven at 150 C degrees. Grease and dust the bake tin thoroughly and keep aside.
2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder. Sieve together a couple of times so that they mix well.
3. Beat the egg in a bowl using whisk, then add orange juice, oil, essence. Then beat again for just few seconds so that they all mix well.
4. Add the flour mix in this, little by little, while folding gently with the whisk or spatula. Do NOT beat.
5. Make sure there are no lumps and pour this into the bake tin kept ready.
6. Place the bake tin in the preheated oven. Set the timer for 50 minutes. After 20 minutes is elapsed, increase the temperature to 170 degree C.

Do not open the oven door before 40 or 45 minutes to check for the readiness of cake. The cake is ready when a wooden pick or spaghetti inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. For me it took a couple of minutes more than 50 minutes.

The cake came out really spongy and flavorful with the goodness of fresh orange juice. Adding freshly grated zest gave amazingly lovely orange color to the cake! So friends, try this one and let me know how it came out :-)

May 5, 2012

Easy Chocolate Cake

After vanilla cake, next in line is the chocolate cake :) Turned out to be everyone's favorite at home and also in my circle of mommy friends and their kids. They started asking me for the recipe after tasting it and when their kids liked it too, that's a moment of pride and satisfaction :P

This one I made on the Easter weekend.

The below one I baked just because the little boy got so much interested to bake a cake all of a sudden. Little did I know that my interest in baking will catch up with the kid in the house too!!
It actually got a little over-baked and the crust became crispy, but tasted as yummy as it should be..

Recipe Source: Adapted from CountryLiving.com again. http://www.countryliving.com/recipefinder/easy-chocolate-party-cake-3901

I left the frosting part of it and took just the cake recipe. I made a few modifications as per my taste and convenience.
I wish to come back here some time to put my tweaked recipe, that I usually follow.

May 1, 2012

Plain Vanilla Cake

Plain vanilla cake is the best choice for any beginner with the baking. Because it is the basic cake and the simplest one. Hence, it was my choice too as a first cake to bake from the scratch in my kitchen. For the first time I baked it as a 'Welcome Home' cake for Krishna on this valentines day, when he was back home from a 2-day office trip to Zurich. Following that, I made it several times with the kid's interest and help :)

This one I baked on a rainy afternoon, when I had nothing else to do :P

This one's I made for my baby girl's first birthday, simple vanilla cake with whipped cream frosting.

A cake for my father-in-law, on his birthday, with simple star confetti topping.