Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pineapple Raita (Pineapple Dip)

Call Papa Johns and place an order for a 2 toppping cheese pizza with pineapple and jalapeno and they will know you are Indian, 'cos more often than not, we order this combination the most.

I L.O.V.E Pineapple, very very much. And I love that it is available in very easy to use forms now - canned and ready to go in their own juice. I throw some in on just about everything and sometimes just eat it as is. I have fond memories of mom bringing home a full one from the market and spending good effort in chopping it to more manageable pieces ready to be gobbled by waiting mouths. I am yet to try that myself here :)

This recipe is almost not one, and this dish can be prepared instantaneously. A great side to a meal - goes with rotis and rice and I love it with my staple yogurt rice.

Difficulty level : Easy

Time: 5 min 


  • 1 can Dole pineapple tidbits in their own juice ( don't get the chunks, they don't absorb the flavor as much) 
  • oil ( to season)
  • salt ( a little bit)
  • a pinch of hing (asafoetida)
  • 2 tsp red chilly powder
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds

Method de Preparation
  1. Take oil in a small vessel, just enough for tadka or for seasoning, when hot add the mustard seeds and allow to splutter. Add a pinch of hing. Turn off heat.  After 4 min, add the red chilly powder to this.
  2. Empty the pineapple tidbits with their juice into a container.  Pour the seasoned mix (oil, red chilly powder etc) on this and add salt ( a little bit).
  3. Let sit for about 1/2 hr if possible for the flavor to sink in and enjoy!

This will go with chips and can be used as a substitute for salsa too :)

Source:  From a friend of Prema chithi

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sauteed Onion Tomato Panini (Vengaya Thakkali Panini)

I think there is barely a South Indian who does not know Vengaya Thakkali (Onion Tomato) as this mix is called.  Once made this can be eaten with rotis, mixed with plain rice, or used to make tomato rice, rolled into a burrito, put on a cracker- oh the possibilities are endless, believe me :P

I like bread, and I LOVE Paninis. So I use this to make a nice, quick  protein rich cheesy panini that literally takes about 5 mins :)

Difficulty level : Easy

Time: 10 min (Prep Time) 20 min ( Making Time)


For the vengaya thakkali paste
  • 1 large red onion chopped finely
  • 2 tomatoes chopped finely
  • salt
  • a pinch of hing (asafoetida)
  • a pinch of turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chilly powder
  • oil to saute
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro

For the panini
  • Vengaya Thakkali paste from above
  • 6 slices of bread
  • 6 slices of cheese ( swiss or american or cheddar your choice)
  • Oil or butter (to spread)

Method de Preparation
  1. Take oil in a pan, when hot add the mustard seeds and allow to splutter. Add  a pinch of hing. Immediately add the chopped onions. Saute. Add a pinch of salt and continue to saute till they are clear and translucent. 
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes at that point, and continue to saute. Cook till it done and the juice has left the fruit. Add more salt, turmeric and chilly powder. Saute all together and turn of heat. Garnish with cilantro. Your onion tomato paste is ready.
  3. To assemble the panini, take your panini maker and first set it to start warming.  Then butter both sides of each bread slice. You can use oil too to brush lightly your choice. 
  4. Spread the prepared vengaya thakkali (onion tomato) paste on one side and then place the cheese on top, place the other bread on top and you have your panini ready to be grilled!
  5.  Prepare the other two paninins the same way - bread, paste, cheese, bread and grill them for the required time in the panini maker (~ 2 min each). 
  6. Cut them into two triangles and enjoy as is or with ketchup.

Variations:  If you don't have a panini maker you can just do this on a pan or tava out on the stove for a similar taste. If you are making this for kids, use yellow or white onions which are not as strong as the red ones and reduce the chilly powder if needed. 

The above pictures looks like a 14 layer cake does it not?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tres Leches Cake

Cakes with many layers and fancy looking decorations are all well, I don't deny that at all. But sometimes simple is best. Especially when you want a dessert to wow your guests that is home made but still not the center piece. Still tastes stupendous and feels like you slaved over it. Here you go for that perfect piece of cake that satisfies above all criteria!

Time: Preparation Time (45 min), Cooking Time ( 60 min)

Difficulty Level: Easy - Medium

  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1-½ teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 5 whole Eggs
  • 1 cup Sugar, Divided
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • ⅓ cups Milk
  • 1 can Evaporated Milk
  • 1 can Sweetened, Condensed Milk
  • ¼ cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 can of maraschino cherries

  • 1 pint Heavy Cream, For Whipping
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar

Method de Preparation:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 9 x 13  inch pan liberally until coated with cooking/baking spray.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Separate egg whites and yolk. Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla. Pour egg yolk mixture into first mix (flour, salt etc) and stir very gently until combined.
  4. Beat egg whites on high speed until a soft peak forms. With the mixer on, pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff  but not dry.
  5. Fold the egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread out to even the surface.
  6. Bake for 35 to 45 min or until a toothpick or small test poke comes out clean. Turn cake out onto a rimmed platter or any plate with curved sides and allow to cool.
  7. Combine the milks - condensed, evaporated and heavy cream in a small pitcher. When the cake has cooled ( ~ 1/2 hr or more) pierce the surface a lot with a fork. You can do it evenly in lines or randomly no one will know trust me :)
  8. Slowly drizzle all but about 1 cup of the combined milk mixture - pour slowly all along including the edges of the cake. Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for about 30 minutes.
  9. To ice the cake, whip 1 pint of heavy cream with 3 tablespoons of sugar until thick and spreadable. Spread over surface of cake. Decorate cake with whole or chopped maraschino cherries.
  10. Cut into squares or rectangles and serve. Yum!

  • I don't own a Kitchen-aid so far and this was made with a hand blender and that works just fine for all the mixing, beating etc :)
  • The part about saving the 1 cup of milk mixtures - yes don't pour more than that. If you do the cake will end up being soggy, so save back that amount.
  • The amount of whipped cream topping you get with a pint is hugeeeeeee, so either reduce that quantity to half a pint or make sure you can use it with something else if you don't like to slather your cake with whipped cream.

Source: Adapted almost exactly from my Lady Ree here.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Green Capsicum Thogayal (Bell Pepper Chutney)

This can be done with any color bell pepper but don't mix two colors :) You know how sometimes you are left with just a couple of these and not enough for a sabzi and you are left wondering what to do. Well here is what you do :)   The recipe for the thogayal (chutney or paste) is the same as for any kind. 

Difficulty level : Easy 

Time: 20 min

  • Green bell pepper ( 2 nos)
  • Urad dhal ( 3-4 tbsp)
  • red chilly ( 3-4 nos)
  • salt to taste
  • tamarind paste ( 1- 1 1/2 tsp)
  • oil

Method de Preparation
  1. Take a little bit of oil in a pan and roast the urad dhal and the red chillies and keep aside.
  2. In the same pan, add a bit more oil and saute the bell pepper till well cooked.
  3. Once both are cooled, blend the first mix first coarsely and then add on the bell peppers and the tamarind and blend till desired texture is reached. Some people like it a bit crunchy and not too mushy. And green pepper has the tendency to become mushy so be careful.
  4. Add salt to taste.
  5. Enjoy with rice, chappatis , plain or pita bread.

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