Monday, June 30, 2014

Beetroot Leaves Dal

Beetroot is one of the veggies that I never forget to put in my shopping list every week but its the last one to be used from the fridge. Not my favorite vegetable at all and most of the time I consume it as soup - the recipe is here, because that's the only tasty way to get rid of the veggie :). I hardly venture into making beets poriyal/stir-fry which is the most common dish. If only deep-frying wasnt a sin I would probably make the yummy beetroot vadai all the time ;).

Beet leaves that came along with the veggie were new to me before moving to the US, back home they just sell the beetroot with no leaves on them. I normally discard the leaves, it never struck me to use them as another type of greens or that it could taste pretty good until recently. Now I save these up each time and make this absolutely lip-smacking dal with beet leaves and stems. The yummiest dal that I have made until now and pairs up great with soft home-made pulkas.


Serves - 3
Spice Level - Moderate
Prep Time - 15 min
Cook time - 30 min

Beet leaves and stems from 3-4 beets - washed and chopped finely [along with the stem]
Masoor Dal - 1/2 cup
Onion - 1 small, chopped finely
Garlic - 1 , chopped well
Ginger - 1 small piece, chopped finely
Green chilli - 2, slit into half
Tomato - 1 Large, chopped well
Red chilli powder - 1 Tsp
Garam Masala - 1 Tsp
Turmeric - a pinch
Salt - as per need
Jeera/Cumin seeds - 1 Tsp
Hing - a pinch
Oil - 1 Tbsp

How do you do it

1. Heat a pan with oil. Add hing and jeera seeds - let them crackle. Add onions, garlic, ginger and saute well.

2. Once the onions are cooked, add green chillies and saute for a minute. Add the tomatoes, little salt and turmeric and mix well. Once the tomatoes becomes soft and pulpy add all the spice powders - red chilli and garam masala and mix well.

3. Now add the masoor dal and wrap well, add the chopped beet leaves and mix again. Add 1-2 cups water, remaining salt - mix well. Cover and cook in medium flame until the dal gets cooked well and everything blends together . Add more water in between if necessary. Switch off flame when you have reached the desired consistency.

Masoor dal gets cooked pretty soon and you wouldn't need a pressure cooker for this recipe. Also the taste lies in the dal getting cooked slowly along with all the other ingredients. So keep it that way.

Serve this yummy dal with any favorite pulao of your of choice or with super soft pulkas.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Crispy Quinoa Dosai

I am not sure about other South Indian households but in mine, the dosai is irreplaceable. A week without it and it feels like forever. But consuming carbs in such high quantities on a regular basis makes you feel very guilty as well. So here we are taking baby steps in reducing the amount of carbs but still not compromising too much with respect to taste :).

Quinoa dosai is pretty easy to make. The taste of quinoa dosai is not too wierd either and it turns out as crispy as normal dosai does. If you can put up with the odd smell of ground and fermented quinoa, then there is no turning back to the regular kinds :)


Quinoa - 2 cups
Idly rice - 1 cup
Raw rice - 1 cup
Urad dal - 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds - 1 Tsp
Salt as per need

How do you do it

1. Follow the tips to make dosai batter from this very detailed post that I did earlier - How to make dosai batter

2. Wash and Soak all the ingredients except salt in enough water for 4-5 hrs.

3. Use your wet-grinder to grind into a smooth batter, adding salt before you finish - should take 30 minutes

4. Transfer batter to a big vessel and allow it to ferment overnight or for 8-12 hrs depending on the climatic conditions in your place.

5. Make crispy guilt free quinoa dosais and enjoy them with chutney/sambar :)

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Death by Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache

To me Barista's Death by chocolate cake is absolute bliss :). Inspite of not having a sweet tooth at all, I crave for this all the time. During my initial pre/post wedding days, me and S frequented this place often and it was during one of those visits S ordered this cake and I have been hooked to it since then.  After relocating to the US I never could find its replacement. I have spent so much time on yelp trying to find bakeries and pastry shops which would make something similar, but no luck there :/.

After a lot of contemplation I decided to make the cake myself for S's birthday and Laura Vitales "Devils chocolate cake" did the trick. It seemed to be the exact same replica of the Death by Chocolate cake. When you make this cake I would highly suggest you to blind yourself to the sin laden calories that you will be putting on :). Dont tell me I dint warn you, you wont be able to stop with just one piece of this chocolate rich pastry. The best part is this cake stays well for 4-5 days at room temperature when stored in an air-tight container. One week of happy dessert time I promise ;).


Serves 10 to 12
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 35 mins

For the Ganache:
1 cup of Heavy Cream
9 oz bag of Semisweet Chocolate Chips

For the Cake Batter:
2-1/4 cups of All Purpose Flour
3/4 cups of Cocoa Powder
1 tsp of Salt
1 tsp of Baking Powder
2 tsp of Baking Soda
2 cups of Granulated Sugar
1 cup of water
1 cup of Unsalted Butter, softened at room temperature
1 Tbsp of Instant Coffee Granuals
3 Eggs
1 tsp of Vanilla Extract
1/3 cup of Milk

How do you do it

1. Add the cream to a pan and heat it and bring it to a simmer. [Do not boil, just bring it to a simmmer]

2) Pour the cream over the semi-sweet chocolate chips and allow it to sit for a few minutes untouched. Whisk together well until you get a creamy mixture, cover and set aside for a couple hours. The frosting will set during this time.

3) To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, spray 2 9” round cake pans with non stick spray and lay the bottom with parchment paper and set aside.

4) In a saucepan, add the water, instant coffee and milk, bring to a simmer and turn off the heat. Set aside to cool slightly.

5) In the bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add the eggs and vanilla and continue to mix until well combined.

6) Add half of the dry ingredients along with half of the milk and water mixture and mix that in, add the remaining half of the dry ingredients and milk mixture and mix just until incorporated.

7) Divide your batter evenly in the prepared pans, tap the pans on the counter just to get rid of any air bubbles.

8) Bake the cakes for 30 to 35 minutes or until cooked through. Allow to cool slightly in the pans, remove the cake from the pans and cool completely on wire racks, a couple of hours.

9) When ready to frost the cake, place one of the cakes upside down on the cake stand/plate and spread 1/4 of the chocolate mixture all over the surface of the cake.

10) Place the other cake on top (this time top side up) and spread remaining chocolate mixture all over the top and sides of the cake.

You can decorate the cake with some almond crunches and a strawberry/cherry on top.

Serving tip: Cut a piece and warm for 10-15 sec in the microwave before you eat, absolute heaven :).


1. It is important to not over-heat the cream, because if you do the consistency of the ganache will go wrong and the frosting wouldn't set.

2. Completely cool the cakes and frosting before setting the cake.

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Garlic Herb Grilled Chicken

I have been away from this blog for a really long time, but couldnt help it, I had to be silent. I am glad to be back with a post now :). I dont think I can be very regular like how I used to be with the frequency of posting but I promise I will try very hard to post atleast 1-2 times a week.

This dish is something I made for S without actually a recipe plan in mind and he loved it so much. Simple flavoured grilled chicken served along with fresh carrots and mashed potatoes. S loves this combination of grilled chicken with mashed potatoes and had been requesting me to replicate at it home. I think after almost a year I made this, took me so long!!


Serves - 2
Spice Level - Low
Prep Time - 10 min
Cook time - 10 min
Marination time - 4 hrs atleast

Chicken breast Pieces - 4
Garlic cloves - 4, finely minced
Parsely - 3 Tbsp, finely chopped
Cilantro - 3 Tbsp, finely chopped
Lemon zest - 1 Tbsp
Salt and fresh ground pepper - as per need/adjust to taste
Olive oil - 4-5 tbsp or enough to soak all the chicken pieces

How do you do it

1. First take a plastic transparent sheet like below and places chicken pieces on them and cover. Use a meat mallet and pound the pieces to an even 1/2 inch thickness. Pounding the meat tenderizes the meat and helps cook evenly when grilled.

2. Now add all the ingredients in a bowl, add the chicken pieces and coat well.  Set aside for 4 hrs.

3. Heat a pan/grill pan and place the pieces and cook covered for 2-3 minutes on each side. Make sure the chicken is marinated well with garlic, lemon zest and the herbs to ensure the flavor is intact.

4. Once the chicken is done, serve them with salad and mashed potatoes for a delicious lunch/dinner

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