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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

VeggiePlatter Turns 6

I guess "double birthday and a triple chocolate cake" would have been an apt title for this post. :)

The idea of a recipe journal took the form of VeggiePlatter, this month six years ago. This online culinary journey of mine has been fun so far, earning friends along the way as an added bonus. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my readers/fellow bloggers who invest their time going through this blog & leave comments and to those strangers who email me appreciating my work. Thank you. :))

And BTW, yours truly, you know who celebrated her birthday yesterday. Hope I turned wiser as well along getting older. :) My daughter who is turning into a chocoholic wanted me to bake a chocolate cake on the occasion. Though I have a chocolate cake recipe, I used the chocolate muffins recipe for the cake as we had really liked it earlier and also I had to get rid of some overripe bananas. I used store bought Pillsbury chocolate fudge frosting and some decors upon my daughter's insistence. My daughter enjoyed it meaning the recipe was a hit. It is a flavorful cake and the texture is somewhere between fluffy and dense.

I just doubled the recipe I used for the muffins but again mentioning the ingredients anyway.
1/4 cup milk + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1&1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 & 1/3 cup mashed bananas
5 Tbsp melted butter / oil
1/2 pound chocolate frosting
1 Tbsp cake sprinkles (optional)
1. Add vinegar to the milk which is at room temperature. Leave aside for five minutes.
2. Preheat the oven at 350 deg F. Grease a cake pan.
3. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder.
4. Add milk-vinegar mixture, vanilla and butter to a bowl and mix well. Add mashed bananas, sugar and combine well.
5. Now add the sifted dry ingredients from step 2 to the wet ingredients in step 3. Mix well and stir in the chocolate chips.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.
7. Cool the cake and remove from the cake pan.
8. Apply the frosting and decorate if desired.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Eggless Nutella Brownies with Four Ingredients

When I decided to go with "Kids' Desserts" theme for the final week of blogging marathon, I went to the experts, my kids to see what would they prefer if given a choice. Actually I should admit that there were no prizes for guessing considering my daughter's love for chocolate. Her list went something like this - chocolate pudding, fudge, brownie, chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies. :)

For the first day, I decided to go with this easy, quick nutella brownie recipe adapted from here. They are delicious and have a soft cake like texture. I have converted the recipe into an eggless one. If you don't mind using the egg, replace the flax meal in the following recipe with it.

Ingredients: (Make 6 brownies or 12 bite sized ones)
1/2 cup nutella (cocoa-hazelnut spread)
5 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts / walnuts
1 Tbsp flax meal

* Add 3 Tbsp warm water and flax meal in a bowl. Whisk well and leave aside for 5 minutes.
* Heat the oven to 350 deg F. Line a muffin pan with paper cups.
* Add nutella to the flax meal bowl and whisk well. Next slowly add the flour and again whisk to incorporate the flour into the mixture.
* Spoon the batter equally, up to 3/4th level of each of the muffin cup. Sprinkle the nuts on top of each of the muffin cups equally.
* Bake for about 10 - 12 minutes or until they set.
* Cool on a wire rack and enjoy. They can be refrigerated or can be stored at room temperature for 3 days.

Check what other marathoners of BM#23 are cooking, here.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Eggless Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate filling

I was planning to make a pictorial post of marble chocolate cupcakes today as I was expecting sunshine based on weather report. However Sun god had other plans and was not even peeking in our neck of the woods. It has been the same for the past few days. My mood was no different than the grey, gloomy weather outside my window and so decided to go the easy way, throw in a chocolate surprise inside the vanilla cupcakes instead of those marbled ones.

Ingredients: (Yield 6 cupcakes)
1/2 cup yogurt / curd
5-6 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup melted butter / oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 cup all purpose flour / maida
6 one oz  semi sweet baking chocolate squares

1. Combine yogurt, sugar, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl and let it sit for about 4 - 5 minutes. It will turn frothy by the time.
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 deg C / 390 deg F. Sift the flour. Grease the muffin pan or use paper liners.
3. Add vanilla, butter / oil and flour to the yogurt mixture in step 1 and mix well.
4. Fill 1/4th of each of the muffin cup with the batter, place the chocolate square at the center and again spoon batter over it so that each muffin cup is filled only up to 3/4th thereby leaving space for the cupcakes to raise.
5. Bake for 10 minutes and then lower the temperature to 180 deg C / 350 deg F. Bake for another 15 - 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean. (If it comes out with gooey chocolate, it is fine.)

1. Even fatfree yogurt will do but should be at room temperature.
2. I used 1/2 oz chocolate squares and realized that I could have gone with 1 oz and that's what has been listed in the ingredients.
3. The chocolate inside was gooey when eaten warm. If the chocolate inside hardens for any reason, just warm the cupcakes in the microwave before serving.
4. I have used Nita Mehta's Vanilla cake recipe for the cupcakes.

Check what other marathoners of BM#23 are cooking, here.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Eggless Carrot - Chocolate Chip Muffins

I had blogged many recipes earlier with carrot and even hosted an event with the same theme. When I chose to go with carrot theme again during this marathon, I prepared a list of carrot recipes that either I haven't posted or tried yet. My son had suggested a few that included carrot -chocolate cupcakes. I had never tried that combo before and said yes. However I did not do it because I posted two other baked recipes during the carrot week. I went ahead and prepared them this week as I am doing chocolate based muffins. They turned out delicious with a soft texture. 
Ingredients: (Yield 7 muffins)
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
 6 Tbsp sugar
5 Tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup milk
1 banana, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup grated carrot
6 Tbsp semisweet chocolate morsels 

1. Preheat the oven to 375 deg F.
2. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
3. Mix butter, sugar, vanilla, milk and mashed banana in another bowl.
4. Now add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined.
5. Toss carrots, chocolate morsels to the mixture and gently combine.
6. Grease the muffin pan or use paper liners. Spoon the muffin batter into each cup, filling only 2/3rd of the cup.
7. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted at the centre comes out clean.

Check what other marathoners of BM#23 are cooking, here.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Eggless Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

Owing to my daughter's affinity towards brownies, I went ahead and signed up for chocolate based muffins / cupcakes theme during this blogging marathon. I hadn't got any opportunity to bake chocolate muffins / cupcakes until now though I have made choco cakes. I had earlier bookmarked a recipe from Eggless Cooking and this was a perfect opportunity to try them out. This recipe is fool proof and yields very moist, yummy and flavor filled muffins.
I had baked two other kinds of muffins on the same day and so I halved the original recipe. It took ten minutes more baking than the original recipe mentioned. I usually eat a tiny portion of a muffin / cupcake to just test the texture and taste because of the calories while my daughter rarely eats them. This time however we both were after these fluffy muffins and so this recipe is a keeper for me. :)
Ingredients: (Yield 6 muffins)
2 Tbsp milk + 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate  morsels
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup mashed bananas
6 Tbsp sugar
2 - 3 Tbsp melted butter 

1. Mix together milk and vinegar and set aside until it curdles.
2. Line a muffin pan with paper liners or grease them.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 deg F or 180 deg C.

1. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2. Combine the mashed banana, milk - vinegar mixture, vanilla extract, butter and sugar in another bowl.
3. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients in the step 1. Mix well until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
4. Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling only about 3/4th of each cup.
5. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes (I had to bake for about 10 minutes more.) or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.

Check what other marathoners of BM#23 are cooking, here.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Kodubale and Banana - Chocolate Chip Muffins

Srivalli chose Karnataka's famous savory kodbale/kodubale for November's Indian Cooking Challenge. Kodbale, nippattu and chakli are the savory trio that I enjoyed as a kid in my mother's kitchen and am still very fond of them. I couldn't therefore miss the opportunity to make  kodubales for this month's ICC. There are several variations to the basic version and Valli chose two - one from my blog and the second one from Lata Narasimhan's blog, that I followed obviously. :) 
Ingredients: (Makes 2 dozen)
1 cup rice flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour / maida
1/4 cup wheat flour / atta (or substitute with all purpose flour.)
1/4 cup roasted chickpeas / hurigadale / chutney dal
1/4 cup grated dry coconut (copra)
1 Tbsp ghee
Salt & chili powder to taste
1/4 tsp asafoetida / hing
Oil to fry
* Grind together roasted chickpeas and coconut, finely.
* Roast all purpose flour and wheat flour on low flame until it starts to change the color.
* Now combine all ingredients except oil in a bowl. Add water as needed to form a firm dough. (I used the same cup used to measure dry ingredients and added about 1 cup minus 2 Tbsp water.)
* Heat oil in a kadai.
* Mean while, pinch a small lime sized portion of the dough and roll into a ball. Knead into a log of about 1/4 inch thickness and about 6 inches long. Shape it into a coiled form. Repeat the procedure with the remaining dough.
* Drop a small piece of dough into the oil. If it sizzles and comes to the surface, then the oil is ready for frying. Gently drop the shaped dough coils into the oil and fry flipping in between, until golden brown. Drain them on absorbent towels and once cool, store them in an airtight container.
1. Frying on low medium flame is the key for crunchy kodbales. Hasty frying on high flame will brown the kodbales sooner but will not turn out crunchier. Also at a time, fry only as many kodbales as the frying pan fits. Meanwhile, cover the remaining coils that need to be fried.
2. No offense. They were slightly softer inside even after proper frying. I am just mentioning in case if anyone wants to try this. I think it may be because of the addition of the wheat flour. Usually all purpose flour yields crunchy results in most of the Indian traditional dishes. I wondered about it when I saw the ingredients' list but went ahead as I wanted to follow the recipe exactly. I would substitute it with all purpose flour next time if I give it a try.

I have baked these muffins probably zillions of times in my kitchen and I was surprised to notice last week that I haven't posted about them yet. And so here you go with my version of these muffins which seem to be the most mundane ones in the blogosphere. This fits the theme of Magic Mingle #12, "Fruit & Chocolate".
Ingredients: (Yields 6)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 - 6 Tbsp semi sweet chocolate morsels
2 bananas
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

* Preheat oven to 375 deg F / 190 deg C.
* Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
* Mash bananas in another bowl. Add sugar and mix well. Stir in melted butter. Gently stir in the flour mixture and chocolate morsels.
* Grease or line the muffin pan with paper cups. Spoon the batter into cups so that it fills up to 3/4th of each cup.
* Bake until a toothpick inserted at center comes out clean or for about 30 - 35 minutes.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I am a sucker for sweets and naturally I was tempted when I saw  the theme "traditional dishes" and the list of sweet choices Valli had provided. However as I mentioned earlier, I didn't want to pack all the calories alone and stuck to savory choices. When I saw that chivda was the only savory option left, I thought of going with a sweet dish for the final post of this week's marathon since I have already posted a basic version of chivda. I changed my plans at the last minute for my daughter.
My 11 year old is opposite to me and likes savory stuff. She doesn't mind the spice levels when she comes across all those chatpati stuff commercially sold though I cannot make her eat even a mild sambhar at home. She goes eating hot stuff huffing and puffing, gulping cold water. When I saw that she liked ghatia very much, I prepared a milder chivda  for her, adding a lot of other yummy stuff and she happily went on munching. 

2 cups poha / flattened rice flakes (See note below.)
1.5 to 2 cups - thin and thick sev, spicy boondi and roasted chickpeas
1/4 cup peanuts
2 - 3 Tbsp raisins
1 Tbsp fennel seeds / saunf
Salt & chili powder to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Few curry leaves

* Heat oil in a kadai / pan and add peanuts to it. Fry till they turn golden brown, remove them with a slotted spoon and keep them aside.
* Then add poha in small batches (about 1/4 cup) to the same hot oil. In a couple of seconds , the poha comes to the surface, sizzling and also changing it's color from the pale to a brighter white shade. Immediately, remove with a slotted spoon and drain the poha on absorbent towels.
* Heat 1 or 2 tsp of oil in a small saute pan and add raisins, anise seeds, curry leaves and turmeric powder in that order. When raisins start to plump up, turn off the stove. Add the fried poha, peanuts, dalia, tadka, sev, boondi, chili powder & salt to a bowl and mix well. Serve with hot coffee or tea.

* I used thick poha and so fried it in the same oil that was used to prepare sev. Usually thin poha is used to make chivda. When using thin poha, there is no need to fry it. You can dry roast it in a pan on stovetop or in a microwave/conventional oven or even sundry until crisp. Or you can add a Tbsp of oil more in tadka and fry the poha along with the other stuff. 
* A lot of other yummy stuff can be added to the above chivda like dry coconut pieces, potato sticks, puffed rice etc

Check what other marathoners are cooking, here.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012


When I saw ghatiya among the list of traditional recipes that Srivalli provided us to pick from, I was wondering how it was different than the regular sev. Both are prepared using besan flour and I was wondering whether it was a Gujarati name for the basic sev or the besan chakli. I made sure to hop on some blogs with authentic Gujarati recipes to find out. I realised in the process that ghatiya includes savory spices & lime juice, making it taste entirely different than the sev or the besan chakli.
I tried a small quantity yesterday and it was a hit. Even my daughter who doesn't peek in the kitchen when something is being cooked, came smelling and tried them. She liked it so much that she was praising the ghatiya even today before she left for school :)

Ingredients: (Makes about 4 cups)
2 cups chickpea flour / besan
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
1 tsp (or adjust as needed) ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 tsp ground carom seeds / ajwain (I did not use it as no one at my home prefers it.)
2 Tbsp hot oil
Oil for deep frying

* In a mixing bowl, combine everything except the oil used for deep frying. Add water little by little and form a soft dough. The dough should be softer than roti dough but not runny.
* Heat oil in a deep frying pan or a kadai.
* Fill a chakli press with the dough and press over hot oil in concentric circles. Fry on low flame, flipping in between with a slotted spoon until golden brown on both sides. If rushed, the chaklis don't fry properly and won't be crisp.
* Once done, remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent towels. Repeat the steps with the remaining dough.
* Once cool, break the fried chakli into small pieces and store them in an airtight container.

Check what other marathoners are cooking, here.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Chakli / Murukku

The second week of BM#23 is here and I am going to post under the theme "Traditional recipes". Srivalli gave an array of Indian traditional recipes to pick from and I am going with chakli on the first day. The posts for the next two weeks here are going to be on the sweeter side and so thought of dividing the calories among family members by preparing some savories this week. No one in my family needs an invitation when there are savories around. :)

"Chakli" needs no introduction in India. Depending upon the flour / flour combination used, the flavor or color of a chakli may vary, nonetheless this crunchy snack tastes delicious. It may go by different names because of the regional differences but the standard accepted term through out the country happens to be "chakli".

I have posted several versions of chakli already here and if interested, click on the links for recipes.
Potato Chakli
Ragi Chakli
Sabudana Chakli
Thentharlu / Thenkhuzal
Vamupodi Kaaralu

Recently when I was going through older Indian cooking challenges, I came across murukku recipe that I wanted to try and thought this was the perfect occasion. BTW, murukku is a Tamil word and janthikalu / chakkilalu is a Telugu word for the same chakli. It is made using rice and urad dal flours. If you are inclined to make your own flours, you are welcome but the store bought, ready made flours work fine too.

2 cups rice flour
1/2 cup urad dal flour (Skinned black gram flour)
Salt to taste
Chili powder to taste (optional)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
2 to 3 Tbsp oil
1/8 tsp asafoetida
3 - 4 cups oil for frying chaklis

* Heat 2 - 3 Tbsp oil and add the asafoetida. Switch off the stove after 20 - 30 seconds.
* Combine the flours, salt, chili powder, cumin seeds, sesame seeds in a mixing bowl. Pour the hot oil into the flour mixture. Wait for a couple of minutes and rub the oil into the mixture. Add water slowly as needed and form a softer than roti dough.
* In the mean while, heat oil used for frying in a kadai / deep frying pan and bring it to low flame, once it is hot. (The oil doesn't need to smoke. If you drop a teeny tiny dough ball into the hot oil, it should come to surface.) During chakli making process, if the heat is low, increase it a bit.
* Fill a chakli press with the dough. You can press it directly into the kadai or make shapes on the back of a ladle and slowly drop it into the hot oil.
* Fry until golden brown on both sides, on low flame. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on the absorbent towels. Repeat the steps with the remaining dough.
Cool and store in an airtight container.

Check what other marathoners are cooking, here.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Eggless Carrot Nut Bread

I had another recipe in mind for today's "Carrot" based post but couldn't resist when I came across this bread, here. I converted this into an eggless one and it turned out really delicious. I was very happy with the result and so this carrot - nut bread makes it appearance here during BM#23.

1.5 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup coarsely chopped nuts (I used walnuts.)
1.5 cups shredded carrot
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter / oil
1/2 cup yogurt
1 Tbsp flax meal

* Mix flax meal and 3 Tbsp warm water in a bowl and keep aside for about 5 minutes.
* Heat oven to 350 deg F. Grease a loaf pan 9X5X3 inches and keep aside.
* Mix carrots, sugar, butter, yogurt and flax meal solution in a  bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Pour the batter into the loaf pan.
* Bake for 50 -60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool, remove the loaf from pan and slice.

Check what other marathoners are cooking, here.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Carrot Raita

My second day "Carrot" themed post for the blogging marathon is going to be this simple, healthy raita that can be done in less than 10 minutes. Raitas generally accompany spicy dishes for their cooling effect but I eat it as a snack as well. I have provided a simple version. For variation, add 1/2 tsp cumin powder or a tadka of mustard seeds and cumin seeds. To make it a mini meal, add cooked quinoa / rice / cracked wheat to the raita.

1 cup yogurt (I used fatfree, homemade yogurt.)
1/2 cup grated carrot
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp minced cilantro
1 finely minced green chillie

* Steam carrot until it softens and let cool.
* Beat the yogurt with a fork to get uniform consistency. Add salt, carrot, cilantro and chillie. Mix well and serve.

Check what other marathoners are cooking, here.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Savory Carrot Scones

I am back with BM#23, after yet another unintentional blogging break I was on. During the last few weeks, either I was cooking the mundane stuff or the ones that have been already posted and so did not find a reason to update the blog. Even Diwali didn't tempt me as my husband had brought a large box of mithai from the grocery store. I, being the sole consumer of those sweets didn't have any intention of adding extra calories in the name of blogging. I told the same to my sister who mentioned that she kept checking my blog hoping to see me post some sweets and savories during Diwali.  Nothing interesting was happening in my kitchen and hence the break. :)
These days I seem to blog for the sole purpose of participating in Valli's blogging marathon. :) Not complaining though since I could come with at least a dozen posts a month in the process. For the first week of BM#23, I am going to post under the theme carrots and these simple, savory scones inspired from Tamalapaku are going to be my Day 1 post. I made slight changes to the original recipe and they came out decent. A nice accompaniment to your evening cup of tea / coffee.

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 cup milk + 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup grated carrot
2 Tbsp minced cilantro
2 Tbsp melted butter / oil

* Combine milk and vinegar in a bowl and keep aside.
* Preheat the oven to 400 deg F.
* Sieve together flours and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Add cumin, salt, chili powder, carrot and cilantro.
* Add the milk - vinegar mixture and also butter to the bowl. Don't knead the mixture. Just gently combine the ingredients to form a sticky dough. 
* Line a baking sheet with parchment paper / aluminium foil. Transfer the dough ball to the baking sheet and pat into a disc of about 1/2 - 3/4 inch thick using oiled fingers. Slice the disc into eight wedges.
* Bake for about 20 - 30 minutes or until done. (The original recipe mentioned about 15 minutes baking. I baked for 20 minutes and it was underdone. I baked for about 10 minutes more at 375 deg F.)
* Remove them after they are done. Brush with melted butter and serve warm.

Check what other marathoners are cooking here.