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Thursday, July 18, 2019

The One Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

The other day I picked a mug cake online and decided to go with it based on good reviews the recipe had garnered. There were a couple of comments expressing their disappointment as well and I chose to ignore them thinking that how can one go wrong with a mug cake. Apparently one can and if I had to comment now, I would have ended up in the latter category. The mug cake was bitter to the core and rubbery and I had to trash the entire stuff. And besides, I had baked it in a bowl to suit my 'one bowl dishes' theme. 😞

And then I came across this small sized eggless treat which is just enough to satisfy one's sweet tooth without going overboard. This cake can be made in two minutes from scratch. It took a minute to bake in my oven but the time may vary (a few seconds extra) since microwave powers vary.  The cake is not overtly sweet which was perfect for me but one can add more sugar or throw in some chocolate chips if they prefer it sweeter. The original cake had peanut butter but I used Nutella. One can instead use almond butter / jam / caramel sauce and so on. Don't skip the Nutella or whatever you choose to add since it keeps the cake moist. Use non dairy milk if going the vegan way. The cake was moist with perfect texture and tasted good. My daughter threw in some sprinkles in her mug cake.

2 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. baking powder
A pinch of salt
1 tbsp. oil
2 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. Nutella 

* Stir together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and salt in a small bowl or directly in a small sized mug, making sure that there aren't any lumps.
* Stir in the milk and oil until the mixture is combined well. Go to next step if using a microwave safe bowl or else transfer the mixture to a mug.
* Drop a tablespoon of peanut butter / jam / Nutella at the center and push it down into the batter.
* Microwave for one minute on high. Remove and enjoy warm.

This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #102 under 'One Bowl Dishes' theme. Check what other marathoners are cooking, clicking at the link.


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Edamame - Millet Khichdi

I picked 'one bowl dishes' as my theme for this week's marathon which required the dishes to either be cooked or served in a single bowl. I was kinda aiming for breakfast bowl / burrito bowls when I signed up but things didn't workout as planned. However this khichdi which was to be a part of 'Biryani / Pulao / Khichdi Festival' came handy this week since it happens to be a one pot meal. I cooked it directly in a small sized pressure cooker but not in a bowl obviously, though it can cooked in any sturdy pot on stove top, under 30 minutes. And of course, it can be served in a bowl which I noticed while drafting the post that I hadn't. 😕
Edamame pronounced 'eh-dah-maa-may' is the Japanese term for the young soybeans that are harvested before they get ripened. They are available both in pods / shelled forms, fresh or frozen. They are great to snack on or tossing them in a stir fry or salad. I have used frozen ones here and added them along with spinach and potato to boost the nutrition factor of this khichdi. I used the yellow colored millet commonly available in US stores and threw in a handful of Basmati rice as well. Substitute any long grain / Basmati rice or a combination of rice and millets or any other quick cooking grain in place of millets. This edamame and millet khichdi is a quick, wholesome and nutritious meal that can be prepared under 30 minutes.  

2 tbsp. ghee and/or oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 cloves
2 cardamom pods
1 inch piece cinnamon
1 bay leaf
2 green chilies or according to spiciness preferred
1/2 inch piece ginger, grated and crushed
1 big onion, sliced
1 big tomato
1 potato, chopped
1/2 cup edamame (I used about a cup of edamame and that quantity seemed more.)
2 cups chopped spinach
A pinch of asafoetida
1 tsp. garam masala (optional but recommended.)
1/8 tsp. ground turmeric
Salt to taste
1/2 cup millets
1/4 cup yellow moong dal
2 cups + extra water
* Wash millets and moong dal, drain and keep aside.
* Heat ghee / oil directly in a pressure cooker and add cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf. Toast for few seconds until you start to smell fragrance of the spices.
* Add the chopped green chillies and ginger and saute for few seconds. Next add onion and saute until golden brown. After onions are done, add tomatoes and cook until they soften.
* Next add potatoes, spinach, edamame, turmeric, salt (I used about 2 tsp.), garam masala, millets, moong dal and about 2 cups of water.
* Close the lid, put the valve on and pressure cook for 3 whistles. 
* When the valve pressure is gone, remove the lid and check the consistency. Do the taste testing to check the seasonings. If needed, add salt / chili powder. If the khichdi appears too thick, add a cup of water (or as needed). Simmer for few minutes until it starts to bubble, stirring in between to avoid the khichdi sticking to the bottom of the cooker. 

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#102.


Friday, July 5, 2019

Kempu Chutney

Kempu chutney which literally means red chutney does not need any introduction if you have ever eaten a Mysore masale dose. This flavorful red chutney is what sets it apart from the regular masala dosas. A thin layer of this chutney smeared over dosas, stuffed with alugadde palya aka spicy potato filling, rolled and served with bowls of chutney and sambhar is a tempting meal anytime, any given day in my world. 😋 Byadagi variety chillies which are commonly used in Karnataka for their color are typically used here. Kashmiri variety chillies or any other less spicy but color lending chillies can be substituted here. I feel this chutney closely resembles the ones used in restaurants to spread the masala dosa. 

Byadagi chilies are less spicier variety but this chutney would be very spicier if eaten as a side dish because of the large quantity of chillies used here. The spice level however would be perfect if spread on a masala dosa / dose. Reduce the quantity of chilies to about 4 / 5 if not using this chutney as a spread but serving as a side dish. This chutney is quite flavorful and can stay fresh for few days if refrigerated. 

15 byadagi chillies 
1 to 2 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
4 garlic cloves
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp. tamarind
2 tbsp. chutney dal / roasted Bengal gram 
Salt to taste 

* Wash and soak chillies in hot water for about 20 to 30 minutes and drain.
* Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. When they start to brown, add garlic and saute until they turn light golden. Add the chillies next and saute for few seconds. At this point, onion can be added and sauteed as well, if preferred or onion can be used raw.
* Let the mixture cool and grind them along with the remaining ingredients to a smooth paste without adding water. 
* Use it a spread for Mysore masala dose or with idlis / other dosas as a side dish.

This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #102 under 'Spreads' theme. Check what other marathoners are cooking, clicking at the link.


Thursday, July 4, 2019

Stawberrry Jam (No Pectin)

There is always a bottle of strawberry / grape jam in my refrigerator since they happen to be my favorites to pair with my toast though husband votes for orange marmalade. I thought of therefore including a jam recipe this week as part of my 'spreads' theme in the blogging marathon. I had tried preparing jams a few times before and decided to do a version without pectin this time. I saved a pack of strawberries for this purpose though I had a bottle of strawberry spread in the refrigerator staring at me. It would have given me an evil eye if it could emote. That's how ridiculous I become when it comes to blogging and luckily, my husband didn't notice that I spent time on cooking something, which is already lying in the refrigerator. 

This is one of the recipes to try when one has a bounty of berries or berries are selling cheaper. This home version jam contains only three ingredients and contains no pectin. Pectin is added in jam preparation for thickening and without pectin, this jam is slightly on the softer side. Sweet ripened berries, sugar and lemon juice are the only ingredients that went into this jam preparation. I didn't add the quantity of sugar mentioned in the recipe on purpose and made somewhat sweet - tart tasting jam. This makes a small quantity of jam and mine was gone in less than a week. 

2 cups strawberries (roughly a pound)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar (or adjust to the desired sweetness)

* Freeze a couple of metal spoons.
* Wash the berries and chop the stems. Chop / blend the strawberries to your desired consistency. I pulsed them in a food processor to a coarse mush along with sugar.
* Add all the ingredients to a medium sized pan and stir to combine. Cook on medium flame until mixture comes to a boil. Lower the heat and continue cooking for another 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
* To know whether the jam is done, dribble some hot jam onto a frozen spoon and wait for a few seconds for it to cool. If you run a finger through the jam and if it makes a clear path through the jam and doesn't fill in, it means the jam is set. Continue to cook if the jam is not yet set.
* Remove the jam from the heat when it is set and transfer to a clean jar. Refrigerate it when it completely cools down. 

This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #102 under 'Spreads' theme. Check what other marathoners are cooking, clicking at the link.


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Gulkand - Cream Cheese Spread

I chose to go with some 'spread ' recipes for this week's blogging marathon and was looking for some traditional recipes that are doable at home with minimum fuss. I had 2 packs of cream cheese lying in the refrigerator and so initially thought of preparing a savory spread to go with bagels. My daughter suggested to go the opposite way and requested to add some date puree to make it sweeter. My daughter is not a fan of 'sweet' stuff in general and so I knew that even if I obliged her request, I would end up eating all of it. I was lazy even to puree the dates as I was making it for myself 😉 and was looking for another alternative to sweeten the cheese spread until I found a bottle of unused gulkand lying in my refrigerator.

This 'no cook' spread has only two ingredients - cream cheese and gulkand and doesn't even require a recipe. For the uninitiated, gulkand is a preserve made with a special pink colored rose petals. I used low fat cream cheese and gulkand, that I had brought from a store in Coorg from India, who support local women in promoting their homemade products. Use the ingredients in equal parts and whisk them with a fork or puree them if you are patient enough and use it as a spread. I did not even whisk them properly and so you can see bits of cheese in my spread. It tastes good even if it looks somewhat rustic, if you like the rose flavor that is.

This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #102 under 'Spreads' theme. Check what other marathoners are cooking, clicking at the link.