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Monday, 16 December 2013

POUND CAKES are the yummiest cakes in this whole world, there is no other cake for me to beat this Devil. The Butter : Sugar : Flour ratio in a pound cake is equal thus resulting in a rich, moist, buttery cake ( definitely not for you weight watchers our there & those preferring light cakes) and they are just yummm! And you know what? These are even more irresistible the next day, yeah sure to bring on the fight for that last crumb. Its the first time I tried adding soft drinks to a cake batter and batter was so aerated and fluffy (try not eating the cake batter, you will want some to be BAKED!!! But I have to admit that was one delicious batter!) 

Now, I know my rainbow is all painted with wrong colours ;) It's time am going on my "Maternity" break (yes, the Stork has been circling my house for quite sometime now and its sure to make a stop pretty soon :) So I have been on my feet all week tidying my house and emptying my pantry since there won't be much cooking to do for sometime! And there it was, my 8 Wilton Gel Food Colours (definitely not rainbow colours) sitting unopened! Since I did have a cake baking in my Things To Do Before The Baby Comes List, I planned on making my hubby's-long-time-requested not-so-Rainbow Cake. Rainbow cake is best done with a White Cake since the colours show well, but I already made a White Cupcake and I wanted something to make my palate go BOOM!!! Hence the RAINBOW POUND CAKE

I was little concerned about the gel food colour reacting funny with the acidity in the batter. So I went on asking some expert opinions and found it was totally safe to mix food gel colours in a acidity batter. So if you doubt the same Do Not Worry, the cake does not give any weird after taste or the batter does not react funny. 

This Pound Cake is a must you try. So go ahead and do it as a rainbow or just Plain old Pound cake! 

You Will Need:

For the Pound Cake:

3 Sticks / 340g of Unsalted Butter, Softened
3 Cups of Plain Flour
3 Cups of Superfine Sugar
5 Large Egg
2 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
A Cup / 240 ml of Sprite / 7Up, Room Temperature 

Other Ingredients:

Gel Food Colour (I used Wilton)

The Baking:

Cream the butter till soft and fluffy. Then add sugar a cup at a time and beat till the sugar is well incorporated and the batter is fluffy. Then beat in one egg at time making sure to fully incorporate each egg after each addition. 

Pour in the vanilla extract and mix well. Sift in the flour a cup at a time and mix briefly after each addition. Now pour in the sprite and beat on low speed till everything is well combined. 

Divide the mixture into any many portions as you wish, depending on the number of colours you are planning to do. I did five colours. 

Line / grease a baking tin, round, bundt, loaf tin anything you have (I used a loaf tin) and pour in the cake batter, in desired pattern. Checkout the post on Not MarthaExperiments in Rainbow Cake, she has some cool stuffs on that perfect rainbow swirls in each slice. Bake in a preheated oven till the cake is completely cooked i.e, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. 

Let the cake cool in the tin for an hour or so before you invert it onto a wire rack. Let it cool on the wire rack for another hour or so before you start slicing it. Hot cakes are so fragile, they will crumble. 

Baking Temperature: 180 Degree Celsius 
Baking Time: Approx 60 mins
Cooling Time: 2 - 3 hrs

Important Pointers:
  • Check my Tips for Cake Baking post for basic tips & tricks on cake baking! 
  • Pound cakes take a long time to bake and the top does brown. So don't panic if you find the top is browning too fast too soon. Simply cover with a foil and continue baking.

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Recipe Adapted from The Pioneer Woman!

Happy Baking!


Monday, 9 December 2013

INIPPU KUZHI PANIYARAM is my absolute favourite. These spongy little heavens make great appetizer or breakfast. But for me they are to go for at any time of the day or night. Sweet and crisp on the outside and so spongy on the inside. 

I always make them using Appam Batter. Whereas many make these with Idly / Dosa Batter, but I have never tried and I don't have the intention to do so :P I prefer the taste of Appam to idly! 

The secret to a crisp outside is FAT, oil or ghee / clarified butter (ghee gives such a wonderful aroma and taste to these). The More the better, well I tend to go overboard with the ghee usually ;)

I also make "healthy version" of these for my husband cutting down on grease completely. But Grease makes everything taste better!!! Don't you think so? 

Now I can't really say how much appam batter I use to make these. The first two days after the fermentation of the appam batter are for making Appams only. On the third day I make these paniyarams with leftover appam batter. So I can't really tell you the proportion of batter to jaggery, sorry! Use the entire batch of appam batter or leftover batter and add jaggery as required. More sweet more jaggery or less sweet less. Am on the Sweeter side btw! 

You Will Need:

Approx. 4 Cups of Appam Batter 
Approx. 1/2 Cup of Jaggery, Crumbled 
A tbsp of Water
3 - 4 tbsp of Grated Coconut (Optional, I Don't Like to Add)
1/4 tsp of Cardamom Powder
Ghee / Oil as Required

The Cooking:

In a heavy bottom sauce pan place the jaggery and water over low heat. Let it melt and come to a gently bubble. Then strain the jaggery directly into the Appam Batter.

  • The water will prevent the jaggery from burning. 
  • Do not add excess water to the batter. Once you add the jaggery the batter will thin out. 
  • Strain the jaggery to get rid of any impurities.  
Start to mix the jaggery into the batter immediately. DO NOT worry if you fine threads or streaks of jaggery that refuse to mix in. Just mix till everything is incorporated, the threads will melt away later. 

Add the cardamom powder and grated coconut. 

Heat a Paniyaram griddle on high. Spoon in ghee / oil (as much as you want) remember the more the better ;) Once its hot gently spoon in the paniyaram batter all the way to the top. Turn the heat down and cover with lid. Once you see the sides are cooked and small bubbles begin to appear on top, gently turn them over with a spoon. 

  • Cooking with lid on will help the paniyaram to raise a little and cook thoroughly in the inside. So remember, LID ON! 
No need to cover now. Let them cook for a min and scoop them off on to a serving plate. Its a MUST you eat them straight off the griddle. Never mind about burning your tongue, these are worth it! 

Like ShobsKitchen On FaceBook

Happy Cooking! 


Saturday, 7 December 2013

APPAM is a popular South Indian food, specially in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. They are also a staple in Sri Lanka commonly known as Hoppers. There are so many varieties of Appam; Vella Appam (Plain Appam), Egg Appam, Palappam, Neyyappam. The ones I make frequently are Vella Appam and Sweet Appam. 

There are many ways in preparing the batter too. I learnt this method from my mom and its how its prepared in most regions of Tamil Nadu though in Kerala the preparation method is different using coconut milk, grated coconut and rice (Am yet to try this method). The batter is very easy to prepare unlike Idly / Dosa Batter. There is no trick, it just needs to be ground to a smooth batter. And the appams are light and crisp at the edges with soft fluffy center. These are my absolute favourite. 

Makes Approx. 20 Appams

You Will Need:

1 Cup of Idly Rice or Par Boiled Rice (I use idly rice)
1 Cup of Raw Rice
1/4th Cup of Urad Dal
A tbsp of Fenugreek Seeds
Coarse Salt to Taste
Approx. 2 Cups of Water for Grinding
Baking Soda

The Cooking:

Step 1:
Soak both the rice, urad dal and fenugreek seeds together overnight or at least 3 hrs.

Step 2:
Drain the water and place all the soaked ingredients in the wet grinder.  Run the grinder and once the rice is little coarsely ground start adding the water little by little.

Step 3:
Now what we are looking for is a smooth batter, this will take approx. 30 - 35 mins.

Step 4:
Once done transfer the batter to a large bowl and add salt. Mix the batter throughly using your hands. Our body temperature helps in kick-starting the fermentation process.

Step 5:
Cover with a lit (not air - tight) and let it ferment. Unlike the Idly / Dosa Batter which almost doubles, the appam batter will raise just little. Fermentation tine differers from the temperature where you live. Fermentation process in hot regions takes place faster compared to cold places. So once the batter has fermented, give a quick mix and store refrigerated until needed.

Making the Appam:

The batter will be thick after its fermented. So place required batter in a bowl and thin the batter to a smooth pouring consistency. You can add coconut milk / coconut water or just water to thin the batter. Add 1/2 tsp of baking powder and mix well. The remaining batter should be kept refrigerated until needed. 

Its best to thin batter as and when you need it. Don't thin the whole batch at the same time. 

Heat the non - stick Appam kadai on high. Dap a tissue or a small piece of cloth with little oil and rub all over the kadai. This spreads a very thin layer of oil over the kadai. When you add oil to the kadai it will not spread evenly and they just gather in a place and prevents the batter from spreading evenly.

Once the kadai is hot, Spoon in a ladle of batter and swirl the kadai to help the batter spread evening over the kadai. Keep the heat low and cook the appam covered till the edges are golden brown and the center is cooked. Once done take off the appam from the kadai and serve immediately.

When you spoon in the next ladle of batter, rub the kadai with oil only if required. Since its non - stick it will not be required to rub oil for every single appam.

Serve these crisp soft appams with Coconut Milk, Chicken Kurma, classic Kerala style kadala curry or simply with milk and sugar (just the way my husband likes it)!

  • If you don't find time to grind the batter and you have already soaked the rice and urad dal, then drain the water completely and refrigerate till needed. DO NOT leave it soaking, it will get spoiled. 

Happy Cooking!


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Punjabi food is one of my favourite, Its hot and so flavourful. This PUNJABI DUM ALOO is one such flavourful dish. This semi - dry curry just packs in all the flavours from the freshly ground spices. Its spicy, little sweet and tangy at the same time. Very easy and quick to make...          

Serves 3

You Will Need:

12 Baby Potatoes, Boiled
A Cup of Thick Fresh Yogurt
1 Medium Onion, Finely Chopped
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 tsp of Hing
Tsp of Red Chilli Powder
Tbsp of Ginger Garlic Paste
Tbsp of Coriander Seeds
1/2 tsp of Cumin Powder
1/2 Tsp of Fennel Powder
3 Green Cardamom Pods
5 Cloves
8 Cashew Nuts
1/2 Tbsp of Kasuri Methi, Crushed
Tsp of Sugar
Salt to Taste
5 tbsp Vegetable Oil / Butter
Coriander Leaves to garnish
The Cooking:

Step 1:
Shallow fry the boiled baby potatoes till it turns a light golden brown colour. You can also deep fry if you wish. Remove from the pan and let it sit on a kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.

Step 2:
In a mixer grinder or with a mortar and pestle, grind the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cloves, cashews and cardamom to a fine powder. 

Step 3:
Heat oil in a kadai and crackle the bay leaf and hing. Now saute the finely chopped onion till they become translucent. Then add the ginger garlic paste and saute on medium heat for couple of mins. 

Step 4:
Now add the ground spice powder and cook for couple of mins. Meanwhile whisk the yogurt and slowly add the yogurt to the gravy on low heat. Add chilli powder. Keep the heat low and cook for 2 - 3 mins stirring continuously till oil starts to separate. 

Step 5:
Add the potatoes, kasuri methi, sugar and salt and continue cooking on low heat for few more mins.

Step 6:
Pour in 3/4th cup of water and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer and Cook covered for few mins until you reach the desired consistency. Turn off heat and transfer to a serving bowl immediately. 
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with any of your favourite roti or Naan

  • Use fresh thick curd / yogurt, NEVER SOUR. 
  • Keep the heat low through out cooking, since its yogurt it may split. 

Happy Cooking!



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