Sunday, March 31, 2013

Rajmah Masala/Red Kidney Beans Curry

Rajmah Masala is one of my favorites. I love eating it with Rice and Raita. My mom would cook Rajmah at least once a week. She would cook it for dinner but I would prefer eating it the next day for lunch as it would taste better by lunch time . In India we get 2-3 varieties of Rajmah and I know for sure that the taste is different for all. So I suggest you should try all the varieties and decide which is best for you. Here is the recipe of Rajmah Masala the way I cook.

Rajmah Masala
1 cup Rajmah/Kidney beans soaked overnight
7-10 mint leaves (small)
2 medium sized onions
3 medium sized tomatoes
1 green chilly
11/2 inch ginger
5 garlic cloves
1 tsp cumin seeds, dry roast and grind it using a mortar and pestle
1 inch cinnamon stick
2 black cardamom
3 small green cardamom
3 cloves
2 small bay leaves
Salt to taste
1 tsp kashmeri red chilly powder
Chopped coriander leaves for garnishing
11/2 tsp rajmah masala powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
3 tbsp oil
1 tsp kasoori methi
1/4 tsp turmeric powder 
1/2 tsp coriander powder
Boil rajmah. I have boiled rajmah in a pressure cooker with sufficient water. Make sure you have enough water for gravy. I kept it for 7-8 mins after the first whistle. I think a total of 15-16 whistles blew. I have noticed that the Rajmah I get in Dubai takes a little longer to boil. It may take lesser time for you to boil the rajmah so keep a close eye.
Grind the onions, ginger and garlic together in a mixer grinder. I prefer to use the pulse button for making a coarse paste. It looks like finely chopped onions.
Heat oil in a kadhai. Add the bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. Within a few seconds you will get a nice aroma of these ingredients. Now add the onion paste and saute until light brown. I prefer to cook the onion paste on medium to low heat to ensure the paste cooks evenly and it does not burn.
Alternatively, make a paste of the tomato, chilly and mint leaves. I have again used the pulse button of the mixer grinder.
Once the onion paste is cooked and the raw flavours are gone add the tomato paste.
Cover and cook on low heat until the oil separates.
Add salt, turmeric powder, red chilly powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, rajmah masala, and garam masala powder. Place the kasoori methi between your palms to crush it and then add it to the gravy.
Cook for 2-3 mins.
Remove from heat and add this gravy to the rajmah that is there in the pressure cooker. 
Mix well and pressure cook for another 2-3 whistles.
Once the cooker cools take out the rajmah masala in a serving bowl and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
I like to refrigerate the kasoori methi so it is easier to crush it using your palms.
I cook Rajmah in a non stick pan so much oil is not required for cooking but if you find that the onion paste is sticking to the pan then add another tbsp of oil.
If you see that the gravy is very thick then add little water to get the right consistency.
Rajmah Masala

Friday, March 29, 2013

Strawberry Cake

Yesterday my friend Geeta Kapoor asked me for a Strawberry Cake recipe. I had never baked a Strawberry Cake before so I decided to give it a try. Now here I am baking this cake all because of Geeta so thanks to her.
Strawberry Cake
Ingredients for the Cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
100 gm softened salted butter, if you are using unsalted butter then do add 1/4 tsp salt to the flour mix
2 tsp Strawberry juice, I have used Almarai and yes I have tasted the juice before using it to be sure it tastes of real strawberries
1/2 cup milk, full cream, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
Zest of 1 small orange
2 eggs
11/2 tsp baking powder
Strawberry Cake
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C or 350 degrees F. Place the rack in the center of the oven.
Grease a spring form pan. I have lined it with parchment paper. 
Sieve together flour and baking powder. Add salt if you are using unsalted butter.
In a bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. To get a sponge cake you have to do this properly.
In a blender, beat the eggs and vanilla essence until it is light and fluffy.
Add the beaten eggs to the butter and sugar mix. Add little at a time and keep whisking.
Add the orange zest and whisk.
Fold in the flour in two to three rounds alternating with milk. Also add the strawberry juice.
Mix well to ensure a smooth batter forms.
Pour the batter in the pan and bake for 35-40 mins or until a tooth pick inserted at the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and let the cake cool completely. Place it on a wire rack to cool further.
Now cut the cake in two halves to form two layers.
Make Strawberry Sauce for the frosting and the cake layers. Below is the link for the recipe.
Strawberry Sauce
Ingredients for Strawberry Frosting:
75 gm salted butter,softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar, adjust to taste
3-5 tbsp strawberry Sauce, adjust to taste
Cream the butter and sugar until well combined and fluffy.
Add the strawberry sauce 1 tbsp at a time and whisk. 
Strawberry Cake Final Step:
Place one layer of cake on the plate. Spread the strawberry sauce on it. Leave 1 inch at the border and then spread the sauce.

Place the other cake layer on it to make a sandwich.
Now you can use the frosting to cover the top and the sides of the cake. You can decorate fresh strawberries on top like I did. I was in a hurry to cut the cake so I did not spend time on spreading the frosting evenly, sorry for that:)
This recipe will make a 8 inch cake.
To remove the air bubbles from the batter gently bang the pan on the counter top before baking the cake.
Strawberry Cake

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Palak/Spinach Raita

Palak/Spinach Raita
1 1/2 cup yogurt, thick
10 palak/spinach leaves, blanch the leaves in salted hot water for 2-3 mins and finely chop them
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper powder
1/4 tsp black salt
1/2 tsp chaat masala
Salt to taste
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves 
1 green chili, chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp cumin, dry roast and grind it using a mortar and pestle
Take the yogurt in a bowl. Whisk it to get a smooth texture.
Add rest of the ingredients to it and mix well.
Keep the raita in the refrigerator to chill and then serve.
Palak Raita is very healthy and it can be a part of your daily diet.

Seviyan/Vermicelli Kheer/Sevai Payasam

Sevai/Vermicelli Kheer
5 cups milk ( I have used full cream milk)
4 green cardamom, take out the seeds and crush them using a mortar and pestle
3/4 cup sevai/vermicelli ( I have used thin roasted sevai, quantity of sevai will vary depending on it's type)
2 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp jaggery, crushed into small pieces (as per taste)
Dry nuts of your choice (I have used cashews, almonds, raisins and pistachio)
Pour the milk in a heavy bottom pan along with the crushed cardamom seeds and bring the milk to a boil.
Reduce the flame to medium and let the milk cook until it is reduced to 3/4. It took me 12-15 mins to reduce the milk to 3/4 quantity. Keep stirring in between.
Add the condensed milk and cook for another 2-3mins.
Now add the sevai and cook until done. This can take around 10-15 mins depending on the type of sevai
you are using. Stir in between.
Add the dry nuts.
Remove the pan from the flame and add jaggery. Stir to dissolve jaggery. 
Place the pan back on the flame and cook for 2-3 mins on low heat. 
Sevai Kheer is ready to serve. You can serve it hot or cold. I like to cool the kheer and then keep it in the refrigerator for 3-4 hrs before serving.
It is advisable to add jaggery little at a time, check the sweetness before adding more of it.
You can use sugar if you don't have jaggery but the quantity will be different.
At times you may be required to roast the sevai/vermicelli before cooking so read the instructions on the pack.  
I have roasted the cashews and almonds in the microwave before adding it to the Kheer.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Butterscotch Ice Cream Cake

Butterscotch Ice Cream Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
11/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar (I have used a combination of light and dark brown sugar)
100 gm salted butter, softened (If you are using unsalted butter then add 1/2 tsp salt to the flour)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup milk, room temperature (full cream milk will give more richness to the cake)
2 eggs
3 tsp baking powder
1 liter vanilla ice cream
1 liter butterscotch ice cream
4-5 Alpenliebe, coarsely crushed- this is a caramel candy (optional)
Butterscotch sauce (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees C and place the rack in the center of the oven. 
Sieve together flour and baking powder. Also add salt if you are using unsalted butter. 
In a separate bowl whisk together butter and sugar until it is smooth in texture.
Add the vanilla essence. Beat in the eggs. Add one at a time so it will be easier for you to whisk.
Fold in the flour mix little at a time along with the milk. Mix to form a smooth batter.
Grease a spring-form pan. I have lined it with parchment paper. Now pour the cake batter in this and bake until a tooth pick inserted at the center of the cake comes out clean. Time to bake can vary from oven to oven so keep a close eye on the cake. In my oven it took almost 45-50 mins.
Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool completely. Butterscotch sponge cake is now ready.
Once the cake cools remove it from the pan and cut into half to form two layers.
Keep the butterscotch ice cream at room temperature to soften it. Make sure it doesn't melt you just have to soften it.
Place one layer of the cake back in the pan. Place the ice cream on it. Smoothly spread the ice cream on the cake layer. Now place the second cake layer on this. Once done place the pan in the freezer to set the ice cream layer. It can take 2-4 hrs for the ice cream to set.
Soften the vanilla ice cream to make the top layer of the cake. Take out the cake pan and place the vanilla ice cream on the cake to form the top layer. Smoothly spread it. You can sprinkle the crushed candies to decorate the top layer. You can even use butterscotch sauce for decoration like I did. Click the link for Butterscotch Sauce Recipe . Once done place the cake back in the freezer to set. 
Butterscotch Ice Cream Cake is ready to serve.
Dip the knife in hot water, wipe it and then cut the cake with it. 
You can use ice cream flavour of you choice. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Strawberry Sauce

Strawberry Sauce
250 gms fresh strawberries, washed, huled and cut into small pieces
3 tbsp white granulated sugar, as per taste
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2/3 cup water
Put the strawberries,sugar,lemon juice and 1/4 cup water together in a heavy bottom pan. On low heat let the strawberries cook until they are soft and mushy. Lemon juice will bring out the flavour of strawberries.
With the help of a masher mash the strawberries.
Add 1/2 cup water and boil the sauce on high flame until you get a nice sauce like consistency. Keep stirring in between. If you want a smooth sauce you can grind the strawberries but I prefer it this way.
Strawberry sauce is ready and you can serve it with pancakes or french toast. This recipe makes a cup of strawberry sauce.


If you are looking for an easy recipe for breakfast then Pancakes is one option. This is quick and easy to make. It tastes good with a cup of hot tea or coffee. I had my first Pancake in Dubai at IHOP. It tasted so good that I had to try it at home. So here is the recipe that I use to make Pancakes at home.

Pancake with Strawberry Sauce
Pancakes with Golden Syrup
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk, room temperature
2 tbsp white granulated sugar
1 egg
11/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt (You don't need salt if you are using salted butter)
Butter or clarified butter or oil for greasing


  1. In a bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together egg, milk, and melted butter.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in it and stir. Stir just until all the ingredients are combined. Remember not to over  mix, it is okay to have a lumpy batter.
  4. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat. Lightly brush the pan with butter or oil. You will have to adjust the heat while frying the pancakes.
  5. With the help of a small ladle pour the pancake batter onto the pan. When the bottom of the pancake is brown and there are bubbles on the top surface, turn over. Cook until lightly browned. 
  6. Repeat the process with the remaining batter. 

Serve hot pancakes with maple syrup/golden syrup/honey/strawberry sauce.
This recipe serves approx 8 pancakes.


Adapted from Stephanie Jaworski's recipe.