Tag Archives: Blogging Marathon

Green peas vada

green peas vada-001

A cup of tea with something deep-fried is a wonderful treat. But unfortunately, deep-frying isn’t my cup of tea.

I am, in general, accident prone and that holds true the most when I am near anything hot. If I am ironing, at least one burn is guaranteed. If I am baking, you can be sure I will be doing the “OOOH hoo…AAH haa” dance at least once. So it’s not a surprise that I never trust myself to be anywhere near hot oil.

If I am deep-frying, I would first drop the batter from a height, thus making the oil splatter all around. That would be burn #1. I would realize the mistake and would go close and literally dip the batter into the oil with my bare hands. Burn #2. On both instances, I would rush and wash my hand in cold water and then would forget to wipe it properly. Thus resulting in burn #3, #4 and so on.

It’s no wonder that you never see anything deep-fried at my place. If its done, it’s mostly under someone else’s supervision (read – they fry, I stay away and watch). So I thought its time I took the matter into my hands…..without any more burns, I hope!

This is the first recipe towards a three-day deep fry special in this space. And no, I didn’t burn myself this time.

green peas vada



Grind one cup soaked and drained green peas with 2-3 green chillies, 2″ ginger piece, salt and half a teaspoon of fennel seeds.


The paste doesn’t have to be too smooth, so do not add any water for grinding.


Transfer the paste into a bowl and add a tablespoon of rice flour. Addition of rice flour helps in binding the batter, but this step is not absolutely necessary.


Mix well.


Take a tablespoon of batter, flatten it a bit to get the shape of a vada. Heat oil and deep fry in batches until the batter is used up. Serve with ketch up or any other dip.

Recipe source: A neighbor

Makes : about 8-9 small vadas


  • 1 cup green peas
  • 2″ piece ginger
  • 2-3 green chillies (or per taste)
  • salt
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
  • 1 tbsp rice flour (optional)


  1. Soak the peas in water. Frozen peas should be soaked for half an hour, the dried variety should be soaked overnight.
  2. Drain well and grind with ginger, green chillies and salt in a mixie jar. You can add fennel seeds (perum jeerakam) as well, it adds a good flavor to the vada. Stop grinding before its too smooth.
  3. Transfer the contents to a clean, dry bowl and try to make a small ball out of it. If you have difficulty in forming the ball, then you might want to add some rice flour to bind the paste better. You can add rice flour and some semolina as well to get a good texture to the vada.
  4. Heat oil in a pan and deep fry the vadas until golden brown. Serve with ketch up.


  • My friend had made it with just green peas, ginger and green chillies. The ginger was main ingredient imparting the flavor.
  • I have used frozen peas here, the dried version should also work well. You might want to soak it overnight.

green peas vada-002

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Filed under Any Time Foods

Peanut butter and banana Ice cream


Gone are the days when we could just pick up anything we like and just put it in our mouth. Now the health precedes over the tongue and compromises have to be made.

You can have ice creams now and then, but not as much as you can have bananas. So if you can get the banana to be in the ice cream avatar, it’s a win-win situation. The last time when I made one ingredient banana ice cream, I was hooked onto it and tried a flavored version again. Peanut butter and honey with banana is a favorite of mine and this ‘ice cream’ didn’t disappoint me.

However my husband, who respects banana as such and never likes it in any other form, stayed away from this one. Try this with an open mind. This may not be exactly an ice cream, but its tasty and saves you a bunch of calories.  May be you will hooked onto it as well!


Recipe source: thekitchn

Recipe theme : 3 ingredient recipes

Makes : 2 small servings


  • one big banana, cut into round pieces
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp honey



Cut the bananas into round pieces and freeze overnight or until its frozen completely.


In a small food processor, add the bananas, honey and peanut butter and beat it.


Keep the food processor running for 4-5 minutes or until the chunks of ice disappear and you reach the “ice cream smooth” consistency. The time will vary according to the size and power of the food processor.


Once you get it, transfer into a freezer friendly container and freeze again until its solid. Scoop out and serve. Top with honey and sprinkles if you like to.



Filed under Sweets and Desserts

Podi Idli

podi_idli - Copy (2)

A good way to start my day would be with idlis served with milagai podi (gun powder/idli podi). But sometimes, you can just put the two together and present it as podi idli.

This version doesn’t contain itself to the breakfast table, it sneaks into my kid’s and my husband’s lunch box also at times. It’s a perfect travel food, where in you don’t have to carry the main food and a separate side dish.

And the best part is you just have to use three ingredients… idlis, milagai podi and 2 teaspoons of oil!

podi_idli-001 - Copy 



Cut the idli into even sized cubes and keep aside.


Heat oil in a pan.


You can either add the podi to the oil first and then add the idlis to it or do the other way around. Here, the idli has gone in first and the podi is added on top.


Let the idlis get coated with the podi on all sides.


Cook in low flame, turning now and then. Take off the heat when it reaches your preferred level of crispiness.

Recipe theme: 3 ingredients

Serves : 2



  1. Cut the idli into even sized cubes and keep aside.
  2. Heat oil in a pan. You can either add the podi to the oil first and then add the idlis to it or do it the other way around. Let the idlis get coated with the podi on all sides.
  3. Cook in low heat for and flip over and cook all the sides until its crispy and has an even coating of podi on all sides. You can do this until you get the level of crispiness you want.
  4. Take off the heat and serve as such or with ketchup.

podi_idli-002 - Copy

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 53 

Sending this post across to ‘Come, join us for Breakfast’


Filed under Break Fast Recipes

Easiest Pal payasam ever!

pal payasam

My mom’s specialty was payasams. Her pal payasam tastes absolutely divine. My older brother has inherited her skills. His payasam is actually a notch better than my mother’s!

My strategy for making payasam is simple. Just call my mom or my brother for the proportions. And they will guide you through the whole process. Easy, huh?

Every single time I call her, after amma tells me how to make payasam her way, she always mentions about this shortcut pressure cooker recipe. This method saves a lot of stirring time and still gives you the same results – the perfect pink, thick payasam. It was her cousin’s way of doing it, something she never tried herself.

Somehow we all trusted mom’s tried and tested traditional method and never bothered trying any other way.

This time when I wanted to make payasam, I thought I will give a try to her oft mentioned, but never tried recipe, a chance. I am glad I did. Like she said – same creamy payasam and a lot less effort. I know she would have been happy :-)!

pal payasam-001

Recipe source: My family
Theme : 3 ingredient recipe


  • 1 liter whole milk (4 cups)
  • 3 tbsp rice, washed
  • 1 cup sugar (can be adjusted to personal preference)
  • 1-2 tbsp butter, optional


  1. We are using pressure cooker method. So take a clean cooker and add the milk, washed rice and the sugar in it.
  2. Drop in a small steel plate (like one used for covering cups and tumblers) or a steel spoon also into the cooker.
  3. Pressure cook until the first whistle comes. After that, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let the payasam cook for 45 minutes.
  4. Switch off after 45 minutes and don’t disturb the cooker until the pressure drops completely.
  5. Open the cooker after that and your payasam is ready!
  6. If the payasam is still on the watery side, you can add 1-2 tbsp butter and bring it to a boil. Boil it without the cooker lid for 10-15 minutes or until your preferred consistency is reached, stirring now and then. You can also taste the payasam and adjust the sweetness (less sweet means add more sugar; too sweet means add more milk) at this point of time.


  1. Make sure the cooker and the lid is really clean, else the milk might curdle.
  2. Adding the steel plate into the cooker was a very helpful tip from the internet. The cooker was way easier to clean this time.
  3. You can add a pinch of cardamom powder or one crushed cardamom to the payasam at the beginning. I opted out of this one.
  4. A handful of fried cashews in ghee is a great addition to this payasam. Again, this is optional.
  5. Sweetness can be adjusted to your personal preference.
  6. Adding plain butter or even ghee to the payasam makes it yummier. Again, optional.

pal payasam-003


Filed under Sweets and Desserts

Banana Ice cream


There are few things in this world that everybody loves. Ice cream and chocolate can be counted in that few. Young or old, summer or winter, healthy or sick, everybody wants to have these. (If you don’t like it, please don’t tell me. You will be shaking one of the most fundamental beliefs in my life).

Unfortunately, ice cream is high in calories. Fortunately, we can create our own recipes that are healthier and totally guilt free. Like this one ingredient banana ice cream here. This is a great cheat recipe. It’s not quite the real deal, but comes pretty close to it.

Enjoy the recipe and cheat with these once in a while…


Recipe source: thekitchn

Makes 2 small servings (depending on the size of the banana)


  • 1 ripe banana, sliced into rounds



Slice the bananas into rounds and freeze them overnight or for at least two hours.


Once its frozen, run it in a small food processor for 3-4 minutes.


You are looking for smooth ice-free ice cream texture. Keep beating it until its smooth and creamy. I did this in two batches and each one took about 5 minutes.


Pour into a freezer friendly bowl. Cover and freeze the “ice cream” again until its hard. Scoop out and serve with your choice of toppings. I served it with honey and chopped pistachios.

Things to keep in mind:

Bananas discolor. So scoop these out only at the time of serving.


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Filed under This

Multigrain pancakes


Morning time is the worst at my place. The kid’s school bus comes around 8:15 AM, but we get up from our slumber at 7:40. It’s an active, adrenaline filled half an hour of the day. Me and my son would rush up, run down, drink milk, brush teeth, take bath, eat breakfast and get ready in general. Not in the same order, but you get the meaning. It’s like an emergency room in a hospital, no casualty – but lots and lots of activity. Oddly enough, we have never missed his bus despite getting up so late.

There is no way I can serve anything other than a bowl of cereal at that time. And there is no way the kid would eat anything other than cereal at that time. So we have a mutual understanding about weekday mornings.

But weekend, that’s when I relax and prepare something more elaborate than corn flakes. I ignore the demands for cereal from the protesting kid and serve him whatever the blog demands. And the blog demanded guilt free indulgences this week and so a healthier, multi grain version of pancake was on our breakfast plate this weekend.


Recipe source: The perfect recipe for losing weight

Makes:about 16 pancakes, depending on the size


  •  1 cup whole wheat flour ( I used multi grain atta flour)
  •  1/2 cup each all-purpose flour, oatmeal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Whisk the dry ingredients ( flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt) in a bowl.
  2. Add the liquid ingredients and mix well in a separate bowl.
  3. Combine both and whisk until no lumps remain. You might have to add a little more milk if the batter is too thick or a bit more flour if its too thin.
  4. Heat a pan and spray oil on it. Add 1/4 cup full of batter and cook until bubbles appear and then burst on top.
  5. Flip and cook the other side. Take off the pan and repeat until the batter is used up.


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Filed under This

Fruit Ice pops


We moved again. This time to an apartment close to my husband’s office. So another school change for the kid. The good thing is that there is only two more weeks to go before the summer vacation starts. The bad thing is that he has been to three schools for his 3rd grade! First in India, then in our previous place in US and now, the current one…talk about being a global student!!

I do feel bad about pushing so many changes into his life, but then you gotta go where life takes you. And wherever we go, the kid has to follow us. The earlier we accept that, the easier it is. He is getting around that, but yet the pining for home and his friends hasn’t gone yet.

It’s a guilt laden life at the moment. No wonder, I wanted to go guilt free in the food department at least!

Coming to the recipe here, this is a recipe that I had seen in Vaishali’s place long ago. Its simple, fun and totally guilt free. Perfect indulgence for summer.


Recipe source: Ribbons to pastas and Martha Stewart.com


  • Sprite/lemonade/white grape juice, as needed (I used about 2 tbsp per mold)
  • Choice of fruits – chopped, as needed ( I used kiwi, strawberry and mango)


  1. Slice the fruits. Fill the ice pop mold with the sliced fruits.
  2. You can add as many or as little fruits as you want. The more fruits you have in, the more packed it is and the better it looks. I was short on fruits, so I put only 5-6 pieces in each.
  3. Fill the mold with the liquid of your choice. Any see-through liquid is fine. Freeze overnight. Done!


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Filed under This

Fire up your oven – April Mega marathon

This is a recap of the month-long baking marathon – Fire Up your Oven- for April 2015.

You can imagine the sugar high and the weight gain in process ;-)

Click on the image to take you to the post.

Week 1 : Celebration Cakes


Ponque – Puerto Rican pound cake


Tres Leches – Three milk cake


Ombre cake


Sofa cake

Week 2: Simple fruit based Cakes (except the first one :D)


Chocolate cake : base for sofa cake

Eggless fruit cake 1

Eggless fruit cake 1

Eggless Fruit cake 2

Eggless Fruit cake 2

Caramel banana cake

Caramel banana cake

Easy Banana cake

Easy Banana cake

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Strawberry cake

Week 3: Savory Bakes

“Crazy dough” focaccia

Baked potatoes

Baked potatoes


Roasted garlic

Roasted vegetables

Roasted vegetables

Masala loaf

Masala loaf

Eggizza - Quiche with a fancy name

Eggizza – Quiche with a fancy name

Week 4: Cookies and quick breads

Eggless chocolate chip cookies

Eggless chocolate chip cookies

Ultimate chocolate chip cookies

Ultimate chocolate chip cookies

Oatmeal raisin soak cookies

Oatmeal raisin soak cookies

Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies

Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies

Quick chocolate cupcakes

Quick chocolate cupcakes

Coconut quick bread

Coconut quick bread

Week 5: Everything else

Plum Clafoutis

Plum Clafoutis

Egg puffs

Egg puffs

Pound cake

Pound cake

Rich chocolate buttercream

Rich chocolate buttercream


Filed under This, that and the other

Rich chocolate butter cream and an ombre cake


Oh fine!! This IS a cheat recipe.

I already have the cake recipe on the blog and this one is just for the frosting.

But hey…the cake was a humongous effort. Three 9″ layer cake is no small thing for me. I could handle 6″ cakes, but 9″ isn’t so easy. Despite 6 straws for support inside, it was doing a jiggle jiggly dance when I was trying to frost it.

Finally, I gave up trying and reached out to my neighbor. I have told you that she is a professional cake decorator, rt?

Now this cake, which I baked for our friend’s son, is the biggest cake I have ever made. And for my neighbor, this is tiny. This would be the size of the top-tier of her cakes.


It took her less than five minutes to frost this cake for me. FIVE minutes. And the finish was so much better than mine. Boy, I am so sorry that I have to move again! It’s so rare to get a friend who shares the same passion as you.

This frosting recipe is also from her. The quantity is huge, but it freezes very well. And if you freeze it, you can eat it like you eat ice cream ( you didn’t hear that from me :D).

The final decorations are made with ready-made fondant. I colored them and used a Wilton mold to get the designs. These can me made ahead to save time.

This cake is the final in the series of bakes for the month of April.  Check out the linky to see amazing entries from other bloggers.


Recipe source:  My neighbor Lizy, originally from allrecipes.com

Makes : 10 plus cups of frosting


  • 2 cups butter (450 gms), softened
  • 2.5 cups cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 9 cups icing sugar
  • 1 – 1.5 cups milk


  1. Using a hand/stand mixer, beat the butter until its soft and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the cocoa, vanilla and sugar in batches adding enough milk till it reaches a good spreading consistency. You need to be careful and start slow with this, else the sugar will fly all over the place.


  • This recipe freezes well.
  • The quantity of sugar and milk are approximate. You need to adjust this until you get the consistency and sweetness you are looking for.
  • I have used only 8 cups of sugar here and 1 1/4 cups of milk here. I found the sweetness to be perfect with this quantity itself.
  • You can try salted or unsalted butter in this recipe. There will be a difference in taste, but both versions are delicious.



Filed under Cakes and Bakes

Pound cake

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My husband shares his birthday with one of his close friend (and with one of my close friends as well). They all decided to come out of their mothers’ tummy just two days before new year. Another interesting thing is that their wedding days are a day apart. My husband’s friend was in the same neighborhood in India before he moved to US. And after ten long years, the two of them are in the same neighborhood again. Little surprises of life :-).

Same neighborhood means they could cut their birthday cake together after over a decade! And I jumped in at the opportunity of baking the birthday cake.

I wanted a ‘surprise inside’ cake which reveals their age when they cut into it. I wanted a gingerbread house cake for my son for his birthday. So I decided a trial cake would be a good idea for both the events. I am glad I did!! The surprise inside cake surprised me totally when the numbers just floated up!! It just wasn’t as elegant as I thought it would be. And the less I said about the gingerbread house cake, the better! Words are not needed to describe that.


Yet, I wanted a surprise element for their birthday. So I baked this pound cake again (I loved the taste when I baked for the surprise inside cake) and didn’t decorate it. When everyone was up and looking for the birthday cake, I told them this was the one.

It was pin drop silence and a collective relief when they knew I was kidding :D. Happily they cut into their decorated cake and were happier when their age didn’t pop out of the cake.


Recipe source: Martha Stewart’s book – Cakes

Makes : 2 9 X 5 inch loaves


  • 2 cups (~450 gms) butter, softened
  • 3 cups (~450 gms) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups (~450 gms) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 9 eggs (Yes, 9!!)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C. Grease two 9X5″ loaf pans.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar using a hand or stand mixer, until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the vanilla extract and salt.
  4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and beat it in.
  5. Add the flour in 4 batches, beating until just incorporated.
  6. Divide the batter between the pans. Smooth out the top.
  7. Bake for about an hour or until a skewer comes free of crumbs when inserted in the middle.
  8. Let the cake cool in the pan for at least  5-10 minutes before taking it off and letting it cool completely.

cake_upload (1)


Filed under Cakes and Bakes