Thursday, October 28, 2010

Easy Breezy Egg-less White Cup Cakes

Every-time I am off from work, everyone last a list of tasks for me. Hubby wants me to run some chores, my daughter wants me to plan a play-date with one of her friends and my son wants me to cook something special for him (Didn't I tell you - he is a big foodie ?), while I want to laze around all day. Usually my daughter wins and I end up doing something fun for her. This time my son put his foot down, he needed "White cup cakes"!  Usually we bake chocolate cup cakes, but some how he is bored of them and I had to make something "special" for him.

So I took the easy way out, took my usual chocolate cup cake recipe and skipped the chocolate and add a little bit extra milk and I was done. Also I used the self rising flour and so the cake fluffed up with barely any work on anyone's side! Isn't that a nice project to be done with a young one ? And you should have seen his smile when he saw the puffed up cup cakes in the oven - surely worth the effort (and more) !
Also we tried chocolate chip cookies with this self rising flour and it was a disaster! I guess the lesson is, stick to cakes and cup cakes while using self rising flour!

3 cups of Self rising flour
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups milk
 2 tea spoon of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
some chopped nuts or chocolate chip cookies to decorate (optional - my kids didn't allow me to add it)

How To
Pre-heat the oven to 350*F
Mix the dry ingredients (flour and salt) well.
In a bowl, mix the butter and sugar until the mixture changes color. Add the milk and flour alternately to the sugar-butter mixture. Beat well after each addition. Once everything is added, add the vanilla extract and mix well.
Pour into paper lined cup-cake tins and bake for 20-25 min until the tooth-pick inserted comes out clean.
Let it cool a little but, before you dig in!

Enjoy it warm off the oven! If you have any left over for the next day, warm it for 10 seconds in the microwave and Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dahi Bara and Aloo dum and Ghuguni

You talk to any Cuttacki (Cuttack is the place where I grew up in Orissa) and they will swear by their dahi bara, aloo dum and ghughuni chat! Ofcourse each local region will have its own favorite. Some will swear by Eshwara's dahi bara, aloo dum and ghughuni chat, while other's will only touch Raghu's dahi bara and Aloo dum and others are purists who love their chandi chowk's dahi bara!

Durga Puja times brings nostalgia and somehow food figures high on my list of happy times during puja. While I cannot claim this dahi bara, aloo dum or ghughuni is authetic, it does get me to a happy mood! My cousin E and her hubby were coming over for lunch and we enjoyed this cuttacki feast! The yummy Aloo dum was made my little sister - and it was real yum.

Pree - this post was inspired by your event  Beyond Five Days of Durga Puja.

For the ghughuni recipe, you can look at my mom's here, or just make your own! While I am not sure of the details on how my sister made the Aloo Dum, you can try a simpler version here.

For the Bara
Urad Dal - 1 cup soaked overnight
fist ful of chana dal soaked overnight with the urad dal
2 -3 green chillies
bunch of coriander leaves
1 inch of ginger - cut into thin slices
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

For the Dahi (Yogurt mixture)
Yogurt - 1 cup
Water - 1 cup (adjust consistency based on taste).
2 table spoon Grated Ginger
1-2 Green chillies cut into thin slices
Black Salt to taste
Sat to taste
Fried and ground cumin seeds
Oil for seasoning
Curry leaves
1 teaspoon of Mustard seeds
pinch of hing

How To make the Dahi Bara
Soak the urad Dal and chana dal over night.
Grind to a rough paste along with the ginger slices, chillies and coriander leaves.
Mix Salt and leave aside in a warm place for 6-8 hrs. (Tip : If in India don't mix salt and leave aside , it is too warm and the Bara becomes too sour. Add salt only before deep frying)

Just before deep frying, get the dahi mixture ready. It is simple, beat the yogurt with salt and black salt.
Once it is a smooth paste, add water and cumin powder and grated ginger and chillies. Taste at this point and adjust any of the above as per your liking.

Season the dahi mixture. Take a small pot, and heat oil in it. Add mustard seeds and hing and curry leaves and pour into the dahi mixture...

Now before you fry the baras, you need to follow one more step. Get a big bowl, fill with warm water and add a pinch of salt and sugar and lemon juice to it.

Once your fry your baras, dung them in this warm water for a few minutes before transferring them to the dahi mixture. This steps keeps the bara's soft and drains out some of the excess oil.

Now the fun starts with dahi baras, eat them as is or make a chat with adding some cuttacki bara maja (mixture  - haldiram's will do, if you can't lay your hands on the original ones), and onions and imli chutney. Look at mine above!

Or eat it as chat with Aloo Dum and Ghughuni. I love my Dahi Bara with Aloo Duma and Ghuguni with chopped onions! How do you like yours ?