Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pineapple pastry cake/ Pineapple fresh cream pastry (Cooker cake and Butterless)

Yes, you heard it right! This is Pineapple pastry recipe with cake made in cooker. How good is that? Pineapple fresh cream pastry or simply Pineapple pastry as it is called, is a spongy, juicy pineapple flavored delightful dessert which is light, cool and delicious!

I had not planned to bake for a few days after all the festival desserts we hogged. But yesterday, my little niece visited to see my little one. I was surprised when the little girl asked me if I can make a cake for her since she has seen my blog posts. She firmly believed that I can make any cake of her choice! Before I could ask her what cake she wants me to do, she said "Akka, prepare pineapple pastry. Like the one mamma bought for my birthday".  Now, I was very happy to see that she loved my posts but was also reluctant to let her know that I am not a cake expert. My pride kicked in and I took this one as a challenge.

Making basic sponge cake is actually a cake walk for me because I make it very often. But I had never tried the pastry. So, I promised that pretty little angel that her pineapple pastry will be ready by evening and I set to work quickly. I browsed through a lot of websites and was very confused since there were so many versions. I could sketch the recipe in my mind so I started going through the ingredients I needed. I had everything except canned Pineapple. The fresh cream I had bought the previous day was half used for the Malai Matar I prepared for dinner.

Being a health freak, weight conscious and beauty conscious, I eat Pineapple, Papaya and Guava almost everyday. Luckily, there was also a bottle of Pineapple squash we had bought at the start of the summer. So I thought of replacing canned pineapple pieces with the fresh ones and canned juice with water and squash.I got the batter ready and I check the oven if it is hot enough and guess what? The power is gone! the oven is not even warm. I was so engrossed in making batter that I completely forgot to check the oven.

There is no way I can keep the egg batter waiting for more than an hour. So, I made the cake in cooker and I could use my whisk attachment of my blender to whip the cream.The cake tasted best the next day and I am planning to make Black forest cake for our anniversary. If time permits, I will also take pictures to post.
Anyway, all of us loved the cake even though the sponge would have been much better if it was made in oven. It was way less heavy than the store bought ones and I was glad that my little niece M loved it.

Nutritional Information  (Approx) (per serving)

Energy  189
Fat 4.2
Carbohydrates 35.2
Dietary Fiber 0.5
Sodium 28.1
Vitamin A 4.1
Vitamin C 7.1
Calcium  1.9
Iron  4.7
Protein 3.5
Sugar 26.7


Eggs 4
Powdered sugar 3/4 cup
Pineapple essence 1 teaspoon
Plain flour/Maida 1 cup
Baking powder 1 teaspoon
Salt a pinch
Milk 1/2 cup
Canned pineapple pieces/fresh pineapple chopped 1 cup
Juice from the can of pineapple/ pineapple squash  1 cup
Whipping cream 1 cup
Icing sugar 1/4 cup
Chocolate shavings 1/2 cup

 Separate egg yolks from egg whites. Whisk egg yolks for a minute and add Pineapple essence and powdered sugar. Whisk them together till creamy. Clean the whisk completely to dry and then whisk the egg whites. It may take about 6 to 7 minutes till it reaches stiff peaks. Now, sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the yolk mixture.

Fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture till it is mixed well. Grease a vessel in which you can bake the cake. Now, In the cooker, place the place that comes with the cooker. Remove whistle and the gasket from the cooker lid. Close the cooker and heat it for 3 minutes under high flame. Now, pour the batter in the greased vessel and place the vessel in the cooker carefully using a vessel grip.
Close the lid of the cooker and let it bake for about 30 minutes in medium high flame. After 30 minutes, simmer the flame and bake for another 5 minutes and remove from flame. 

Insert a toothpick inside the cake to check if the cake is cooked completely. If not, bake for 10 more minutes. Let the cake cool in the vessel for 10 minutes and then remove the cake and let it cool on the rack till it is completely cooled. Meanwhile, whisk the chilled heavy cream till it has soft peaks. Add the icing sugar and then whisk again till it gets hard peaks. Keep it in refrigerator until use.
Cut the cake horizontally into 2 equal parts using a serrated knife. In a bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of squash (if using) with 2 parts chilled water.

In a bowl, mix pineapple pieces with 2 tablespoons of the whipping cream and set it in the fridge. On a plate, place 3 pieces of parchment which can be removed easily after frosting the cake. Place the bottom half of the cake on it. Sprinkle the pineapple juice on it only to soak the cake but not enough to make the cake soggy. Spread the pineapple-cream mixture on the cake evenly.

Now, sprinkle the juice on the top half of the cake placed upside down. Place the top part on the bottom part of the cake. Spread the left over whipped cream on the cake covering the sides and the top. Decorate as per your wish. Serve chilled.

* Make sure to bake the cake quickly after making the batter since the airiness will reduce if the batter is kept waiting.
* Making a detailed post of whipping the cream would have been made this a very lengthy post. so I have made it as short as I can. I will try and post it next time.
* You can add cherries for the filling as well as the decoration.
* Apologies for the clumsy pictures. I was in a hurry to finish this before our UPS switches off.
* This cake tastes best the next day with all the juice soaked up by the sponge. So, plan and make it the day before you are going to serve.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Beauty tip from the Kitchen - 4

For Glowing skin

Mix a tsp of coconut oil with a tsp of lemon and mix it vigorously with a fork or spoon till you get a white liquid. Massage all over face and neck for 5-10 minutes. Then wipe it off with a tissue or cotton.

Doing this once a week keeps your skin cleansed, clear, glowing, even toned and brings back the complexion if the skin was tanned.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Chocolate Frozen Yogurt

Creamy, chocolaty with a tang of yogurt, this Chocolate Frozen Yogurt is a guilt-free and a healthy replacement for the regular calorie-filled ice creams.

Who doesn't love frozen desserts? Summer is the time for frozen treats and people usually prefer Ice creams over other healthy options like butter milk, chaas, Lassi, tender coconut, fruit juice sorbet and of course frozen yogurt. As usual, I turned to frozen yogurt instead of an ice cream recipe as soon as the thought of a frozen treat came to my mind.

I make yogurt at home regularly and homemade is the best! It doesn't turn sour for at least 2 days and the taste is just yumm.. Also, when churned, the butter that comes out of it makes you feel like you accomplished something! It has been a long time since I made frozen desserts at home. This summer has been hard on us and harder on my little one. She loves anything from refrigerator, be it fruits or chilled yogurt. When my little one started asking for more chilled yogurt everyday, this dessert came to my mind. I used to make frozen yogurt before and took it to office for breakfast. Yes, breakfast! I used to have it with loads of Almonds and raisins.. So So delicious.

Anyway, I made this dessert particularly for my little princess and I am happy to say she loved it. Since my LO is not supposed to eat honey till she turns one, I have made this using brown sugar. Please feel free to use honey/maple syrup or any other sweetener you wish.

Chocolate frozen yogurt also called as Froyo is guilt-free, tasty and yes, healthy too. Though I can't promise you the same wonderful deliciousness you get from Ice cream, I can definitely tell you with confidence that you will love it. It has the same texture as ice cream with slightly tangy taste of yogurt. You can customize it however you like; be it adding honey instead of sugar, adding a fruit instead of just a flavoring agent, it gives you loads of options.

Nutritional Information  (Approx) (per serving)
Energy  146 Calories
Fat 3.9 %
Carbohydrates 19.8 %
Dietary Fiber 0.5 %
Sodium 130 mg
Vitamin A 1.9 %
Vitamin C 2.4 %
Calcium  2.9 %
Iron  1.6 %
Protein 10 Grams
Sugar 19 Grams

Yogurt 3 cups divided
Cocoa powder 2 teaspoons
Chocochips (Optional) 1 tablespoon
Brown sugar/Sugar/Honey 2 tablespoons
Vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon

If you have readily available Hung curd, you can use it. Else, Pour 2 cups of fresh yogurt on a muslin cloth kept on a colander. Fold the cloth and keep a bowl filled with little water on the cloth. Let it stay that way for about an hour. The residue is called hung curd which looks like homemade paneer.

Mix the rest of the ingredients except chocochips with hung curd and blend well till the mixture turns smooth. Add some chocochips and give a stir and pour the mixture in an airtight container. Freeze for minimum of 6 hours or overnight. Take the Froyo out 5 minutes before serving. Scoop it and serve with sprinkles choco chips on top.

* You can store the froyo in an airtight container for about 5 days.
* It is important to use fresh yogurt for this recipe, else the froyo will tasty sour.
* I have given this to my 10 month old daughter after getting permission from her pediatrician. Please check with your kid's pediatrician if you intentd to give this to a baby under 1 year old.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Carrot Cucumber Slaw with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Light, cooling and refreshing summer dish to serve, this salad tastes tangy, sweet and perfect. The Vinaigrette with Apple cider vinegar and Extra virgin Olive oil will make your mouth tickle with flavors.

This post is a part of Culinary hoppers blog hop for the month of April. Apart from this post, I have also made 3-way Peanuts Salad for this month's blog hop. This year's summer has been pretty hot for me compared to last year's since I was in Norway at this time. It was -5 degrees and I was taking walks on those snow filled streets every chilly morning and evening..Miss it! So, this year, I am trying to find ways to keep us cool and this month's Blog hop theme is apt for this weather.

Cucumber has cooling effects on the body and has numerous health benefits. It keeps our body hydrated, flushes out toxins, supplies skin friendly nutrients, cool the eyes and also aids in weight loss. Carrot is yet another super veggie which posses beta carotene and fiber content. It is rich in anti-oxidants, vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, vitamin B8, pantothenic acid, folate, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese.
(Source: Health Benefits of Carrots)

The Apple cider Vinaigrette compliments the cucumber and carrot with perfect tangy, salty and sweet flavors.This is simple yet tasty salad which gets done in minutes with nothing to prep beforehand.

Nutritional Information  (Approx) (per serving)
Energy  84.6 Calories
Fat 7.2 %
Carbohydrates 5.1 %
Dietary Fiber 1.6 %
Sodium 23 mg
Vitamin A 74.8 %
Vitamin C 8.4 %
Calcium  2.4 %
Iron  1.7 %
Protein 0.9 Grams
Sugar 2.8 Grams

Ingredients (Makes 2 servings)
Cucumber 1 medium
Carrot 1 medium
Apple cider Vinegar 1/4 cup
Extra virgin olive oil 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Pepper powder  1/2 teaspoon
Garlic Pods chopped finely 1 teaspoon
Coriander leaved for garnish

Grate Carrot and Cucumber separately. Drain them on paper towels.

For Vinaigrette, whisk together Olive oil, ACV, Garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk till the oil and vinegar are combined. Chill in refrigerator till it's time to serve.

In a bowl, mix carrot and cucumber grated. When it is time to serve, add the vinaigrette and give a stir. Garnish the coriander leaves, serve and enjoy!

* You can replace ACV with white wine Vinegar.
* Garlic is completely optional.
* You can also add grated green chillies and shallots to the vinaigrette.
* For a creamy vinaigrette, add Dijon mustard.

Check out these links for a refreshing journey with wonderful salads prepared by amazing, talented bloggers. Each post is uniquely distinct and dainty for this summer.

Vani's Lebanese tabbouleh salad

Piyali's Grilled vegetable pasta salad

Anu's Roasted sweet potato salad bowl with greek yogurt dressing
Greek Yogurt Dressing With Parsley

Poornima's 3-way Peanuts Salad
Carrot Cucumber Slaw with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Black Eyed Pea Quinoa Salad in Endive Boats
Fennel Citrus Salad with Minted Strawberries & Kiwi

Jayashree's Watermelon and Cucumber salad

Shubha's Thai Salad with Peanut butter dressing

Swati's Roasted cauliflower chickpea and couscous salad

Shobana's Corn Salad

3-way Peanuts Salad

Different textures, nutty, tasty and healthy, this 3-way Peanut Salad is refreshing and perfect complement to any meal.

This post is a part of Culinary hoppers blog hop for the month of April. The theme being Salads, proved to be both easy and difficult. Easy to prepare and post but difficult to choose. Anyway, I have chosen Peanut salad made 3-ways and the recipe is my own. I have also decided to make Carrot Cucumber Slaw with Apple Cider Vinaigrette and the recipe is one of my kitchen experiments too. To start off with the reason of my choice of these two salads, peanuts are my family favorite. The most favorite is cooked peanut chat and I planned to improvise on that dish to this delicious and healthy salad.

3-way peanut salad has three types of peanuts; Cooked, sprouted and roasted accompanied by grated carrot that compliments all three types of peanuts. Since this is a salad post, I want to introduce you all to these amazing health benefits of Peanuts eaten raw, cooked, sprouted or roasted. Peanuts are rich in monounsaturated fat content and feature an array of nutrients like vitamin E, niacin, folate, protein and manganese. Regular consumption promotes heart health.

Peanuts are also listed as one of the World's healthiest foods. They are rich in Antioxidants, folic acid, phytic acid and resveratrol which has anti-cancer effects. With so many health benefits, there are also few concerns. A lot of people are allergic to peanuts and it is important to realize that the reactions differ from person to person. Also, if you check the nutritional value of this salad, you will see that the nutrition you can get is great. The only thing to plan is the peanut sprout for which you have to soak peanuts a day before. Since the salad tastes great , I have decided to make it regularly. Hope you find it tasty too.

Nutritional Information  (Approx) (per serving) 
Energy  120.3 Calories
Fat 8.9 %
Carbohydrates 7.6 %
Dietary Fiber 2.5 %
Sodium 126.1 mg
Vitamin A 36.7 %
Vitamin C 10.5 %
Calcium  1.9 %
Iron  2.5 %
Protein 4.8 Grams
Sugar 1.8 Grams

Ingredients (Makes 6 servings)
Peanuts 5 tablespoons
Carrot grated 1
Coriander leaves chopped a handful
Salt to taste
Pepper powder 1/2 teaspoon
Lemon juice of 1 whole lemon

Wash and soak 2 tablespoons of peanuts overnight. Drain the water and tie them in a wet muslin cloth for about 12 hours or more. The sprouts will appear.

Soak another 2 tablespoons of peanuts for about 3-4 hours. Pressure cook with salt water for 3 whistles.

Drain the salt water and let it cool completely.

Dry roast the remaining 1 tablespoon of peanuts till they turn brown and start popping into halves. Remove from flame and let it cool completely.

Remove the skin from peanuts once they have cooled down completely.

In a bowl, Mix together sprouts, cooked peanuts and carrot. Add Salt, pepper powder, chopped coriander leaves and mix well.

When it's time to serve, add lemon juice and give it a mix. It's important not to add lemon juice before the time to serve since carrot will leave water and soak the whole salad.

In a serving bowl, add the salad, top it up with some roasted peanuts and serve.

* You can add grated/chopped cucumber along with the grated carrots though make sure to drain the cucumber water before adding.
* If you like it a little spicy, you can add some grated green chillies too. Addition of onion and tomato along with green chillies will make this dish a great chaat.

Check out these links for a refreshing journey with wonderful salads prepared by amazing, talented bloggers. Each post is uniquely distinct and dainty for this summer.

Vani's Lebanese tabbouleh salad

Piyali's Grilled vegetable pasta salad

Anu's Roasted sweet potato salad bowl with greek yogurt dressing
Greek Yogurt Dressing With Parsley

Poornima's 3-way Peanuts Salad
Carrot Cucumber Slaw with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Black Eyed Pea Quinoa Salad in Endive Boats
Fennel Citrus Salad with Minted Strawberries & Kiwi

Jayashree's Watermelon and Cucumber salad

Shubha's Thai Salad with Peanut butter dressing

Swati's Roasted cauliflower chickpea and couscous salad

Shobana's Corn Salad

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Jackfruit Payasa ~~Yugadi (Ugadi) recipes

A flavorful and creamy payasa that tastes rich and delicious, Jackfruit payasa is an apt dessert for offering on festivals and a perfect side for our authentic banana leaf festival feasts.

Finally, the house is scrubbed clean, pooja vessels washed and shiny, everything set to welcome the festival of New year. I wanted to post a recipe which is festive and yet delicious. Few days back, my parents visited and bought some Jackfruit slices. Now, I am not a huge fan of Jackfruit and neither is my hubby but we have always loved the payasa. I have tasted it in our family friend's house. Sujatha aunty makes Jackfruit payasa with organic jaggeryand coconut milk and believe me when I say it tastes amazing.

I was wondering how on earth am I gonna eat those Jackfruit slices and hubby suggested the payasa. It had been a while since I made any payasa at home because we hardly eat them. I made the payasa with a lot of coconut milk and it tasted great. This payasa is called Chakka Pradhaman in Kerala though they add ginger powder and not cardamom powder. The recipe is easy, simple and absolutely yummy.

Once I finished cleaning, scrubbing and washing, I realized that I have not wished you all yet. So, here I am, posting this delicious payasa for Yugadi. May this Yugadi bring you all new spirit, new beginning and new prosperity. Wishing you a very happy Yugadi!

Nutritional Information  (Approx) (per serving)
Energy  115.4 Calories
Fat 6.9 %
Carbohydrates 14.1 %
Dietary Fiber 1.8 %
Sodium 7.2 mg
Vitamin A 0.4 %
Vitamin C 1.2 %
Calcium  1.8 %
Iron  3.1 %
Protein 0.8 Grams
Sugar 3.4 Grams

Jackfruit pieces 12
Jaggery grated 1 tablespoon
Fresh coconut 1 cup
Water 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder 1/4 teaspoon
Ghee/Clarified butter 1 teaspoon
Cashews a handful

Dessed the Jackfruit and grind them to a coarse paste. Chop or grate the coconut and grind it into smooth paste with as little water as you can manage. Squeeze the thick milk and set it aside.

Add little more water and grind the coconut again. Squeeze the watery milk and set it aside. Add a teaspoon of water to grated jaggery and bring it to boil. Add Jackfruit paste and cook under low flame. Once the raw smell goes away and the fruit is cooked well, add the second batch of coconut milk. Let the flame be in simmer and cook for about 5-6 minutes.

Heat a teaspoon of ghee and once it melts, add cashew nuts. Fry till they turn light brown and remove them from ghee and set aside. Add the left over ghee to payasa mixture and stir well. 

Finally add the thick coconut milk, mix and let it cook for 2 minutes. Add fried cashews, cardamom powder and remove the payasa from flame. Serve warm.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Dates Puranpoli/ Kharjurada hoLige/ Dates obbattu ~~Yugadi (Ugadi) recipes

A traditional dessert that spreads sweetness and wins over hearts, Dates hoLige is a classic, nutritious and guilt-free treat for our rich Indian festivals.

Being a health and calorie freak has it's own disadvantages and controlling one's cravings is one of them. It's been so long since I started controlling the consumption of white sugar that nowadays, just talking about white sugar makes me cringe. I have enjoyed a lot of sugar-filled desserts in my childhood and my mom never held back on the quantity of sugar and ghee she added to those dishes. Festivals are very grand fanfare at my mom's place and the lunch is very important part of all the festivals.

Mum used to start making desserts, snacks and arrangements for festival a week before the day and the house smelt aromatic and festive. I can't say I miss those sugary treats but I miss that grand celebration and how much of importance my parents gave to the festivals. We were woken early in the morning, took oil shower and dressed up in new clothes. We used to have relatives over and the house used to be filled with laughter from my relatives and my dad, screams of my brother and I fighting over some silly thing and my mom singing loudly while she prepared that awesome lunch. The festivities lasted till the snacks got over.

Now, being a nuclear family, Hubby and I hardly eat that many snacks. My dad can't eat sweets, I know I have mentioned it before in a lot of my posts but it is still hard to accept that change. He loved Moong dal payasa, Poppy seeds payasa and hoLige so much that he used to snack twice a day. My mom makes all those but very rarely now. Sorry, that was a lot of story but it's all so nostalgic and I wonder how much our lives have changed overtime.

Anyway, Yugadi or ugadi is the celebration of New year according to Hindu calender. We change our "Panchanga" (Hindu calender) on this day, prepare naivedya (offerings), pooja (pray) and eat Neem+Jaggery as prasada. Eating Neem leaves with jaggery signifies the ups and downs of our life and the emotions we go through like happiness and sadness. There is a Kannada song about Yugadi which all kannadigas know and hum on this festival;

ಯುಗ ಯುಗಾದಿ ಕಳೆದರೂ ಯುಗಾದಿ ಮರಳಿ ಬರುತಿದೆ
ಹೊಸ ವರುಶಕೆ ಹೊಸ ಹರುಶವ ಹೊಸತು ಹೊಸತು ತರುತಿದೆ...

Which means "Even though many Eras/ages pass, Yugadi (new year) returns and for the new year, it brings new happiness..". HoLige or Puran poli is the dessert usually made for offering in Karnataka among other desserts like payasa. I chose dates HoLige because as usual, it is guilt-free, very low in calories, healthy and full of goodness for the body like Iron and calcium. The recipe is very simple, easy and tastes crunchy and delicious. Hope you all like it as much as my family did.. Happy Yugadi in advance!

* This post is a part of event for Ugadi hosted by Jayashree T Rao @

Nutritional Information  (Approx) (per serving)
Energy  160.5 Calories
Fat 2.4 %
Carbohydrates 33.8 %
Dietary Fiber 3.1 %
Sodium 17.4 mg
Vitamin A 0.1 %
Vitamin C 0.2 %
Calcium  2.2 %
Iron  3.5 %
Protein 3.2 Grams
Sugar 16 Grams

Wheat flour 1/2 cup
Maida/ Plain flour 1/2 cup
Chiroti rava/ Semolina 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder 1/2 teaspoon
Salt  a pinch
Oil/ Desi ghee 2 tablespoons divided
Water as needed
Dates 500 grams
Cardamom powder 1/2 teaspoon
Poppy seeds 1 tablespoon

Mix the wheat flour, Maida, Semolina, turmeric powder and salt. Add a teaspoon of ghee and mix well.
Now, slowly add water little by little and knead the mixture into a firm dough.

Knead the dough for at least more than 10 minutes. If the dough seems tough and dry while kneading add oil/ghee. Once done kneading, drizzle a teaspoon of melted ghee on the dough and cover it. Set it aside for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, knead the dough for 2 minutes and divide it into big lemon sized balls. Drizzle another teaspoon of oil/ghee on the dough, cover and set aside while you make the stuffing.

Dessed the dates and steam them without water. [To steam in pressure cooker, let the water be on the bottom of the cooker, place the dates in a cooker pan and keep the pan on the stand inside cooker. Cover and cook for 3 whistles.]
Grind the steamed dates into coarse paste while still warm. Let it cool completely. In a pan, roast poppy seeds for 4 minutes. Add it to the dates mixture along with cardamom powder.Mix well.

To roll out the dough, you will need banana leaves or Aluminium foil. You will need another aluminium sheet to cover the dough while rolling.
Take a ball of dough, Roll it a little and place a spoonful of the stuffing. Pull all the sides of the dough to cover the stuffing and pinch in the middle to lock it. Place the second aluminium foil on top of the dough and roll it into a thin roti.

Heat the roti tawa, flip the roti carefully on the tawa and after few seconds, gently remove the foil. Fry the hoLige for 3 minutes under low flame and flip it. Fry for 3 more minutes until it feels crisp outside. Remove from flame and let it cool. Serve hot or cooled with a dollop of ghee.

* Kneading the dough for at least 10 minutes is very important. Else, the dough is quite difficult to handle and the texture of the Holiges wont be as good.
* Using the amount oil/ghee as mentioned is also important since the dough will dry out very easily.
* Adding poppy seeds is optional but it gives a great crunch. ou can replace it with roasted sesame seeds too.
* You can use Plastic sheets to roll the dough. I prefer aluminium foils because I can directly flip the foil on tawa but you will have to carefully remove the roti from plastic sheet to tawa which is difficult.
* It is good to fry the Holiges in medium-low flame since they cook well on both sides.

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