Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Butter Murukku ~ An easy to make Murukku / Chakli recipe for Diwali

It had been a while since I posted a recipe in my space. If to give reasons, there are a few; travel being the main one :), yes, to the far west end of the globe for about a quarter. While I still tide over the jet lag and tiredness coated with the wonderful memories of meeting a few of the wonderful blogger pals in Bay Area, I got prompted to get back to posting a Diwali recipe.
I am not an expert in making 'chaklis' or 'murukku' and decided to roll up my sleeves to attempt a simplest one to begin with. A simple family favourite with the recipe sourced out from one of my husband's aunts, who passed over the measurements in 'padi' or the traditional Tamil measuring cups which in turn were carefully scaled down to cup and tablespoon measures here :)

'Butter Murukku' is easy to make than you presume and you will realize the homemade ones, far better in taste and texture than the store bought counterparts.

Butter Murukku
 Prep time 15 mins
 Cooking time 30 mins
 Yields a 500 ml bowl loosely heaped


 1 cup Rice flour or Arisi mavu, not roasted- I used store bought raw rice powder.
 1 heaped tbsp Besan or Kadalai mavu
 1 heaped tbsp *Roasted gram flour or Pottukadalai mavu -(refer method down)
 1/4 tsp Hing or Perungayappodi
 3/4 tsp Cumin (Jeerakam) or Sesame seeds (Ellu) - I used Sesame seeds

 1 tbsp unsalted butter at room temp
 125 ml  water at room temp
 1/2 tsp table salt


*Measure 1/4 cup of  Roasted gram, place in your food processor or a dry mixie jar and powder well.
Measure the rice flour, besan and the powdered gram flour (do not use the whole powder. just measure a heaped tbsp for our purpose) in a separate bowl and sieve to discard the grainy particles of the grams.

Transfer to a bowl and add hing, salt and the sesame seeds. Mix to combine with a whisk or use your finger tips. Next, rub in butter, combine evenly in the dry flour mixture and lastly add the water little by little to form a soft ball. I needed exactly 125 ml. But be careful with the measurement and be warned; it can slightly vary according to the quality of the flour used. The ball should neither be too hard nor soft. The consistency should be almost the same as 'Idiyappam' dough. Check salt at this point.

 Pick out the star designed disc and fix with the murukku press. Grease the insides of the cylinder and outsides of presser with a few drops of oil. Heat oil in a wide and thick bottomed kadai. To check the right temperature of the oil, pinch and drop a tiny ball of dough into the hot oil. The oil is in the right temperature, if it rises up immediately with a sizzle and not smoky. Fill half of the cylinder with the dough and press gently in a slow wide circular motion into the hot oil. It should sizzles you see in the picture. This murukku generally falls as broken pieces, though it happened to be intact for me :). Do not disturb for a few seconds and wait for the initial sizzle to calm down, may be for 15-20 seconds. Lower the flame if oil is smoky. Gently turn the murukku pieces in the oil until they attain a light golden hue of the morning sunlight. Drain and transfer to a tray or a flat plate lined with paper towels. Let it cool down completely before you transfer into an airtight container. Enjoy with a steaming cup of coffee or tea :)

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Friday, June 3, 2016

Mango Panna Cotta

I always thought Panna Cotta was a 'difficult to make' dessert. But then now I realize, it isn't. As a teen, I was obsessed with whipping up perfect puddings: caramel, mousse, tender coconut and had this flair to play with the hidden ingredient, agar agar or gelatin, which gave the body to the comforting desserts in various forms and flavours.

Coming to Panna Cotta, which means cooked cream, as you all might know, is an Italian dessert, a basic one made of milk and cream, thickened and moulded by gelatin and flavoured with rum, coffee, vanilla etc.
Generally, you might have come across 'Coulis' ( pronounced /kuːˈliː/ koo-LEE; French) is a form of thick sauce made from puréed and strained vegetables or fruits. The interesting note about this dessert is that it is quite a versatile one, means, once you get the hang of making the basic  pudding, you can be creative with it.

Now, coming to Mango Panna Cotta, as the name sounds, is a combination of mango coulis and cooked milk and cream flavoured with vanilla both set individually by gelatin.You can set it in a pudding dish as layers, Mango Coulis(which is set by gelatin) as the base and with milk and cream on top, the other way round, more of mango and less of milk and cream mix and vice versa. Anyways, I can assure, it tastes yummy. Its easier than you think, though the whole thing seems complicated. You can pleasantly surprise your guests setting them in individual glass cups, as I have done and yes, you will have compliments pouring in! :)

Mango Panna Cotta
For 5 small individual servings 

Before we start, let me tell you, I used 5 glass cups of 100 ml each. Hence I prepared 250 ml of mango pulp and 250 ml of milk and cream mixture to fill them all.

For Mango Coulis

A 250 ml cup Mango Pulp made from de-skinned chunks of fresh mangoes ( Ripe mangoes like alphonso render that bright yellow hue)
1-3 tsps Powdered Sugar or according to your sweet level. ( I did not add as the mangoes were sweet enough)
1 tsp of gelatin (soaked in 3 tbsps of cold water for 30 minutes in refrigerator to bloom)

For the Milk Mixture

150 ml Full fat milk
100 ml Heavy Cream ( I used Amul fresh cream )
2-3 tsps of sugar ( I used 2)
1 tsp of gelatin (soaked in 3 tbsps of cold water for 30 minutes in refrigerator to bloom)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix up and set

Part 1- Mango Coulis

Mix in sugar while you pulp the mango cubes. Take out the 1tsp gelatin from the refrigerator and melt gently in  a pan in low and controlled flame on stove top. Transfer the mango pulp to this and combine in low heat just under the boiling point or remove from fire before it starts to bubble. This is to ensure that the ingredients are incorporated well.

Whisk gently while cooling down.While luke warm, transfer the mix gently to tilted glasses. I used my ice tray to hold the 45 deg position. Secure mouths with cling wraps. With utmost care, return to the refrigerator, holding the position :). I held my breath while doing it ;). Leave undisturbed for 4-6 hours until firm.

Part 2- Milk and Cream

Combine cream, milk and sugar and bring to a gentle boil, in low flame stirring until the sugar dissolves. Switch off.
Repeat the above step for melting gelatin.
Take out the 1tsp gelatin from the refrigerator and melt gently in another pan, in low and controlled flame. Stir in this to the above milk mixture along with vanilla.

Whisk gently while the mixture cools down. Take out the mango coulis glasses which are set well enough. Pour in the milk mixture carefully to fill the mango layer on top. Place them back to chill as such in standing position. Secure with cling wraps. Milk mix gets set within a couple of hours.
Serve chilled topped with mango slices and young mint leaves.


I haven't tried with agar agar. A 5-7 gm sheet should suffice for the above quantity. You need to divide it into equal portions and soak in warm-hot water. Melt on stove top bringing to gentle simmers, until it dissolves completely. Finally combine with the mango coulis and milk mixture, separately. Remember, you do it for both as different batches with an interval of 6 hours. If done in one go, it solidifies as it is.

Perfect panna cottas are softly firm or a bit wiggly rather than hard and firm.

I personally prefer it less sweet and so added minimum sugar.

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Sambharam ~ Spiced and Flavoured Buttermilk to Beat the Heat!

Sambharam or spiced and flavoured buttermilk of Kerala holds an important place in the culinary history which dates back to centuries. The drink is popular in other Indian states as Chaas, Majjige, Neer mor etc. The uniqueness of Sambharam, compared to the above counterparts is that it's flavoured with lime leaves or Narakathila, authentically!

Now, what makes this an ideal summer drink?
Buttermilk, being a natural body coolant, compensates the loss of electrolytes during the day, resulting in tiredness and dizziness. The best and natural way to retain body fluids is to drink tender coconut water or buttermilk with salt. This also compensates the loss of sodium chloride in the body through sweat. Primarily, this is way superior to bottled and artificially flavoured carbonated drinks!

So, Bharathy, what are you waiting for? Peak summer, fresh flow of natural indoor lighting, garden fresh lime leaves should check your hibernation in this space of yours. Kick start with this easy to make drink. :)

Sambharam / Pachamoru
Fills 4 glasses

You need:

Yogurt or homemade curd -1 cup
Water - 3 cups
Green chillies - 2 small, slit lengthwise until half
Fresh Lime leaves / Narakathila - 2
Hing - 1/4 tsp
Salt- to taste

Minced ginger (as fine as possible)- 1 tsp
Minced shallots / ulli (as fine as possible)- 2 tsps
Minced curry leaves (as fine as possible)- 1 tsp
Minced cilantro/malliyila (as fine as possible)- 2 tsps


To begin with, wash the green chillies and lime leaves. Tear the leaves and crush them together with the slit chillies. I personally dislike biting into bits of chilly and opt this method to give the touch of heat to the drink. Lime leaves are crushed along with to impart the rejuvenating flavour.
Top them with a cup of thick curd (I used home made) and whisk for a few seconds until creamy. Top it with 2.5- 3 parts of chilled water.

Beat/whisk adding hing and salt. You may discard the lime leaves and chillies at this point. Add the minced ingredients; shallots, ginger and the herbs and mix gently to combine. Fill your glasses and enjoy the refreshing drink!

  • If you use fat free free yogurt, use 2.5 parts of water instead of  3. Use home made, if possible, for best results.
  • If you do not get hold of lime leaves, you can use any variety of citrus leaves as long as they are fresh. You can also substitute a tsp of lime juice if you don't get the leaves too!
  • You can use a metal hand whisk or a beater, instead of the traditional wooden one I use, as well.

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Pongal Recipes

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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Chocolate Crinkles

Crinkle Cookies

Wish you all had a wonderful Christmas day and still enjoying the Christmas time!
I see a beautiful Christmas pudding with flambé which I describe as highly exotic in my dear friend's space. My eyes get hooked at those cookies in the corner of the picture. Ah! not to search in the picture she had posted up there, the one she sent me soon after the laborious baking. I ask her about it and she explains. I take her for granted and tell her that I wish to bake this and post  for Christmas. She laughs, because that wasn't a request, but a statement from me. The baking got slightly postponed, guess qualifies for the new year. So, let me thank and dedicate this to Swapna, my buddy, whole heartedly, for motivating and guiding me through to update in my space after months!

The source she mentioned was different, which demanded chocolate chips which I ran out stock and followed this site, verbatim, for the Crackle or Crinkle Cookies.

Crinkle Cookies

Chocolate Crinkles 
 Makes around 30


 150 g plain flour
 60 g cocoa (I used Valrhona for intense hue and flavor)
 1 teaspoon baking powder
 pinch of salt
 200 g caster sugar
 60 g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
 2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 100 g icing sugar


Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it clumps together and resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Whisk together the egg and vanilla together, then add to the flour mixture. Mix with a large metal spoon until combined, then cover with plastic film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (Gas Mark 6). Line two baking trays with baking paper.
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Scoop the dough in a 1 tbsp measuring spoon and shape into balls ( almost walnut-sized). Drop into the icing sugar, tossing until well coated. Place on the baking trays, leaving about 5 cm between each to allow for spreading. Bake for 10–12 minutes or until just set when lightly touched. Cool on the trays for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. The cookies will crack on cooling. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Crinkle Cookies

Crinkle Cookies

These delicious fudgy biscuits are so named because they are dipped in icing sugar before going into the oven. During baking, the cookies expand slightly, resulting in a wonderful crackled look.

And yes, here's wishing you all a healthy, happy and fun-filled year ahead!

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