Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes are so special that i could always relate them to the Valentines day! I have tried numerous recipes before I hit this particular one. Adapted from annie’s eats,
It is very moist and more flavorful. Though I was initially little hesitant with the amount of oil used here,It made 100% justice to the Cupcakes.

Yields 24 Cupcakes

Ingredients
Cake Flour 2 1/2 cup
Sugar 1 1/2 Cup
Baking Soda 1 tsp
Cocoa powder 3 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp
Large Eggs 2
Vegetable oil 1 1/2 Cup
Butter milk 1 Cup
Liquid Red Food coloring 2 tbsp (1 oz.)
Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
Distilled white Vinegar 1 tsp

For the Frosting
Cream Cheese 8 oz. (1 pack)
Unsalted Butter 5tbsp Room temperature
Clear Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
Confectioner’s Sugar 2 1/2 Cup

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Method
• Preheat the oven to 350F.
• Line the cupcake pans with paper liners.
• Combine all the dry ingredients Cake Flour, Sugar, Baking Soda, Cocoa powder & Salt. Whisk to blend. Keep it separately.

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• Combine all the wet ingredients Eggs, Butter milk, Vegetable oil, Vanilla Extract, Red food colour, Distilled white vinegar with a hand blender in medium speed until well blended.
• Add the dry ingredients slowly in to the wet little by little mixing it on a low speed. Mix thoroughly.

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• Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners almost 2/3 full.

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• Bake for about 20 mins. Rotating the pan in halfway. ( around 10 mins ).
Until the tooth pick inserted comes out clean. ( Start checking from 15 mins).
• Remove from the oven and transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack within 5-10 mins. Else the cupcake will continue to cook with the heat from the pan, making it dry or less moist.

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Cream Cheese Frosting
• Combine Cream Cheese ( best if it is cold from the fridge) and butter using a hand mixer or in a electric stand mixer.
• Beat on medium-high for 2-3 mins until its smooth.
• Mix in the Vanilla extract.
• Add the Confectioners’ Sugar little by little until a smooth creamy texture is obtained.
• Add the frosting to the piping bag with the piping tip and decorate the cupcakes or simply place 2 tbsp of frosting on top of the cupcake and smooth it around with the butter knife or small spatula.

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• Delicious Red Velvet Cupcakes are ready.

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Vendhaya kali

Vendhaya Kali is one of the most healthiest breakfast. During my early childhood days in Madurai, my Mom used to make it every Sunday during Summer. Now my 2 & almost 4 year old developed the taste for this Vendhaya Kali.

Ingredients
Soak & Grind
Idly Rice 1 Cup
Fenugreek 2 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp

Jaggery Syrup
Jaggery 1 cup
Cardamom 1 or 2
Sukku or Dry ginger less than 1/2″
Sesame oil req

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Method
• Wash and Soak Idly Rice, Fenugreek for 5 hours. Grind it to a very fine buttery paste by adding enough water at regular intervals along with the salt.
• Add 1 cup of water to the grounded batter and mix it thoroughly with no lumps to dosa batter consistency.
• Take a heavy bottomed vessel. Add the batter to it and keep stirring it continuously at a medium flame
• Have a bowl of water close by to check the kali consistency. Dip your fingers in cold water then touch the Kali. It should not be sticky. Kali is then ready.
Jaggery Syrup
• Dissolve Jaggery with water. Filter it to remove the scum. Again reheat it with Cardamom and Dry Ginger to a little thick consistency.
Vendhaya Kali
• Keep the Kali in a plate. Make a well in the center. Drizzle the syrup and little Sesame oil on top and serve hot.

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Shrimp Biryani

Today, we had some friends for dinner. I made this Shrimp Biryani. This recipe was shared by my best friend Angel John! She is an amazing cook and an expert in Biryani making!
Sea food lovers? You don’t have to make any excuse. It’s 100% worth the try.

Ingredients

Shrimp 1 lb
Basmati rice 2 Cups
Onion 1, thinly sliced
Tomato 1, finely chopped
Mint bunch, Chopped
Coriander little, Chopped
Chilli powder 1 tbsp
Coriander powder 1/2 tbsp
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Green chillies 4, chopped
Ginger 1 1/2″
Garlic 4-5 cloves
Cinnamon 2″ stick
Bay leaves 2
Cloves 4
Cardamom 1
Cumin 1 tsp
Fennel seeds 1 tsp
Yogurt 1/2 Cup

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Method
• Clean, devein Shrimp and wash it thoroughly.
• Marinate it with Yogurt, Chilli powder, Coriander powder, turmeric and little salt for an hour.
• Wash and soak Rice for 30 mins. Drain the water and keep it aside.
• Take a big pot. Heat 2 tbsp oil. Add Cinnamon, Bay leaves, Cloves, Cardamom, Cumin and Fennel seeds. Sauté it for a while.
• Add the finely chopped onion and sauté it to golden brown.
• Grind Ginger, Garlic, Green Chillies, half of Mint and half of Coriander with very little water to a paste and add it to the sautéed onion. Cook it for few mins.
• Add the tomatoes, rest of mint and coriander and continue to cook till the tomatoes shrink.
• Now add the marinated Shrimp. Cook it in medium flame for 5 -10 mins.
• Add the soaked rice and enough water. I added 2 1/2 cups ( Water should stand 1/2″ above the leveled Rice ) Adjust the salt taste.
• When you see the Rice getting cooked up, Cover the pot and keep ‘Dhum’.
• Heat a unused Dosa tawa. Transfer the pot on top of it. Slow cook it for 30-60 mins.
• Switch off the stove and let it sit for an hour before you serve.
• Shrimp Biryani is ready to be served with Raita!

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Chettinad Kara Paniyaram

Ingredients
Onion 1, finely chopped
Channa dhal 1 tbsp
Mustard 1 1/2 tsp
Urad dhal 1 tsp
Curry leaves 2 strands
Coriander 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Green chillies 2-3, finely chopped
Grated coconut 2 tbsp ( optional )

Soak & Grind
Idly rice 1 cup
Raw rice 1 cup
Urad dhal 1/4 cup
Fenugreek seed 1 tsp
Salt req

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Method
• Wash and Soak Idly Rice, Raw Rice, Urad Dhal & Fenugreek for 5 hours and grind it to a thick fine paste with req salt.
• Ferment it overnight.
• Heat a pan, add little oil. Crackle mustard, then Channa dhal, Urad dhal, Onion, Curry leaves, Green chillies. Sauté it for a while.
• Toss it in to the batter along with chopped coriander leaves and grated coconut.
• Dilute it with little water and adjust the salt taste.
• Heat the Paniyaram pan. Grease all the wells with little oil.
• Pour batter in to each well. Cover and cook till both sides turn golden brown.
• Serve hot with Tomato Chutney!

Ennai Kathirikai Kulambu/ Ennai Kathirikai Curry

Ennai Kathirikai Curry is all time favorite dish for me and my husband. In this recipe the Baby Eggplant is carefully slit and stuffed with fresh grounded masala, pan fried and then cooked in spicy tamarind curry.

Ingredients
Brinjal/ Eggplant -6
Onion 1 medium size, chopped
Tomato 1
Sambhar powder 2 tbsp
Coriander powder 1 tbsp
Turmeric 1 tsp
Tamarind extract 2 cups from lemon size ball
Mustard 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds 1 tsp
Curry leaves 1 strand

To Roast & Grind
Channa dhal 2 tbsp
Coriander seed 1 tbsp
Urad dhal 1 tbsp
Dry Red Chilli 2
Grated Coconut 2 tbsp
Cumin 1 tsp
Fennel 1/2 tsp

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Method
• Dry roast all the ingredients listed under To Roast & Grind except Coconut and then grind it along with coconut.
• Slit the eggplant in to 4 parts. Make sure you don’t cut it fully.
• Stuff the grounded masala in to each slit of the Eggplant.
• Heat a wide pan. Add little oil and pan fry the stuffed eggplant. Making sure all the sides gets roasted. Remove it and keep it aside.

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• Take a new pan, heat little oil and add mustard, allow it to crackle then add fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, onions one by one sautéing it.
• When the onions turn golden brown, add the tomatoes. Cook for a while.
• Add the tamarind extract.
• Now add the Sambhar powder, Coriander powder, Turmeric and salt. Mix it well.
• Add the pan fried stuffed eggplant in to the curry. Cook in medium flame for 5 mins.

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• Simmer it next 10-15 mins for the eggplant to get completely soaked up with the Spicy tamarind curry.
• Ennai kathirikai Kulambhu is ready to be served with White Rice or Roti.

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Tips
• Use Sesame oil for a good flavor.
• Instead of pan frying the stuffed eggplant separately, You can add them directly along with the sautéed onion and cook for extra time.

Tindora Fry / Ivy Gourd Fry

Ingredients

Tindora 1/2 lb
Mustard 1 tsp
Urad dhal 1 tsp
Cumin seed 1 tsp
Fennel 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves 1 strand
Red chilli powder 1-2 tsp ( depending on your spice level )
Turmeric 1/2 tsp

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Method

• Wash Tindora, cut the tips off & then cut it lengthwise.
• Heat a tbsp of oil in a wide pan.
• Add mustard, allow it to crackle then add urad dhal, cumin, fennel, curry leaves. Sauté it for a while.
• Add Tindora, chilli powder, turmeric and salt and mix well. Sprinkle little water to avoid sticking to the pan.
• Cover and cook till the Tindora becomes tender and crunchy.
• It can be served with Roti or White Rice.

Spinach Dhal Curry / Keerai Kootu

Ingredients
Spinach 1 bunch, finely chopped
Split yellow moong dhal 1/2 cup
Green chillies 1 or 2
Garlic 1, crushed
Onion 1 small
Tomato 1 small
Cumin 1 tsp
Pepper powder 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida pinch

To Temper
Mustard 1 tsp
Urad dhal 1/2 tsp
Red Chillies 2


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Method
• Take a heavy bottomed vessel, add all the ingredients dhal, spinach, onion, tomato, green chilli, garlic, cumin, pepper powder, Asafoetida with required salt and water. Cook it in medium heat for min 15-25 mins. ( Make sure you have enough water )
• Smash it well so that all the ingredients get blended.
• Take another pan, add little oil. Crackle the mustard, followed by urad dhal and red chillies. Pour it on top of the curry.
• Serve hot with Roti or White Rice.

Tips
• You can pressure cook all the ingredients for up to two whistles to save time.
• You can add Toor dhal instead of Moong dhal.

Chettinad Kuzhi Paniyaram Sweet

Paniyaram is a Popular dish from Chettinad Cuisine. It can be made Sweet or Spicy. For Sweet Paniyarams, we add jaggery to the batter. Some add ‘Karuppati’ for a extra special Sweet flavor. The usual ratio for paniyaram is equal proportion of Idly rice & Raw rice. In this recipe, I have doubled the quantity of Raw rice to that of the Idly rice to get more Softer & Crispier Paniyarams.
Ingredients

Idly Rice 1/2 cup
Raw Rice 1 cup
Urad dhal 1/4 cup
Fenugreek seeds 1/4 tsp
Salt pinch
Jaggery 1 cup
Cardamom 2, powdered
Coconut 1/2 cup, grated

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Method

• Wash and soak idly rice, raw rice, urad dhal & fenugreek for 6-8 hours.
• Grind it to a thick fine paste with very little water and salt. ( As we have to dilute the batter with jaggery water later, it’s grounded to a thick paste now)
• Ferment it overnight.
• Heat Jaggery with little water. Let all the jaggery gets dissolved completely.
• Filter and pour it on the batter, add Cardamom powder & grated Coconut and mix thoroughly.
• Heat the paniyaram pan. Grease the pan with 1 tsp of oil in each wells.
• Pour 3/4 of the well with batter. Cover it and cook in medium flame for 3-4 mins.
• Now gently turn it upside down and continue to cook the other side to get a roasted colour.
• Remove it from the pan and Sweet Kuzhi Paniyaram is ready to be served!

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Chettinad Egg Curry/ Chettinad Muttai Kulambu

Ingredients
Eggs 4, Hard boiled
Onion 1
Tomato 1
Curry leaves 1 Strand
Mustard 1 tsp
Urad dhal 1/2 tsp
Chilli Powder 1 tsp
Coriander powder 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric 1/2 tsp

Dry Roast & Grind
Red chillies 2
Green chillies 1 (Pls adjust according to your spice levels)
Ginger 1/2″ Cube
Garlic 2 Cloves
Cumin 1 tsp
Pepper 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves 2 Strands
Poppy seeds 1 tbsp
Cinnamon 1/2″ Stick
Green cardamom 1
Cloves 4

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Method
• Boil eggs in salt water for 12-15 mins and keep it aside.
• Dry roast all the Ingredients listed below Dry Roast & Grind except Curry leaves and Coconut for few minutes. (Make sure you don’t burn any). Cool them and then grind it along with Curry leaves and Coconut to a paste.
• Take a vessel, add little oil, Crackle Mustard then add Curry leaves and Onion. Sauté it until the onions turn golden brown.
• Add the grounded paste with the tomatoes. Cook it till the juice comes out. Add little water, taking care not to burn the masala.

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• Add Chilli powder, Coriander powder, Turmeric and salt.
• Now add 2 cups of water and allow it to boil.
• Add the sliced hard boiled Eggs to it. Cook for 5 mins in medium flame.

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• Simmer it next 10 mins for the eggs to get soaked in the curry.
• Chettinad Egg Curry is ready to be served with Roti or plain white Rice.

Chicken Biryani Pakistan Style

This week I tried the Pakistan Version of Chicken Biryani. It is more Spicier & Tastier Biryani. Its easier to make and it is full of Flavors, it’s good to give a try.
Source: Kothiyavunu

Ingredients

For Cooking Rice
Basmati Rice 2 1/2 cup
Water 4 cup
Bay leaf 2
Cloves 3
Cardamom 1
Cumin 1 tsp
Saffron pinch
Salt req
Rose Essence 1/4 tsp

For Marination
Chicken 2 lbs
Yoghurt 1/2 cup
Lemon juice of 1/2 lemon
Ginger garlic paste 1 tbsp
Fried Onion 2
Chilli powder 2 tbsp
Garam masala 2 tsp
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Salt req

For Masala
Fried Onion 2
Tomato 3
Cinnamon 1 inch
Cloves 4
Green Cardamom 1
Black Cardamom 1
Star Aniseed 1
Ginger 1″ cube
Garlic 4 cloves
Green chilli 4
Mint bunch, Chopped
Coriander 1/2 cup, Chopped

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Method
• Pan fry finely sliced onions to golden brown and drain it on a paper towel. ( Use half for Marination & remaining for the Masala ).

For Marination

• Marinate with all the ingredients listed below For Marination and keep it aside for min 1 hour.

For Masala
• Grind Green Chillies, ginger & garlic to paste.
• Take a big pot. Add Fried Onion, Green Chilli-Ginger & Garlic paste, Cinnamon, Cloves, Green Cardamom, Black Cardamom, Star Aniseed. Sauté until the raw smell goes away.
• Add the chopped tomatoes, Cook it along with the masala for couple of minutes.
• Now add the marinated Chicken along with the chopped Mint and Coriander. Allow it to cook covered for 10-15 mins.

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For Cooking Rice
• Wash and soak Rice for 30 mins. Drain and keep it aside
• Boil 4 cups of water with the following ingredients Bay leaf 2,Cloves 3, Cardamom 1, Cumin 1 tsp, Salt req.
• Add soaked Rice and cook until 70% done. Approximately 5-8 mins.
• Add a pinch of Saffron to a tbsp of warm water. Pour it on top of the cooked rice.
• Remove and drain it in a colander.

For Layering Masala & Cooked Rice
• Remove half of the cooked Chicken masala to a plate.
• Layer with half of cooked Rice to it and level it. Garnish with chopped Coriander,Mint and few drops of Rose Essence.
• Again empty the Chicken Masala from the plate on top of the Rice.
• Layer with rest of the Rice, chopped Coriander,Mint & Rose essence.

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• Cover it and keep ‘Dhum’. Transfer the pot to a unused Dosa tawa and allow it to cook in low flame for an hour or two.
• Switch off the stove. Let the Biryani sit for an hour before you serve.
• Serve with cold raitha.

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Tips
• Use big pieces of Chicken with bones for this Biryani.
• You can try this with Mutton too. Don’t forget to add Meat tenderizer powder along or you can even pressure cook Mutton separately and prepare Biryani.