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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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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Boondhi Laddoo

Ingredients

Besan / Bengal gram flour 2 cups
Salt less than a pinch

For the Sugar syrup

Sugar 2 cups
Water 1 cup
Cloves 4
Cardamom 2, grounded
Cashew & Raisins 3 tbsp, chopped
Ghee 1 tbsp

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Method

• Roast the Cashew & Raisins in ghee and keep it separately.
• Take a heavy bottomed vessel, mix the sugar and water and start heating it till you get the half – string consistency.( When you touch the syrup with your index finger and thumb, it forms a string and breaks immediately) a stage before one-string consistency.
• Switch off the flame and start heating oil in a pan to fry the boondhis.
• Mix the besan with salt and water to dosa batter consistency.
• Make sure there is no lump in this and keep the batter ready.
• Take 2 perforated ladles, one for making the boondhis and other for removing it from the oil.
• Now pour a ladle full of batter on the perforated ladle, holding it on top of oil.
• When it is fried, remove it from the oil before it turns brown and transfer it on a tissue paper.
• Repeat this process for the rest of the batter.
• Add cloves, cardamom, roasted cashew, raisins and the fried boondhis to the syrup. Mix it well.
• Start making the balls when it is warm and store in a airtight container.

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Tips
• You can add a pinch of yellow colour for a good colour.
• Baking Soda can be added for crispy fried boondhis.
• While making sugar syrup, if the sugar gets crystallized or hard, you can add few tbsp of hot water to bring back the desired consistency.
• Kalkandu & edible camphor can also be added to enhance the taste.
• Clean the perforated ladle each time before you pour in the batter to get the perfect round shaped boondhis.
• If your boondhis turned uneven lumpy, you can add it to your blender and pulse it for couple of times before tossing it to the syrup.

Mysore Pak / Sri Krishna Mysorepa

SKS Mysore Pak is a delicious sweet, which melts in the mouth & is loaded with high calories. Recipe looks plain and simple but its little tricky to get the perfect consistency. Stay watchful throughout the cooking process.

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Ingredients

Besan flour 3/4 cup
Ghee/ Melted butter 1 1/2 cup
Sugar 1 1/2 cup
Water 3/4 cup

Method

• Grease a small plate and keep it separately.
• Dry roast the besan flour for few minutes in medium heat.( Make sure there is No color change) Keep it separately.
• Take sugar and water in a wide pot and start heating it.

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• Form a One Thread consistency sugar syrup.
• Immediately add 1 cup of ghee to it.
• Add flour little by little stirring it continuously.
• Beginners please remove from the stove/ switch off for a minute as this step requires multitasking with Adding & Stirring the flour side by side, so that no lumps are formed. mix it thoroughly and put it back to the stove.
• Add the remaining 1/2 cup ghee. Continue stirring it in the low flame.

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• The mixture starts to leave the vessel.
• Transfer it to the greased plate and level it.
• Make it to desired shapes when it is still warm.
• In 30 minutes it is ready to be served.
• It can be stored in airtight container!

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Banana Nut Bread

Banana nut bread recipes are a great way to use over ripe bananas. It gets added cruch with the chopped walnuts! Tips: 1. Use really ripened bananas. Ones with more black spots. 2.Try to use brown sugar, it adds more flavor to the bread!

Ingredients

Dry
All purpose flour 2 cups
Baking powder 1 tsp
Baking soda 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon 1/2 tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Walnuts 1/2 cup, chopped

Wet
Butter 1/2 cup
Egg 1
Sugar 1 1/4 cup
Milk 1/4 cup ( can use buttermilk or yogurt instead)
Vanilla essence 1tsp
Banana 2 medium size, smashed

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Method

• Preheat the oven to 350. Grease the 9 x 5 inch loaf pan,dust it with the flour & keep it separately.
• Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
• Add the nuts to it and keep these dry ingredients separately.
• Beat butter along with the sugar, add egg, then add vanilla extract, smashed banana and mix it well.
• Now gently combine the dry ingredients in to the beaten mixture by adding milk in between.
• Transfer the batter in to the greased pan and bake it at 350F for 60 mins.( Pls start checking after 45 mins)
• Remove from the oven and allow it to cool. Gently slide the knife to the corners and remove the loaf from the pan.
• Cut into thick slices to serve!

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Rava Banana Appam

Ingredients

Rava 1 cup
Rice flour 1/2 cup( instead of maida)
Banana 1
Sugar 3/4 cup
Cardamom 1,powdered
Baking soda 1 pinch(optional)

Method
• Soak Rava in water for 1 hour.
• Add rice flour, banana, sugar, cardamom, baking soda and mix it well.
• Batter should be like dosa batter consistency.( Make sure it is not too watery)
• Heat oil in a pan. Pour in a laddle of batter to the oil and Fry it.
• Appam is ready!

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Vegetable Rava Upma

Upma is the easiest and quickest food to prepare. I make it once in a while when I am totally out of any ideas for the dinner. It comes to my rescue. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

Rava 1 cup
Onions 1/2 cup
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Urad dhal 1 tsp
Curry leaves 1 strand
Channa dhal 1 tbsp
Mixed vegetables 1 cup
Asafoetida 1 pinch
Red chillies 2
Ghee 2tbsp

Method
• Roast rava with a tablespoon of ghee for very few minutes. Make sure you don’t burn it. Keep it separately.
• Heat oil in a pot and add mustard seeds. When it cracks down then add urad dhal, channa dhal, asafoetida,curry leaves & red chillies one by one sautéing it continuously.
• Add the chopped onions & sauté it for a while. Then the mixed vegetables & allow it to cook for 2 more minutes.
• Now add 3 cups of water and required salt. When the water boils, add slowly the roasted rava. Mixing it continuously so that no lumps are formed.
• Add the remaining 1 tbsp of ghee on top and mix it. (You can add cashews roasted in ghee to it)
• Serve it with chutney or just the sugar.

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St Clements Drizzle Cake

Ingredients

All purpose flour 3/4 cup
Baking powder 1 tbsp
Salt 1/8 tbsp
Butter 3/4 cup
Sugar 3/4 cup ( finely powdered)
Eggs 2
Milk 4 tbsp
Orange zest from 1 orange
Lemon zest from 1 lemon

Drizzle

Juice of 1 big lemon
Juice of 1 big orange
3 tbsp granulated sugar

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METHOD
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and dust the pan with flour.
2. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt and keep it separately.
3. Place the superfine sugar, butter and lemon and orange zest in a bowl and beat together until pale and creamy.
4. Add the milk, and then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
5. Add flour spoon by spoon mixing it gently and pour it into the prepared baking pan. Level the surface.
6. Bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, until they are golden and a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the centre.

For Drizzle

7. Place the lemon and orange juice in a saucepan, bring to the boil and allow it to reduce to about 3tbsp.
8. Cool it and then add 3 tbsp of granulated sugar to the syrup. Drizzle is ready.

Drizzle on Cake

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9. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick it with a skewer several times, then slowly pour the syrup all over the top, letting it soak into the cake.
10. Allow it to cool completely in the pan.
11. Moist St Clement’s Drizzle cake is ready!

Badam Halwa

Badam Halwa is the most yummiest sweet I could think of. My kids totally love it and I do make it only on special days as it is packed with lots of calories. There should be no compromise made with the ghee as I have already reduced the quantity by half.
Ingredients

Almonds 1 cup
Milk 1 cup
Sugar 1 cup
Yellow food colour Little
Ghee 1/2 cup
Water 1/2 cup
Saffron Little in 4 tbsp of
warm milk
Almonds thin slices Garnish

Method

1. Soak almonds over night or in hot water for couple of hours.
2. Peel off the outer skin and grind the almonds to a coarse paste.
3. Take a wide heavy bottomed pan. In that boil 1/2 cup water and add the sugar to it.
4. Once the sugar dissolves, add the grounded paste, milk and few spoons of ghee.
5. Mix it till they become a semi solid mixture by adding a tsp of ghee every few minutes.
6. Finally add the yellow colour and saffron milk mixture to it. Mix thoroughly!
7. Badam halwa is now ready. It will get thicker when it is cooled down. You can serve them directly in a small bowl or pour it in a wide plate and later cut it in to small pieces or even press it in between the butter paper to form a thin layer as we get it in India.

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