Tuesday, November 19, 2013


I have wanted to try out basundhi for a long time. Couple of weeks back , hubby and myself where on the 6 day sahsti veredham. It was a devine week with lord muruga, and I made this delicious bsundhi on the 6th day day to celebrate Soorasamharam.

Hope you try out this sweet and simple dessert for your next veredham!

Makes 2 servings

Milk – 3 Cups
Sugar – ¼ Cup
Pista /Badam – 10
Saffron – few strands
Cardamon /cardamom extract – a pinch 

  • Heat the milk in a pan, over medium flame.
  • Keep stirring until in reduces to one-third of volume.
  • Keep stirring at regular intervals, to prevent burning at the bottom of pan.
  • Add the sugar,cardamom and pista/badam and keep stirring until the sugar dissolves for about 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove from stove and cool completely. Serve chilled.

Diwali Cupcakes - Eggless Vanilla with Fondant toppers

Here are my cupcakes for Diwali. Sorry for a very late Diwali post my friends. 

I have been taking cupcake orders on request for a while now. So these are some eggless vanilla cupcakes with fondant toppers that I made for Diwali. Please contact me for price and details at chitra_visalakshi@yahoo.co.in. Do follow us on facebook for future updates. 

I had so much fun making these fondant toppers. I was so glad to hear great feedback from happy customers. I also made a batch for my friends, along with some homemade murukku!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Chocolate Pudding

Puddings were a new concept to me. When I first moved to Singapore, I tried these small mango pudding cups from Fairprice. These were almost a jelly than a pudding, so I was never really interested in puddings again. But some years later a friend of mine from Germany said that she was totally addicted to chocolate puddings! So I gave chocolate pudding a try, and they were pure bliss! 

I stumbled upon a wonderful site pixelandcrumbs.com, I found this easy recipe for chocolate pudding. Her pictures were so inspiring for my photo shoot as well.

Recently we went to a close-friend’s daughter’s birthday. I wanted to make a quick and eggless dessert to take to the birthday party. And this pudding recipe seemed the perfect dessert for a 9 year old and a 3 year old! The adults too enjoyed their sweet little chocolate cups!

Chocolate Pudding:
Makes: 12 small jelly cups of pudding

¼ cup (30 grams) – Corn-starch ( I used tapioca starch)
½ cup (100 grams) – Sugar
1/8 teaspoon - Salt
3 Cups (705 ml) – Milk
170 grams (6 ounces) – Baking Chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used Hershey’s chocolate chips)
1 teaspoon – Vanilla essence

  • Use a double broiler, or place a large stainless steel bowl over a pot of simmering hot water.
  • In the stainless steel bowl add the tapioca starch, sugar and salt.
  • Slowly add the milk to the bowl. Keep stirring constantly to mix all the ingredients.
  • Keep the stove on medium, and continue to stir for about 10-15 minutes.
  • As the mixture begins to thicken, to test the consistency, use a spoon to see if it coats the back of the spoon.
  • Now add the chocolate and keep stirring until dissolved for about 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add the vanilla essence.
  • If there are any lumps, strain the pudding through a strainer. This is not necessary if the pudding is of smooth consistency.
  • When still hot, spoon the pudding into serving bowl or individual cups.
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and upto 3 days. 
  • Serve chilled with a topping of strawberries/whipped cream/ any nuts.

Double Broiler Method

The mixture coating the back of the spoon.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Coconut Pudding

Hey there! How is everyone? Sorry for being away so long. Have been held up at work. But I have been trying out new recipes, just dint have time to post them. So I will try my best to post them all ASAP.

I came across this recipe for tender coconut pudding in a beautiful Indian blog collaborativecurry.com. The recipe called for tender coconut and its water, this sounded interesting. So that weekend I went to Little India and bought this huge coconut! At home hubby helped to cut open the hard coconut, we did it with a butcher knife. 

This pudding is rich in taste, the natural coconut pulp and the coconut water is such a refreshing flavor.
This is a quick and easy dessert, so make this for you next dinner party and wow your guests!
Pudding in silicon cupcake cases.
Coconut Pudding:
Yeilds:  8 Cupcake size puddings.

Milk – 2 cups
Condensed Milk – 1 can (12 oz)
Tender Cocnut water – ½ cup
Tender cocnut pulp – from 1
Unflavoured Gelatin – 2 Tablespoons

  1. Using a knife cut open the top of the tender cocnut, and preserve the water. 
  2. Then break open the coconut and scoop out the pulp with a spoon. Cut the pulp into small pieces.
  3. In a bowl, take 5 tablespoons water and sprinkle gelatin over and let it bloom.
  4. In a pan, heat the milk and condensed milk together until scalded.
  5. Mix in the bloomed gelatin with the hot mixture until completely dissolved. 
  6. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. 
  7. Add the coconunt water and pulp and mix well. 
  8. Pour the mixture into moulds or bowls, and cover with plastic wrap.
  9. Keep refrigerated until set for 3-4 hours.
  10. Serve cold, with chopped almonds, cashews or pistachios.

  • I have used Gelatine to make the jelly; you can also use Agar Agar powder, both available in supermarkets. 
  • If using Agar agar powder, use (same amount as gelatine) – 2 tablespoons
  • If using agar agar flakes use – 4 tablespoons. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

No-Bake Nutella Cheesecake

     Happy Easter wishes to everyone. Hope you enjoyed the long weekend. I did a lot of shopping. Hubby dragged me to the new G.I.Joe movie, and for the first time ever I managed to fall asleep in a theater! And this was after my experience with the looong musical movie Les Miserables!! The movie was too boring for me.
     We had some guests over on Saturday. I got to try out two new recipes, Palak Poori and this Nutella Cheesecake. Both came out great. I am a fan of both dishes now!
     This No-Bake Cheesecake is so quick and easy to put together, but looks like you slaved over it. It was so rich and chocolatey, melt in your mouth goodness. If you are mad about chocolate desserts, then this one is going to steal your heart! Make this ahead of time and store in the refrigerator, and enjoy it at the end of your meal with friends.  

Crushing Oreo Cookies in a zip-lock bag.
No-Bake Nutella Cheesecake:
Yields: 5 – 6 Servings
Recipe from mybakingaddiction.com

For the Crust:
12 Oreo Cookies – Crushed into Crumbs
Unsalted Butter – 2 Tablespoons,Melted

For the Filling:
Cream Cheese – 1 Cup, softened (I used Philadelphia Block Cream Cheese)
Nutella – 2/3 cup
Vanilla Extract – 1 teaspoon
Whipped Cream – 1 Cup (I used whipped cream from a can)

For the Topping:
Whipped Cream
Almonds – Chopped and roasted

  • Place the Oreo cookies in a zip-lock bag and crush it with a rolling pin. (Rolling Pin: Used to make Chapattis)
  • Mix the crushed cookies with melted butter. Divide equally among individual serving dishes and press it down to for the Crust Layer.
  • In a bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together the softened cream cheese and Nutella until smooth.
  • Now with a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped cream with the cream cheese and Nutella. Mix gently until no white streaks are seen.
  • Pipe or spoon in the mixture, on top of the Oreo cookie crust layer.
  • Cover and refrigerate, for 2 hours.
  • Serve cold, topped with whipped cream and roasted almonds.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Rava Laddu

When I was growing up, my favourite homemade sweets were rava laddu and boli. I still remember my grandma sitting in our living room in Chennai, and making these laddus. She would tell my mom, “Put more ghee… put more ghee”!! After her, my mom still makes them for me every time I visit Chennai. Hmmm… rava laddus always make me so nostalgic.
When my mom visited us last December she made these for us. They were so fragrant from the homemade ghee which she makes. She grinds the roasted rava before making the laddus, so they melt in your mouth! But there were so many laddus, we couldn’t possibly finish them all. So I stored a few fresh one in my refrigerator, and suprising they lasted two months.
Hope you try out this easy indian sweet during your next cooking session.

Rava Laddu
Makes 20 laddus
Rava – 1.5 cups
Sugar – 3/4 cups
Ghee – 1/4 cup (or more, according to taste)
Note: The ratio of rava to sugar is 1:1/2

  • Roast the rava until golden brown.
  • Let it cool, then grind to a fine powder in the mixer.
  • Grind the sugar to a fine powder in the mixer.
  • In a large bowl, mix the powdered rava and sugar.
  • Heat the ghee on the stove, until it smokes slightly. (To test if the ghee is hot enough, sprinkle a little bit of powdered rava in the ghee. If the ghee bubbles, then it is ready).
  • Now spoon the ghee little by little onto the rava mixture and make the laddus while it is hot.
  • Let the laddus cool for 3-4 hours. The laddus become firm after cooled.
  • Store in an airtight container. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Coconut Cupcakes

I love coconut flavoured cakes. So these cupcakes have been on my to-do list for a long time. But I couldn't find coconut extract anywhere. I finally found the extract last week in a local supermarket by accident. So I couldn't wait to try out this recipe.

These cupcakes are pure bliss. The frosting melts in your mouth.  The cupcake recipe is one I came across in Food Network Channel by Ina Garten, but I decided to add coconut flavour instead of the almond flavouring she suggested. They are perfect together!

The cupcakes are so full of coconut flavour. The frosting is plain cream cheese frosting with added coconut flavour.  I didn't add any coconut to the frosting because I was only able to find desiccated coconut, and I was worried if I added it to the frosting, it would become very chewy.  
I hope you enjoy these dreamy cupcakes as much as I do!
Beating butter and sugar, by hand.
Fold in the flour with a spatula.

Cream Cheese straight out of the refrigerator, for the frosting.
Cooled cupcakes ready for frosting with plain round nozzle.
Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Yields: 12 Large Cupcakes or 20 Medium Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
3/4 Cup - unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup - sugar
3 - eggs, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon - vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon - coconut extract
1 1/2 cups - plain flour
1/2 teaspoon - baking powder
1/4 teaspoon - baking soda
1/4 teaspoon - salt
1/2 cup – buttermilk or plain yogurt
1/2 cup - sweetened, shredded coconut ( I used desiccated coconut)
For the cream cheese frosting:
1 cup - cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup - unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon - vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon - coconut extract
1 cup – powdered sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (If you don’t own an electric mixer, used a wooden spoon and beat well by hand).
  • With the mixer running on low, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.
  •  Add the vanilla and coconut extracts and mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In three parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in shredded coconut.
  • Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each cup up to 3/4 with batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely before frosting.

Make the cream cheese frosting: 
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blend together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and coconut extracts.(If you don’t own an electric mixer, used a wooden spoon and beat well by hand).
  •  Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  • Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes, and sprinkle with shredded coconut or desired topping.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chocolate Brownies

My most favorite dessert is the brownie. I love their rich and dense chocolate texture. I was first introduced to brownies during my Undergrad days. My friends and I often visited a coffee shop next to our college. I hate coffee, but at that time cold coffee was quite the fab! We also had the brownies, which when zapped in the microwave for 10 seconds, tasted like molten lava cakes! I fell for these square pieces of heaven on my first bite!
I love baking brownies for 2 reasons. One, It is very hard to mess up a brownie recipe. Two, everyone loves brownies!
This is my go to recipe for brownies! Thank you www.browneyedbaker.com for this wonderful recipe.
Hershey's Baking chocolate.
Melting the chocolate with butter oven a pan of simmering water.
So I hope you give this recipe a try and share the baked goodies with your friends. They will love you for it.

Chocolate Brownies:
Yeild: 24 Brownies

1¼ cups - Plain flour
1 teaspoon - Salt
2 tablespoons - Cocoa powder
11 ounces - Baking chocolate, coarsely chopped (i used Hershey's Baking Chocolate Bar)
1 cup - Unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon - Instant Coffee powder (I used Bru Coffee)
1½ cups - Sugar
½ cup - Packed light brown sugar
5 eggs - At room temperature
2 teaspoons - Vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together.
  3. Put the chocolate, butter and instant coffee powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. 
  4. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
  5. Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
  6. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into squares and serve.
  8. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for upto 3-4 days.
  9. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks. While serving, heat in microwave for 10-15 seconds, and top it with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.
  10. For freezing, cut into squares and store in individual bags, and store in the freeze for up to a month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and serve warm.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Custard & Jelly Cups

 Here is easy-peasy Valentine’s Day special treat! I wanted to post something sweet and red and quick for the heading lover’s day. This is a dessert that you can out put together in about 10 minutes. But it takes a bit of thinking ahead.
There are two layers involved here; the bottom is a jelly layer. The top layer is custard. You can choose any flavour of jelly you want. I used cherry flavoured Tropical Jelly mix for my jelly layer, although it took like 2 minutes to make this jelly, I did not like the flavour much. So you might want to experiment with some other brands. I choose the cherry flavour because I thought the red colour looked great with the cream coloured custard. Just sprinkled some pomegranate seeds on top to make the contrast pop!
The custard layer is my favourite, I have made this a million times. I use store bought custard powder to make my custards. They are quick and taste great. You can definitely make custard from scratch but it is a tricky process.
I used these cute little shot glasses. They are so convenient when dealing with guests who whine about being too full for desserts. I filled a ¼ of each cup with the hot jelly mix and let it set for a while in the refrigerator. 
In the meantime you make the custard. After the custard had cooled, store it in the refrigerator.
Alternatively: You can make diagonal layers of jelly and custard. Use a box filled with rice, and arrange your cups in a diagonal position, as seen in the pic below. Then you can pour in the hot jelly mix and set it in the fridge .
When you are ready to serve, take out the set jelly cups and spoon the custard carefully on top of the jelly. Top of with the pomegranate seeds, or your any topping of your choice like chocolate chips, cherries, chocolate sauce or whipped cream.
Have a lovely Valentine’s Day!  
Custard & Jelly Cups:

Jelly Layer:
Follow the instructions on your Jelly mix package.

Custard Layer:
  • Take 500ml of milk.
  • From this take ¼ cup of milk and mix in 2 table spoons of custard powder and make a smooth paste.
  • Boil the remaining milk in a milk pan.
  • Then add 4 table spoons of sugar
  • Keep the flame low and add the custard paste slowly into the milk.
  • Stir continuously to avoid burning.
  • Cook for 4-5 minutes. Stir it a bit longer if you want a thick consistency.
  • Let it cool and store refrigerated. Serve cold.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Wild Honey Lemonade

Finally back to blogging! My apologies, for being away for almost two months! That is because we moved to our new place a couple of months back, and it has been hectic with packing and unpacking. Seriously, if I ever have to unpack one more box gain, I am going to flip out!

I love my new house and my new kitchen has so much spaceJ. But I do miss my old house. Speaking of the old house, Mr.David, who was our next door neighbour, lived there with his two adorable dogs – Ginger and Hutch. He was always so nice to us. A few months before we moved out, he gave us this huge pack of wild honey from China, given to him by one of his friends.

He sounded so excited about the wild honey, which was in small cubes. I had no clue what to do with it. I was also doubtful about the taste. My hubby suggested we try it with lemonade first. We both love lemoades, and it turned out great, sweet and refreshing. It tasted more like sugar, not as thick as the normal honey that we are used too. Now we use it with milk and tea too.

Later when I researched online, I found that wild honey has seven times the benefit over the usual honey. It is not as sweet as the usual honey, and when mixed with water, wild honey appeared clear and transparent.
So next time when you come across small cubes of wild honey, do give it a try and enjoy the health benefits!