Monday, November 23, 2015

Tomato Thokku

My mom makes this thokku for us every time she comes to Singapore, and it lasts for a long time even after she has returned to India. So recently I started to make this tomato thokku for my hubby every time I go to India on long vacations.  This is a quick and easy to make, and goes well with almost everything like rice, chapathi, dosai, idly, etc. I have made this so many times now, that hubby claims my recipe is better than my mom’s J  The trick is to make it really spicy and add more oil ;) 

Tomato Thokku
5 tomatoes - chopped finely.
1 teaspoon - red chilli powder,
2 teaspoon - sambar powder,
1 teaspoon - ginger garlic paste,
1/2 teaspoon - turmeric,
1 teaspoon- fenugreek powder,
2 teaspoon – salt (or as required)

  • In a kadai, temper - mustard seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida.
  • Add the tomatoes along with the rest of the ingredients. Let the mixture boil for 5 minutes, keep stirring.
  • Then reduce flame and let it cook until oil oozes out. Stir at constant intervals to avoid burning.
  • Store in a dry container, after cooling completely.
NOTE: The thokku keeps well for 4 weeks if refrigerated. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Brownies - Eggless

I made this recipe for one of our Deepavali get together. I had to make dessert for almost 60 people, and these brownies seemed like a good idea. I made fondant toppers and stamped them with alphabet stamps.

These brownies where a crowd pleaser! The best part of it was the colorful fondant toppers. This recipe has been adapted from Food for 7 Stages of Life.
Milk + Vinegar resting for 10 minutes
Beating together - Oil, Mil + vinegar mixture, vanilla, coffee 
Chocolate chips tossed with
coco powder or plain flour
Batter in the pan, ready to go into the oven
Baked brownie,  out of the oven and cut into 25 squares.
Brownies – Eggless
Yields: One 8x8 square pan, 25 small pieces.

For the brownies:
Plain Flour – 1 cup
Cocoa Powder – 6 tablespoons (I used Valrhona Cocoa Powder)
Icing Sugar – 1 Cup
Baking Soda – 1 teaspoon
Salt – a pinch
Oil – 1/3 Cup (I used sunflower oil)
Milk – 1 1/2Cup
Vinegar – 1 teaspoon
Instant coffee powder – ½ teaspoon
Vanilla essence – ½ teaspoon
Chocolate Chips – ½ cup
Walnuts – ¼ cup, chopped and roasted (Optional)

For the fondant toppers:
Chocolate Icing – …. (I used Betty Crocker’s icing)
Readymade Fondant – 1 pack, white color
Food coloring- in different shades

To make the brownies:
  • Line a 8x8 square baking pan with baking sheet. Pre-heat oven to 180C.
  • Mix the vinegar with room-temperature milk and set aside for 10 minutes.
  • Sift together the flour, icing sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt.
  • In a bowl, beat together the oil and vinegar + milk mixture. To this add the vanilla essence and instant coffee powder and mix well.
  • Now add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 additions, gently fold in the mixture. Do not over beat.
  • In a separate bowl toss the chocochips and walnuts with some cocoa powder, this is to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the tray while baking.
  • Fold the chocochips and walnuts into the batter.
  • Now pour the batter into the baking pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the brownie comes out with crumbs.
  • Remove from pan and let it cool. Cut into small squares.

 To make the icing and fondant toppers: (Optional)
  • Chill the chocolate icing for about 20 minutes. Then fill a piping bag with the icing and frost the brownies.
  • Take a small ball of the white fondant, and knead in the required food colouring.
  • Use icing sugar for dusting and then roll out the fondant to desired thickness.
  • Use cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes.
  • Place the fondant shapes onto the frosted brownies.

  • You can add chocolate chips, caramel chips, chocolate chunks, other nuts to change up the flavor of the brownies.
  • You can replace the chocolate icing with chocolate ganache. Click here for the chocolate ganache recipe.
  • The fondant toppers can be made a day in advance, store in a cool dry place.
  • Do not refrigerate the fondant. 
The cut out fondant toppers, layed out on baking paper to dry overnight.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Watermelon Pops

Here is a fun and easy way to make healthy fruit lollipops! I sliced the watermelon into thick slices, then I used heart shaped cookie cutters (from Daiso), and cut out cute little hearts. You can then use bamboo skewers and make your very own fruit kabobs! This is so easy and yet so adorable!

You can use cookie cutters with any type of fruit and make  mixed fruit kabobs. These will be a great colorful addition to you morning breakfast.

I made myself a cup of refreshing watermelon juice, with all the leftover pieces of fruit after cutting out my heart shapes :) 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Celebrating Singapore's 50th National Day!

I am proud to have called Singapore my home for the past decade....Thank you Singapore for all the lovely memories and more to come! Happy SG50 to all my Singapore friends!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Strawberry Pudding with whipped cream frosting

I made these yummy strawberry puddings for a committee meeting at our local temple. These pudding cups were a huge hit among adults and kids. It was so rich and creamy and the whipped cream topping elevated this simple pudding to a chic dessert option. 
 I originally made the rose pudding from The rose pudding was made with rose essence I got from India. It was so great that I tried this strawberry pudding recipe with a few alterations to the original recipe.
 I used small shot glasses for the photo shoot. The shot glasses are so versatile. Do invest in a few of them and you won’t regret it when your guests are ooing and aahing over your bite sized dessert during your next dinner party :) 

I used small disposable dessert cups for my second batch. These are so convenient for taking dessert for potlucks. And they look so cute.

Strawberry Pudding with whipped cream frosting
Yields – 20 small dessert cups of pudding

For the pudding:
  • Milk – 750 ml
  • Sugar – 1 ¼  Cups
  • Gelatin Powder – 2.5 Tablespoons
  • Strawberry essence – 1 teaspoon
  • Red food coloring – ½ teaspoon

For whipped cream frosting: (Optional)
  • Whipping cream – ½ cup (chilled)
  • Icing sugar – 5 tablespoons

For Pudding:
  • Soak the gelatin powder in ¼ cup of room temperature water for 15 min.
  • Add the sugar to the milk and heat it in a pan.
  • Bring the milk to a boil and let it simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Now add the gelatin mixture to the milk and keep stirring until dissolved.
  • Remove from heat, and add in the strawberry essence and red food coloring.
  • Strain the milk mixture through a sieve to remove any un-dissolved gelatin lumps.
  • Pour into a desired mould and refrigerate for 3 hours.
  • Serve cold with whipped cream topping.

For the whipped cream topping:
  • Beat the whipping cream and icing sugar in a stand mixture until stiff peaks are formed.
  • Fill a piping bag with the whipped cream and pipe over the set puddings.

  • Use different flavoured essences and food coloring to make a variety of pudding flavours.
  • I used small dessert cups and shot glasses to serve my pudding,
  • You can also use a cake pan or any serving dish to set the pudding. Coat the pan/dish with little bit of oil before pouring in the pudding mixture. After the pudding sets in the refrigerator, invert it on to a plate and cut into squares and serve cold.
  • The whipped cream topping is optional.

Strawberry Puddings – served in small disposable containers.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Karuveppilai Sadam / Curry Leaf Rice

Hello readers! After a break to India and a month of non-stop deadlines at work, I am back to blogging after a long hiatus. Every morning I am trying to decide on a quick and hassle free lunch menu which doesn’t require 500 vessels which would be later piled in the sink! Readymade rice mixes are great for quick lunches, but they are just not tasty enough in the long run. So I browsed my pinterest board for a this karuveppilai rice recipe from This is a quick lunch option when you have loads of fresh curry leaves in stock. 

Karuveppilai Sadam / Curry Leaf Rice:
Cooked Rice – 2 cups
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Whole dry red chillies – 2
Cashew nuts – 2 to 3 tbsp
Oil / Ghee – 3 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Roasted peanuts/cashews - optional

To grind:
Curry leaf / Karuveppilai – 1 cup (tightly packed)
Urad Dal – 2 tbsp
Coriander seeds – 2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
Black whole pepper – 1 tsp
Whole dry red chillies – 4 – 5
Tamarind – small ball
Oil – 1 tbsp

  • Heat a pan with little oil, add the urad dal, coriander seeds, whole dry red chillies, pepper corn, fenugreek, tamarind  and roast till they all become golden in color taking care not to burn them.
  • Add in the curry leaves to the pan and roast, tossing frequently. Remove from pan and let it cool.
  • Add a little water and grind the roasted spices into a smooth paste.
  • Heat oil in a pan; add mustard seeds, turmeric powder,  cumin seeds, urad dal, whole red chillies, a few curry leaves and sauté for a minute. Now add the ground spice paste and sauté for a minute or two.
  • Add the cooked rice, salt, roasted peanuts and mix gently. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Petit Fours with Fondant roses

I make a lot of cupcakes, so much so that friends call me The Cupcake Queen. So I have been trying out new techniques to get me out of a rut. And this was my first try with petit fours. 
I was to meet a few of my friends for brunch last week. We were doing a potluck, and I had volunteered to bring dessert. So I baked a plain eggless vanilla cake the day before, and also made some fondant decorations.
The next morning I quickly whipped up some chocolate butter-cream and put the petit fours together. I had to travel almost 1.5 hours to get to my friend's place, and my friends where very glad that my tiny little cakes survived the trip in hot sun! 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Chocolate Ganache Tart

A few years back my mom got me this tart pan from Chennai. I have been meaning to use it to bake a tart for almost 2 years, and have been researching for recipes! Which lead to the next issue of finding a good ganache recipe for the tart filling. After a bit of trial and error, I found a good chocolate ganache recipe and used it for hubby’s birthday cake. So here it is my final quest for tart! It makes for a versatile dessert to wow your guests!

Chocolate Ganache Tart:


For the tart shell:
All purpose flour – 1 ¼ cups
Egg yolk – 1
Ice Cold water – 2 tablespoons
Vanilla Extract – 1 teaspoon
Sugar – 1/3 cup
Salt – ¼ teaspoon
Cold Butter (unsalted) – 8 tablespoons

For the chocolate ganache filling:
Cooking chocolate (chopped) – 360 grams
Heavy Cream – 1 cup
Unsalted Butter – 3 tablespoons
Vanilla Extract – 1 teaspoon


To make the tart Shell:
  • In a bowl mix together the egg yolk, cold water and vanilla.
  • In a big bowl, add the sifted flour, sugar, salt and butter and beat on medium speed with an electric beater, until the mixture resembles a coarse texture.
  • Add the egg mixture and beat on low until the dough comes together.
  • Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Roll out the dough on a using a rolling pin on a light dusted surface (Use plain flour for dusting).
  • Roll out until the dough until the thickness is around 1/8th of an inch, and it should be big enough to cover the tart pan.
  • Carefully transfer the dough on to the tart pan. Press it to the sides using your fingers and trim out the excess dough.
  • Using a fork, score the base. Then cover the dough with a piece of baking paper, and fill it with rice. And bake the tart in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 5 minutes.  (I do this step to weigh down the dough and to prevent it from puffing up).
  • Remove the baking paper and rice, and continue baking for 15-20 minutes at 180 degrees, until the crust is golden brown.
  • Let it cool to room temperature, before adding the ganache filling.
To make the Chocolate Ganache Filling:
  • Add the chopped chocolate to a big bowl.
  • Heat the cream on the stove, and bring it to a boil.
  • Then pour half of the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds.
  • Using a spatula, very gently mix the cream and chocolate until the chocolate is dissolved.
  • Pour in the remaining cream and butter; blend it gently until everything is incorporated.
  • Let the ganache cool to room temperature.

To assemble the tart:
  • Both the tart and ganache has to cool to room temperature.
  • Pour the ganache over the tart. If the ganache has thickened and is no longer pourable, warm it for a few seconds in the microwave.
  • Cover the tart with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator, for at least 30 minutes for the ganache to set.
  • Take out the Tart a couple of hours before serving a top with fresh raspberries or strawberries along with a dollop of whipped cream.

  • I filled the baked tart with chocolate ganache and served it chilled with raspberries and whipped cream.
  • I also cut out small circles from the remaining dough and made mini tarts using my muffin pan.
  • You can replace the chocolate ganache with a white chocolate filling or a yummy caramel filling.
  • Add some chopped toasted nuts for a nice crunchy texture.