Sunday, November 28, 2010

Waffles - Very Versatile

The first time I ate a waffle was when I was in college in Bombay. As a treat one night, a few of us from the hostel went across to the Taj (of the 26/11 infamy) to have dinner. We went to the coffee shop then called Shamiana. We had a blast that evening. Got dressed to the hilt. It was an evening to remember after all. Here we were, college students splurging on a dinner in one of the fanciest hotels in town. I simply cannot remember what I ate for dinner that night. But for dessert I ordered waffles with fruit, honey and icecream. It was DELICIOUS!!!!. I can even today remember the aromas wafting from it. It tasted divine and the combination of the hot waffle, cold icecream, smooth honey and flavorful fruit was superb.

Waffles are one thing that look so hard to make but in reality are the easiest. It is something which can be rustled up in a jiffy. Waffles are very versatile and can be served as breakfast, dessert or even as a main course. There are any number of toppings that you can put on a waffle. One can also make it healthier by using whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour.

I bought a waffle maker many years ago and it has been on our Sunday/holiday breakfast menu off and on ( I can hear my son pipe up at this point and say "more off than on").

This recipe is now being posted for my sister who just got her waffle maker. May their family have many waffles filled days ahead!!!!.


2 Eggs
2 cups Milk
6 tablespoons or 90 grams Melted Butter
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoon Sugar

Mix all the liquid ingredients (eggs, milk, butter and extract) in a bowl.

Sift the dry ingredients till well mixed.

Add the dry ingredients to the liquid and mix well till it is a smooth batter.

Heat the waffle maker and pour in required batter.

Close and cook till browned.

Serve with maple syrup, honey, fruit... The list goes on.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Korivi Kharam ( Red Chilli Pickle) and Andhra Food Series

This is going to be a real quick post. It has been on the back burner for a long long time. Made the pickle, forgot to take the picture. By which time the fresh red chillies disappeared from the market. And I was determined to take the picture only with the red chillies in it.

The pickle started getting consumed and also changing colour. First I pondered on whether to make a fresh batch whenever I saw the red chillies again. But then better sense prevailed. Thanks to todays daily updates on health and nutrition, I decided that there was no need for any one in the family to eat such spicy food or one that is loaded with salt.

So the next time I saw fresh red chillies in the store, I quickly brought them home and took the pictures. As you can see, the colour of the pickle has changed from a bright red to a a little more brown. When you first make the pickle, it has a beautiful fiery red colour. This pickle has a long shelf life of a year at least. The only thing is that there will be a little colour change.

It is a begging to be eaten food. It just calls out for some hot rice with melted ghee to be poured generously over. But I have to warn you - IT IS SPICY and definitely not for the faint hearted. Actually, at home there is only one brave soul who can take on the might of this spicy pickle. He thoroughly enjoys eating this even if the tears pour down and his face turns red with the heat of the pickle. So this post is for you, Vin.


1/2 kg Ripe red chillies
250 grams Salt
125 grams Tamarind
1 teaspoon Turmeric powder
25 grams Fenugreek seeds (Methi)
200 ml Gingelly Oil (Sesame Oil)
1 teaspoon Asafoetida


Wash and dry the red chillies thoroughly

Grind the red chillies, salt, tamarind, and turmeric powder to a coarse paste.

Store in an airtight and sterile jar for about 2 to 3 days.

Roast and powder the fenugreek seeds.

Heat the oil to medium hot (not smoking) and add the asafoetida.

Cool and add to the ground red chillies mixture.

Finally add the fenugreek powder and mix thoroughly.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Murukku or Thenguzhal - Try Pronouncing That

Tamil is an old classical language. It has been around for many many years. And the point to note is that if you don't speak Tamil in Chennai or at least something resembling it, it is very hard to manage. Particularly a while back. At least now, some lots of the people speak English in the city.

When I moved to Chennai about 20 years ago I did not know a word of Tamil. Not a word. Even now I speak it quite badly. I think the reason for that is that I learnt it from the maids and drivers. Even after 20 years, my Tamil is a disgrace. Whether I can fix this after so long, I am not sure. I never know when to give respect, I end up calling old patis "nee".... I can go on and on with my list of mis-spoken(?) Tamil. But I don't want to bore you too much. Suffice to say that I don't speak it well and that I am the butt of all the jokes with my friends. Thats why I tend to speak in English as far as possible unless and until I cannot avoid it.

But I think the main issue with Tamil is the pronunciation. It is HARD to say the least..
The 'zha', the 'sha'... the H is simply not present. All h's are substituted with g so a Mahesh becomes a Mages. There is no P. So a Padma becomes a Badma and a Poori is now a Boori...

I have a hard time mastering the right pronunciation. What trips me up each time without fail is the 'zha'. Mambazham is the word for mango. Now, it is not that simple. The zha is not with a z sound at all. It is some sort of rolling L. So for the uninitiated, it ends up being mambalam. Things get trickier with the word for banana. Vazhapazham. Bad enough having to negotiate the much dreaded 'zha' once. Imagine having to do it twice over for the same word...

This being a food blog, we have to get down to the more important matter at hand. Food..

Now Murukku is the most delicious snack one can ever taste. It is crunchy and perfect for those hungry times in between meals. My husband A lot of people like to eat something crunchy along with their meals. This is a great substitute to papads/appalams.

I always thought this was a hard thing to make. But once I tried my hand at it, I figured it is easy enough though hard on the hands.

This recipe is adapted from Samaithu Paar (Cook and See). It comes out perfectly each time.


3.5 cups Rice Flour
1 cup Urad Dal Flour
100 grams Butter
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons Sesame seeds (Til) or Cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 teaspoon Asafoetida
Oil for deep frying


Sift the rice flour and urad flours together.

Mix in the butter into the flour mixture.

Add the salt and asafoetida powder into a cup of water. Mix it well till the salt dissolves.

Mix this water into the flour/butter mixture a little at a time.

Form a dough which is not too soft. You should be able to just hold it together and roll it into a smooth ball.

Heat oil till medium hot.

Put a small quantity of the dough into the Thenguzhal press.

Make circles into the hot oil.

Do not put in too many at one time as it will reduce the temperature of the oil.

When it gets to be a beautiful light brown, take it out of the oil and put on a paper towel.

Let them cool down then store in an airtight container.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Baby Badushas and Happy Deepavali

Here comes that time of the year again. Here's wishing all my readers a very happy Deepavali and a prosperous year ahead.

Deepavali is a festival celebrated with great fervor throughout the country. It is a festival eagerly looked forward to by one and all . It has no age barriers. Deepavali definitely means food, crackers, new clothes, food, visiting people, food, food....

That having been said it is also a festival which ends up being an eating orgy. Food keeps going down the system non stop and without any control at all. Sweets, savories, heavy pulaos, rich curries... the list goes on. In fact, we happily use the kids as an excuse to cook that much. The kids need to eat well.... They need to celebrate... Deepavali comes but once a year..... In the meantime, we have consumed these vast quantities of rich foods. And then struggle with our conscience and weight gain. Thats why our people knew the importance of Leghiyam at the end of the festivities. It is sorely needed to digest all that rich food eaten over the last few days.

We too make a lot of food during this season. In fact, I think I have used more oil and sugar in the last couple of days than in the entire two months preceding it. Just happily pouring in the oil into the frying pans and letting the sugar syrups bubble away to glory. What can I say? Deepavali comes but once a year...

Each year we have a combination of old favorites and a new addition to our feast. I love making one thing new each year. Something I have not tried out earlier. It helps in adding to my repertoire. It is also a good excuse to update my blog. I try to make something traditional and in keeping with the Deepavali spirit. I am all for innovation and creativity, but there is something to be said for the old faithfuls. They have been around for many years and will continue to be there for next so many.

This year I tried my hand at making Badushas. They are pretty simple to make and if you don't count calories (you should not- this is Deepavali, right? And Deepavali comes but once a year..) it is quite a nice sweet to eat for the festive season. It also lasts for a while so thats another plus point. The only thing is I made my badushas really baby sized. They looked cute and are perfect for one mouthful.


3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cooking soda
4 big tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cardamom powder

Oil to deep fry


Sift the all purpose flour and baking soda till well mixed

Add the cardamom powder

Add in the ghee and gently rub in.

Add water a tablespoon at a time to make it into a dough.

Do NOT over knead the dough.

Make small lemon sized balls and make a depression with your forefinger. This helps cooking the badusha through.

Simultaneously, heat the sugar with 2 cups of water till a two string consistency is obtained. (Take a bit of the syrup between your fingers and pull apart. two strings should form)

Heat oil till medium hot. It should not be smoking.

Fry the badushas till golden brown and immerse into the syrup.
Leave the badushas to soak in the syrup for a minute or two.

Take out and let dry.