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Chocolate Fruit Cake

2017 is coming to end and I can't believe how fast this year has gone by. I'm looking forward to my Christmas and New Year break, and I guess most of you must be looking for the holidays and spending time with family. I wish all my readers and friends a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May this new year bring you all happiness, prosperity and good health. This is my last post for the year, see you next year with new recipes :)

I have tried quiet a few fruit cake recipes, but this cake one of the best fruit cakes I ever tasted. It's dark, moist and rich with a slight hint of chocolate and spice. This chocolate fruit cake recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson. Usually for fruit cakes, we soak the dry fruits in rum or brandy for couple of weeks, but in this cake we boil the fruits and let it is sit for sometime to develop the flavors and plump the fruits. You can use any dry fruits, but I would recommend not to skip the prunes as it makes the cake rich and moist. For a non-alcoholic version, use orange juice or coffee extract. It's a simple and easy recipe that requires just one bowl. It does take few hours to prep, bake and rest but I promise you it's worth the wait.


3 cups pitted prunes, chopped
1¾ cups raisins
1 cup currants
175 g unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup honey
½ cup Tia Maria or other coffee liqueur
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
1 tsp mixed spice
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup almond meal
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda


1. Preheat the oven 150°C/300°F. Line the sides and bottom of a  8-inch round spring form cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment. The paper should come up higher than the sides of the tin.

2. In a large saucepan, add the prunes, raisins, currants, butter, sugar, honey, Tia Maria, orange juice and zests, mixed spice and bring to the boil gently, stirring as the butter melts. Simmer for 10 minutes and leave to stand for 30 minutes.

3. Add the beaten eggs, all-purpose flour, almond meal, baking powder and baking soda and stir with a spatula to combine.

4. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin. Place in the oven and bake for 1¾–2 hours till the top of the cake is firm but will have a shiny and sticky look. If you insert a cake tester into the centre of the cake it will still be a little gooey in the middle.

5.Put the cake on a cooling rack. Once it's cool, remove from the tin.

Notes and Tips
  • For a non-alcoholic version, use orange juice or coffee extract.
  • Mixed spice is a blend of coriander, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.

Eggless Whole Wheat Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls #BreadBakers

For this month's Bread Bakers, Kalyani of Sizzling Taste Buds suggested to bake our favorite holiday breads made with whole grains as the theme. I chose to make these chocolate and cinnamon rolls made with whole wheat from Amy's Healthy Baking.

The recipe sounded easy with only one rise after the rolls are shaped and very healthy with whole wheat, coconut sugar and just 1 tablespoon of butter. I ran short of whole wheat, so added half cup all-purpose flour instead. I also increased the amount of butter and sugar, and added melted chocolate in the filling to make the rolls more decadent. The rolls turned out light and the chocolate filling was so delicious -  you don't need any glaze or icing. The rolls are great as a snack or with a cup of coffee.

Eggless Whole Wheat Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls Recipe


For the dough:
¾ cup warm milk
2 tbsp / 28g unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp salt
2 ¼ tsp instant yeast
2 cups whole wheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour

For the filling:
50 grams cup butter
3 ½ tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
100 grams chocolate


1. Lightly coat a 8" or 9” springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Add the wheat flour, all-purpose flour, yeast, sugar, salt to the food processor bowl and combine. Add the warm milk, butter and combine till it forms a dough.

3. Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until the dough springs back when you gently press your finger into it.

4. Cover the dough with cling warp and let it rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.

5. To make the filling, melt the butter and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Once cool, add the brown sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon and combine.

6. On a well-floured surface, roll the dough into a 16x10” rectangle. Spread the chocolate-cinnamon mixture, leaving a 1” border on the two longer sides.

7. Carefully roll up the dough into a log, starting at one long edge and rolling towards the other one. Pinch the free end onto the roll to seal.

8. Slice into 12 pieces using a sharp knife. Place the rolls in the springform pan, and cover with a cling wrap. Keep in a warm place for 30-45 minutes or until doubled in size.

9. Preheat the oven to 180 C | 350 F. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until the filling is bubbling and the sides feel firm. Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes.

Notes and Tips

  • If you are using dry yeast,  proof the yeast in warm milk and sugar before adding to flour.
  • If the dough won’t stick together, gently brush the second longer edge with water before pinching to seal.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

Check out other ‘Wholegrain Holiday Breads’ that our Bread Bakers baked this month:

Cranberry Pistachio Orange Biscotti

Today's I'm sharing a crunchy and delicious biscotti recipe studded with sweet cranberries and salty pistachios with a slight hint of orange flavor. This is a very easy recipe from Donna Hay, which you can make during the holiday season and perfect as Christmas gift for your friends and family.

I think the recipe yielded about 40 or 50 biscotti but I lost count as we started munching on these delicious biscotti's while slicing them up and few more soon after the final bake! Trust me, these biscottis are very addictive and you will keep eating one after the other. A simple recipe with a very ingredients and quite healthy too.


3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 orange
¾ cup caster sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup salted pistachios


1. Preheat oven to 160°C.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and beat them lightly. Add the orange zest, vanilla extract, sugar and combine well.

3. Sift the flour and baking powder. Add to the egg mixture along with cranberry and pistachio. Mix until it forms a dough.

4. Place the dough on a floured surface. The dough will be slightly sticky. Sprinkle little flour and knead the dough until smooth.

5. Divide the dough into two and form logs. Place the logs in a baking tray lined with baking paper. Slightly flatten the logs. 

6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until firm. Allow to cool completely. Once cool, cut into thin slices using a serrated knife. 

7. Place the slices on the baking tray. Place in the oven and bake at 180°C for 8-10 minutes or until crisp.


Cheesy Pesto Pull Apart Bread #BreadBakers

For this month's bread bakers challenge, Kelly Lawson from Passion Kneaded suggested baking a sweet or savory pull apart bread, monkey bread or bubble bread as the theme. If you love baking bread and want to join this wonderful bread baking group, scroll to the end of the post for further details.

I choose the dough recipe from the King Arthur Flour website and for the filling I added basil pesto and a mix of Parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella cheese. This bread recipe is a keeper. It was soft and very tasty bread. You can adapt this bread recipe and use any filling of your choice. Let's see how make his cheesy pesto pull apart bread.


For the dough:
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 tsp instant yeast or active dry yeast
2 cups All-Purpose Flour

1/3 cup pesto
1 1/2 cup grated cheese


1. Combine the milk, butter, sugar, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl or in a saucepan. Heat and stir until the butter melts. Let the mixture cool to lukewarm.

2. Transfer the milk mixture to a large mixing bowl and add egg, yeast, flour and mix to form a shaggy dough. Knead the dough until it's smooth. 

3. Place the dough in a greased container and cover. Let it rise for about 90 minutes, until it's puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk.

4. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Spread the pesto and sprinkle the cheese. Cut into  long strips and stack the strips.

5. Cut the strip into 5 and stack in a greased loaf pan. Allow to rise for another 90 minutes or till the dough starts filling the pan. 

6. Bake at 190 C | 350 F for 25-30 minutes until top is golden.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to


Banoffee Pie

Banoffee pie is an easy British dessert made with digestive biscuits, dulce de leche, bananas and whipping cream. It can be made in a pie tin, but I made them by layering in glass cups for easy serving and portion control. This no bake pie can be made ahead and apt for potlucks and parties.


Serves 4


 6 digestive biscuits
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup dulce de leche
2 banana, sliced
1 cup whipped cream
2 tbsp powdered sugar


1. Crush the biscuits to a fine powder and add the butter. Mix well. Spoon the biscuit crumb equally into the 4 cups. Chill for 10 minutes.

2. Top with 2 tbsp dulce de leche and layer with bananas. Keep refrigerated.

3. Whisk the whipping cream with sugar until stiff peak forms.

4. Spoon the whipped cream equally into the 4 cups. Sprinkle grated chocolate on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Tropical Mango Pineapple Smoothie

It's been a while since I posted a smoothie recipe here on the blog. The weather hasn't been that great to enjoy a glass of smoothie. The past winter in Melbourne has been super cold, windy and raining most of the days. But it's officially spring now and slowly the weather has started to warm up a bit. Spring is one of my favorite seasons and it's also the season of my favorite fruit - mango! I can't think of anyone who doesn't love a juicy ripe mango.

Kensington Pride, Calypso, R2E2 and Honey Gold are some of the mango varieties in Australia, with Kensington Pride being one of the most popular one. Mangoes are quite expensive too - after all it's the king of all fruits!!! On most Saturdays, we go to our local market to stock up the vegetables and fruits for the week. I got a box of mangoes which was heaps cheaper. I'm hoping to post some mango recipes unless we end up snacking all the mangoes!

Last Sunday the weather was beautiful. I made this tropical smoothie with mango, pineapple, Greek yogurt, orange juice and coconut water. It was so delicious and refreshing. Kids will definitely enjoy this healthy s smoothie. I don't follow any particular recipe for smoothie. Just throw the ingredients into the blender, adjust and taste as you go. Usually I add banana to smoothies to make it thick and creamy. This time I added mango and passion fruit flavored Greek yogurt; you can use plain yogurt. To thin out the smoothie I added coconut water and some orange juice. The sweetness in the fruit was enough for us. If you feel you need more sweetness, add some raw honey or other natural sweeteners. Try this smoothie when mango and pineapple are in season for your family.

Serves 3


1 1/2 cup mango chunks
1 cup pineapple chunks
150 ml thick yogurt
1/2 cup coconut water
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbsp raw honey or as required


1. Add the mango, pineapple, yogurt, honey into a blender and blend until smooth.

2. Add the coconut water, orange juice and blend until combined. Pour into glass and serve immediately.

Notes and Tips

You can use frozen mango and pineapple if fresh fruit is not available.
If you are planning to make this smoothie for breakfast, you can add 3 tablespoon of oats.

Chow Chow Poriyal | Chayote Coconut Stir Fry

Chayote is a low calorie vegetable which is a good source of folate, vitamin C and dietary fibre. It's not so popular when compared to other squash/gourd varieties. Though we use chayote squash as a vegetable, it's actually a fruit. It is often referred to as vegetable pear because of it's shape and pale green colour. In South India it is known by various names like chow chow or Bangalore kathrikka (in Tamil),  sheema kathrikka (in Malayalam), seema vankaya or Bengaluru vankaaya (in Telugu) and Seeme badanekayi (in Kannada). Chayote is mostly used in curries and stir fry's in South Indian cuisine.

Last week I had some guests for lunch and I had bought some chayote's (chow chow) for making kootu. I didn't end up making the kootu so was planing to make chow chow kootu for lunch this weekend. During a casual call with mom, she suggested to make chow chow poriyal (stir fry with coconut). Normally poriyal is made with mixing the steamed vegetable with coconut and tempered with mustard seeds, urad dal (split and dehusked black gram), asafoetida, green chillies and curry leaves. Since chayote has a very mild flavour, I thought poriyal would be boring and bland. But mom said this recipe is quite different from the normal poriyal recipes as we are going to roast and grind fresh spices to give more flavour to this stir fry.  Sounded different, so I thought to give a go. Mom's recipes never go wrong!

The freshly roasted spice blend of coriander seeds, roasted gram (pottukadalai) and dried red chillies paired well with the subtle sweetness of chow chow, lifting the flavours of this humble poriyal. This spice blend can also be added to other vegetable poriyals to add a different taste. My grandma makes this spice blend with urad dal (split black gram) instead of roasted gram. As chayote has a slight sweet flavour, I used 4 dried red chillies to have that extra kick of spice. So adjust the amount of red chillies depending on the spice level you can take in. The chow chow has to be cooked just enough so that retains the shape but is still soft. Since chow chow or chayote does not take much time to cook, I prefer to cook in a pan with a lid with very little water. You can also steam it or pressure cook for 1 whistle.

I loved eating this stir fry just like that because it is so delicious!!! We had the chow chow poriyal with drumstick (murungaikkai) sambar, appalam, fried bittergourd (pavakkai) chips and yogurt. Yum! This poriyal does not take much time to prep and cook, so makes a healthy and quick side dish for sambar / kuzhambu (curries). This is a no-onion no-garlic recipe, ideal to make on festival or vrat (fasting) days. Also check out my chow chow kadalai paruppu kootu recipe.



2 medium-size chayote / chow chow
1/4 tsp turmeric powder

For the spice blend:
4 dried red chillies
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp roasted gram / pottukadalai

To temper:
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 dried red chillies
1 tsp split white urad dal
1/4 tsp asafoetida / hing / perungayam
Few curry leaves

3 tbsp grated coconut
Salt to taste


1. Peel the skin of chow chow and cut into half. Remove the seed and chop into small cubes.

2. In a pan add the chow chow, turmeric powder, salt and 1/4 cup water. Cover with a lid and cook in low heat until the vegetable is soft.

3. In a small pan, fry the dried red chillies, coriander seeds and roasted gram for about 2 minutes. Cool and grind to a coarse powder.

4. Heat a pan with coconut oil and add the mustard seeds. When it pops add the dried red chillies urad dal, asafoetida, curry leaves and fry till dal turns golden.

5. Add the chow chow, coconut, ground spice powder, salt if required and mix well to combine. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Notes and Tips:

Adjust the amount of dry red chillies according to your spice preference.
Make sure the chow chow is not over cooked, otherwise it will turn into a mush.
The spices should be roasted just enough to warm them and you start getting the nice aroma.
If you want to add garlic, add 2 minced garlic after the tempering.
You can add 1 tsp urad dal instead of roasted gram.


Corn Flour Halwa | Bombay Karachi Halwa

Happy Diwali to all of you. May the divine light of Diwali spread into your life, peace, prosperity, happiness and good health.

Corn flour halwa also known as Bombay Karachi halwa is an easy last minute sweet you can prepare for Diwali. It's very easy to make this halwa compared to barfi as we do not have to look for any sugar syrup consistency. Try this easy halwa for this Diwali. Adapted from here.


1/2 cup corn flour
1 1/2 cup + 3/4 cup water
1/4 cup cashews, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup sugar
Few drops color
3 tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp cardamom powder


1. In a bowl add corn flour and 1 1/2 cup water and mix using whisk,. There should be no lumps.

2. In a pan, add sugar and 3/4 cup water. Allow to boil till sugar dissolves and becomes slightly thick and sticky.

3. Turn the heat to low and whisk the corn flour mixture again and add to sugar syrup. Add the food color.

4. Keep stirring and add 1/2 tbsp ghee in beween. When it starts to thicken, add cardamom, cashews and remaining ghee.

5. When it starts to leave sides and becomes ghee, pour into a greased tray. Allow to set for 1 hour before cutting into pieces.


I fried the cashews in 1/2 tsp ghee first. This is optional.


Omapodi | Plain Sev

Festivals are the time when families get together and have lots of fun, and food which is always the integral part. Being in abroad we miss the actual spirit of festivals. Even though there are different communities celebrating our festivals, nothing comes to close celebrating with family. Diwali falls on 19th of October this year. I'm trying my hand on different snacks and sweets and will share my successful experiments here.

Today I'm sharing a easy and really quick snack recipe - omapodi. Omapodi is nothing but plain sev made with chickpea flour (besan), rice flour and carom seeds, alias omam in Tamil and ajwain in Hindi. Carom seeds have a slightly bitter taste, so do not use more than the quantity mentioned. The dough is pretty easy and since it is squeezed so thin it does no take much time to cook. You can have it as such or use them for chaat recipes. Off to the recipe now.


{ Deep fried snack with chickpea flour, rice flour and carom seeds }


1 cup besan / chickpea flour
2 tbsp rice flour
1 tsp ajwain / omam / carom seeds
1 tsp red chilly powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida / hing
1 tbsp butter, softened
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying


1. Powder the carom seeds and soak in 2 tbsp warm water. Set aside for 10 minutes. Using a coffee strainer, filter the water.

2. In a large bowl, add besan, rice flour, red chilly powder, asafoetida, salt and mix well. Add the butter, ajwain water and mix with hands to incorporate the butter.

3. Add water little by little to form a soft non-sticky dough. Keep the dough covered with wet cloth to avoid drying.

4. Heat oil for deep frying. To check if the oil has reached right temperature, drop a small piece of dough into the oil. If the dough sinks and then comes to the top, it means the dough is ready.

5. Take the sev press and put the disc with small holes. Fill it with 3/4 of the dough. Turn the heat to low and press into the hot oil making circles starting from the outer side.

6. Flip and cook both sides. Once the bubbles cease, remove and drain on a paper towel. Repeat for remaining dough.

7. Once the sev has cooled, break them and store in an airtight container.

Notes and Tips

  • The carom seeds will be slightly coarse when grinding, which is fine.

Pacha Payaru Sundal | Green Gram Sundal

Navratri starts tomorrow and sundal is one of the main neivedhyam (offering) prepared during this festival. Sundal is like a no onion-no garlic snack made with different legumes, beans or lentils with freshly grated coconut and simple tempering of mustard seeds, urad dal, red chillies and curry leaves. Sundal is protein packed, so you can make it anytime as a healthy snack.

I have already posted few sweet and savoury sundal recipes in the blog. Today I'm posting a simple sundal wih green gram/pacha payaru which requires no soaking. If you have time, you can soak it to reduce cooking time. But if you are pressed for time, you can make this in less time without worrying about pre-soaking, as most legumes and beans require. I have posted the sweet version of this - you can check out the pacha payaru sweet sundal recipe here. Let's see how to make this easy sundal.


{ Green gram with coconut and spices }


1/2 cup pacha payaru / green gram
3 tbsp grated coconut
Salt to taste

To temper:
1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp split urad dal
Pinch of hing/asafoetida
1 dry red chilly
Few curry leaves
1 green chilly, finely chopped


1. Pressure cook the green gram for 3 whistles adding water just enough to cover it.

2. Heat a small pan and add oil. Then add mustard seeds, urad dal, red chilly, asafoetida, green chilly and curry leaves.

3. Add the cooked green gram, coconut, salt and gently combine everything.
Notes and Tips

  • The green gram should not be over cooked and turn mushy.
  • You can add lemon juice at the end.

Onion and Poppy Seed Bialys #BreadBakers

It's the second Tuesday of the month and it's time for the Bread Baker's monthly bread! This month Wendy of A day in the life on the farm suggested to bake any international bread. I was looking for an easy bread as I knew I would end up baking at the last minute with no extra time to bake another batch if my first attempt failed!! If you love baking bread and want to join this wonderful bread baking group, scroll to the end of the post for further details.

I had Bialys bookmarked long time back when I saw some posts from my fellow blogger friends. I followed the recipe from King Arthur Flour. Bialys is a chewy round Polish bread with a small depression in the middle filled with onions and poppy seeds. The original recipe calls from high gluten flour which lends the chewiness to the Bialys but if you can also use all-purpose flour with vital wheat gluten as substitute. I added a pinch of curry powder and garam masala to the onion filling for an Indian touch :) Off to the recipe now!


{ Polish rolls filled with onion and poppy seed filling }


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup lukewarm water

For the filling:
2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large onions, finely diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp poppy seeds


1.  Add the flour, yeast, salt and water in a food processor and knead till the dough comes together.

2. Knead by hand for about 5-7 minutes or until you get a smooth and failry stiff dough. You can use your stand mixer or bread machine to knead.

3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover it. Keep in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours or until it's just about doubled.

4. To make the filling, heat a pan and add olive oil. Add the garlic, onion and fry over medium heat till it's dark brown. Add poppy seeds, pepper, salt and combine. Set aside to cool.

5. Gently deflate the dough and divide it into 8 balls. Take a ball and shape into 4" to 5" circles with a small rim. Keep the remaining dough covered.

6. Place the shaped circles on a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Prick the center using a fork. Place about a tablespoon of the onion filling into the center of each bialys.

7. Preheat the oven to 230 C | 425 F.

8. Top the bialys with a sheet of parchment or aluminum foil and then with another baking sheet.

9. Bake the bialys for 4 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and remove the baking sheet and parchment or foil.

10. Return the bialys to the oven, and bake for an additional 7 minutes, till they're a slightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

Notes and Tips
  • Original recipe calls for high gluten flour. 
  • You can refrigerate the dough overnight after the first rise. Next day, haw for 30 minutes and proceed with remaining recipe.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to


Varutharacha Sambar | Kerala Style Sambar

Onam is coming up next week and without a ona sadya, the celebrations are not complete. Now there are several items in a sadya that are mandatory and sambar is one of them. Once we get a little taste of the payasam and have a small fistful of rice mixed with parippu (lentils) and ghee, the real feast starts with the sambar, followed by rasam, payasam and ending with curd rice.

There are couple of sambar recipes in the blog using sambar powder and freshly ground sambar masala. The recipe I'm sharing today is a typical Kerala style sambar - more like Thrissur side - with freshly ground spices and roasted coconut. Usually when we make arachuvitta (ground spices and coconut) sambar, we do not roast the sambar. Slow roasting the spices and coconut makes this sambar taste divine and fills the whole house with a wonderful aroma. I have added different vegetables in small quanties. You can add whatever you have in hand but don't skip small onions/shallots, drumstick and pumpkin. Serve with any thoran or mezhukkupuratti.

Check out other ona sadya recipes here.


{ Kerala style sambar with freshly ground spices and roasted coconut }
Serves 8-10


3/4 cup toor dal
1/4 cup turmeric powder

1/2 tbsp coconut oil
3 tsp tamarind paste / lime sized tamarind
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste

Vegetables: (about 4 cups)
2 drumstick, cut into 3" pieces
1 small potato, cut into big cubes
1 small carrot, cut into big cubes
1/2 cup pumpkin / mathanga, cut into big cubes
1/2 cup ashgourd / kumbalanga, cut into big cubes
10 lady's finger / vendakka / bhindi
15 shallots
2 small brinjals, quartered

For the masala:
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
4 small onions / shallots
1/2 cup grated coconut
7-8 dry red chillies
1/8 tsp asafoetida / hing
1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds / malli
1 1/2 tsp chana dal / kadala parippu
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds / methi / vendhayam / uluva
Few curry leaves

To temper:
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp ghee
1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
3 dry red chillies
1 sprig curry leaves


1. Pressure cook the toor dal with turmeric powder and 1 1/2 cup water for 3 whistles. Mash the dal and keep aside.

2.  Soak the tamarind in 1/2 cup hot water and extract the pulp.

3. Pressure cook the vegetables except small onions, lady's finger and brinjal for 1 whistle or until cooked.

4. Heat oil and add all the ingredients for the masala and fry in low flame till the spices are slightly roasted and coconut has turned light golden. Cool and grind to a smooth paste adding little water.

5. Heat a large pot and add coconut oil. Add the shallots, lady's finger, brinjal and fry for 3-4 minutes. Then add the tamarind extract, salt and cook till the raw smell goes.

6. Add the remaining cooked vegetables, ground coconut-spice paste, mashed dal, salt and water as required.  Mix well and bring to boil. Simmer for 5-6 minutes.

7. In a small pan, heat coconut oil, ghee and add mustard seeds, red chillies and curry leaves. Pour over the sambar. Cover with a lid for at least 20-30 minutes before serving.


Whole Wheat Challah Bread #BreadBakers

For this month's Bread Bakers, the theme is braided breads hosted by Gayathri of Gayathri's Cook Spot. I chose to bake a simple 3-braid Challah bread. If you love baking bread and want to join this wonderful bread baking group, scroll to the end of the post for further details.

Challah, pronounced as Halla, is a Jewish braided bread and typically eaten on ceremonial occasions such as Sabbath and major Jewish holidays. The Challah bread is a slightly sweet bread, and the dough is enriched with eggs, sugar and oil. The multiple risings creates a beautiful flavor, and the egg wash gives a nice golden crust. Being my first attempt in baking Challah, I'm pretty happy with the results. Though I would like to improve my braiding skills!!! We gobbled few of the slices fresh from the oven slathered with butter! 


{ Jewish yeast bread with whole wheat, eggs and brown sugar }
Recipe Source ~ Half Baked Harvest


2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup + 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp lukewarm water
1/4 cup light olive oil
2 large eggs + 1 egg for brushing
1/2 tbsp salt
2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 cup all-purpose flour


1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and 1/2 tbsp brown sugar in warm water. Let it sit for 5 minutes or until foamy.

2. Add the remaining sugar, salt and oil and whisk. Then add the eggs one by one and beat until combined.

3. In a bowl combine the wheat flour and all-purpose flour. Gradually ass the flour and mix till the dough holds together.

4. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth for about 5-10 minutes. Grease a bowl and place the dough in it.

5. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until almost doubled in size. After the dough has doubled, punch down dough, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another 30 minutes.

6. To make a 3-braid challah, divide the dough into 3 balls. With your hands, roll each ball into a strand about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Pinch the tops of the strands together.

7. Bring the right outside rope over the center rope; that rope now becomes the center. Bring the left outside rope over the new center rope; that rope now becomes the center. Continue braiding until you reach the end. Pinch the ropes together to seal.

8. Place the braided bread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Beat remaining egg and brush it on loaves. Allow the bread to rise another hour or place it in the fridge to rise overnight.

9. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 190 C | 395 F. Brush the bread again with the egg wash. Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Notes and Tips
  • After each rise you can let the dough sit overnight in the fridge.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

This month's Bread Baker's theme is Braided Breads and is hosted by Gayathri Kumar of Gayathri's Cook Spot.

Here is the collection of all the beautiful braided breads from our team.


Murungai Keerai Poriyal | Drumstick Leaves Stir Fry

Drumstick leaves, as you all know, are very nutritious and have numerous health benefits. You can make curry, stir-fry or add them in your dosa or adai. Couple of weeks back, I was surprised to see fresh murungai keerai in the local market - for the first time here! Anyways I got a big bunch and after some debating decided to make a stir-fry with it.

Drumstick leaves have a slightly bitter taste but the addition of shallots adds a bit of sweetness which takes away some of the bitterness. There are not really any spices in this stir-fry - a simple tempering, shallots and fresh coconut imparts flavor to this healthy dish. I served with sambar and rice - happy tummy!!! Off to the recipe now!


{ Drumstick leaves stir-fry with shallots and coconut }
Serves 3


2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp split urad dal
2 dry red chillies, broken
2 green chillies, slit
Pinch of asafoetida / hing
1 cup chopped shallots
3 cup murungai keerai / drumstick leaves
Pinch of turmeric powder
1/4 cup grated coconut
Salt to taste


1. Wash the leaves under running water and set aside in a colander to drain.

2. Heat a pan and add oil. Add mustard seeds and when it starts to splutter, add urad dal, red chillies and asafoetida.

3. Once dal is golden, add green chillies, onions and fry till the onions are soft and transcluscent.

4. Then add the drumstick leaves, turmeric powder, salt and mix well. Cook uncovered for 5-6 minutes or till the leaves are cooked.

5. Add the grated coconut and mix well.

Notes and tips
  • You can skip the green chillies and add red chilly powder or flakes instead.
  • You can use chopped brown onion instead of shallots.

Whole Grain Date Walnut Bread #BreadBakers

Yayyy!!!! I'm back with a post after a really long gap. I'm not going to make any more empty promises to be regular, but will continue blogging whenever I can.

For this month's Bread Bakers, our host Cindy suggested to bake bread with nut flours, nut meals or simply with nuts. I was looking for a simple and healthy bread recipe when I saw date and walnut bread. It sounded so good with whole wheat, oats, flax and no butter. The bread was little dense but still tender and moist. The addition of flax and walnuts gives the bread a nice nutty texture. Definitely will try this bread again but next time will try to cut down some of the sugar.

If you love fruit and nut based breads, you must try it. The bread is good as such for breakfast or snack, If you love baking bread and want to join this wonderful bread baking group, scroll to the end of the post for further details.Off to the recipe now!


{ Quick bread with whole wheat, oass, flax, dates and walnut }
Recipe Source ~ What would Cathy Eat
Makes  9 x 5 loaf


1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat flour
2 tbsp ground flax
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup boiling water
1 egg
3 tbsp light olive oil
2 tbsp milk
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts


1. Preheat the oven to 180 C | 350 F. Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan with cooking spray or line with baking paper.

2. Combine the dates and boiling water in a small bowl and let stand for 15 minutes.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, milk, sugar and vanilla.

4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, oat flour, ground flax, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

5. Stir in the dates with their liquid and the egg mixture. Stir just to combine and fold in the walnuts.

6. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool thoroughly before slicing.

Notes and Tips
  • You can use coconut oil or any neutral or light flavored oil instead of olive oil.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

This month's BreadBakers' theme is Breads with Nut Meals and Nut Flours inspired bread, hosted by Cindy at Cindy’s Recipes and Writings.

Enjoy all these creative breads using nut meals and nut flours from The Bread Bakers Group!


Irish Soda Bread Scones #BreadBakers

Our host for this month's Bread Bakers is Wendy of A day in the life on the farm and she suggested to bake Irish bread for St. Patricks day.  Saint Patrick's Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick is a religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick in Ireland.

Irish soda bread is is a variety of quick bread where baking soda is used as a leavening agent instead of the traditional yeast. I adapted this scone recipe from here. Though these scones are not traditional ones, they are made with the almost same ingredients as the traditional soda bread. Let's see how to make Irish soda bread scones.


1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbspgranulated sugar
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp / 25gm cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup cold buttermilk
1 small egg
1/3 cup golden raisins + currants
1 tsp milk, to brush 


1. Preheat the oven to 220 C | 425 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Grate the butter and mix well into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Place the bowl in freezer for 5 minutes.

3. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the cold buttermilk and egg.

4. Stir in the golden raisins in the flour mixture. Add the buttermilk-egg mixture and using a spatula mix until combined.

5. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 4-5 minutes.

6. Pat the dough gently with your hands into a disc that is roughly 3/4-inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut out the scones.

7. Place them on the prepared baking tray and brush the tops gently with milk.

8. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Transfer scones to a wire rack.


Do not twist the cookie cutter as you cut the dough, this will prevent the scones from rising evenly.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

Check out the Irish breads that our fellow Bread Bakers have baked this month:


Strawberry Nutella Crepes #BreadBakers

For this month's Bread Baker's Mayuri of Mayuri's Jikoni suggested pancakes from around the world as the theme. I was surprised to learn about so many different variety of pancakes from different countries. There were quite a few I want to try but for today I chose to make French crepes.

Today being Valentine's day, I felt strawberries and nutella would make an apt filling for these delicious crepes. I followed Julia Child's basic crepes recipe, which I found in this site. I spread some nutella generously on the lacy sweet crepes and stopped with sliced strawberries. Need I say more?? Let's jump into the recipe now.


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cold milk
2 eggs
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp melted butter


1. Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla extract and butter in a large bowl. Whisk the flour, sugar and salt.

2. Add to the milk mixture and whisk until well combined. Batter should be smooth and lump-free.

3. Cover the batter with cling wrap and refrigerate the batter up to 2 hours.

4. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add about 1/4 tsp butter and brush the butter on the frying pan.

5. Pour 1/4 cup batter into the centre of the pan and swirl the pan so that the batter form a circle.

6. Cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute or until the edges start to turn slightly brown.

7. Using a spatula, flip the crepe and cook the other side.


If you find the batter is too thick, adjust by adding little milk or water.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

Check out the Pancakes from different parts of the world that our fellow Bread Bakers have baked this month: