Thursday, April 11, 2019

Chocolate Fondue for a Dripping cake

Happy New Year !!
I have been waiting to get to this new year. I have taken with me life experiences from 2018 when I had some health issues like never before, it was indeed my toughest year.I  am one among the luckiest to undergo 3 surgeries in 2 weeks time and I am so done with the unexpected twist and  turns life gave me last year. Situations forced me to believe superstitions at-least to some extend (that is the worst part ) as the very human mind was desperately wanting to find the reason why bad things kept happening in life. Anyway it helped me to realize all the blessings that I enjoy, my family and friends were of great support and help though more than my health I was concerned about my kids but thankfully they could understand things well and tried their best to adjust, these are crisis anybody who lives far away  from your family would need to think.
Was waiting to say good bye to the toughest memories. Life experience if it changed my life in a positive way is all that I want to keep. A warm welcome to this year with lots of happiness and hope. Everything happens for a reason is what I want to believe, that's how I console myself.
On that note, I request all who read my blog to forgive my imperfections, I have never spent dedicated time to make this blog any better but it is my wish to continue writing and sharing my life experiences and cooking experiments here.

December is usually the busiest month of the year for me, apart from baking and little bit of shopping for Christmas, all members of my family celebrate their birthday around this time and our wedding anniversary too, but everything was just like a passing day like every time :) But I managed to make a quick fix cake for our 12th wedding anniversary (you can make out by its looks) A cake for every special occasion has now become my tradition now and I didn't want to break it this time no matter what.

This cake should be typically called a semi naked-  dripping cake, that was what I tried here  LOL :D
You may buy any sponge cake - I made it from scratch, it is very simple and delicious too, here's the recipe -  Hot milk sponge cake  
For dripping cake frosting ,  recipe everywhere says just cream and chocolate chip (to be double boiled together) but I tried fondue because I could store it too, my kids love to have fruits dip.
Chocolate fondue - Recipe is adapted from -  "Joy of Baking"

There's no better description than how Stephanie does in her YouTube channel. Her recipes are always easy to try.

Semi sweet chocolate chips - 3/4 cups
Milk - 1/4 cup
Heavy cream - 1/2 cup
Butter - 3 tbsp
A pinch of salt
( I did not use sugar , may add 2 tsp brown sugar as in the original recipe)

*  Mix all ingredients in the list except chocolate chips, in a saucepan. Heat the same in medium heat until milk starts to boil.
*  Pour the boiling milk to the chocolate chips (in a heat safe bowl) and whisk nicely to melt the same and fondue is ready.
I also added a pinch of coffee powder, as described in the youtube below, you may add any other flavoring.
If making this for a dripping cake, cake needs to be chilled little bit to slow down its flow

Add caption

Pour the fondue over the lightly chilled cake slowly, so it flows and stops while on its way down. I then decorated the cake with some fondant flowers and berries.

I also want to share the candy cake made for my NA's  Birthday who turned 9 this year, cake was not that great, because it was just after my surgery  -  now that I have an excuse  ;)

Along with the imperfect cakes, sharing picture of a letter from my 9 year old while I was hospitalized, tiny things which makes you feel loved and happy.

Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous New year

Chakka Halwa

Memories keeps flooding in when I think about this fruit Chakka/Jackfurit ...but none to be shared when there is lots to talk about the recent tragic flood that hit my native land -Kerala. When people there have lost all of their memories and lifetime savings. They had to helplessly watch their memories getting drained away with the water which gushed in to their homes and all that is left now are layers of mud.
It is heartbreaking to see the different shades of green swallowed by the roaring water.When people stand still not knowing where, what and how to start to get life back again. My thoughts are to help at least one flood affected family to buy some/any of their necessary items which they lost. Rays of hope when it flows from many directions would definitely make it brighter.

"Onam "for Malayali's was disastrous this year, but it was amazing to see how people helped each other in times of hardship when everyone was striving to keep their heads from drowning.  Different religions opened their doors for people from other religious groups to offer prayers, they helped and supported each other  without any hesitation, there's no better example to prove communal harmony in Kerala, this state which is other wise called God's Own Country
As it is now in a stage of recouping,  I am sure it will take many years for people to get back to their normal life. I hope  and pray they don't get discouraged and disappointed  instead strengthen their heart and fight to win this challenging situation.

Coming to the recipe for the most delicious Chakka Halwa

I am very satisfied and happy that I tried to make this because am a huge fan of Chakka and the various dishes that they make with it.

Chakka/ Jackfruits - de seeded 1/2 kg
Jaggery - 350 gms (adjust as per tatse)
Water - 1.5 to 2 cups
Ghee and coconut oil - together half to 3/4th cup (Approx)
Cardamom  - 2-4 no's optional
Dry Ginger powder /Chukku podi - 1/4 tsp (Optional)
  • Cook Jackfruit pieces in .5 to 3/4th cup of water(cover and cook in medius heat for 15-20 minutes) stir occasionally. I read about pressure cooking the same in many other blogs, it says it will need more water if you are planning to pressure cook the Jack fruit pieces. Once this is cooked allow to cool.
  • In an thick bottom pan, heat jaggery in 1 cup water until melted, strain if need. Pour the strained jaggery syrup into the pan again and turn heat to low.
  • Nicely blend cooked jack fruit until no big lumps are seen, add this mixture to the melted jaggery. Turn heat to medium and start to stir and cook.
  • After 15 minutes of cooking, add the powder ingredients  if using (chukku podi/dry ginger powder and cardamon) and also add ghee or coconut oil little at a time. I used both ghee and coconut oil to make this. You may use only Ghee if you don't like the taste of coconut oil.
  • Continue stirring and cooking this mixture until it turns its color to dark brown, add ghee /oil when ever it tends to stick to the bottom of the pan. It takes at least 1.5 to 2 hours time to get this to a  Halwa consistency, the oil then starts to separate.
  • Transfer this to a greased pan and allow to cool, after a few minutes you'll be able to cut these to desired shapes.

I made it yesterday and to be honest I  was disappointed with the quantity of halwa I could make at the end , it was very less than I expected. Making of any Halwa isn't easy, you'll need lots of patience (I am working on it) Thought to give you heads up before you try it...
But the disappointment lasted just for few minutes as this chakka halwa is very sweet and it is really precious :D
if you are a fan of Chakka like me, you should try it :D


Thalassery Chicken Biriyani

I wanted to post a very special recipe as its Eid al-Fitr and Fathers Day this weekend. Biriyani being one of the most popular dishes in my State and believed to be brought in by the Arab traders to Malabar (North Kerala) there's no better dish that I can think of making, to part take in this celebration.

Also, because Biriyani was my Dad's favorite dish,
I think about my Achachan (Dad) everyday, regret for not spending time with him when he was alive. When I was my daughters age I thought my Dad is a Super man and he was the ultimate solution to all my problems then, but I failed to realize that my Super Man is growing old, though he never was very old,he decided to quit his life when he was 69 years old. Glad that I could be with him when he was really sick and was about to leave us. I saw my Super Man slowly loosing his power, his strength fading, and at last he stopped thinking about all the things in the world he was concerned till then and I saw how the fear of death conquered my Super Man. Period.

But how I wish if he was alive and see his Grand kids grow and also be my support in life especially instances like these when I break down emotionally.
Wishing all proud Dad's a very happy Father's Day !

Pre preparation

Biriyani  is easy to prepare if you have everything ready before starting to cook, it saves you lot of time, keep the following things ready before starting to cook and it will make your life so much better on this day...
Make Biriyani Masala , keep in an air tight container (you may grind and store this powder in an air tight container)
Have your ground mixture ready  (Ginger,garlic and chili) , slice/chop all other ingredients and keep aside (tomatoes, shredded cilanto , mint etc)
Soak and grind cashews with little water, though this is optional I felt this makes biriyani gravy thick in consistency ( especially  in this special biriyani because we don't add thick curd or thick coconut milk )
Soak Saffron with cream or whole milk, keep aside. Fry onion, cashews , kishmish/dried grapes etc and shredded leaves ready for layering.
Last but not the least (May be the most important part in Thalaserry Biriyani) is to keep Bista or fried onion ready for the gravy.

All set to make this special Biriyani ?? here's how I made it.


Biriyani Masala Powder - grind the following ingredients together,
keep in air tight container
1 tsp Shahi Jeera
1/2 tsp Cumin
1-1/2 tsp  Fennel Seeds
4 Cardamom
1 Star Anise
4 -6 cloves
2 inch size Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg

For Cooking Rice 

Jeerakashala Rice/ I used Kalijeera Rice - 2-1/2 cups
Water - 5 cups
Lime Juice-  from 1 lime
Bay leaves - 2 no's , Pepper corns - 1 tsp, 1 small pieces Cinnamon, 3-5 Cardamom & 3 Cloves
Cilantro/ Malli leaves - 1/2 cup shredded.
Ghee - 1 tsp
Gravy from the cooked Chicken Masala - 1/2 cup (Optional)
Salt to taste

For Chicken Gravy 
Chicken - 1 whole (Cut to medium Pieces)
Onion - for Bista (as they call it, basically fried Onion) - 2 medium size thinly sliced
Turmeric Powder - 2 tsp
Pepper Powder - 1 tsp
Green Chilies - 7-14 no's (Depending on your preference)
Ginger - 1 medium size piece
Garlic - 2 whole heads
Cilantro/Malli Leaves/Coriander leaves - 2 cups shredded
Mint Leaves / Pudina - 1/2 cup Shredded
Tomatoes - 4 no's chopped
Lime juice - juice from 2 lime's
Vegetable Oil or Dalda/Vanaspathi - 2 tbsp & Ghee/Clarified Butter - 1 tbsp (NOT including oil for frying Onion (Bista)  )
Biriyani Masala Powder - 2 -3 tsp ( Ingredients given above)
Cashews - 1/4 cup -soak in water for 1/2 an hour and grind. keep aside.
Salt to taste

For Assembling Biriyani before Dum/Baking 
Onion fried - 2 small no's (thinly sliced) fried
Cashew nuts & Kishmish/Dried Grapes - 1/4 cup together
Biriyani Masala - to sprinkle
Saffron - a pinch & Cream or Milk - 2 tbsp (to soak Saffron)
Cilantro/Malli Leaves/Coriander Leaves - 3/4 cup Shredded
Ghee - few drops (Optional)


  • Grind together ginger, garlic, green chili's to a coarse mixture(do not over grind) keep aside.
  • Make Bista/ fry onion for the gravy, with 2 medium onions fry in enough oil until onion looks golden brown in color, keep aside.

  • Take out excess oil (just need 2 tbsp oil) and add 1 tbsp ghee/clarified butter, let heat for few seconds, add the ground mixture(Ginger,Garlic & Green chilies), saute for few minutes ( 5-7 minutes in medium heat), add chopped tomatoes and continue sauteing until everything looks cooked.

  • Add the chicken pieces, combine, add mint leaves, Malli/Cilantro leaves, salt, turmeric powder, lime juice and 3/4 of the Biriyani Masala powder (freshly ground). Add little water ( 3/4 cup to 1 cup ) , combine and close the lid.Cook this for another 15 minutes in low heat until chicken is almost cooked. Stir occasionally while cooking.
  • After Chicken is cooked add the bista/fried onion stir then add ground Cashew stir again to combine , cook for another 2 minutes and switch off the heat.

Cook Rice 

Wash and drain rice, keep aside.
Heat approximately 5 cups water , add all the whole spices , rice, ghee/clarified butter, salt, Cilantro/Malli Leaves and salt, cook rice in medium to low heat, may add 1/2 cup of the prepared chicken gravy (optional) , cook rice until all of the water in it is dried.Cover and keep for 10-15 minutes. (May cook rice initially before preparing gravy (then you need not have to add the gravy to the rice while cooking)

Final-  Layering the Biryani for baking/Dum  

Soak Saffron in enough Cream/Milk , keep for at least 5 minutes.

I am baking the Biriyani here instead of dum/covering and cooking, transfer the chicken pieces with little gravy on a flat baking dish/foil tray.

Spread 1/2 portion of the rice evenly over the chicken pieces, sprinkle Biriyani Masala powder, little bit of the gravy , fried onion , malli leaves & fried cashews and kishmish.

Pour the Saffron -milk mixture evenly over the layered rice.  Layer again the left over rice over the top, cover with the rest of the fried onion, Malli/Cilanto leaves, fried cashew and raisins/ dried grapes.Cover with an aluminium foil and bake in 350 F for 30 minutes to an hour.

And let your Biriyani bake away to glory !

I referred many recipes to make this Biriyani also made few variations to make it my own.The youtube video below gives a better idea about Thalassery Biriyani.

Thanks to all my friends here in Utah who are from near and around Malabar for the tips and tricks to make this special Biriyani, were truly inspiring.

Wishing you all a fun filled and happy celebration this weekend.

Crepe Cake with Wheat flour

Happy Mothers Day !

Mothers would be celebrating it everyday though :)
I love every bit of my role as a Mom ( majority Mom's will be ) subtract the anxiety, that is included in the package, there isn't a way to avoid it. I wish I had wings so I could keep kids safe like a Momma Duck, and let them go only when they are equipped....I know this is a little too much to wish for :/

I listened to a priest preaching about Motherhood once and one thing he told was striking, there are times when your kids will be fighting for you, they would fight within each other to get you and accomplish the statement that "you are their's" but there might be also a time when they will fight to get you away from them, that's sad but is the fact, I don't think this happens to everyone but is always good to equip yourself,
that is trying to be a "Strong Mom"

Crepe is my all time favorite, so I decided to try "Crepe Cake"  instead of the simple Crepe

For the Crepes 
Wheat flour -  1 cup
All purpose flour - 1 cup
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Eggs - 3 No's
Milk -  2 cups
Water - 1/2 cup to 1 cup
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Butter/Oil - to make crepes

Nutella -  as required
Blueberries/strawberries - as required
Whipping cream - 1/2 cup
Confectionery Sugar - 2 tbsp


Prepare the batter 
  •  Mix flours, salt and sugar in a bowl keep aside. Mix Eggs and milk using a beater.
  • Add the liquid ingredients to the flour ingredients, add water little at a time to make thin consistency (Shouldn't be watery) Keep batter covered for sometime (1 hour to few hour's)
  •   Heat a flat, round (7 inch diameter approx) - pan, drizzle few drops of oil/butter, wipe the pan using a tissue paper, pour  (1/4 cup approx of batter) over the heated pan ,swirl the pan or spread the batter using the back of the ladle to make it round in shape.
  • Cook for approximately a minute and flip it to the other side, cook for few seconds, place them on a plate, make the rest of the crepes and allow to cool.
For the filling 
  • Beat whipping cream until it starts to thicken, add powdered sugar, beat again for few seconds and keep aside.
  • Spread the whipped cream filling over the crepes and stack them one after the other, I added Nutella only in 3 layers ( as I didn't know that I had very little Nutella left) :(
  • Place berries on top and its all set to serve.

Notes -
Its good to make crepes with 1:1 ratio of wheat flour and All purpose flour, but  I suggest making it with All purpose flour alone when making "Crepe Cake".  For just the crepes its good to mix wheat flour  as it makes your crepes dense in texture. I used to make crepe's with All purpose flour alone -Simple Crepe Recipe but learned that the one's with Wheat flour tastes better.
To be honest I like the simple Crepes than the idea of Crepe Cake, but there's no harm in trying :) its little tedious and time consuming, is what I felt.

Wishing all Mother's a very happy and satisfying Motherhood. Keep inspiring :)

Paalada Payasam

Happy New Year to all my friends in Kerala....I wish to see a Vishu Kani - the first thing that you see on this day which would be a treat to your eyes and heart. On this day I wait for pictures from my Hindu friends who would send this wonderful spread of hope along. Other than this I like to prioritize cleaning my house a day before Vishu and New year for some reason a clean house gives me a sense of satisfaction.

This Vishu is special for me because I have Chakka/ Jackfruits got it from China Town near Salt Lake city, I am not sure If I have posted about my love for this fruit before..I can eat it all day long, I know many people like me who loves the same, also have seen lot of people who hates it for some reason....
I can't understand the reason though :D

Went hunting for this fruit this weekend because for the last few weeks I was tempted seeing picture's of Chakka in whatapp, its the season there and I see in all my whatsapp family- group, pictures of Chakka :(

Thankfully I got it and it was super sweet. We are blessed to have a Jackfruit Tree/ Plaavu at our backyard in my house in Kerala, it bears very sweet chakka I must say, my Achachen/Dad  planted it there as he was also in the chakka lover's club. Last week my Mom was saying she saw in a dream a thief who was stealing Chakka from our tree,  the thief was bold and sincere enough to peep through the window of the bedroom where my mom was sleeping and tell her that he's taking one Chakka, she thought its a dream and she said "Okay"  Lol !! but guess what ?? next day morning she realized that one chakka was indeed missing and it was not her dream....sounds scary?? I was scared too but for few minutes couldn't stop laughing...a "sincere thief" or a Chakka lover
Our own Plaavu / Jackfruit tree :) 

Since I like to celebrate with people their happiness, I made today a special Payasam/Kheer in Kerala made with "Ada" that's pieces of rice batter/ or may call it rice pasta bits, though I haven't tried making it from scratch as its available in any store in Kerala, but I haven't seen it in any Indian store here, so I bring "Ada" from Kerala every time when I visit my place.
Usually Ada Pradaman is the most preferred Payasam/Dessert in Kerala but this one here is simple and easy to make with the fewer ingredients in the recipe.

Here's how I made it

Paalada /Rice Pasta Bits - 3/4 cups
Milk - 1 Liter
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Condensed Milk - 1/2 tin (Optional, use more sugar if not using condensed milk)
Cardamom crushed - 2-3 no's
Ghee/Clarified Butter - 1 tbsp
Nuts and Dry grapes - (Optional) few

  • Wash and drain Paalada , soak in little warm water (for 10 minutes)
  • Boil milk and reduce heat to low, add the soaked paalada and stir to mix, boil milk with Paalada for 30 minutes in low until its cooked.
  • Add Sugar, condensed milk if adding and continue stirring to cook for another 10 minutes
  • Switch off the heat when paalada is fully cooked and payasam thickens a little bit.
  • Fry the dry fruits in ghee, and this to the cooked payasam along with cardamom powder.

Shhhhh now a secret - follow the packet instructions in the Paalada mix packet like how I did :D I Just added some condensed milk to it and it tasted awesommmmm ....
Wishing once again a prosperous and blessed Malayalam New Year

Fish Mappas -Alappuzha Style

Happy Easter !
Before I begin with Congratulations to me because its almost close to a year now that I have updated this space of mine. Many stories to be written about this past few months when I was hibernating from blogging, my job, toddler, Christmas in India and our nest to manage kept me so busy all these days. Hoping this season of spring brings with it all positive vibes yes " positivity " it is.

This recipe is one which never disappointed me ever, though I am not a fan of "Fish Mappas", I always received a very acceptable review from almost all, to whom I served it and hence thought to re start blogging with something I am very confident in making.

Please do try this dish, you may try it with any fleshy fish , Karimeen (Pearl spot) is what they use in Kerala to make it ,King fish, or Pomfret would be equally good.I tried it this time with Golden Pompano, that's what I could choose from the limited options of fishes here.

And this is how I made it
For marination 
Pompano fish - 2 whole, sliced to big pieces
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Chili Powder  - 1/ 2 tsp
Vinegar - 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Other ingredients 
Shallots - hand full sliced
Green chili's - 2 -4 no's
Crushed ginger and garlic - 1 tsp each
Tomatoes - 3 no's ( I used few cherry tomatoes)
Coconut milk - 1 cup each of thick milk and thin milk
Curry leaves - few springs
Coconut oil - 2 - 3  tbsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Meat Masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste

Masala /Spices - crushed 
Cardamom - 4 no's
Cinnamon - small piece
Cloves - 5 no's


  • Marinate fish with the ingredients given under marination keep for 10 to 20 minutes, shallow fry these until just done.
  • To the same oil (that was used to fry fish) add the whole spices(given in the ingredients list) , crushed ginger, garlic, green chili's, shallots and curry leaves, saute and fry it until onion turns light brown, add 2 chopped tomatoes and continue sauteing until oil starts to separate
  • Add powders - coriander powder, turmeric powder and redchili powder (if using) saute for another 2 minutes in low heat and add enough water (about 2 cups)
  • When this starts to boil add shallow fried fish, thin coconut milk and salt, stir and cook in low heat for 7-10 minutes until everything combines
  •  Add thick coconut milk cook for just a minute and switch off heat, arrange the sliced tomatoes over the prepared fish curry, curry and sprinkle meat masala powder, keep this closed for 1 to 2 hours before serving.
  • Serve Mappas with bread, Paalappom , Chapathi or Rice.

  • May use store bought Meat Masala powder instead of the whole spices listed here
  • Add thickness and enhance richness by adding ground cashews (soak few cashes in water and grind it to a thick paste, add this to the curry before adding thick coconut milk)
  • Make this recipe look greenish in color by substituting red chili powder with more green chili's in the gravy (I prefer green color, green chili's that I had in stock was super hot and hence I didn't want to take chance this time)

I haven't correctly quantified the ingredients list (I never do it) and hence this might alter little bit, you would want make changes as per your taste ;)

Wishing you all again a very Happy Easter..