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India Circus - Website & Product review

These days everyone goes head over heels for anything labelled by a designer. Be it shoes, watches, clothing, accessories, you can just go on and on. Honestly the reason I can think of is that everyone wants to have a feel of something designer, unique, chic and sophisticated. Well if that is you then you sure are reading something that might interest you. India Circus an online website offers  contemporary-chic, sophisticated and affordable style for various area of your life, ranging from home decor, dining, personal accessories and so on. What really caught my eye is the design so Indian right from motives, colours, tones and heritage of Mugal patterns. How elegant would it be to own or receive a piece of craft that is so beautiful yet unique? That said India Circus did take the honour of sending me one of their art piece tray which I will talk about in this post.

Let's have a walk through on what India Circus has to offer us



Its Christmas eve and I am sure everyone is excited just like me. This year I had loads of plans to cook and bake and not bad did to my heart's content, so here I am to share a whole lot of recipes that can help you incase you are in last minute jitters as to what to cook or bake for Christmas or New Year. Look no further and without much delay here's the whole list of Christmas & New Year baking and cooking recipes that are listed across meal course and as well as Christmas treats, cooking, cakes and palaharam that you could make for the season. Here's wishing you all a wonderful Merry Christmas and A Joyous New Year's. 

Cinnamon Rolls Recipe | Eggless Cinnamon Rolls | Easy Christmas Breakfast Recipe

One more day for Christmas and if you still one of those last minute cooks wondering what to cook/ bake for your family and loved one's. I am here for your rescue :P . Make these warm cinnamon rolls for your breakfast table and surprise your dear ones and you are sure to see a smile on their faces. They are low calorie, eggless and definitely delicious till the last bite. Christmas calls for loads of baking and cooking and I am pretty sure you have this thought of "I am sure going to take a resolution to lose weight the coming year" or "I have to google for a good diet plan", common we all worry but no one worries while eating :P Since this recipe calls for no eggs this is sure a less-fatty recipe that you can try to impress. With no further delay lets move on to the recipe. Oh also you can check out my last minute Fruit Cake/ Plum cake recipe which I have tried over half a dozen times and that has never failed me and more more Christmas menu planning ideas check them here.

Ribbon Pakoda Recipe | Ribbon Murukku Recipe | Otu/Ola Pakoda | Christmas Palaharam Recipe

Just 3 days to Christmas and I am super excited to celebrated along with my family. This year I had my share of ups and downs but at the end of it I am all happy and content. Its time to count the blessings and be happy, life is too short to hold regrets or anger. As you think about this let me move on to the recipe of Ribbon Pakkoda which Amma never fails to make every Christmas. This is a super crunchy snack and can be made anytime of the year not just Christmas. But we usually make it specially for Christmas to distribute to near and dear. I hope you check out my other palaharam recipes - Kulkuls (sweet butter curls), Spicy diamond cuts. Do enjoy making this for your family during this Christmas season. For more Christmas recipe click here

Spicy Diamond Cuts Recipe | Savoury Diamond Cuts Step by Step | Christmas Palaharam Recipe

Along with all the cakes and bakes that we make for Christmas Amma always makes a list of palaharams to distribute for near and dear. Last week I posted Kulkuls which is more of the sweet snack (palaharam) for Christmas, this savoury diamond cuts is a savoury/spicy snack which is very simple and quick to do. I hope you are all set for your menu for Christmas and you can find more Christmas recipes here.

Spicy diamond cuts are a simple crunchy snack that is easy and quick to do. With everyday ingredients in anyone's panitry. The secret to this recipes is in a ground paste that gives lots of flavor to these diamons cuts. You can alter the paste according to your taste depending on your spice tolerance. Personally I find them perfect in spices. I took the step wise pictures with lights on in the kitchen so please bare with me

Chocolate Snowball Cookies Recipe | Eggless Snowball Cookies | Christmas Snowball Cookies

Christmas means many things to many but for me the whole reason and season for Christmas in Jesus himself. Although I was born in a Christian home and had all the access to anything gospel, my knowledge and acceptance of Jesus as my Lord is something I consider personal choice. You know what I mean no one forced me into anything. Each of us have our own faith and we learn as we grow. I am a strong believer of God and that inevitably shows. I do accept people for who they are and not for what they believe, you see faith is totally a sensitive topic to anybody. Today not like other days I just want to share with you something that touched me years ago when I was young and in a fragile state of mind. I was out in one of my uncle's place and I was sunk in my own thoughts as to why something that I expected never really happened. And I had a series of things that happened just exactly what I feared. Hmmm and that moment when I was trying to divert my mind and attention to almost anything or anyone I read this line in a book that caught my eye, it read like this " God does not give us what we want but what we need" I was blown away. Really it spoke so much to me that my whole perspective as to why and what and how turned to there could be a reason why this happened. Only someone who has a relationship with God really understand what those lines meant. And ever since I have this phrase reverberating in me when things don't turn out the way it should. May be that is something that you must also think about. Be blessed!

Eggless Chocolate Snowball Cookies were my recent attempt to try a twist to the traditional snowball cookies/ mexican wedding cakes that are famous during the Christmas season. Their unique shape, snow capped appearance and melt in mouth texture is sure to please anyone who has a sweet tooth. So if you are a chocolate lover or a chocoholic like me this is something you must definitely try a total fool proof recipe that is sure to steal anyone's heart. My non chocoholic husband seemed to love it too ;-)

Jewish Apple Cake Recipe | Christmas Apple Cake | Jewish Christmas Baking Recipe

You must be knowing by now that I am a band wagon for simple snack cakes, I love to try and experiment with snack cakes. To be honest I had this bad experience with apple in a cake, I must admit that the last time I made an apple upside down cake it was a disaster since I used a spring form pan and the apple juices got spread in the oven. Silly me did not realise this or rather plan this before doing the recipe. That said I seriously loved the mild flavors of apple & cinnamon in this cake that is so well hugged by a soft spongy cake. Impatient me jumped to cut the cake and had the cake falling apart, but I managed to cut few decent slices and here we go ;-) so don't be in a hurry like me. If you are someone who does not like the Fruit/ Plum cakes for Christmas then you can give a go to this simple yet delicious cake, it tastes great the next day.

Eggless Spiced Sugar Cookies | Christmas Tree Edible Decoration | Eggless Christmas Cookie Recipe

Wow its just 8 days to Christmas and sure the Christmas Spirit is real high for me :-). This year like always I have a huge list of bakes and goodies that I plan to make and distribute for friends and family. I must say that nothing like home goodies ads gifts for this Christmas. I am sure many of you loved to receive gifts that are homemade. I made these spiced sugar cookies that have a lovely flavour that is similar to the flavours your get in a Christmas cake (Christmas Plum cake). Isn't this great? well an experiment in the kitchen turned success is what I would call this recipe. Although I see so many coloured cookies doing rounds over the internet I love recipes that are simple and easy to do which taste wonderful. I sure can say that this cookie is of this category.

American Sugar Cookies | Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies | Christmas Cookies Recipe

Christmas and baking does ring bells to me ;-) I still remember a few years back when I did a Christmas Cake that tuned hard as stone ;-) of course it was way before my life as a blogger. The reason I brought this up is that if you are new to baking don't be worried disasters happen and we must learn our mistakes and keep trying until we get them right. If there is a baker that told me that not one of their bakes was a disaster I will sure have a good laugh. No one is a born expert we all learn, relearn, explore and create. Baking of course is science in pure sense but if you have a good recipe then you sure are going to have a good result. Well enough with the rambling and yes this is one fail proof recipe that may be you should give a try. I am sure it will turn out just perfect.

Sugar cookies or old fashioned sugar cookies are sure in a baker's list to bake for Christmas. They are pure easy and can be packed in goodie bags and distributed in parties. They are firm on the outside with a sift inside and not too firm like our Indian variety of biscuits. Sugar cookies have a buttery flavour along with a dash of vanilla. 

Thinai Paruppu Sadam | Thinai Arusi Paruppu Sadam | One Pot Foxtail Millet Recipe

Arusi Paruppu Sadam is a famous Kongu Nandu Recipe, from South India. Almost most homes in Coimbatore and nearby towns cook this sadam of rice and thoor dal. Today for a variation I made this Tamilian favourite rice dish along with Thinai/ Foxtail Millet. I must share the goodness of millets and why our forefathers ate them, they are filled with fibre, proteins, minerals and vitamins. They are so filling and yet gluten free, a great addition if you are someone who wants to diet but eat healthy. Since they contain complex carbohydrates they are great for diabetics. Nowadays with the boom of many organic stores in India we find these millets priced high but mind you millets are in general organic because of the nature in which they are cultivated since they are resilient to pests. 

I must tell you that I am so loving this combination of millet and dal makes it wholesome with added vegetables. I felt so full just like eating rice but I know this is sure a healthy alternative to white rice. Foxtail millet does not have any distinct taste like brown rice, they are bland and require flavouring or can be paired with curry. 

Eggless KulKuls Recipe | Kalkals | Kidyo | Sugar Glazed Curls| Goan Christmas Palaharam Recipe

Kulkuls / Kalkals / Kidyo is one of my favourite snakes during Christmas. Amma usually makes a small batch that serves for our family. Not only does she make this during Christmas but otherwise too. I can't believe that we are in December 2013 and this sure was a speedy year. Since there are 16 days to Christmas I thought let me share our family favourites during this season. Being Tamil Christians we make lots of edible goodies that we call as Palaharam. A good list of 8-10 sweets and savouries that are made in a huge batch and served as gifts to friends and family every year. This year I am trying my best to be a good wife and make palaharams at home ;-) hopefully my family enjoy them. Christmas is a season to celebrate the birth of Jesus into this world. Just as the Father gave us His son, Christians everywhere make goodies and distribute them. Not only edible gifts but other gifts to near and dear. Lets celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and stay close to our family.

Kulkuls are traditional Goan sweet snack traditionally made for Christmas and served to near and dear during the festive season. They are deepfried and sweet, but the version I have shared here is partially sweet since I wanted to use powdered sugar I did not add much sugar to the dough. You can go ahead and increase the sugar content. The texture of Kulkuls are a firm outside and soft inside. The trick is in shaping the kulkuls so take care and practice a few times to get the exact shape. 

Vazhaipoo Poriyal Recipe | Banana Flower Stir Fry

Vazhaipoo / Banana Flower is a large reddish blossom that grows along with bananas and interestingly every part of the banana plant is used for cooking recipes in the Indian cuisine. Much as banana flower is popular I must admit that cleaning them is sure a challenge, but after you cook them you can be sure that it was worth all the effort. I must say that banana flower is very good for women in particular and has many medicinal values which are sure to be considered while you plan to cook them up. 

Vazhaipoo poriyal is a mild tasty vegetarian stir fry that goes well as a side to rice and curry. This is a basic recipe that you can try if you are cooking vazhaipoo / banana flower for the first time. Take note that I have used one entire banana blossom for this recipe. 

Fresh Ginger Tea | Inji Tea | Ginger Tea with milk | Ginger Chai

Marriage has taught me all things tea ;-) since my husband is a coffee lover I am so bored over coffee that my morning is never complete without a fragrant tea. A few weeks back I had posted my favorite Cardamom Tea and Sukku Kaapi (Dry Ginger coffee)today I want to share another version of tea which is really soothing and it is Ginger tea. In fact you can do a fusion of Cardamom and Ginger tea for better taste. So with my hot cuppa I am so glad to invite you over for today's post. in my hometown you will find many tea wales selling ginger tea in huge carriers that they transport in cycles and for just a mere Rs4 you will get awesome fresh and piping hot ginger tea.

Ginger is inevitable in Indian cooking. Most Indian recipes call for Ginger/ Garlic paste. But it would not be fair if I don't mention few of the many benefits of Ginger along with this recipe. Ginger has many medicinal properties of which the key benefits are aids digestion, improves immunity, relieves stress, relieves menusural discomfort and nausea, reduces inflammation, increase blood circulation and respiratory disorder to name a few

Orange Kheer | Komala Kheer | Low fat fruit based Kheer

Orange Kheer
Orange Kheer
Orange Kheer, have you ever tried it? for some orange & milk is not a great combination. But don't come to a judgement unless you try this Orange Kheer. You are sure to love it, you can even make it as a kulfi and serve it would taste that delicious. Orange Kheer / Komala Kheer / Kamla Lebur Kheer is a delicious Bengali pudding done with milk sugar and orange segments. Milk is thickened and condensed milk is used as a sweetener, once this mixture cools down orange segments with the juice from the pulp are added and refrigerated to be served chilled. But today I tried the low fat version from Tarla Dalal's recipe here. Instead of using condensed milk, cornflour is mixed with milk and added to the boiling milk for thickness. The result was an amazing fragrant kheer that was absolutely delicious. Since oranges are in full bloom this season I had used sweet oranges/ clementine, one big tip is to use sweet varieties of oranges for this dessert.

Vanjaram Meen Varuval | King Fish Fry Recipe | South Indian Fish Fry Recipe

I am a fish lover and the kind that is fried. Since childhood I always loved fired fish and the way Amma makes it, shallow fried. Along with curd rice I am a happy child :-) Only after growing up did I know that some do not pair non-veg with curd and I really felt that is something not fair. I have always grown to love curd and I cannot think of never adding curd to my diet. Fresh home-made curd is my top preference. Coming back to fish fry, South Indian homes and restaurants can never complete their menu without the popular Vanjaram Meen Varuval/ King Fish fry/ Masala Fish Fry. Of all fish fries the Vanjaram/ king fish fry is considered the best. The top secret in any fish fry is the spices and the combinations made to marinate along with the fish and shallow fried to perfection. The fish does not turn crisp but the shallow fry helps the fish to get cooked with a partially smoked masala to wrap them :-) truly this fish fry is magic. 
Yipee its Friday gotto be a fried day right??? ;-) Happy weekend y'll...

FabFurnish Website Review

I am this person who loves to browse through online shopping sites be it clothes, handbag, perfume, gifts and props. After I turned into a Food blogger the prop browsing became the ultimate search. I came across FabFurnish through facebook and boy, it was like being a kid in a candy store. I wanted all that I saw from props, kitchen accessories, cookware and furniture. Honest to myself I must say that once I step into their website I never know how time flies. I know living in India we have tons of variety in kitchenware but tell me who has the time to go hunting for them? For some location is an issue and others travelling. Living in a fast paced life we all look for food on the go, instant caffeine, quick shopping, all we want is to tick that to-do list and move on. For people like us online shopping is the answer. 

I must admit that there are tons of websites these days luring customers with offers, discount coupons, cash back and even free delivery. But how do you know that the company you ordered from is genuine and if there is an issue will they do all it takes to get your problem resolved? Most times we least think about the latter and get lured with the frills that come our way. I genuinely believe that I cannot promote a site without having a first hand experience with them right? So when Fab asked me to review them I did put them to the test. Ordered a couple of products and kept waiting for them to do this post. I must say they worked like a charm and I got what I saw. You bet I was like a kid opening up the Christmas gifts parcel :P. The blog side of me made me to order some props ;-) which I will style and post in the coming days, so keep watching this space to know what I got ;-)

Just Eat - A Review with some first hand experience

Few weeks back I received a mail from JustEat asking me to do a review about their website JUSTEAT. Surprisingly I have ordered food through JustEat couple of times. I gladly accepted to do the review and I am here to explain how Just Eat works. Let me tell you that I review about a company/ service only if I am 100% confident about their services. I would call Justeat as an online cafeteria where you can hang out with multiple restaurants and order food in the area you reside. How great it is to read a restaurant menu online. Not only do you get to view menu and order food, you can book a table and reserve it, read reviews about restaurants and also find the directions to get there.

So next time you are planning to hang out with friends or with your other half you can browse through the restaurants in the area you wish to go and book your table ahead. In our fast paced lives we all have smart phones and Justeat has made things handy for us by creating a Justeat app which is totally free to download and with mobile internet you are good to go. Why hurry to the hang out with stress when you can book a table before even reaching there? Come on lets admit the we cannot hold time with the kind of traffic we have to go through to get anywhere. 

Chettinad Chicken Curry - A chit chat with Nalini Suresh

After a brief hibernation, I am back with great post for today. And this post is a double candy, one recipe and a friend to chat with. Yes today I am restarting my chit chat segment with a friend which I had missed for the past few months. Today we have a lovely food blogger and a great friend +nalini suresh from Nalini's Kitchen. I met her online around 9 months back and ever since we have kept in touch. She is a mum of 2 lovely kids and in her spare time she also feeds her third kid her blog. I must say that Nalini is not just an amazing cook but also a well seasoned chef who explores various cuisines. One another thing about Nalini is her down to earth and helpful nature and almost instantly I felt an instant connect with her. Nalini also is one amazing photographer and often she keeps feeding my eyes with her eye candy shots ;-). Thanks Nalini for taking time off and doing this lovely chit chat with an awesome recipe. I sure drool over this recipe every time I see the clicks :P will give it a try sometime soon.
Over to Nalini.....

I am so much thrilled and excited to share a guest post for my friend Priya Ranjit of Cook like Priya. Priya is one such caring and loving person I came to know in March through Facebook,after that we chat almost everyday and talked couple of times over the phone.
When she requested me to do a guest post 3-4 months back I said yes.But it took such a long time as I was busy with y India trip and other personal things.
I was in a dilemma about the recipe and finally ended up with the authentic chicken curry as Priya likes a chicken lot.
Priya hope you like my post...

Chilli Fish Manchurian Semi-Dry | Seafood Starter Recipe | Indo-Chinese Manchurian | Step by Step

Fish Manchurian has been on my mind for a long time. And when I saw fresh Shark in our local fish monger I just knew what to make with this soft fish. Usually at home Shark/ Sura is used to make Sura Puttu ( shredded fish stir fry) this time around my husband wanted me to make chilli fish so combining my interests to make a manchurian and chilli fish, it resulted in Fish Manchurian. This dish is Indo-Chinese style and tastes great as an appetizer or as a side to fried rice. I must admit I never take step-wise clicks with raw meat, not sure why. But for this post I made a change and took clicks as I prepared this dish. I must thank my dear sis Divya Pramil for her idea to steam cook fish before coating the batter, which I picked from hereManchurian is a batter fried recipe that is great as an appetizer or as a side (semi-gravy), very popular in restaurants in India. You will find many variations to manchurian like Gobi (Cauliflower) Manchurian, Chicken Manchurian and Fish manchurian. Meat/ vegetables are made into a marinated base, which is fried and a sauce/curry is prepared and the fried pieces are added and later garnished with spring onions. The dish is usually prepared few mins before serving for a crisp taste. Although the taste great no matter when it is cooked.

Husband's Verdict - The best tasting fish manchurian ever, he said he will not order this dish in restaurants again. I couldn't be any more happier

Karuvepillai Podi | Curry Leaves Powder | Brahmin Podi Recipe | Podi Dosa

Tamil Brahmin are known for their vegetarian delicacies and no doubt they sure will make anyone love their recipes simple yet delicious. I must say that its sure a skill to cook without onions and garlic and still make recipes that are delicious. Not only their cooking but also their day to day habits will surely astonish everyone, I have had brahmin friends and neighbours from whom I have learnt so much, not like something they sat and taught me but something I learnt by seeing their day to day habits. So today I will be sharing Karuvepillai Podi / Curry leaf powder which is a great accompaniment with dosa, idly and also can be used to make mixed rice with ghee. 

Curry leaves are known for many of its health benefits which include liver health, digestion, eyesight, cholesterol control and many more. Apart from all these Indians believe that curry leaves help in hair growth and also for long black hair. Many Indian ayurvedic hair oils use curry leaf extract and paste. So make it a point to include these health leaves in your daily diet

Vanilla Biscotti | American Biscotti Recipe

I am a huge fan of biscotti, I never leave a Starbucks / Cafe without getting a slice of their Almond Biscotti. I must say that I had tasted biscotti the first time on my trip to US a few years back and I have always wondered how do they make them. I love their cakey taste and biscuit texture. Although almonds bicotti are my absolute favourite I have tasted other version of chocolate, vanilla and so on. I was super excited to try the Vanilla version and topped it with nuts. This recipe below is sure a fool-proof one and you must be the tons of reviews on this recipe, its a great giveaway goodie or Chirstmas goodie for friends and family.

Biscotti are Italian born twice baked cookies. They make an ideal companion to coffee. There are various versions of Biscotti these days ranging from almond, vanilla, chocolate, double chocolate, nuts and even vegan versions. The traditional one being Almond Biscottis as Italy is a place where almonds are easily sourced. A sticky dough is baked and then removed from the oven, cooled for a brief time and again re-baked to remove all the moisture to form a crisp biscuit like texture.

Rava Laddu using Condensed Milk | Sooji Laddu | Indian Sweet Recipe

The past 2 weeks have been super busy for me. Back to back guests over the weekend and I was busy cooking up sweets and dishes for them. This Rava Laddu was one of the sweets I made for a lovely uncle who came to visit us. Really his visit came to us by surprise and it was so unplanned. I had a tin of condensed milk in the refrigerator and trust me sometimes condensed milk can be a lifesaver :P when you have sudden guests at home. You can make pedas, burfis, payasam, kheers, cakes and even this rava laddu. So make sure you always have a tin of condensed milk at home ;-) and yes I made rava laddus with condensed milk. These Rava laddus are firm and not crumbly like the no condensed milk version. Texture and taste develops the next day, so make them ahead. Since they have milk (condensed milk) they last for upto 5-6 days in an air-tight container in room temperature.

Cardamom Tea | How to make Cardamom Powder | Kitchen Basics

Marriage has brought a lot of changes in my food habits, and most of you know I started to love Bittermelon (Pavakkai), Mushroom, Dals & sweets which I never really enjoyed or rather liked earlier. I must say that this cardamom tea is one such which I never fail to have almost daily. I would skip one or two days a week but yet I would have this craving to have Cardamom tea again. My parents are tea lovers and without tea their day would not start and somehow back then I think I saw this same tea on the table daily that I somehow did not enjoy it then. After marrying a coffee lover all I want is tea :P makes me laugh to even say it. Although I admit more work to make tea and coffee in the morning but the rebellious me still enjoys every sip of tea ;-). Having rambled enough I was thinking of doing a post of cardamom powder, since its too versatile when you make this ahead and store it in an air-tight container. Cardamom powder is used for many Indian sweets like payasam, burfi, kheers and Indian bakes like Cardamom cake, Nankhatai to name a few.

Cardamom has many health benefits from detoxification, oral health, digestion and so on, you can read more about it here. Usually its the seeds in the cardamom pods that hold flavour and you can remove the seeds and then blend to have a powder, but I felt that using the pods/ shells reduces the work, later you can sieve it to get a fine powder.

Besan Burfi | Easy Burfi Recipe

Besan Burfi, have you ever heard of it? this is sure a new recipe to me. After trying Mysore Pak I wanted to make use of the left over fresh besan hence my quest for a sweet ended with this besan burfi. It was perfect in time for diwali and few relatives for company. I made this as a welcome sweet for them along with their morning breakfast thali of Palak Poori, potato masala, biryani kichadi and coconut chutney. They loved this sweet a lot and I could not be any more happier :-). This is a lovely sweet that can be done ahead and stored for more than 2 weeks in an air-tight container. Give it a try and you will love it for sure

Besan Burfi is a firm block sweet that is firm and not porous like Mysore Pak. The flavour and taste differs although it has similar ingredients like Besan flour, sugar and ghee just like mysore pak. The topping of nuts, addition of cardamom gives a unique taste to this besan burfi. Usually Burfis and other Indian sweets call for one string stage but this burfi does not require that, so its very simple and easy to do even for beginners. 

Baked Nimki | Namak Paare | Savory Diamond Cuts | No Butter No Ghee Indian snacks

Diamond cuts are my all time favourite, but of late I am starting to love the savory ones. During my last visit to Amma's place she made me masala diamond cuts and boy I was so so excited, the deepfried kind. I still have those clicks sleeping in my draft I've been waiting for Amma to pass me the recipe. So the otherday my hands were itchy to bake, yea yea you read it right :P once you are a baker you seem to think that anything can be baked, I mean you talk and dream about baking. And I for sure am a bit nutty baker, I dream and have sleepless nights about what to bake, how to bake, what combination, which frosting :P sounds funny? well I think its absolutely normal to understand this if you are a baker too. So I thought my not do a baked version of savory diamond cuts and the result was superb. Mind you no maida (APF), no ghee, no butter and I still managed to bake decent looking and great tasting diamond cuts or Nimki or Namkeen or Namak Paare. I spiced the dough up with crushed peppers and it tasted fantastic. So during this festive season so something a little guilt free for the one's who cannot take the deep fried and no sugar goodies.

Restaurant Style Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani | Easy Chicken Biryani Recipe

Biryani is one of the most adored recipe in our family. It all started from the time I was a kid, every Sunday lunch menu would be a special biryani from Amma mostly Chicken Biryani and occasionally Lamb biryani. Long back I posted a super simple Chicken Biryani Amma Style but over the years R & me have explored so much when it comes to Biryani and one version that usually makes us crave for would be the Hyderabadi Mutton biryani and today I wanted to do a twist to this recipe make it using Chicken and a restaurant style Chicken Hyderabadi Biryani. Usually when you order for any biryani in a restaurant you will 90% not find whole spices likes bay leaf, cinnamon stick, star anise and so on in the biryani and the only visible ingredients would be rice, meat, onions, tomatoes and at times mint leaves. I was intrigued by how they can come out with such fantastic taste despite not adding the whole spices. When I did my research to find a restaurant style chicken biryani I bumped on this recipe by Vah chef and the next weekend I made this for our Sunday lunch. It was a perfect restaurant style biryani :-) you have to try it to know how great it tastes.

Palak Poori Recipe | Spinach Poori | Easy Breakfast Recipe | Step by Step

Poori is a childhood favourite for R and me :-) we both love it so much hence I make it once or twice a month as a breakfast recipe. Like always I love to have twists to usual day to day recipes and this time I tried Palak Poori (Spinach Poori) and my husband totally loved this flavourful poori :-) and what a great way to add spinach into the menu. I would not say that its the most healthiest way but a cheats' way to include greens into meals ;-) try this poori for fussy eaters and I am sure they will love it. The secret ingredient in this poori is the use of fennel seeds, it does give a lovely flavour to the poori. The biggest tip to make perfect poori is to make the dough stiff and firm and not soft like how we knead the dough for chappati. 

Kesar Nan Khatai Cookies | Flavored Nan Khatai Biscuit

I love Indian bakery goodies, and of all the different bakes my most favourite is Nan Khatai and since its festival season I thought why not doing a twist with the traditional Nan Khatai by making it a Saffron flavoured. Nan Khatai are buttery melt in the mouth cookies and have a crumbly texture. The cookies are great as a snack and can be wrapped as a treat for guests or kids. Saffron Nan Khatai are firm on the outside with a slight mithai flavour on the inside. The topped nuts add to the crunch and taste. These colourful Saffron Nan Khatai are sure a joy to taste and attractive looking. Give this a dry during the festive time. 

Kheema Cutets | Goat Keema Cutlet | Keema Starter Recipe

Mutton Kheema Cutlets are a big hit at home, Amma makes it so well and as kids we never complain to eat them :-). She made sure to do it once a month and when everyone is at home. A super simple recipe and you can even do it ahead and then shallow fry them when you want it. The minced meat is pre-cooked and made into dumplings along with mashed potatoes and spices. Later coated with batter rolled on breadcrumbs and then shallow fried. You really do not need a side to dip these cutlets they taste great on their own.

So last weekend when we had friends over for lunch I made these as a starter and they simply enjoyed these Kheema cutlets a lot and everyone wanted a second and third serving ;-) I couldn't be more happy. 

Mysore Pak | South Indian Mysore Pak

Have you ever tried something and it ended up as a kitchen flop and never had the guts to try it again? well that's me. Last year around this time I tried this Mysore Pak recipe and it ended up in a Mysore Fudge all gooey and although it tasted pretty ok I was not so pleased with it and decided to bin it. Seriously felt bad that I wasted that amount of ghee. After a year I am back again with doing this recipe of Mysore Pak and it turned out just right. Nevertheless I have conquered the fear to try mysore pak at home and have been waiting to hear what my husband has to say about it as I try to type this post here. Will update the verdict soon :-) I promise. Divya thank you so much for this lovely recipe, all credits to you.

Mysore Pak is a speciality ghee sweet made in Karnataka that is loaded with a lot of ghee and tends to melt in your mouth. There are various versions of Mysore pak starting from firm porous burfi type, soft melt in mouth and a mix of both you can say inbetween firm less porous  burfi kind and yet melt in mouth soft texture. This version that I have shared here is a fair mix of both the soft and hard type mysore pak. If u are a beginner or doing this for the first time I suggest you take a helping hand while doing Mysore Pak

Banana Kuzhi Paniyaram | Sweet Paniyaram Recipe | Banana Coconut Paniyaram

Banana Bajji, Banana Chips, Banana cake anything bananas I go bananas ;-) I love every cooked variety of banana recipe but somehow I do not enjoy eating this one fruit as a fruit. Note I never said I hate it, I simply do not enjoy it. Being a fruit lover and a blogger, I do try to cook with fruits often. But this banana paniyaram is something I have been hooked onto as a teenager. Amma usually fried this batter in oil, they are called Pazha Appam but I love this paniyaram version better since it is less calories. R on the other hand has never tried any kind of banana recipes other than the bakes that I do now and then. This version of paniyaram he loved it so much. I served it alongside tea on a sunday evening. 

Banana Paniyaram is a quick to do snack when you are craving for something sweet. It is spongy, sweet and light to bite. I have sweetened the batter with jaggery syrup, you can even use palm jaggery syrup for a more healthy alternative. For diabetics you can make it with sugarfree.

Sakkarai Pongal | Sweet Pongal | South Indian Rice Sweet

Shakkarai Pongal is a sweetened rice that is famous in Tamil Nadu. Usually made during festivals, Pongal to be exact. But as far as I know this sweet pongal is a common occurrence in my home right from childhood days till now. Earlier it used to be Appa who is a big fan of Shakkarai pongal and to fulfil his sweet tooth Amma used to make this pongal loaded with ghee and nuts but now its my husband's favourite  of course I had to get it right and according to his taste. There are various versions of Shakkarai Pongal in every household, my version is a quickie and without milk, so you can call it a simple Chakkarai pongal. Since its R's favourite  it had to be blogged. I feel that I have not done justice to the pictures and the one and only reason for this is R himself, cos he did not let me click, as he was waiting to enjoy his share of pongal which was being captured :-P. Once a month I make both Ven Pongal and Shakkari Pongal at home for our Saturday breakfast menu. So to make matters simple I pressure cook raw rice and moong dal until soft, mash it up using a laddle and divide it for the 2 recipes and do the rest. So without much delay lets go to the recipe

Reshmi Kebab | Creamy Chicken Kebab | Oven baked Reshmi Kebab | Chicken Starter Recipe

Are you a Kebab lover like me? Both R & me are great fans of tandoori chicken, chicken tikka and Reshmi Kebab is another variation to the spicy tandoori varieties like Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Tikka... etc. A Kebab is usually a skewer based tandoori recipe, but here I have used the same marinate for regular chicken pieces and broiled them in the oven to get a tandoori effect. Although you can use the same marinate to broil boneless chicken thighs or even minced chicken and roll them on wooden skewers and broil for the same temperature. I made this as a starter for a meal we planned for a lovely couple a few days ago. Everyone really enjoyed this Reshmi Kebab and I was so pleased :-)

Reshmi Kebab is made with marinated chicken in full fat cream, pepper, kastoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves), mint leaves and salt. This tender meat is then oven broiled to get a perfect tandoori effect. Its mild in spices and you do not need any artificial colouring, yet the chicken is succulent and juicy holding its flavours. 

Apple Lapsi | Apple Kesari | Rajastani Lapsi | Apple and daliya halwa

It was again another weekend and I was busy in the kitchen to stir some recipes. I had a sweet tooth calling hence made this simple apple lapsi which I had bookmarked long back from my dear friend +Preeti Tamilarasan . Since I had all the ingredients in hand I just went ahead with the recipe as I was cooking other recipes alongside. As I was eager to taste the lapsi when it still hot, I burnt my tongue :-( does this happen to you? and later no matter how much I tried to taste this lapsi after it cooled down I still could not actually taste the sweetness... grrrr I was bit bugged and decided to reserve some for myself in the refrigerator to try the next day. And to my surprise it was too good. For all those you do not what lapsi is its a famous Rajasthani sweet usually done to feast on important occasions like festivals, marriage feasts and also house warming. Since all the ingredients are easily found in South India its something we all ought to try. I can say that its a good counter part to the Rava Kesari that is quite famous in South India. But nevertheless both kesari and lapsi have their uniqueness in flavour and texture.

Easy Chana Masala with Coconut | Chana Kurma | Chickpeas Curry Recipe

One big favourite of mine from the legume family is Chickpeas. I simply love it in a pulao or curry or even as a sundal (stir-fry). I have posted Chickpeas Pulao and Chickpeas Sundal earlier, so I felt the urge to post a Chickpeas Coconut Curry/ Channa Kurma (with coconut and tomato). That said my husband on the other had does not love like chickpeas in any form. He does not find it interesting or even appetizing to eat...sign... So now you know why chickpeas does not appear on the blog frequently. But I do have days where I want to have what I want to have and made this Kurma just for myself, yes your read it right ;-) I made this kurma with a handful of Chickpeas and there are no words to describe how happy I really was enjoying it all alone ;-) food does make me happy!

Wheat Flour Almond Cookie | Atta Badam Biscuit Recipe | Cardamom Flavoured Cookie

;-) How fun would life be if cookies were perfect for diet ??? sigh... As I write this post I  so miss munching on these buttery cookies that I baked a fortnight ago. I love to bake and the baking bug seem to have vanished now and apparently when I do I seem to do it quite frequently. Does this happen to you? as of now I am on a baking low, so hence to boost up my spirits thought of doing this post on cookies. There cannot be an easier recipe as this for someone who is a beginner in baking. And I have to mention that these cookies don't have any baking powder or baking soda so its kids friendly in every way.

Apple Oats Porridge | Apple Oats Breakfast Recipe | Oats Recipe

'An Apple a day keeps the doctor away', we all know this but still tell me how many of us have an apple a day? Even I don't, so the other day I had this reader who requested me for a different oats porridge recipe, since I had already posted a savoury version of oats porridge - Masala Oats, I thought why not post a sweeter version along with fruit. This is sure a quick and simple recipe, you can even serve it for kids. Apple tend to have a natural sugar and I have partially cooked it along with oats and milk to have a sweetened yet fragrant taste. Topping nuts on this oats add a lovely crunch to this porridge, I love to have this warm and even cold both ways it tastes amazing.

Kerala Chicken Roast | Indian Chicken Roast

My love for Chicken has no limits :-) every fortnight we have a dish with Chicken and trust me I usually love make Chicken Masala / Thokku rather than a plain Chicken Curry. This Kerala Chicken Roast is a family favourite and is great as a side for white rice / appam/ dosa / idly. I would call this a quick marination recipe and also one that is slow cooked to get its flavours. So make sure you take time to do this curry but I promise it tastes better than it looks :P. I had to serve husband his lunch and then click pictures and hence I could not do much justice with the captures. 

Kerala Chicken Roast is marinated with spices and floured, fried to hold its flavours and then cooked with a masala/ thokku in a slow flame to develop flavours. Its a great and satisfying side to any main and is not very spicy in my opinion. You can adjust the spices according to your taste and liking but do follow the same method of cooking for a great tasting Chicken Roast.

Homemade Ghee Recipe | How to make Ghee at home | Step by Step

I never know an Indian who hates Ghee, have you? Most Indian sweets and recipes call for Ghee and I feel its apt to have a post on how to make Ghee in my space. I love the fragrance and taste of ghee on hot white rice/ sambar sadam but I love it all the more in sweets. If North India are known for sweets using milk, South India is known for Ghee sweets right from the famous Pure Ghee Mysore Pak to the Maavu Ladoos Ghee is adorned. Although I must admit that I am a lazy person who would prefer to pick a pack of ghee from the supermarket, I have made it a point to make ghee at home, just like ginger-garlic paste, coconut milk, tamarind paste and so on. I have to say there cannot be anything near the homemade ghee and the way your kitchen is full of aroma of the ghee is totally heavenly. Reminds me that Amma too makes ghee at home although her version is with curry leaves to give an extra punch but somehow I did not add curry leaves or rock salt to this recipe. Since I love it plain and pure so that I can use it for savory and sweet dishes.

Wheat Semolina Upma | Godumai Rava Upma | Samba Rava Diabetic friendly Recipe

Samba Rava or Wheat Semolina Upma is one of my favourite and go to recipe these day. I simply love to enjoy this upma with Ketchup or curd. There is a slight twist to this recipe and I learnt this from R's aunt who made this for us when we visited her. Also I find samba rav/ wheat sooji at its best in Tamilnadu, in Karnataka we get very course wheat rava that resemble saw dust... grrr.. So on our way back we picked a 5 kg Wheat rava back home :) and ever since I have made this upma countless number of times. You might ask me does this sooji even have a taste? well the secret is in the preparation really. Of course me being me tried various versions of breakfast & dinner recipes using Samba rava which will appear in the blog I promise. You know many of my friends do not like samba rava and one big reason is that it tastes bland and unlike the white sooji its counterpart which absorbs much flavours samba is a little tricky, but don't worry this recipe will sure result in a great tasting upma with flavour. I have posted earlier a Samba Rava upma which is more like a main which needs a curry to to paired with unlike this recipe here.

Red Apple Pickle | Instant apple pickle

R & Me are big pickle fans, we always buy a bottle of Priya's Urugai no matter where we are, that crazy. But after marriage comes the idea of making pickle at home. For a person like me who can make pickle at home, I am sure anyone can. I always am this person who would love to wind up all the kitchen work under an hour and that includes cleaning, washing etc. Pickles usually have a long process and I love the shortcut version of instant pickles which still hold and develop lots of flavours. I have few other instant pickles which are a big hit at home Tomato Pickle & Mango Pickle. So the other day I had nearly 2 dozen apples and was wondering what to do with them and I was not looking at a sweet recipe so I got this idea of doing a pickle with apples. The result was fabulous, R loved it so much that he had it with his dosa, idly, rice, chappati and even with  curd ;-) the red apples did have a slight sweetness to them I balanced it with lemon juice. 

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