July 22, 2016

Kalyana Maangai Oorugai / Instant Mango Pickle

How to make Kalyana Maangai Oorugai / Instant Mango Pickle

                    This was the first pickle I learnt how to make - its that simple. If you have ever tasted this pickle (probably at a south indian wedding feast); it's just too hard to resist making this spicy instant pickle (unless raw mangoes are out of season). They are so easy to make, yet so satisfying with curd rice. The shelf life is about a week in the refrigerator, so plan accordingly, unless you are willing to share it ;o) Sharing this quick & delicious pickle from my recipe book with my friends at CCC# 34: July - Week 4.


1 Raw (Sour/Unripe) Mango - Chopped very fine
Red Chilli powder - 3/4th to 1 Tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/8 Tsp
Salt to taste
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 Tsp

For Tadka/Tempering:

Sesame Oil - 3 Tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 Tsp
1 or 2 dry red Chillies, broken
Asafoetida powder- 1/4 Tsp

Stove Top Method:

  • Wash the Mango - slice, julienne & chop as finely as possible and transfer to a bowl. 

  •  Dry roast the Fenugreek seeds until aromatic & golden (do not burn). Pound them with mortar and a pestle and set aside. 
  • To the finely chopped Mango, add the pounded Fenugreek powder, red Chilli powder, Salt & Turmeric powder.

  • Heat a mini kadai/wok with Sesame oil on low-medium heat - add the Mustard seeds. When they splutter, add broken red chilli and Asafoetida powder. Turn the heat off, once the chilli is fried and pour the Oil onto the bowl with the Mango and spices. 
  • Toss or mix in with a clean, dry spoon. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Serve with Curd/Yogurt rice or with your favorite meal.


  • Use the Mango along with the skin.
  • Take care not to burn the fenugreek seeds, as they will turn very bitter, if  burnt.
  • Refrigerate, store in a glass container, tightly covered and use within a week's time.

July 10, 2016

Chocolate Cake with Beets

How to bake Chocolate Cake with Beets (Beetroot)

            I was pleasantly surprised by how this cake turned out. I truly felt this cake was a winner, when my kids could not figure out, what went into this cake. I guess the chocolate glaze makes all the difference (but that's also made with light cream!). The (2 cups) grated beets are a wonderful addition, adding nutritive value to this cake & a beautiful texture. Another good thing about this cake is that the cake itself can be made a day ahead & glazed just before serving. The cake becomes more moist and flavorsome if stored overnight in an airtight container. 

           If I make this cake again, I would use a little more sugar to make it a tad more sweeter, and also use melted butter instead of oil for a better flavor. But then again, that's just me. I think that kids approval by itself is an awesome indicator of how good this cake is. I added some chopped chocolate bars on the top to make it irresistible for my kids. If you are, make sure you add their favorite candy bars to lure them in. Sharing this healthy version of chocolate cake from the book Chocolate Divine Indulgence, with my friends at CCC #35 July - week 2.

Serves 8-10
Bake time : 1 hour

Ingredients for the cake:

1.5 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 teaspoon all spice/pumpkin spice powder
3 large eggs
1 cup, firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups, peeled & coarsely grated beets (beetroot)

Ingredients for the chocolate glaze:

5 ounces (150  g) semisweet chocolate chips/grated chocolate (1 cup)
1/3 cup (90 ml) light (single) cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


For the cake:-

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (170°C). Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. Line the base with parchment paper.

  • Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, & all spice/pumpkin spice powder into a bowl.

  • Beat the eggs, brown sugar, sour cream, oil & vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the beets by hand.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top, if needed.

  • Bake for an hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. let cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack & let cool completely, before glazing.

For the chocolate glaze:-

  • Melt the chocolate, cream & vanilla in a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat & set aside to cool.
  • Spread the glaze over the cake, allowing it to dribble down the sides. Slice & serve with a topping of your choice.


  • Wash, peel, Cube & run the beets in a food processor or chopper for easy grating.
  • Trace the bottom of the baking pan on the parchment paper, with a pencil. Fold the paper, twice so that the circumference of the circle aligns neatly, cut with a scissor to get your lining for the pan.

July 2, 2016

Sparkling Citrus Punch (Non-Alcoholic)

How to make Non-Alcoholic, Sparkling Citrus Punch

          Come summer, and all I crave for is something light & refreshing to drink. The thick beverages like smoothies, and ice-cream shakes that struggle to climb up the straw to quench my parched throat, are just not liquid enough to be my summer drink. Infact, the sad truth is that I miss my Indian fresh fruit juices, which has more of the real fruit juice & less of everything else. The american fresh juices are too very diluted with ice, and barely fruity!! That's one of the reasons, I've added frozen fruits in both the recipes below, instead of ice cubes - so none of the fruity flavor is Lost in Dilution.

                     Double Recipe Alert - There are two recipes in this post. The Sparkling Citrus Punch requires sparkling fruit cider. If that is not easily accessible to you; then you can make the Sparkling Lemon Soda which is also an equally refreshing drink for the summer.

Recipe I - Non- Alcoholic Sparkling Citrus Punch

Ingredients for about 15 small servings:

1 lemon, sliced & frozen
1 lime, sliced & frozen
1 large orange, sliced & frozen
1/2 cup of frozen raspberries
1 (6 ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 liter chilled, club soda/seltzer water
2 (750ml) bottles of chilled, sparkling fruit cider (I used apple cider)
1 tablespoon white sugar
Ice cubes (optional)

Instructions for the Sparkling Citrus Punch:

  •  Just before serving, place all of the frozen fruits in the punch bowl.  Add the lemonade concentrate, club soda & sparkling fruit cider. Taste & add sugar if needed & serve cold. Add ice cubes to chill it again, if needed.


Recipe II - Sparkling Lemon Soda

Ingredients for 3 medium servings:

1/2 a lemon, sliced & frozen
1/2 a lime, sliced & frozen
1/2 an orange, sliced & frozen (Optional)
a handful of frozen raspberries
1 (6 ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate
2 cups of chilled, club soda/seltzer water
Ice cubes (optional)

Instructions for the Sparkling Lemon Soda:

  •  Just before serving, place all of the frozen fruits in a pitcher.  Add the lemonade concentrate & club soda. Add ice cubes if needed.


  • Addition of ice, will dilute the flavor of the drink. So, use sparingly if needed.
  • I used Apple cider & Apple-Peach cider for the punch.
  • If you have left overs & want to save the drink, make sure you fish out the citrus fruits and then refrigerate or else it might develop some bitterness.
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