November 28, 2016

Eggless Lime Shortbread Trees

How to bake Lime Shortbread Trees (eggless)

         These cute shortbread cookies are a must for the holiday season...It hard to resist these mildly sweet, delicate shortbreads with a refreshing lime flavor. I ran out of time and couldn't shoot pics of them being iced, but it can be any which way you like it to be. Your kids can help you out with the decorating part of these cookies. This recipe is from 'Better Homes and Gardens Very Merry Cookies' cookbook. Linking this with my friends at Sri Valli's CCC# 38: November -- Week 4.

Prep 1 hour 15 minutes
Bake 12-15 minutes per batch
Cool 10 minutes per batch
Makes 30 cookies


1 cup butter, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons finely shredded lime peel
¼ teaspoon salt
2¼ cups all-purpose flour

For the Icing- 
1 cup powdered sugar
Milk - as needed
Green food coloring (optional)
Small decorative candies


1. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the ½ cup powdered sugar, the lime peel, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in flour until the dough just comes together. Divide dough in half. If necessary, cover and chill dough for 30 minutes or until it is easy to handle.

2. Preheat oven to 160°C/325°F. On a large ungreased cookie sheet, place the dough; place a sheet of wax paper on top & roll half of the dough into a 13x4-inch rectangle. Do not roll the dough thin or cookies will crumble easily.

3. Score with a long knife (in the shape of multiple X's ) to make medium sized tall triangles. Remove dough scraps. Make small triangles from the dough scraps & place them at the bottom of the trees as trunks. Repeat the process until all of the dough is used up. 
 Use X'mas tree cookie cutter, after rolling out the dough into the cookie sheet. Remove dough scraps. Roll dough & repeat the process until all of the dough is turned into trees. 

4. Bake about 12 minutes or until edges just begin to brown. While still hot, re-cut trees with the long sharp knife. Cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

5. For icing -  

In a small bowl stir together the 1 cup powdered sugar and enough milk, 1 to 2 teaspoons at a time, to make an icing of spreading consistency. Remember the 10-second rule - If you score the icing with a knife, the line should be covered up within 10 seconds. If it's too runny, add more powdered sugar. If desired, divide the icing into 2 bowls & tint some of the icings with green food coloring. Spread icing on cookies; decorate with small candies.

To Make Ahead and Store: Layer unfrosted cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw cookies, if frozen. Ice cookies as directed.


  • It may seem strange to roll the cookie dough directly on the sheet, but in this case, doing so helps you create extra-tender cookies. 

November 13, 2016

Kathrikai Podi Kari (Stir fried eggplant with lentils & spices)

How to make Kathrikai Podi Kari

                    This no onion-no garlic recipe is from my recipe diary, duly noted down from a tv show years ago. You can skip the microwave cooking & do it completely in your skillet. I find that the microwave cooking cuts down on the amount of oil used, & yet providing the same results for a dry curry. The coarseness of the ground spices can be your preference. I prefer the crunchiness of the lentils in a bite; some of you may like it better with finely ground spices. However you choose to make it, the spices definitely make it special. Sharing this recipe with my fellow bloggers at CCC# 38: November -- Week 2.


Kathrikai/Eggplant - 250 gms, sliced
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp

Ingredients for frying & powdering:

Perungayam/Asafoetida - a big pinch
Ulutham paruppu/Urad dal - 1/2 tbsp
Kadalai paruppu/Channa dal - 1/2 tbsp
Dry red chillies - 2 no:s
Grated coconut - 3 tbsp

Microwave + Stove top method:

  • Slice the brinjals & let them sit in a container with water, until you are ready to cook them.
  • Arrange the sliced eggplants on a wide plate, sprinkle salt & turmeric powder on them; cover with a wet paper towel/cloth & microwave on high for about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the cloth, take another plate of the same size - holding it tight on top of the hot plate; flip it quickly so the eggplants are transferred to the new plate, sprinkle a little more salt & turmeric powder on top, cover with a wet cloth/paper towel & microwave again for 5 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, heat a pan on (low-medium heat) with a little oil, add the ingredients listed for frying in the same order & roast them in oil until aromatic & crisp. Let cool, powder & set aside.
  • Heat the pan with the remaining oil, add the semi-cooked brinjal slices from the microwave, add required salt, turmeric powder, the ground powder & stir fry until well roasted.
  • Serve warm with a meal platter. Goes well with Sambhar rice, Rasam rice.

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