Wednesday, June 18, 2014

NADAN CHAMMANTHI PODI / Kerala Style roasted coconut chutney powder

How to make Kerala style chammanthi podi?

Preparation Time : 30min & Cooking Time : 30 min
Serves : 1medium bottle
Shelf life : 3months or 6months in refrigerator

Ingredients :

Grated coconut : 1 large coconut or 3/4 bag of frozen coconut

Tamarind : a small lemon size ball or 1 1/2 tbsp tamarind paste
Dried Red chili : 20 or 1tbsp-1tbsp Red Chilly powder
Pepper Corns : 1tsp
Coriander seeds : 1 table spoon

Curry leaves : 3Springs

Cumin Seeds : a Pinch*
Shallots / Cheriya Ulli  : 2 table spoon, chopped*
Ginger chopped : 1 inch piece*

(Notes : Ingredients marked with "*", Cumin, Ginger and shallots are used in the traditional chammanthi podi, but i personally feel it will bring down the roasted coconut flavor. So i didn't use it this time)


Method : 

1. Heat a kadai / heavy bottom vessel in low-medium flame and dry roast the grated coconut till light golden in color. Now add all other ingredients except salt and tamarind and stir fry.
2. When the coconuts are evenly dark golden brown add tamarind and Stir fry for 2 minutes to absorbe water from tamarind. (If you are using chilly powder instead of red chillies, add now and give a stir for 1 minute). Switch off the heat and allow to cool. 
3. Add salt and grind it into a coarse powder in a coffee grinder or food processor. Spread it on a paper / plate and allow to cool for another 10minutes and store in an air tight container. 

4. Serve this nadan chammanthi podi with rice / Kanji / with idli & Dosa.

Note : Do not use oil while roasting.  Otherwise you can't store this nadan chammanthi podi more than 3 days.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

POLKA DOT CAKE - Buttermilk Pound cake with Butter cream Frosting

This was a Surprise 5th birthday cake for Rithika's best friend Sanjana. I made a Buttermilk Pound cake one day before and was thinking which icing should i use?? Chocolate ganache / Butter cream / Whipped cream. Finally i decided to do it with butter cream frosting and homemade marshmallow fondant polka dot decorations. 

 My first attempt at baking was in 2008. I saw a simple sponge cake recipe and followed it, but instead of ending up with a spongy cake I ended up with  a burnt cake with gooey center. Yup, it was a mess. When i had a chat with Vrinda of "Sankeerthanam" and Swapna of "Swapna's Cuisine", (who is the biggest inspiration for me to start a blog), i understood where i went wrong. During the 30min of baking, i opened the oven door for 10 - 15times :) and after baking i forgot to take the cake immediately and it was there for another 25min. I tried the recipe again, and it was far better.. i tried several recipes and i learned how to make a perfect cake.  Then i started with icing. I found chocolate ganache is the best for beginner, but i never could make a neat cake with butter cream  / whipped cream. Top was never leveled, several patches, crumbs comes to top of icing etc. Again i approached my baking guru - Swapna, and she asked me to keep the cake in freezer as it is easy to do icing on a firm cake.  I tried again and again and i became a better baker. So im dedicating this cake to Swapna, who helped me to create the passion in baking, who was always available to answer for my silly doubts.. Thanks Swapna :)

Vanilla Buttermilk Pound Cake
Recipe Source - Swanpa's Cusine
I halved the recipe and baked the cake in an 8” pan 


All purpose flour : 21/4Cup / 240g
Baking powder : 1tsp
Baking soda : 1/2tsp
Salt : 1/2tsp
Unsalted butter : 2/3Cup / 150g, room temperature
Sugar : 1 1/4cup
Eggs : 3
Buttermilk {or substitute recipe below} : 130ml
Pure vanilla extract : 1tsp
To make buttermilk substitute
Take 130 ml milk at room temperature and add 1 tsp white vinegar. Let it stand 5-10 minutes. When it curdles, it’s ready.

Method :

1. Grease and flour the sides of two baking pans. Line the bottoms and sides with parchment paper.

2. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F

3. Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Reserve.

4. Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract.

5. With beater on low add the flour and buttermilk alternately in three lots.

6. Divide the batter between the two pans.

7. Bake for 50-60 minutes till golden brown on top and the tester comes out clean. Cool completely.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Recipe Source : Swapna's Cusine

Ingredients : 

1cup Unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!) Ideal texture should be like ice cream.
3-4 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar, sifted
A small pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream 


1. Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed.
2. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter.
3. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time.

4. Divide frosting into 2 bowls.

To assemble the cake, torte each of the cake layers horizontally into two thin halves. Sandwich the cakes with a light spread of butter cream and cover the cake with a thin layer of butter cream. Now keep the cake in freezer for 10minutes and then, give a neat coating of butter cream.