Archive for July, 2012

Marble Cake and the Perfectness!

Posted: July 22, 2012 in Cakes
Tags: , ,

Cake!! A Birthday cake, a wedding cake , a new born arrival cake , a cake for every other festive occasion and for a good reason. Any variety of cake , name it –  Bundt cake, Loaf cake, Pound cake, Cheesecake, at the end of a meal always elicit attention and admiration. After trying hard and hard I came to know that cake recipes don’t have to be fussy and difficult (as I use to assume that). Baking cake is both an art and science. It can be fun and simple , carefully  follow the instructions and use the right equipments. Marble cake has always fantasize me through its marvelous swirls. I use to think how the hell in the world can anyone bake this. There might be any high fundoo equipment to make it. Silly me! Now I know the secret. You only need the recipe, equipments and one knife 🙂 . This is one cake which looks so beautiful without frosting and taste best with coffee and tea.

Ingredients:-

Unsalted Butter, room temperature 1/2 Cup/1 stick plus more for pan
Cake flour/All purpose flour/Maida 1 and 3/4 Cup
Baking Powder 2 teaspoon leveled
Salt 1/2 teaspoon
Sugar 1 cup
Eggs, room temperature
3 large
Vanilla extract 1 teaspoon
Buttermilk/Milk 3/4 cup
Cocoa powder(I used Hershey’s)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon
Boiling Water 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon


Method :-

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 9 by 5 loaf pan with unsalted butter. Set aside.
  • Sieve/Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Sifting helps in aerating the flour and breaks up the clumps/lumps.
  • In a bowl, with the help of electric hand mixer beat the butter and sugar together until it becomes light and fluffy. It took me about 10 minutes. Timing depends on the power of your electric mixer.
  • Add eggs to this mixture, one at a time beating until combined and scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. Mix in vanilla essence.
  • Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the milk/buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix well after each addition. Set aside 1/3 rd of batter.
  • Mix the cocoa powder and boiling water in a separate bowl with the help of rubber spatula until the mixture becomes smooth. Add this cocoa mixture to the reserved batter (1/3rd batter). Stir gently until well combined.
  • Spoon batter in the prepared loaf  pan in 2 layers, alternatively making a checkerboard. Use big spoon for the white batter and small spoon for chocolate batter. To create marbling effects, run a knife through the batters in a swirling motion. Gently tap the pan for couple of times to get rid off the air bubbles. Note :- If you don’t get this step you can search on YouTube “How to marble cake”.  I personally followed this video to create marble effect. Only change was that I used Loaf cake pan. I will soon come up with my own images for creating marble effect. Sorry for this 😦 , as I  forgot to take the pictures of process while making the cake.  ” A picture is worth a thousand words”.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a tester inserted comes out clean. You can use toothpick as a tester to check. Insert the toothpick in center of the cake and if it comes out clean i.e no wet batter stick to it, cake is done. Don’t use knife to check as it can deflate the cake.
  • Take out the cake and leave it for cooling while still in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out cake from pan and cool it completely on wire rack. You can store this cake at room temperature  for 3 days in an air tight container.

Handy Tips For Cake Baking :-

  • Have all ingredients at room temperature if its mentioned in the recipe. This is very important for butter and eggs. Soft butter makes batter smooth and loafy cake. Double check the recipe concerning egg as some recipe require it cold and some at room temperature.
  • Before preparing for the batter preheat the oven. A batter will not react properly to heat if it sits for 10 minutes at room temperature waiting for oven to heat.
  • Measure the ingredients as accurately as possible and use them in the order specified.
  • Place the pans on center rack of the preheated oven. Do not allow the pans to touch each other or the oven walls.

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Dal (Lentil) is one staple food cooked in most Indian houses on daily basis. It is exceptionally nutritious. It an excellent source of protein, high in carbohydrate and free of fat. Dal mentioned here is combination of five different types of dal cooked with spices and served with baati (baked dough balls) in Rajasthan. I first tasted this recipe in Kota at my Maasi (Aunt) friend’s place.I loved it instantly. This dish is adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor. This is a true delicacy for Dal lovers. You can have it with baati,chapati or with plain rice alongwith gatte ki sabji – a Pure Rajasthani style. 🙂

Ingredients:-

Split Bengal gram(chana dal) 1/4 cup
Whole green grams(sabut moong dal) 1/4 cup
Split black gram skinless(dhuli urad dal) 1/4 cup
Split pigeon pea(toor dal/arhar dal) 1/4 cup
Whole red lentils(saboot masoor) 1/4 cup
Salt to taste
Turmeric Powder 1/2 teaspoon
Oil 3 teaspoon
Asafoetida (hing) a  generous pinch
Cumin seeds 1/2 teaspoon
Cloves 4-5
Dried red chillies broken 2-3
Green chilli-ginger paste 1 teaspoon
Roasted cumin powder 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder 1 and 1/2 teaspoon
Garam masala 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder 1/2 teaspoon
Tomatoes chopped 2 medium


Method:-

  • Soak dals in three cups of water for at least 4 hrs. Wash, drain and boil them in three cups of water with salt and turmeric till done.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add asafoetida, cumin seeds, cloves and dried red chillies.
  • When cumin seeds changes colour, add green chilli-ginger paste and saute for one minute.
  • Add coriander powder,roasted cumin powder and red chilli powder.Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till oil separates.
  • Add cooked dals, salt and water if required.Cook for fifteen minutes stirring well.
  • Add garam masala powder and serve hot garnished with coriander leaves.

Love for potatoes have always been a weak point of mine. Potatoes make me happy. They are a versatile food. They can be baked, fried, mashed, boiled, dehydrated, sauteed & pureed. They can be served cold or hot. Chaat is a word which always made my mouth water and combo of these two is so tempting. The word Khasta means flaky and crispy. And crispiness comes by deep frying the potato patties in oil. Here I have ignored the deep frying due to the amount of calories involved. This dish is jhatpat (fast)to make and chatpata (tangy) to taste.

Ingredients :-

Potatoes 4 boiled and mashed
Mint leaves a bunch
Cilantro leaves few chopped
Black salt/salt to taste
Chaat Masala 1-2 teaspoon
Roasted cumin powder 1/2 teaspoon
Cornflour 2 teaspoon
Lemon juice 1 teaspoon
Green chutney 1/2 cup
Sweet tamarind chutney 4-5 tablespoon
Nylon sev 1/2 cup
Oil 1/4 cup

Method:-

  • In a large vessel combine mashed potatoes, mint leaves, cilantro leaves, black salt, chaat masala and lemon juice.
  • Divide the mixture into equal balls, spread slightly, place 1 teaspoon of green chutney on the center. Fold the sides and flatten it. Similarly prepare the other balls.
  • Heat sufficient oil in a griddle or pan and shallow fry till golden brown. You can also deep fry the patties.
  • Place the fried potatoes in individual plates, drizzle tamarind chutney and leftover green chutney.
  • Sprinkle sev, roasted cumin powder and chaat masala on the top of it. Serve hot and enjoy it on rainy day.

Note:-

You can get green chutney and sweet tamarind chutney from any Indian or Asian store. You can also make the two chutneys in home. Recipes for these two chutneys will soon follow.

Baby potatoes are one of the veggies which tempt me whenever I come across them in market. You can roast, fry or just boil them. Dum Aloo is one of the dishes which tastes best if you cook it with baby potatoes. Its one of the dish which basically belongs to Kashmiri cuisine but is now loved all over India and probably around the world too. If you don’t have baby potatoes you can work with regular potatoes cut in smaller pieces. The secret to this recipe is slow or “Dum” cooking, so don’t loose patience.

Ingredients:-

Peeled baby potatoes 18-20
Oil for deep frying
Green cardamom powder 1 teaspoon
Dry ginger powder (soonth) 1 teaspoon
Fennel seeds (saunf) powder 2 teaspoon
Roasted cumin powder 1/2 teaspoon
Mustard oil 1/4 cup
Asafoetida (hing) a pinch
Clove powder a generous pinch
Yoghurt 2 cups
Kashmiri red chillies grounded 5-6
Onion finely chopped 1
Tomatoes finely chopped 2
Salt to taste
Garam masala 1/2 teaspoon
Mint leaves few


Method:-

  • Prick the potatoes all over with the help of fork and soak it in salted water for fifteen minutes. Drain and wipe them dry.
  • Heat sufficient oil in a kadhai or fryer and deep fry the potatoes till medium golden brown. Drain them on absorbent paper and keep aside.
  • Whisk the yogurt with Kashmiri red chilli paste, ginger powder, fennel powder and green cardamom powder. Add the fried potatoes to yogurt mixture and marinate it in the refrigerator for about 1 hr.
  • Heat the mustard oil in pan. You can use any other oil instead of mustard oil but using mustard oil gives it authentic and rustic taste.
  • Add the asafoetida and clove powder. Add chopped onions and saute it till it become golden brown. Add fine chopped tomatoes and saute it till the masala (mixture) dries out.
  • Add the marinated potatoes to the masala . Mix it very well and lower the flame. Cover it with air tight lid and let it cook on low flame till the potatoes absorb the gravy and oil surfaces.
  • Add the garam masala powder. Turn off the flame, garnish with roasted cumin powder and mint leaves. Enjoy it hot!

What is Dum Cooking?

Dum cooking is traditional method of cooking in India brought from Persia. In this culinary style vegetables and meats are marinated with different types of herbs and spices and then cooked in its own juices, retaining its moisture and nutrients. Thus “Dum” refers to slow cooking of food in an enclosed, air tight and broad bottom vessel. Par-cooked food is kept in this vessel. The lid is placed over the vessel and sealed with a dough made of water and flour. Then  its placed over heat (generally over charcoal). Heat creates the steam which helps in slow cooking.