Sunday, June 29, 2014

Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

So this is a healthy take on an unhealthy topic. Pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting, making muffins healthier; one pumpkin at a time ;).

Things you need for:
Pumpkin Muffins

  • 2 cups (260 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups (260 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) sunflower/olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (215 grams) pumpkin puree

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 ounces (115 grams) room temperature paneer
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

There are essentially 4 steps to this recipe.

Pumpkin Puree assembly -> Muffin Baking -> Cream Cheese prep -> Icing your cakes

Pumpkin puree:

This may sound labour intensive, but it's not. I took a small pumpkin cut it out into halves and then de-seeded it. Then face down I placed it in a deep oven dish to which I added 2 cups of water to ensure the pumpkin doesn't dry out. I placed this tray in a 200C preheated oven and kept it there for 30 minutes or till the outside turns deep orange. 

Then I allowed it to cool under the fan, face up, after draining the leftover water. Once cooed I scraped out the flesh with a spoon which gave away from the shell like pudding. Then I blended this mash for a minute or so. The site from which this is originally adapted asked me to strain it. But this was very smooth and that seemed rather tedious. So skip that. Your pumpkin puree is ready. ;) 

Step 1 done.

In a large bowl I sifted together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and added ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, and salt.

I then added the egg whites, sugar, oil, vanilla extract & pumpkin puree in a blender for 2 minutes.

Alternating the dry and wet mixture I then incorporated the mixture.


Now comes the real part: Arrange the muffin tray. I have a silicon muffin tray so I filled the tray with muffin cups. I took 3 tbsp olive oil in a small bowl and dipped my fingertips in the oil and lubricated these cups so that the batter doesn't stick to the paper once it's done baking. I tried initially with 1/2 cup batter but then I fill the cups to 3/4 with batter and set the timer for 20 minutes. The oven has a tendency to burn the cake from below so I add in a bowl of  salt water at the base of the oven to maintain temperature @180F. Normally it should take 10-15 minutes.

At this time a fork poked(actually a tooth pick should be inserted, but since i didn't have that) should come out clean or bake it  for a minute or two, more , but  be out on the lookout,  not to over cook it. The gaping holes left behind are from a tired me making jabs at the poor muffin.

Step 2 is now complete.

I got a regular pack of paneer from the market to make my own cream cheese. I broke down this paneer and placed it in lukewarm water.

After the water had returned to room temperature. I drained off the water and churned it with a fork till it was smooth.

Next I made it pass through a strainer to get rid off all the unblended pieces and to get a smooth consistency.Then I added butter to it which was followed by icing sugar (sifted) and vanilla essence.

Step 3 is now complete.

Last and final step

I got a ziploc bag and put half of it inside out in a glass. I then transferred the icing mixture into the bag. I then rolled up the bag. Pushing the icing down to the farthest tip of the bag by hand, running over the plastic, this will remove all excess air bubbles. When it was finally down to the farthest end I cut a tiny portion of the corner to get a very fine stream of icing to prep my muffins. Alas! the hole was bigger than I had intended. So I pushed down the icing to the ther corner of the ziploc bag and managed to cut a tuny hole and got one good looking stream of icing, which sadly looks like it was done by a kindergarten-er.. This was how my muffins finally looked.

Voila! Let me know how yours turned out to be.

Coming up next: World's fastest healthiest chocolate fudge, Eggless chocolate muffins, Chole Masale the lazy way, soft-dough oatmeal cookies for diabetics - That's all folks.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Carrot Cake Muffins

I have been craving for these for over 2 years now (appro the gentle push of a friend I have got down to baking these with my sous chef, and guest of today's article Nisha S Das aka NSD. :)

Things you will need for this muffin:

  • 1 cup (100 grams) walnuts
  • 340 grams raw carrots (finely grated)
  • 260 grams flour/maida
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 8 egg whites
  • 360 grams white sugar
  • 120 grams butter
  • 120 grams olive oil / any other vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp pure vanilla extract
First I asked NSD to finely grate the 2 1/2 carrots that approximately weighed 340 grams on my analogue food scale. She did so,  effortlessly. 

I made NSD grind 4 cinnamon sticks to a fine powder. 

In the meantime I roasted the walnuts on a dry heated pan for about 2 minutes, by stirring them continuously without adding oil and keeping the heat at medium. After 2 minutes I set them on a plate to cool.

I sifted the flour baking soda, baking powder, flour and cinnamon and set aside.

Now I separated the egg whites from the eggs.

I weighed out 120 gm of butter and put it in microwave for 30 secs to melt it. Then I added 120 ml oil & 120 gm of molten butter, sugar &  vanilla extract.

Then I added it to the electric mixer and I let it whip for a minute or two. I poured this into a deep vessel and slowly folded in the flour to the mixture, followed by carrots and walnuts. 

Before I start baking, I always do a quick microwave test for 2 minutes to check texture and taste. It tasted very good and it was something to keep us satisfied till the real thing came along.

Now comes the real part: Arrange the muffin tray. I have a silicon muffin tray so I filled the tray with muffin cups. I took 3 tbsp olive oil in a small bowl and dip my fingertips in the oil and lubricate these cups so that the batter doesn't stick to the paper once it's done baking. I tried initially with 1/2 cup batter but then I fill the cups to 3/4 with batter and set the timer for 20 minutes. The oven has a tendency to burn the cake from below so I add in a bowl of  salt water at the base of the oven to maintain temperature @180F. Normally it should take 10-15 minutes.

The 1/2 filled muffins took 15 minutes but the 3/4 filled took 20 minutes.
At this time a fork poked(actually a tooth pick should be inserted, but since i didn't have that) should come out clean or bake it  for a minute or two, more , but  be out on the lookout,  not to over cook it.

This is how the 1/2 cup muffins look.

Later I tried 3/4 filled cups, this is how the muffins looked.

Ideally this should be served with cream cheese frosting but by this time it was 2 AM in the morning and I was beyond tired after a hard day's work. I thought I'll do the cream cheese frosting some other day. And some other day I did.

Stay tuned for my pumpkin muffin with cream cheese frosting recipe. :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Kesari - the South Indian way !

Cooking time - 20 mins

Wanna make a quick mouth-watering sweet/snack? Try the kesari! You can skip adding the colour if you're not very particular about how it looks..!


  1. Bombay rava - 200 grams 
  2. Sugar - 350 to 400 grams (depending on how sweet you want it to be)
  3. Ghee - 150 grams
  4. Cashews
  5. Food colour (yellow) - 2 pinches
  6. Cardamom (powdered)
  7. Water - double the rava

Fry the cashews in some ghee, and set it aside once it turns brown (as in the pic below).

Pour some more ghee, add the rava and keep stirring.

After a minute, add water (mix the colour powder to the water) in the above mentioned quantity and stir continuously till the rava cooks.

Keep adding the remaining ghee from time to time and continue stirring.

Once the mix thickens, add the cardamom powder and the cashews (leave a little to spread on top once done). Keep stirring for another 3 - 5 minutes before turing of the flame. 

The kesari is done..  ! You can now transfer it to a container after spreading ghee on it's surface.

Let it cool down, cut and serve!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Chilli Soya Chunks

I was so excited on having a good day at work that not only did I make the moong dal, I also decided to venture out and make soya chunks for the first time in my life.

I had always seen my mum cook soya extensively so I knew the basics. Pressure cook it till 1 whistle, wash, drain, squeeze. But then what? To that question a leaflet fell out from the soya box with several recipes. Found one that I liked and rehashed it to my liking. Less effort, time and oil. :P This was a 2-time success thing. I cooked it the first time and realised it needs more zing and added "tadka" the second time. So have patience and you will know how you can make this yummy Chilli Soya.

Ok, so things you will need to make this:

Dry Red chillis: 2
Green chillis: 2
Hing / asfoetida: 1 pinch
Onion: 1 big, chilli style big chunks
Tomatoes: 2 + 2
Ginger: 3 + 2 tbsp
Garlic: 5 cloves
Oil: 1 tbsp
Maggi Chicken Stock Cube: 1 (optional) or chole masala: 2 tbsp
Soya chunks: 1 small cup
Garam Masala:  1 tsp
Chilli powder: 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder: 1/2 tsp
Vinegar: 1 tsp
Soya Sauce: 1 tbsp

Add oil to a pan and add 2 split red chillis. Then add the big chunks of onions and stir till onions turn pink, add a pinch of salt. Cut similar big chunks for tomatoes. Then add the tomatoes, soya sauce and vinegar to the fried onions and stir for a minute or so.


Now add garam masala, coriander powder, ginger garlic and salt. Now add in the soya chunks and 2 glasses of water.

I simmered the heat for it to cook slowly till the all the water had evaporated. Then added chopped capsicum to garnish. At this point this is how the soya looked.

It looked better face to face but the taste didn't even barely match how good it looked. So I went in for a second round of internet snooping and realised my blunder.

Now this is what followed.

I got a pressure cooker added 1/2 tsp oil and a pinch of hing and two split green chillis. I again cooked two tomatoes by poking it thoroughly and then microwaved it for 3 montues. This makes it give out allll its juices and looses its posture and saves you so much of time on the whole run. Now I add this puree to the hot cooker; which in turn splat a lot on my head, funny but could have been scarily dangerous too. Now I add a maggi magic cube, you can also add 2 tbsp chole masala if you don't have the cubes at home. Now once the cube has got completely mixed through the mixture I added the nutrela chunks and put on the lid, simmer the heat and let the whistle blow once. And voila, the best Chilli Soya I have ever had!

The best praise definitely has to be my mother applauding to the taste of this chilli.

Hope you like my recipe too. If you do like this post,please do subscribe. :)

Bengali Style Moong Dal AKA "kaancha moonger daal"

This was a day when I was particularly craving for the bengali styled food. Then again I'm thoroughly lazy so I realised, moong dal is the answer to all my woes.

Things you will need:
Dry red chillis :2
Cumin seeds: 1 tbsp
Dal : 1 small cup
Water: 4x the measure
Salt: 1-1/2 tsp
Oil: 2 tbsp
Ginger: 1 tbsp
Green Chilli: 1

Wash the moong dal and add some water and keep it doused on the side.

Now start the cooking.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a deep pan. Once the oil is hot add the jeera seeds, wait for it to stop crackling or at least when you can hear the crackling seperately.Now switch off the gas, drain the dal; add it to the jeera and red chillis and switch the heat back on.

Stir the dal till the dal is almost musical when it brushes against the pan almost a faint jingle sound.By this time the dal would have started to look almost split. Add water, simmer and cover.

In the meanwhile, grind the ginger and green chilli into mulch.

Once the dal is thoroughly cooked, add this paste to the dal and cover for 10 minutes post taking it off the heat.

Your delicious Bengali style moong dal is ready!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Indian Dhamaal Chicken

Luckily or unluckily my fellow blog authors also my flatmates aren't big fans of chicken. So I cook meager portions which I then eat for days. :) Today I will show you how I make Indian chicken in the least hassling way and yet tastes nothing short of gourmet.

Things you will need

  • Chicken : 250 gms
  • Ginger : 2 tbsp
  • Garlic : 12 - 14 cloves
  • Curd : 4 tbsp (optional) 
  • Mustard Oil : 2 tbsp 
  • Chilli powder : 1 tsp
  • Cumin powder :1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder : 1/2 tsp
  • Garam Masala : 1 tsp
  • Aamchur powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Salt : 1-1/2 tbsp
  • Sugar : 1/4 tsp

I start by marinating the chicken.I add 2 tbsp mustard oil to the chicken.I crush 12- 14 cloves of garlic and 2 tbsps of ginger powder and crush.

Then out comes the magic masala box and I add all the masalas in the same pattern followed by 4 tbsp of curd.

Let this sit in the fridge over night; or as was in my case through the day. 

In the evening I just came back from office and doused it with 1 glass off water, covered it and put it on flame in simmer. 30 minutes and your delicious yummy-no-hassle-chicken is ready. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Enjoy. :) 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

No sweat Vegetable stir fry

Often when I feel like eating healthy I realise I'm not the kind that likes slogging and slogging and slogging for hours before I get to something good.This is my go-to vegetable stir fry.

I start with some oil in the pan, grind 12 garlic cloves , 2 tsp ginger powder and 4 chillis into mulch and add into the still cold oil.
Photo Photo Photo
I like adding this to cold oil to avoid allll the fumes the adding chilli to hot oil can be avoided. The I add aniseed and cinnamon and follow this by adding cubed mushrooms. I add mushrooms first for they give out water and keep everything from burning without the added hassle of adding more oil. Then goes in the diagonally sliced corn. I like cutting them diagonally for you can cut longer fancier looking pieces and such a huge time saver. :) Add 2 tbsp salt, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp chilli powder, 1/2 tsp garma masala, 1/2 tsp coriander powder and anything that you find. That's the magic of my cooking style, very accommodating; much like me. ;D

Then I add the spring onions and beans. Then as usual I micro 2 tomatoes that have been poked through for 2 minutes till its cooked.

Then my love for spinach remains unhindered, and I cut out the leaves after washing it thoroughly.

Simmer and cover it for 15 minutes. Be ready for yummy yummy in your tummy. :)