Condensed Milk

It’s a time consuming process but the end result is worthwhile…

Homemade Condensed Milk

(yields little more than 1 cup condensed milk)
3 cups full cream milk
1 ¼ cup sugar

Pour milk into a very clean thick bottom pan and place on medium flame.
Add sugar and mix.
Keep stirring once in a while till milk starts to bubble.
Once it bubbles, keep stirring on medium flame.
Keep an eye always lest it bubbles over.
After almost 30 mins the milk would have reduced and will start to change color to light cream.
Keep stirring till the milk becomes thick and creamy.
Take off fire and let it cool. It will become thicker when it cools.
Store in a clean dry jar.
If it becomes very thick upon cooling, heat gently to get the creamy consistency.

Peanut Butter

Smooth home made peanut butter…without any added preservatives…..

Peanut Butter

3 cups raw peanuts(or approx. 500 gms)
1-2 tbsp sugar (optional)
Salt to taste

Heat a heavy bottom pan and dry roast peanuts. Ensure not to over roast.
Once done, transfer to another plate and let it cool.
Remove the husk and transfer to a heavy duty grinder jar or into a food processor bowl.
Grind to a smooth consistency. At first it will be chunky and form dough. But over time you will get smooth pourable consistency.
Add salt to taste and sugar if adding and mix again.
Transfer to a clean jar.

Don’t grind continuously. Let mixer cool in between.
If you like chunky peanut butter, remove 4-5 tbsp crushed peanuts from the jar before you make a smooth paste. Add the crushed peanuts to the final smooth mixture and stir. For better taste, use raw peanuts and roast yourself rather than buying roasted peanuts, though it will work as well.

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

Quick breads are a cross between a bread and cake. It’s a cakey bread made without yeast and tastes like cake if you make them sweet. There are endless variations to make quick bread –sweet or savoury.

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¾ cup white or brown sugar
1 cup thick yogurt
½ cup oil
3 eggs beaten lightly
2 tsp vanilla essence
½ tsp cinnamon powder
¼ tsp salt

Cinnamon swirl
5 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon powder

Preheat oven to 160 degree Celsius and grease and line a loaf pan.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda. ½ tsp cinnamon powder and salt in a large bowl.
Add oil, yogurt, eggs and vanilla.
Whisk GENTLY to combine. Don’t overmix.
Batter will be thick and lumpy.
Spoon half batter into the pan.
Mix the cinnamon powder and sugar and sprinkle ¾ of it on top of batter.
Cover with remaining batter.
Take a knife or long skewer and make few swirls in the batter.
Sprinkle rest of the cinnamon sugar on top.
Bake for 45-50 mins until a toothpick inserted at the center of the bread comes out clean.
Cool for few mins in the pan and then invert on a wire rack to cool completely.
Serve as is or sprinkle some powdered sugar on top.|
Slice and serve.

One Bowl Eggless Brownie

A quick and easy one bowl eggless brownie…

Eggless Brownies

1 ½ cup flour
¾ -1 cup sugar
5 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
½  cup +1b tbsp. water
½ cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven at 160 degree Celsius. Line an 8×8 baking tray with baking paper.
Whisk flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Add water, oil and vanilla and mix with a spatula until all combined. It will be  a thick dough consistency.
Add walnuts if using and mix well.
Transfer the mixture to baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 160 degree Celsius for 15-20 mins. Don’t overcook.
Take out and cool in the tray for 5 mins and then transfer to a plate.
Let it cool completely before slicing.

Cauliflower Fried Rice

This is not just for weight watchers.
Basically, we use all regular ingredients for fried rice but use cauliflower instead of rice.

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Cauliflower Fried Rice
1 small head cauliflower ( to make 4-5 cups finely chopped cauliflower)
1 tbsp soya sauce
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
Salt and pepper

All additions are your personal choice. You may add all or few of the below…2-3 tbsp each.
Cooked shredded chicken
Scrambled eggs
Chopped carrot
Chopped capsicum
Chopped spring onion
Cooked green peas

Wash and cut cauliflower into florets.
Soak in salt water or turmeric water for 5 mins.
Wash and drain all water. Chop in a food processor to get rice like consistency. Keep aside.
Heat a large wok or pan and add olive oil and sesame oil.
Add chopped capsicum and stir for few mins.
Add rest of ‘additions’ and saute for few mins.
Add cauliflower, salt, pepper and saute on high flame for few mins.
Sprinkle soya sauce and mix well. Don’t overcook. Its good to have a slight crunch.
Take off fire and serve.

Thaen Mittai / Honey Candy

Thaen Mittai/ Honey sweet/Thaen Nilavu

½ cup white rice
2 tbsp urad dal
2 pinch baking powder
1 pinch salt
Red food colour
Oil to deep fry
For Sugar syrup
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
½ tsp lemon juice

Wash rice and urad dal and soak in water for 3-4 hrs.
Put it into a small grinder jar and grind with minimum water to a paste. Use 3-4 tbsp water if/ as required.
Doesn’t have to be smooth batter, little grainy is ok.
Add salt, red colour and baking powder and mix well and keep aside.
Heat a pan with sugar and water. Boil till sugar dissolves.
Add lemon juice and take off fire. Sugar syrup need not be one string consistency.
Syrup should be warm when putting rice balls, so make sure it doesn’t cool completely.
Heat a pan and add enough oil to deep fry the batter.
Keep flame on low. Scoop small amount of batter ( ½ tsp size) with spoon or hand and drop gently into oil. Fry for 2-3 mins until cooked and crisp on all sides.
Drain well and add to sugar syrup.
Leave in syrup for 10 mins and take out.
Roll in sugar or powdered sugar.
Cool and serve.

If sugar syrup is ready, batter can be fried immediately. Doesn’t have to be kept aside after mixing.
It stays crispy only on day of frying, next day becomes soft.

Dates Payasam |Sugar free Treat for a Happy Onam

Onam Wishes to all….


Dates Payasam |Sugar free Treat 
5-6 serving

15-20 dates
2 ½ cup milk
1 tsp ghee/butter
Few cashewnuts
¼ tsp cardamom powder (optional)
1 tbsp rice flour (optional if required)

Deseed and place dates in a bowl. Keep 2-3 dates aside for garnish.
Add ½ cup hot milk to the dates bowl and keep aside for half hr.
Place the dates in a grinder jar and grind coarsely. (grind smooth if you prefer that texture)
Boil the milk and add dates mixture and stir. Simmer for 5 mins.
Taste sweetness. If you use very sweet dates, you might not need any additional sweetener, otherwise add a tbsp. of sugar or jaggery or condensed milk.
If the payasam is too loose, stir a tbsp. of rice flour in 2 tbsp milk or water and add.
Mix well and simmer for a few mins. Add cardamom powder if using.
Take off fire.
Heat a small pan and add 1 tsp ghee or butter. Fry the cashewnut pieces and keep aside.
Chop the previously kept aside dates to small pieces and fry them in ghee till crisp.
Add cashewnut and date pieces to payasam and mix well.
Serve warm or chilled.

African Doughnut

Puff puff or African doughnuts…whatever you call it…you can never stop with one!
Crunchy on the outside and so soft inside….with a hint of lemon zest in every bite….. it’s very addictive.

African Doughnut
Recipe source: africanbites

2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
½ cup milk
¼ cup oil or melted butter (I used oil)
3 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp lemon zest or orange zest
1 tsp vanilla essence
¼ tsp salt
Oil for deep frying

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and lemon zest in a large bowl.
Add oil, milk, eggs and vanilla and whisk to combine.
The batter will be thick but should be spoonable.
Heat a pan and pour oil around 4 inches deep.(too less will result in flatter balls)
Drop a small spoonful of batter. Don’t overcrowd.
Once the bottom side is golden brown, flip to the other side.
Fry for a min or two and take out into a plate lined with a kitchen towel to soak any excess oil.
Serve with sprinkle of powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar.
It’s lovely as it is…crunchy on the outside and so soft inside.
Store leftover in an airtight container. It loses its crunchiness the next day…but still yummy!

Use 2 teaspoon – one to scoop batter and other to slide down from the spoon. Or you may use hand to drop batter.
At first, you may not get a perfect round shape, but you will get the hang of it.
Any shape …kids will love them.

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin in our part of the world is not given due credit. It’s not something people experiment with to create new recipes. Often it’s cooked once in a while cause you just happened to buy it!
But pumpkin has a ton of nutritious benefits. It’s high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, carotenoid, fiber and low in calories!

Here is an easy soup recipe…especially for weight watchers…..

Pumpkin soup

1 kilo pumpkin
4 garlic cloves sliced
1 medium onion sliced
2 tbsp olive oil or any oil
2 pinch thyme
¼ tsp turmeric powder (optional)
Salt to taste
2-4 cups water or vegetable stock

Peel wash and cut pumpkin into large cubes.
Heat a pressure cooker and add olive oil.
Add garlic and onion and saute for a min till onions get translucent.
Add pumpkin, turmeric, salt, thyme and 2 cups water or stock.
Stir and cook covered till soft. In a pressure cooker it’s ready in 2 whistles on medium flame
Let it cool a bit and blend till smooth.
Transfer back to the cooker and add water as per your preferred consistency.
Pumpkin soup is usually served thick but if you like it thin, add water accordingly.
Check salt and seasoning and when it starts to simmer, switch off.
Serve into individual bowls and sprinkle nuts or chili flakes or whatever one prefers.
Serve hot.

Thyme is optional. You can add any flavor you like…green chili, cumin, oregano, kasoori methi etc

Coconut Peanut Burfi


Coconut Peanut Burfi

2 cups fresh or desiccated coconut(better fresh)
1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
1 cup grated jaggery
4 tbsp water
½ tsp cardamom pwd
1 tsp butter/ghee optional

Brush little butter or ghee in a plate or baking tray of 8″x8″and keep aside.
Crush the peanuts a little bit…don’t powder. Leave some whole.
Heat a thick bottom pan or kadai and place jaggery and water.
Stir for a while till jaggery melts and makes thick syrup.
Add coconut and stir. The mixture will loosen up. Keep medium heat.
Keep stirring till the mixture thickens again.
To test if it’s done, put a small piece into a tumbler of room temperature water.
If it holds into a ball, it’s ready. If it dissolves, keep stirring for some more time.
Add peanuts, cardamom pwd, ghee and stir well.
Transfer to the greased tray.
Spread evenly and press down with a spoon or easier to hold a piece of baking paper and do with hands.
Let it cool. Cut into desired shape and serve.
Store in an airtight container.

If using untoasted peanuts, roast peanuts in a pan for 10 mins until nicely toasted. Let it cool. Removing skin is optional.