Thursday, November 20, 2008

Belated Diwali Treat : Kalakand

It's been long since I visited my blog. So, here I am stuck with an empty page for the past 15 mins not knowing where to start. I'm writing sentences back and forth and deleting them after a few minutes. Anyway, I'm determined to come out of my hibernation although it's not the appropriate time for it.

Last year for Diwali I had so much time in hand that I experimented on many new sweets. But this time I wanted something quick and new. So I ended up doing Kalakand. The inspiration to do this was from my colleague Vinaya who brought this sweet during our Halloween Potluck. From that time onwards I became hooked to this sweet that I decided to give it a try for Diwali. So... many THANKS to Vinaya for introducing this sweet to me.

The Kalakand you see below is not made out of hours of labor in the kitchen. There is actually a short cut way. Some of you must be already familiar with the Ricotta cheese method and that is what I followed here. I've never tried the traditional way of doing Kalakand and I'm sure it will taste the best….. but I guarantee you - when you try this method you will find a very marginal difference between the two or sometimes you might not even notice any difference.

The version that my friend had brought was the plain Kalakand. So, I decided to get creative and make two more types of kalakand - The Mango Kalakand and the Chocolate Kalakand. So far, I have done this for 3 parties and the variety that won the most votes was the Mango Kalakand. But my vote is for the Chocolate one. The plain ones were also very good but for some reason the kids liked it the most.

So, here goes the recipe:

Ricotta cheese: 1 (30 oz tub) - Whole Milk
Sweetened Condensed milk - 3 cans
Elachi powder - 1/2 tsp for each batch
Ghee - for greasing the microwavable container and the tray in which you are going to pour the Kalakand.
Chopped nuts - Qty as desired (Pista, almonds)

The quantity I have mentioned above serves a large crowd. I made 3 batches out the cheese quantity I mentioned above (see the 2nd picture… but we ate some before we took pictures). So, if you want to first try a small batch use just 1 can of milkmaid and equal amounts of ricotta cheese. I forgot to mention something... this is a recipe that uses microwave for cooking and not the stove. In future I'll experiment with the stove top as well and update you.

Take a microwave safe cooking bowl (Corning ware) and grease it with ghee. Pour 1 can of milkmaid and equal amounts of ricotta cheese. Blend them to a smooth liquid. Add elachi powder and mix again. Keep the bowl in the microwave and cook it for 5 mins in high power. My microwave says power 10. In-between these 5 mins keep an eye on the liquid mixture as it might boil over if you are using a small bowl. To be on the safe side, I would recommend using a big bowl that enough room for the cheese mixture to rise a little bit.

After the first 5 minutes, take out the bowl and give a good mix. Stick it back into the microwave for another 5 mins. This time, you need to watch your cheese mixture very keenly as it might boil over. Pause the microwave anytime if needed, give the mixture a stir and continue cooking.

By the end of the 10th minute, the mixture would have become somewhat thick. Scrape the sides and blend well. Again put the bowl in the microwave for another 5 mins. At this stage, open the microwave every 1 min and stir the contents well each and every time. The kalakand is done when the cheese mixture becomes grainy and still has some moisture in it. You might get this stage by the 15th minute or 17th minute.

Take out the bowl from the microwave and pour/scoop the contents to a ghee greased tray. Pile it up a little high so that you can get pieces out of them. While the mixture is still hot, spread the chopped nuts and slightly press them down. Wait for 1/2 an hour to 45 mins. Take a pizza cutter or knife and cut them neatly into squares.

Don't worry if you see the kalakand with some extra moisture at this stage. Leave it in the fridge for a few hours if needed. You will be able to take out the entire pieces fine.

Note: For the Mango version, just use 1/2 to 3/4 cup of mango pulp. Mix the pulp with cheese and condensed milk. Follow the same procedure as above. Just increase the cooking time by 2 more minutes.

For the Chocolate version, I used 2 tbsp of Hershey's milk chocolate powder. But when I did this batch, I noticed that the mixture got its grainy texture by the end of the 10th minute itself. So, I trusted my instincts and stopped cooking further. Finally, I realized that I did the right thing. The kalakands came out perfectly fine.

Another version that you could try is to add MTR Badam feast powder to the Ricotta cheese mixture. I have not tried this before but my friend Vinaya suggested this idea. Maybe I'll try it next time.

So... Folks are you ready to give it a try???

The other sweet that I made was my Kaju kathli and for snacks I made murrukku. As I posted the recipes for these earlier I'm not going to elaborate on this.

Ok Guys, time to go. Before that... Thanks to all my blog friends and readers for your sweet comments and enquires. Sorry to many of you for not responding to their queries. I'll start spending some time on my blog each week to make up for the lost time.

Take care and happy eating!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Arusuvai Chain in my kitchen (Kaju Kathli and Dry fruit Ladoos)

This post has been LONG OVERDUE. Yes.... It's about the ARUSUVAI CHAIN.

This was originally started by Latha ma of the YUM blog.

Later it was introduced here in US by Latha of Masala Magic
. Ever since I wanted to be a part of this . Finally the sweet girl who owns the spicy blog chose me to pass on her surprise ingredient.

Yes... It was PRAVS of 'SIMPLY SPICY' who contacted me and asked if I wanted to be a part of the arusuvai chain. My joy knew no bounds when I heard that. After a few e-mails and phone talk I recieved the surprise package she sent me.

Wondering what it is? It was CASHEWS , EDIBLE GUM and a box of haldirams sweets.

I was thrilled as well as scared about the ingredient. I had never seen edible gum before and had no idea what to do with it.

Again Pravs lent me a helping hand. She directed me Latha ma's
Undaes .

After that I googled a lot but I was not confident enough to try anything. That's why I kept on postponing this.

Anyway, here is what I did with the ingredients:


This is the first time I'm trying both these recipes and I have to say that I was 100% pleased with the final result. Here are some pictures... Look for yourself and you will agree with me.



Cashews- 1 cup
Sugar- 3/4 cup
Water- 1/4 cup
Milk- 3 tbsp
Ghee- 1 tsp
Silver leaves- optional


Grind the cashews to a really fine powder using a coffee grinder. Mix water, milk and sugar and heat it in medium-high flame. Wait for one string consistency. (Keep some water in a small plate. If you put some sugar syrup in it , the syrup should not dissolve. I mean it should lay there like a fine thread.)

After this add the cashew powder and keep mixing it until you get a nice soft dough. If you feel that the dough is dry or too thick you can add some milk to it. Don't worry. You will not encounter this problem. Still, I just wanted to mention it incase you run into trouble. Adding milk reduces the shelf-life but I don't think this sweet will last that long.

You can tell that the dough is ready by testing it with your fingers. I mean, when you take some cashew dough in between your fingers and roll it, it should form a ball.

Next, take a greased plate and put the cashew dough on it. Spread it like a chappathi using a rolling pin to the desired thickness. Alternatively, you can spread it on a clean countertop too. Finally spread the silver warg on the top and cut it into diamonds.

If you see my picture, you can notice that some of the kathlis are thick and some are thin. The reason is I used a wrong plate to spread the cashew dough. When you try it make sure that the base is even.



Cashews- 1 cup
Almonds - 1 cup
Raisins - 1 cup
Dates - 1 cup
Edible gum - 1 cup
coconut- 1 cup
ghee- 1/2 to 3/4 th cup
sugar - 1 cup
water- 1/4 cup


Roast the cashews and badam with a tsp of ghee for a few minutes (3 to 4 mins). Next roast the edible gum with a tsp of ghee to a nice golden color. Take care not to burn it. Roast it in a medium-low flame. Dry roast the coconut to a golden brown color and crumble it into fine pieces.Finely chop the almonds, cashews, raisins and dates. The finer the better. This will help in shaping them into balls.

Mix water and sugar and bring it to a boil. Wait till the syrup reaches a two string consistency. Next dump in all the ingredients and mix it all really really well until it clings together. Wait for 5 mins. Grease your hands with some ghee and shape them into small balls while it is still hot.

It requires some expertise to shape them into ladoos. I tried it but I couldn't as it was too hot for my hands. Finally my MIL came to my resuce and she shaped them all. If you find it hard to shape them you can eat it as it is too. Tastes super good and highly nutritious.

The recipe above is no different from Latha ma's but this site gave me the idea of making the sugar syrup which helped in the binding of the ingredients.

YAY... Atlast I have managed to participate in this chain. Now it's my turn to pass it on somebody.

So I choose PREMA of "My cookbook" to pass on the surprise ingredient.

Once again I thank dear PRAVS for this great opportunity and it's indeed a great pleasure to be a part of it. Also, THANKS for the lovely sweets that you sent. I absolutely enjoyed it.

I'm signing of with this. Donno when I'll post the next one. I don't want to give anymore false promises that I'm back to blogging. So see you all when time permits. Take care and I thank each and every one of you for your kind comments.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Kavin's 4th Birthday

Hi Friends,
Hope all of you are doing very well. I'm sorry that I'm unable to keep up my word of resuming blogging soon. Meanwhile " THANKS" to all my dear blogger friends and readers who continue to visit my blog and leave encouraging comments. I really feel so bad that I'm unable to respond to all of your comments. But I hope you will understand.

Lots have been going on in the past month. Kavin's Birthday, my b'day, My in-laws arrival and getting adjusted to all the changes. Phew... I'm glad that it's all over now. Anyway, I just wanted to share some pictures of our special days with you.

Ok guys. I can hear you saying ... enough of talking. Where's food? Well, I have many posts in my draft but I choose Egg Curry to post today.

This is a simple and flavourful gravy. If you wish you can use replace eggs with chicken. It tastes great with dosa, pulav rice, biryani or rotis. Pardon me for the bad presentation. No time to garnish or clean the sides of the plate


Eggs- 5
Onion- 1 (medium)
garlic- 3 pods
ginger- 1"
green chilli - 1
corriander leaves- small fistful
curry leaves- few
mint leaves- 5 or 6
Tomato- 1 (big)
turmeric- 1/4 tsp
sambar powder- 1/4 tsp
Some curry powder- 1/2 tsp (I used sakthi chicken masala for an added flavour)
cloves- 2
pattai (cinnamon stick) - 1"
jeera seeds- 1 tsp
fennel seeds - 1 tsp
salt- as required

Boil eggs and peel off the shell. Cut them in halves and set aside. Heat 2 tsp of oil in a kadai and fry the onions, ginger, garlic, chilli, corrinader leaves, curry leaves and mint until the onion turns into a pale brown color and becomes soft. Finally add the tomatoes and saute until completely mashed. Switch off the gas and allow it to cool. Grind it all to a smooth paste.

Heat one tbsp of oil in a kadai and fry cloves and cinnamon stick. Next add the ground paste , turmeric , sambhar powder and curry powder. Add required salt. After 5 mins add the cumin-fennel powder and a cup or more of water. Bring to a nice boil.

Slip in the eggs slowly and carefully mix well . Test for seasonings and switch off the gas until the gravy reaches the desired consistency. Finally add some corriander leaves and mix.

I'm signing off with this. Will be back with my next post soon. Once again I'm sorry for not replying to all your comments. From my next post onwards I'll be responding back only to queries. But I gladly welcome your suggestions. Thanks again for understanding. Take care and have a great Day!!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I'm Back with peerkangai kootu

Hi Friends,

Hope all of you are doing very well. Things have been going fine at my end too. Sorry for my uninformed disappearance in blogsphere. I had been allorting my leisure hours for gym and cleaning. Guess what.... I have lost 30 pounds so far. But I still have 20 more to go. I feel good now. But the bad thing is I have still not overcome my love for chocolates. It makes me cheat on my diet often. If not for this I would have lost more. Anyway, I'm a lot better now. Atleast I have developed a conscious to warn me every now and then.

The other things that had kept me busy was planning the birthday party for my son and doing some extra cleaning around the house as I'm expecting my in-laws from India next week. Anyway, I hope to resume blogging regularly from this post onwards. I'm sorry that I have not been able to reply to your comments . But I wanted to let you know that I truly appreciate each and everyone of your words. Thanks guys.

Meanwhile I did one more thing. I created another blog "" and copied all the contents there. I did it as I wanted another template. I tried changing the existing one but the alignment was going crazy that I decided to go to a new address. When I was almost done I realized that I would lose my site statistics if I give-up my old one , so I decided to stay with this itself. Anyway if anybody have some suggestions for my problem I'd really appreciate it.

Coming to the food part... I'll start with Peerkangai Kootu. Usually I use channa dal for kootu but this time I did it like my MIL . I mean I used boiled moongdal. This kootu is great as a side-dish for chappathi or it tastes great with rice. Try this simple dish sometime, you will surely love it.

Peerkangai Kootu:

Ridgegourd/Peerkangai - 1
onion- 1/2 (chopped fine)
tomato- 1 big
green chillies- 4 or 5
boiled moong dal - 1 cup
coconut- 1/4 to 1/2 cup
jeera seeds - 1 and 1/2 tsp
salt - as reqd

Wash and cook moong dal with enough water and turmeric. You can either steam cook it or boil it. Next grind coconut and jeera with some water to a fine paste. Meanwhile scrap out the skin off the ridgegourd. You can either discard it or use it to make a thuvayal. Cut the gourd into small pieces and boil it with very little water with some turmeric and salt. The gourd cooks very fast so don't boil for long and make it mushy.

Next heat oil in the kadai and splutter mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves. Then add onions and chillies and saute for 5 mins. After that add tomatoes and cook till it's pulpy. Now add the cooked vegatable and dal. Add salt and mix well. Finally add the ground coconut and bring it to a boil. Serve it with rice or roti. It tastes just great.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Paneer Mattar Masala & more Awards

If you would have seen my comments in other blogs you will surely know that I'm a paneer lover. I love it fresh, deep-fried or incorporated in any dish. I'm always in search for the ideal paneer recipes that have that special restaurant taste. My favorite is paneer butter masala and my hubby's favorite is paneer matar masala. So here is the recipe for his favorite dish.

Paneer- 300 gms
Green peas- 3/4 th cup (dried ones)
Onion- 2 1/2
Ginger garlic paste- 2 tbsp
tomatoes- 4 or 5
green chilli- 5
garam masala- 1 tsp
yogurt- 1 cup
red chilli powder- 1 tsp
corriander powder- 1 tbsp
heavy cream- 50 ml
saffron- a pinch
cashew paste- 1 tbsp
corriander leaves- handful
oil- 3 tbsp
salt- as required
sugar- a pinch
kassori methi - 1 tsp

Soak dried peas in water overnight. Next day boil it with some salt until almost cooked. You can skip this step if you use frozen peas. Next bring water to a boil and put the tomatoes in it. Boil for 5 mins . Take out the tomatoes and wash it in cold water. Peel off the skin and make a puree. You can skip this step also if you have use readymade tomato puree, but I'm sorry I do not have the measure for that. Boil onions in water for 8 mins. Strain and puree.

Heat oil in a pan and fry the onion paste for 5 mins. Then add ginger-garlic paste and fry for 5 more mins. Next add chilli powder, garam masala and corriander powder. Stir well. Now add tomato puree, cashew paste ,salt and sugar. Cook till the oil seperates. Next add yogurt (beaten smooth). cook for 10 -12 mins till oil floats on top. Add little water, boiled peas and saffron.

Cut paneer into cubes and shallow fry in a non-stick pan with a spoon of oil. Put the fried paneer in hot salted water for sometime. When it's time to add it to the gravy just strain the water and use it in the curry.

Add paneer and boil for another 3 mins. Finally add cream, crushed kassori methi (soak in water for sometime to make it soft), corriander leaves and fried green chilli. Cook till you get the desired consistency. Increase the water level according to the your preference of texture.
Enjoy it with hot buttered naan or fried rice. It tastes just awesome.

Now to the awards.... As you all know that it's raining awards in the blogsphere. I have been one of the fortunate ones to get those great awards.

I've been presented the "Nice Matters" award again. This time it's by Sagari of Indian cooking and Pragyan of cooking at Pragyan's have been so sweet and gracious to pass it on to me . Thankyou so much Sagari and Pragyan. You both made me feel so special and happy.

Then, Pravs of Simply Spicy and Shanti Banu of My kitchen hobbies have been so kind enough to pass me on the "E" for Excellent Blog award. Thankyou so much girls. Your awards have inspired me so much and I'm very proud to wear it on my blog.

Last time itself I should have passed on the "Nice matters" award but I somehow forgot to include it. So , I'm passing it now to some of my friends. For some of you it might be a repetition still I hope you would enjoy it.

So the Nice matter's award is being passed to:

and SuperChef

And the "E" for excellent blog award is being passed to
Indo Sun God
Happy Cook
I hope you girls enjoy the award too as much as I did.

One more thing before I end the post. My hubby's workplace has changed. I mean he is working from home now. It's not a temporay thing as it's a permanant job. The bad thing about this is he always keep a watch on me on how much time I spend on blogging. That's why I'm unable to be in your blogs recently and also unable to update mine either. Bear with me gals. I'll organize myself soon and come back to routine.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

First Anniversary and time to say a lot of Thanks !!!

Hi Folks,


While the whole world is celebrating this great day , I have another reason to celebrate this day.

Yes! It's my blog's FIRST Birthday. Last year it was the same Feb 14th my blog was born. Like many of my friends I too never thought that I'll be blogging this long. Anyway, today I have reached a second milestone with 137 posts. Wondering what's my first milestone? Ofcourse it was my 100th post on October 2007.

Another great news is that I have recieved "The Nice Matters" award from my dear friend Happy cook who is the proud owner of My Kitchen Treasures. Thankyou so much HC, you made me feel so special.

So, let me start the story of how I was introduced to the blogging world. It was some time in December 2006 I came across a health-related blog . The same author had a food blog too. I liked the idea of recording the recipes and that inspired me to start a blog of my own. Unfortunately, I forgot her name. Then, after two months I had my own blog .... En Samayal Pakkam.

Initially when I started the blog I wanted it to be a personal space to record my recipes. But seeing the comments in the other blogs I was so surprised by the way people are connecting to one another and how close they become after that. This inspired me and I wanted to be a part of it.

The first indian food blog I came across was Asha's. I became a great fan of hers. It was from her I learnt to write an intro before each recipe. There were days when I used to get only one comment and that was Asha's. She has always been encouraging me with her sweet comments. So, on this day I want to give you a big hug and say THANKS for all your inspiration.

I also want to thank Deepz of "Letz Cook". She was the first one to leave a comment on my blog. I don't think she knows that but I cannot forget that day. I was soooo thrilled that I can't express it in words. Thanks Deepz, You made me so happy that day.

Next I wish to mention some of the other great bloggers who inspired me during my initial days of blogging. Sia's eye-catching pictures, Inji Pennu's style of boldly expressing her thoughts, Prema's wonderful recipes (she made me blabber about her manchurian once in my dreams), Indo Sun God's Authentic recipes, Richa's simple yet flavorful recipes..... Ah, the list goes on and on

I'm so thankful for getting friends like Happy Cook who is a soups & chaat queen, Bharathi who has a lovely collection of authentic kerala recipes, Viji of vcusine who is like a dictionary of food for me, Mansi who often tempts me to go off my diet with her awesome desserts, Jeena who inspires me with her healthy recipes, Cynthia & Bee who makes me forget to comment by getting me lost with their mind-blowing pictures and write-up, Latha ma and Lakshmi who shares their authentic Iyyengar recipes and also making a difference by reaching to the special-needs kids , Pravs who makes me drool over her non-veg dishes, Suganya of Tasty Palattes who brings out the beauty of food with her unique style of photography, Sukanya of Hot'n' Sweet bowl who makes beautiful cakes and Shella who has connected to me personally.

I also enjoy the dishes and comments of Laavanya who has a variety of yummy dishes that I'm yet to try, TBC who capitvates my heart with her unique recipes, Rajitha who makes my tummy grumble with her tempting array of dishes, Raks who gives nice step-by-step pictures to follow her dishes, Padma who creates beautiful dishes like her kesar amarkhand, Priar who makes mouth-watering tamilnadu style non-veg dishes , Ramya of Mane Adige who has introduced me to so many of her bangalore dishes, Remya of Spice n Flavors who has a variety of kerala delicacies, SMN who has great breakfast items like her different types of dosa, Seema who has simple yet comforting dishes like her appo and chicken curry , Sagari who in a short span of time has posted so many delicious dishes, meeso... more than her food, I always go to her blog to see her blush in her boyfriend's hands , Kalai who has a nice homey foods, Easy Crafts who is so talented in coming up with so many dishes that can be done in MW, Shankari who I'm so proud that she spreads our cusine through her cooking class and also does food shows in TV.....

Really guys, the list is endless. But I have to end my long list for now as I'm running short of time. At this time I cannot forget my non-blogger friends too who visit me and leave their kind comments behind. I owe it all to your encouragement . Anyway, what I wish to say is...... Each and every one of you, not only the gals mentioned above have inspired me and taught me so much. All I can say in return for that is THANKS THANKS and THANKS.

Last but not least ,I wanted to thank my hubby too who continues to encourage me (sometimes..... ) and my little kiddo Kavin who bears with me when I steal his time for blogging.

I wanted to post some nice dessert for celebrating my anniversary, but as you all know I'm in Florida for the past 10 days enjoying my vaction. So no cooking, no work, no dieting..... enjoying life to the core. Will be back to Atlanta tomorrow and resume blogging from monday. Till then take care and have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Parrupu Thuvayal

Thuvayals / Thugayals are like a thicker version of chutneys. Today I'm presenting a toor dal parrupu thuvayal. Usually they add coconut to this, but on the day I did it 'B' was sick. So, I skipped the coconut. So, when you try it don't forget to add coconut.


Toor dal- 1/2 cup
coconut- 2 tbsps
red chilli- 1
peppercorns- 3
garlic pods- 2
curry leaves- 3 or 4
salt- according to taste

Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and roast the dal, coconut, red chilli, pepper, curry leaves and garlic. Do this until the dal turns golden brown. Don't burn the dal. Switch off the gas and transfer to a plate and allow it to cool. When it has cooled down grind it with salt to a coarse- smooth paste using very little water. Serve it with steaming hot rice, sesame oil and papad.